MARK-LE TES-TU! Final Score: 2-1 Oilers in OT
Let’s get this out of the way, right away. That was weird. It was strange as hell to see Taylor Hall flying down the left wing towards the Oilers zone rather than away from it. It was strange to see his failed toe drags while sporting David Puddy’s favourite jersey. For years, those were our failed toe drags. After being the face of the rebuild it was odd to face Hall as an opponent and see him do all of the things that used to make our jeans tighten. That said, I’ll take where the Oilers are in the standings now over where they’ve been for a decade. No, I still don’t blame Taylor Hall for all that losing, and I honestly feel bummed out for the guy that he couldn’t be around to be a part of it now that they’re winning.
As for the game itself, this was another one of those games where the Oilers were playing against a team that was on the second half of a back-to-back weekend and these games are chances at points that they have to capitalize on. The Oilers got the start they were looking for as they absolutely dominated the play early on. Edmonton’s pressure continued throughout the night even though the scoreboard didn’t really reflect what was happening on the ice. Despite heavily outshooting the Devils for forty minutes the Oilers, the game went into the third period tied as a result of Corey Schneider standing on his head and carrying his team on his back at the same time, somehow.
With the Devils getting ridiculous goaltending but getting completely killed on the ice you didn’t know what to expect from the final period of play. Edmonton continued to pour on the pressure and were eventually able to tie the game up, but it didn’t look like that was going to happen for a while. This looked like it was destined to be one of those games where the Oilers had a terrific effort stolen from them by a hot goalie. After getting the game to overtime the Oilers continued their dominance and, essentially, played keep away until the Devils were forced to take a penalty to try to get the puck back. Edmonton made no mistake with the man advantage and put two important points in the bank heading into tomorrow’s game against Ottawa.
That’s Hall, folks.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Matt Benning was finally rewarded with his first NHL goal tonight, and I will never ever get tired of seeing guys score their first. As it turns out, Benning’s goal was a huge one that tied the game up at one, a task that looked practically impossible with how Schneider had been playing. Matt Benning we speak your name!
- Mark Letestu unleashed the fury in his OT winner as he let a clapper go that Schneider had absolutely no chance on. Letestu’s eight goal of the year was a big one as it gave the Oilers two big points, and a solid start to their back-to-back weekend.
- Cam Talbot was rock solid again tonight. He made some big saves that kept the Oilers down by only one goal, and he allowed them to come back and eventually win the hockey game. Talbot finished the night with 19 saves and a .950 save%.
- Connor had his rocket skates on tonight and he did basically everything but score. McDavid set a career high with eight shots on net and the ability to haunt the dreams of anyone tasked with defending him. Tonight was one of those games where Connor alone was worth the price of the ticket even though he didn’t get on the scoresheet.
- Maroon-McDavid-Draisaitl continue to produce chances together and were often a complete nightmare to play against down low. They were playing like hot fire all night long. Now we need to figure out what to call them. McMardrai? #McDrairoon? DraiMaDavid?
- I was a big fan of the Lucic-Nuge-Kassian line tonight. Almost every time they touched the ice they found a way to get the cycle going and produce both zone time and scoring chances.
- Big power play goal to finish off the night and it came, obviously, at the perfect time. The Oilers won both sides of the special teams battle and their ability to cash in on the PP gave them the win tonight. The Oilers finished the night 1/2 on the man advantage.
- Honourable mention goes the PK for killing off the lone attempt they faced and they didn’t really give the Devils anythings, no shots or chances to score.
- Adam Larsson had a solid game tonight and you could tell that he was a little bit more fired up by his willingness to get chippy. Larsson was 2nd in TOI with 22:26 and provided solid defensive work anytime he was on the ice.
- Eric Gryba apparently had a problem with Taylor Hall because he was taking every possible opportunity to lay him out tonight. I have absolutely nothing to base that on but it’s fun to make things up.
- Leafs lost. Nothing to do with this game but worth mentioning anyway.
THE FACE PALMERS
- The Oilers *cough* Gryba *cough* got caught flat footed on the first period goal by Miles Wood. Wood flew around the Oilers defender and was able to slide it in between Talbot’s legs.
- So many turnovers at the Devils’ blue line tonight. So, so many. In a way, it was almost impressive to see how many creative ways they could come up with to give up the puck.
- The turnovers and giveaways that are plaguing the Oilers lately nearly resulted in the Devils adding to their lead early on. Luckily for Edmonton, Talbot was rock solid tonight and was able to Dad his teammates away from trouble.
- Oilers got killed in the faceoff circle, winning only 42% of the draws.
- The Oilers outshot the Devils 43-20 but only got two goals. The only reason that I’m including that here is because I thought we were headed for moral victory territory and the mood swings made me emotional.
- Taylor Hall looks strange in another team’s jersey and I don’t like it. He had a solid night tonight and I’m not at all surprised. Get over it, I know. Fortunately, no points for TayTay tonight.
- Corey Schneider was every shade of annoying tonight. If it hadn’t been for him this game would have been a blowout. The fact that the Devils even got a point tonight was all to do with Schneider. No other reason. Period.
|09:44||New Jersey||Miles Wood (5) ASST: Travis Zajac (17), Steven Santini (2)||0-1|
|03:33||Edmonton||Matthew Benning (1) ASST: Andrej Sekera (14), Anton Lander (3)||1-1|
|03:59||Edmonton||PPG – Mark Letestu (8) ASST: Oscar Klefbom (8), Connor McDavid (32)||2-1|
***UPDATE*** HOW DARE I MISS THE MCPOINT! *lines up to be slapped by Internet*
BEST OF THE TWEETS
Going to be totally epic when Hall rips off his Devils Jersey in the 3rd and is wearing an Oilers one underneath.
— SirFozz (@SirFozz) January 7, 2017
@jsbmbaggedmilk I miss Taytay ALMOST as much as I miss the playoffs.
— Jordan Hodgkinson (@jordanhodg) January 8, 2017
— Kevin Resolutions (@sportsjunkie007) January 8, 2017
— Mike O’Sullivan (@osullymike) January 8, 2017
— Preston Hodgkinson (@PrestonKixFM) January 8, 2017
— Ryan ? (@IAmByks) January 8, 2017
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