First in the Pacific. Who’s next? Final Score: 5-0 Oilers
Just when we thought that the Oilers would never win another game, the Hockey Gods offered up some luck and gifted the Edmonton Oilers a couple of gimme goals that propelled them to a much-needed win against the Dallas Stars. For seemingly the first time in November, the Oilers got some bounces go their way. Saturday’s game was a big win, and I was hopeful that it gave them some momentum coming into tonight. If they wanted to beat the Blackhawks they were going to have to get some of that same luck from Saturday combined with a good start and great goaltending, because spotting Chicago an early lead is a recipe for disaster. As Gregor wrote this morning, a win for the Oilers would put them on pace for 92 points and a potential playoff spot. That’s huge and they needed to win this hockey game.
To their credit, the Oilers had some jump to start the game and they were able to parlay that into two first period goals and an early lead. Equally as impressive was their ability to keep Chicago mainly to the outside of the ice, and limit their chances from the slot. When the Blackhawks did get their cycle going in the Oilers’ end the defensemen did a decent job of breaking that up and clearing the zone. When they couldn’t, Cam Talbot was there to bail out his team and maintain their lead. It’s a good thing Talbot was ready to play tonight, because his second period would be much busier than his first. After the first 20 minutes were evenly played (basically), Chicago really turned it on in the middle frame. After hanging on for dear life for much of the second period (they were outshot 18-8), the Oilers were able to repay Cam Talbot for his wizardry by scoring a third goal, giving them a good chance to win the game going into the third period.
When Anton Slepyshev scored the fourth Oilers goal seven minutes into the third period, I had conflicting emotions about it. Normally a hockey fan can feel pretty confident when his team has a four-goal third period lead, but I’ve been an Oilers fan my entire life and I’ve seen my share of heartbreak in the last 20 minutes of a hockey game over this decade of despair. Old habits are hard to break, I guess. After Draisaitl scored the fifth Oilers goal I started to relax and wondered when that feeling of impending doom that comes from 10 years of third period collapses will finally start to go away? Horrible Oilers memories aside, tonight is a night for celebration as the Oilers gave one of the league’s best teams the business and extended their winning streak to two games. The fancies will tell us that this may not have been the perfect win, but the number that really matters is the one that’s up on the scoreboard and the Oilers were on the right side of that one tonight.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Scoring a goal in the first few minutes of the game is infinitely better than allowing one. I know there are fancy stats that say otherwise, but it’s better to play ahead than to chase and that’s the story I’m sticking to.
- Connor McDavid extended his point streak with two more assists on both of Oscar Klefbom’s goals, the one that was credited to him and the one that wasn’t (Draisaitl’s first of the night). McDavid put up his 15th and 16th assists for his league leading 23rd and 24th points of the season.
- Oscar Klefbom is on a three-game goal scoring streak as of tonight. Can you believe that? To start the season, none of the Oilers defenders were scoring and now they all seem to be. Klefbom put home his third goal of the year by following up the play and hammering a puck home past Corey Crawford. Originally he was credited with his fourth goal of the year, but after being reviewed the goal was credited to Leon Draisaitl. Either way, it was a great night for #77.
- Speaking of Draisaitl, shout out to him for the hand eye on the Klefbom shot that ended up in the back of the net for his fifth goal of the year. Draisaitl was in the right position and he got his stick on a point shot that beat the goaltender. Beautiful. Draisaitl thought the first power play goal was so nice that he went out and got another one (his sixth) to put the game completely out of reach at 5-0. Big Drai had a big three-point night and is starting to heat up again.
- Andrej Sekera scored a big goal (his second) late in the second-period that put the Oilers up by three. The Oilers have historically had trouble closing out hockey games so I always prefer that they pad the lead as much as possible, going into the third.
- Anton Slepyshev scored his second goal of the campaign on an absolute snipe show of a shot over Corey Crawford’s shoulder. He’s been playing some solid hockey lately.
- Cam Talbot was rock solid and, in my opinion, kept the Oilers in the lead when the Blackhawks were buzzing in the second period. Talbot made some huge saves and was rewarded with the shutout, stopping all 31 shots he faced.
- The Oilers’ power play was there when they needed it and it gave them two big goals. The PP finished 2/5 and put the final nail in Chicago’s coffin.
- The top four defense were solid all night with both pairings playing over 20 minutes. Lots of ice and they all handled it well.
- I watched the Flames game for about 15 minutes and the Sabres scored three straight goals. That has nothing to do with this game but I felt like it was worth mentioning.
- Kris Russell had one of the best hits I’ve seen this year, and I don’t think he got a positive Corsi rating for that. He had a great game tonight.
— OilersNation.com (@OilersNation) November 22, 2016
THE FACE PALMERS
- After a very even first period the Oilers looked like they were sitting back and waiting for the Blackhawks to give the puck up. They’re lucky Talbot was locked in because he bailed them out on a few occasions.
- The Caggiula line wasn’t as good as they were against the Stars on Saturday. They got hemmed in their zone a lot when they were on the ice and even finished the first period with a 0% Corsi. It goes without saying that that’s not good. On the bright side, Caggiula did get another assist and his line didn’t get burned for the time they spent defending.
- How badly do the Oilers miss a big shot on the power play? What I wouldn’t give to have Big Sexy Sheldon Souray back there these days. Can you imagine the one timers that guy would have gotten off with McDavid setting him up?
- Oilers went 48% in the faceoff circle. I wonder how long until they get Letestu back in the lineup?
- Speaking of Letestu, do the Oilers sit him and Pouliot again in Colorado? We shall see.
- I feel like Marian Hossa doesn’t age. Doesn’t it seem like 100 years ago that he was playing for the Senators? The guy won Cups in Chicago after missing out on them in consecutive years in Pittsburgh and Detroit. How crazy is that? Some people never make it to the Cup Finals once and this guy practically expects to make it every single year. What a career.
- EVEN KERRY FRASER WAS TWEETING ABOUT THE MISSED CALLS ON MCDAVID! *faints*
|02:39||Edmonton||Oscar Klefbom (3) ASST: Connor McDavid (15), Matthew Benning (4)||0-1|
|19:26||Edmonton||PPG – Leon Draisaitl (5) ASST: Oscar Klefbom (4), Connor McDavid (16)||0-2|
|19:52||Edmonton||Andrej Sekera (2) ASST: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (7), Drake Caggiula (2)||0-3|
|07:17||Edmonton||Anton Slepyshev (2) ASST: Jesse Puljujarvi (5), Leon Draisaitl (8)||0-4|
|18:35||Edmonton||PPG – Leon Draisaitl (6) ASST: Milan Lucic (5), Jordan Eberle (9)||0-5|
BEST OF THE TWEETS
— VisuallyBetter (@Isuckatpicking) November 22, 2016
If this was NBA Jam, Klefbom would be surrounded by flames!!! #HesOnFire
— Rick Weidemann (@RPW_1832) November 22, 2016
KLEFBOM IS AS GOOD AS MACT THOUGHT SCHULTZ WAS GONNA BE
— Wanye (@WanyeGretz) November 22, 2016
@OilersNation surprised he made the game tbh. Figured he’d still be on search for a Zellers cafe.
— Ryan Fradette (@RJFradette) November 22, 2016
@OilersNation I enjoy when Kevin Quinn says “Caggiula” quickly, it sounds like he’s letting the most thunderous sneeze fly.
— Dylan Kelly (@Dkelly94) November 22, 2016
Guess what, eyeball testers! Kris Russell’s Corsi is…one of the best on the team so far this game. His pair is best by that measure.
— Matt Henderson (@Archaeologuy) November 22, 2016
— Kev C B (@Kevin_Bridge) November 22, 2016
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