You missed us didn’t you, Winnipeg? Final Score: 6-3 Oilers
Is there anyone happier to see November come to a close than Edmonton Oilers fans? The Oilers won only five of 15 games in the year’s eleventh month and I think anyone who watches hockey would tell you that that’s just not good enough. To make matters worse, the Oilers limped into the holiday season riding a three-game losing streak at the hands of teams bellow them in the standings. Not good. December brings with it a fresh start, in a sense, and it began with the Oilers evening out at 12-10-2, something I’m sure that even the most positive fan wouldn’t have expected. That said, this was a game that the Oilers had to win just like they did back in October. The result was the same, but the path to get there was not.
The last time the Oilers were in Winnipeg was for the Heritage Classic, a game they walked away from with two points in hand (obviously). If our boys in blue (uh, white) wanted to repeat the performance they were going to have to get a much better effort than they got from basically everyone not named Connor McDavid against Arizona and Toronto. Several Oilers have been struggling to score goals lately and, as a team, they’ve had an equally hard time keeping the puck out of their own end. To end the losing streak, the Oilers were going to have to get more than shots on net, they were going to have to get a little bit ugly. When the Jets are playing their game they’re a tough team to beat, and the Oilers got a big dose of that truth early tonight. I’m not sure if the Jets were playing all that well or if the Oilers were being generous house guests, but, either way, the visitors found themselves in an early hole.
After the dust of the first period settled, the Oilers started to play much better. I’m not sure what Todd McLellan said to his team during the first intermission, but it obviously worked as the Oilers rattled off three straight goals in the second period, taking the lead in the process. Best of all was the fact that the offense was being spread throughout the lineup, and wasn’t necessarily dependent on the stick Connor McDavid. I mean, you know Connor was going to get his points as he always seems to, but we still have to give credit to the bottom six for playing some effective minutes and chipping in on the scoreboard. Once they climbed out of the 2-1 deficit, the Oilers went on to score three straight goals and ended up taking a lead into the final frame. After allowing Winnipeg to get back to within a goal on a two-man advantage early in the third period, the Oilers picked up where they left off and put away two more goals and the final nail in Winnipeg’s coffin.
When the Oilers needed a win, they did what they had to do to get it, and the three-game losing streak is over. Tonight’s story was all about the power play and the offense as the Oilers scored six goals and started December on a high note.
Wrap it up.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- As I do after most games, I am starting off the bright side section of this Wrap Up by talking about Connor McDavid. The kid is an absolute wizard with the puck and seeing him out there gives us all hope that basically anything can happen. Connor finished the night with three more assists which extended his NHL lead. What a blessing he is to this franchise.
- Just as he did at the Heritage Classic, Mark Letestu scored the Oilers first goal of the game against the Jets. This time around, the Oilers gave up a quick one and Letestu’s goal (his third) tied the game up a few minutes later. He put the Oilers up by a goal (his fourth) in the second period by crashing the net on the power play. Great game for the Oilers veteran. Clutch Letestu. Note the Mark Letestu chant video in the best of the tweets. That clip comes from our Nation trip to Winnipeg from back in October. Letestu finished the night with three points.
- Leon Draisaitl continues to have a good year as he scored the Oilers’ second goal to tie the game up in the second period. Draisaitl was left alone in the slot on the power play, and he made no mistake when the puck came to him. One goal wasn’t enough for the big boy, though, as he got to work again in the third period to put home another goal to keep his run of terror going. Draisaitl now has nine goals on the year (three points tonight) which is good for the Oilers but will likely be bad come contract time.
- Patrick Maroon may not have scored one of the prettiest goals of his career, but he did put a hell of a shift’s worth of work in to get it. Maroon battled through a couple Winnipeg checks to fire the puck towards the net from a brutal angle. Fortunately, he got a little puck luck and had the biscuit bounce in off the Jets’ defender to beat Hellebuyck (his seventh goal of the year).
- The best part about Maroon’s goal might have been the loud, screaming “WOOOOO” that Kassian let out after the puck went in the net. Shout out to the WOOOOO fans.
- Benoit Pouliot has been neck and neck with Eberle for Nation goat and he did his best to get you back onto his side as he scored his first goal (his fourth) in 200 years (14 games).
- I liked the Pitlick-Caggiula-Slepyshev line tonight. They got some of the easier matchups, but they were effective when they were out on the ice.
- Who would have guessed that the power play would score THREE goals in the same game? Three! As it turns out, Mark Letestu is the missing link. The PP was rock solid tonight, finishing the game with three goals on four opportunities.
- Connor Hellebuyck was awesome tonight.
- Pat Maroon tried to get the boys fired up in the first period when he threw down with Thorburn. Check out the fight over at HockeyFights.com on Patrick Maroon’s fight page.
THE FACE PALMERS
- The Oilers gave up the first goal of the game only 35 seconds into the game. Good starts are overrated anyway, though, right?
- Bryan Little hadn’t scored a goal all season (only his third game, though, to be fair) but he got one tonight. Classic Oilers.
- Speaking of Bryan Little’s goal, guess who took the penalty that resulted in that power play? Sorry, Poo, you know it’s you.
- Anyone else salty that Winnipeg won the second pick in the draft lottery and wound up with Laine? Just me? Hmm. And don’t take that as a shot against Puljujarvi, it’s not meant to be, but Laine is pretty damned impressive. Two goals for the big Finn tonight.
- Cam Talbot may not have been great but he played well enough to win. Fortunately, the offense was there to pick him up on a tougher night but Talbot got better as the night went on. He finished the night with 22 saves and a .890 save%. Talbot can and will be better.
- Nuge took a terrible penalty and it cost the Oilers a goal. Edmonton was already down a man after Russell took a penalty and Nuge took another in the offensive zone, giving the Jets a two-man advantage. Laine scored Winnipeg’s third goal shortly after which gave the Jets some unnecessary jump down the stretch.
- Oilers got torched in the faceoff circle, winning only 39% of the draws.
- The Oilers’ penalty kill surrended two goals for the first time in what seems like forever. The Oilers PK has been rock solid lately but allowed 2/4 on the night.
|00:35||Winnipeg||Bryan Little (1) ASST: Blake Wheeler (10), Drew Stafford (3)||0-1|
|02:31||Edmonton||PPG – Mark Letestu (3) ASST: Leon Draisaitl (11), Andrej Sekera (5)||1-1|
|10:14||Winnipeg||PPG – Patrik Laine (14) ASST: Toby Enstrom (7), Nikolaj Ehlers (17)||1-2|
|00:51||Edmonton||PPG – Leon Draisaitl (8) ASST: Milan Lucic (11), Connor McDavid (21)||2-2|
|05:06||Edmonton||PPG – Mark Letestu (4) ASST: Milan Lucic (12), Connor McDavid (22)||3-2|
|11:43||Edmonton||Patrick Maroon (7) ASST: Zack Kassian (3), Mark Letestu (5)||4-2|
|01:44||Winnipeg||PPG – Patrik Laine (15) ASST: Dustin Byfuglien (12), Blake Wheeler (11)||4-3|
|07:13||Edmonton||Leon Draisaitl (9) ASST: Connor McDavid (23), Adam Larsson (4)||5-3|
|07:33||Edmonton||Benoit Pouliot (4) ASST: Andrej Sekera (6), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (8)||6-3|
BEST OF THE TWEETS
— Allyson (@MrsLethal) December 2, 2016
— Rick Weidemann (@RPW_1832) December 2, 2016
@OilersNation Letestu >>>> Laine
— UpStares (@GR8G8GT) December 2, 2016
Next time we play Winnipeg they’ll be focused only on Letestu so McDavid can just fly under the radar AND THEN THERE WILL BE NO STOPPING HIM
— Ryan Byks (@IAmByks) December 2, 2016
— VisuallyBetter (@Isuckatpicking) December 2, 2016
— Maysy Man (@MaysyMan) December 2, 2016
GETAWAY WITH AMA TRAVEL
Craving sun, sand, and surf?
Book your beach vacation with AMA Travel this winter before space runs out! All-inclusive packages from under $1,000