Stoll the show

DEREK VAN DIEST, EDMONTON SUN

, Last Updated: 7:36 AM ET

DALLAS -- A month ago Jarret Stoll figures he probably wouldn't have scored the type of short-handed goal he did against the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday.

Back then, while killing a penalty with 10 seconds left in the period, the Edmonton Oilers centre would probably have headed back towards the bench as the opposition goaltender went behind the net to play the puck.

"Maybe 20 games ago I wouldn't have forechecked on the play," Stoll said.

"But (on Thursday) on a play like that, I just figured I'd go in and you never know what could happen."

What happened was the puck took a strange bounce off the end boards and got past Curtis Joseph behind the net. Stoll picked it up and slid it into the open net for the Oilers first goal of the game and his 10th of the season. When you're on a roll, you're on a roll.

TIMING IS RIGHT

"Right now it seems like the timing is right, whether it's the forecheck or the backcheck, it's just being in the right spots," Stoll said.

"Those are breaks that sometimes you get and sometimes you don't. Those are the breaks and I was lucky to get it."

It is said sometimes you make your own luck, and Stoll has been one of the Oilers best players recently.

He's gotten out of the rut that plagued him at the beginning of the season and is now the team's second-leading scorer.

"Jarret has really evolved better than he's ever been before," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish.

"He's a vocal guy that says the right things at the right time on the bench.

"He's leading on the ice with his physical play, and as importantly or even more importantly; as productively, he's killing penalties and winning face offs. His grit and leadership are really impressive."

Stoll can't put his finger on what exactly prompted the turnaround.

MORE PHYSICAL

But he's playing a more physical game than he was at the start of the season.

"We have guys out of the lineup and guys like myself have to step up and contribute more whether it's defensively, offensively, physically or whatever," he said.

"You just have to try and do that every game, it's a 'What have you done for me lately' type of thing."

Lately Stoll has been the Oilers' most productive player. He had six goals in his first 28 games.

Now he's got four in his last six.

"It was just a process," MacTavish said.

"It was a part of his game that at times he wasn't all that comfortable with being the vocal and physical leader.

"I just saw that he made that conscious decision to have that intensity and have that physical presence every night."


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