SUN Hockey Pool

O'Sullivan starting to pay dividends

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 10:53 PM ET

He’s starting to look more like the player the Edmonton Oilers though they had traded for.

Patrick O’Sullivan set up both goals in a 3-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday.

He has five points in his last four games and has been the Oilers most consistent forward in recent weeks.

“Really in the last two or three weeks, I’ve been feeling good and skating well,” O’Sullivan said. “When I skate well, everything else that I can do comes out.

“I’ve been producing more and I’ve been able to develop some chemistry with Potsy (Ryan Potulny). I’ve played with everyone on the team, and it’s tough to get anything going when you do that. I think him and I have really gotten used to playing with each other and we know where we are going to be on the ice, which I think is something that has helped me lately.”

Acquired at the trading deadline last year in a three-way deal with the Los Angeles Kings and Carolina Hurricanes for Erik Cole, O’Sullivan was expected to put up big numbers offensively for the Oilers this season.

However, he’s been unable to score on a consistent basis since his arrival.

Last year the native of Winston-Salem, N.C., scored just two goals and added four assists in his 19 games with the Oilers.

This season, he has nine goals and 16 assists in 46 games. However, O’Sullivan has three goals and four assist in his last seven games and was one of the most dangerous players offensively for the Oilers in their loss to the Penguins.

“It has nothing to do with confidence, I have a lot of confidence,” O’Sullivan said. “The puck just wasn’t going in before, for whatever reason, I was missing shots. Maybe I was trying to make too good of a play. If anything, I’ve simplified my game a little bit and maybe that’s the difference.”

A former second-round pick of the Minnesota Wild, O’Sullivan has always been a goal scorer.

He twice reached the 40-goal plateau in junior and had 47 goals in his first season in the AHL with the Houston Aeros. That level of success has yet to transfer to the NHL level, where his career high is 22 goals two seasons ago with the Los Angeles Kings.

Yet he’s been effective playing with Potulny, who can also put the puck in the net, scoring 38 goals with the Springfield Falcons last season.

“I think we are both pretty smart offensively in knowing where to go in the scoring areas,” Potulny said. “We’re getting to know where each other is going to be and we gelled right away with each other and it’s gone well since then.”


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