Mark Letestu is hoping his pre-season start is a sign of things to come.
Letestu scored a pair of goals as the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Calgary Flames 5-2 in a split-squad pre-season game on Monday.
The 32-year-old Alberta product had a career year last season with 16 goals and 35 points, and sees no reason he can’t eclipse those totals during the 2017-18 campaign.
“My goal is to shoot more,” he said. “If you want to put up the goal totals that I think I am capable of, you have to put the puck at the net. I didn’t get on the power play until Christmas last year, so I could have two more months of power-play time to add to what I had last year.
“I think I have always been capable of it. If I can improve my five-on-five play and continue to be good on the power play, I don’t see why I couldn’t have another career year.”
Patrick Maroon, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Ryan Strome also scored for the Oilers, who dressed the more veteran of the two teams in Edmonton, with a game also taking place in Calgary at the same time. The Oilers won that game 5-4.
“Around the net we were hard on pucks and banging in rebounds,” Letestu said. “Some of the sloppiness and indecision out there is to expected, though.”
Matt Bartkowski and Hunter Shinkaruk replied with goals for the Flames.
Edmonton started the scoring a little over two minutes into the game, as a rebound came to Letestu at the side of the net and he easily swatted it past Flames starter Eddie Lack.
The Oilers made it 2-0 on the power play three minutes later as Maroon, who had 27 goals last season, was credited with the goal after it was inadvertently sent in by a Flames defender in the crease.
Edmonton got another gift goal with five minutes left in the opening period as Flames defender Michael Stone tried to poke a stick off Nugent-Hopkins’ stick, sending it into his own net.
The Oilers outshot Calgary 17-5 in the first.
Talbot strong in net
Oilers goalie Cam Talbot made a short-handed breakaway stop on Marek Hrivik midway through the scoreless second. Calgary then had a goal disallowed at the end of the frame as time had expired.
Edmonton added to its lead when Letestu blasted a third-period power-play shot past Flames back-up David Rittich.
The Oilers made it 5-0 on another power-play goal by…