After a near two hour delay, the Oilers Heritage Classic was everything an Oiler fan could hope for. Final: Oilers 3 – Jets 0
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Early in the game, you could feel the excitement on the ice. Players were playing with pace, and the bodychecks were flying early. Once the teams finally got the chance to roll all four lines, you could see the game start to settle down a bit. The glare off the ice was a real issue at the start of the game and even watching the game from my couch was difficult.
Nonetheless, the sun finally came around and the glare was no longer a factor.
Despite being outchanced in the first period, I thought the Oilers played solid. Few chances were allowed from the high-danger areas, and any good chances the Jets had were turned aside by Cam Talbot, who has been looking real sharp six games into the season (except for that Buffalo game). I’m sure the addition of two young ones to his family has given him some great motivation.
It wasn’t until the second period when the Oilers started to pull away with the game. Three goals over the span of eight minutes was all it took for the team to put away the Jets. Mark Letestu scored his second short-handed goal of the season on a breakaway when Dustin Byfuglien bobbled the puck at the blueline, and Letestu was able to snipe one past Connor Hellebuyck.
As the Jets powerplay expired, Darnell Nurse jumped out of the penalty box and broke in alongside Connor McDavid on a two-on-one. McDavid did what he does best by making the defender miss, and Nurse showed great finish burrying the puck.
Zack Kassian scored late in the second, when he was able to get a lose puck and snipe one top shelf. He has a really good shot when he can get it off. Kassian has been a great player for the Oilers early on in this season.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) October 23, 2016
- OILERS WIN! OILERS WIN!
- The team now sits atop the Western Conference, as well as the atop the NHL standings. With the Canucks playing later tonight, there is a chance the Oilers may not hold onto the title for long. As I mention below in “The Bad”, the Oilers shouldn’t be getting too far ahead of themselves.
- Cam Talbot. He was one of, if not the best Oilers on the ice tonight. He kept the Oilers in the game early on and was a deciding factor in tonight’s win. Tonight’s shutout was Talbot’s first of this season and his fourth as an Edmonton Oiler. He is playing lights out for the Oilers, and is going to be a key piece of the puzzle moving forward. Good on him.
- The Oilers did a great job of shutting down the Winnipeg Jets offence given that they peppered the Oilers with chances early on. Not only that, but the Oilers were able to stall out any Jets powerplay opportunity.
Last four seasons, EDM’s 5th win came in games 13, 14, 16 and 12. This year: game 6.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) October 23, 2016
- The game being delayed was pretty rough, You would think that the league would’ve been better prepared to deal with sun on the ice, especially given its mid-afternoon start. Maybe there was a conspiracy theory to jack up the 50/50 sales, as well as the beer sales. I’m sure baggedmilk wasn’t complaining!
- Paul Maurice pulling his goalie with five minutes left. I mean, yeah you have to come back and score four goals to win it, but the Jets took a real step back in the third period and started to look really pedestrian. The Jets weren’t able to get anything going with the extra man.
- It’s still early in the season and the Oilers have yet to face stiff competition. So far in the season, the team has faced a lot of bottom-feeder teams. Outside of the big win against the Blues, I am not sure any of the teams they played otherwise even make the playoffs this year. The coaching staff has done a great job in getting these guys ready for games, and they have shown up to play this season. Hopefully the team doesn’t get too far ahead of themselves.
- Slow first period. This seems to be something that the Oilers have been forced to deal with for some time and hopefully something they can begin to work through and get better at dealing with.
|09:24||Edmonton||SHG – Mark Letestu (2)||1-0|
|11:10||Edmonton||Darnell Nurse (1) ASST: Connor McDavid (5), Zack Kassian (2)||2-0|
|17:16||Edmonton||Zack Kassian (2) ASST: Benoit Pouliot (1), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (2)||3-0|
Don’t forget, book your winter vacation or any travel before Nov 13, 2016 and you are entered to Win Back Your Trip!
The latest from Laing:
- McDavid named first star of the week
- Oilers announce 23-man roster
- Spector: Oilers to sign Versteeg?
- McKenzie: Oilers to re-sign Gryba
- Oilers assign Reinhart to Condors