Oilers win. Coyotes get hit by cars and eat garbage, as per tradition. Final Score: 3-1 Oilers
I won’t lie to you guys, there is nothing more annoying than seeing another Coyotes game on the schedule. Even though the Oilers won the last time I still get those sketchy feelings, alright? Not only are the Coyotes boring to watch but the Oilers have, as you all know, sucked the hind banana against Arizona for years regardless of how good or bad either team has been over that time. The fact that the Oilers finally ended the Coyotes’ 6000 game point streak against them back in December still doesn’t make me feel any better yet. I still have that feeling of opponent dread anytime I see the dirt dogs on the schedule and it’s going to take a few wins to retrain my psyche.
To their credit, the Oilers started tonight’s game like they wanted me to stop doubting them. Not only did they appear to show up ready to play, but they also found a way to gain an early lead, a task that has been a challenge at times. Nugent-Hopkins opened the scoring less than four minutes into the first period and Edmonton was able to keep the Coyotes at bay while mostly limiting their chances to shots from the outside. They followed up on a strong first period by winning the middle frame as well. The home side added two more goals to their total while allowing only one for the visitors which set them up with a good chance to win the game and get themselves back into second place in the Pacific.
Heading into the third period with a two-goal lead, it was the Oilers’ game to lose. All they really had to do in order to cash in their chips and put two points in the bank was to play mistake free hockey for the last 20 minutes, and the Oilers were able to achieve that. Frankly, it shouldn’t have been too tall of an order considering the Coyotes are missing players and looked like garbage for 78% of the hockey game. To put it bluntly, the Coyotes are battling the Avalanche for the title of NHL’s smelliest garbage fire and are a team that Edmonton should beat 9/10 times.
With the curse put to rest, it looks like the Oilers finally feel like they can get to work and beat a team that everyone expects them to beat.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Nuge put the Oilers up by a goal (his ninth) early in the first period after Eberle sprung him for a partial break. RNH made no mistake after his quick little wrister beat Mike Smith low to the blocker side. Nuge seems to be settling into the season after a slow start and he finds himself with three points in his last four games. He was easily one of the best forwards tonight.
- Jujhar Khaira scored his first NHL goal by planting himself in front of the net and keeping his stick on the ice. Letestu made a perfect pass to Khaira and the big man made no mistake for his first NHL goal. I’ll never get tired of seeing those.
- Leon Draisaitl is making the NHL his bitch right now. Big Sexy 2.0 is playing like hot fire and he continued the streak with his 17th goal of the season on a filthy little dangle and finish from the right side of the slot. Draisaitl is playing with more confidence than any Oiler right now and it seems like the guy can do nothing wrong out there. Tonight’s goal was his fifth point in his last five games. Amazing season so far.
- Cam Talbot was rock solid yet again. As we’ve come to expect, Dadbot was a wall in the net and he made all of the saves that you would expect a number one goalie to make. Talbot adds to his career high in wins and he did it by stopping 20 shots with a .952 save%.
- The Pouliot-Nuge-Eberle line played much better in the game against Calgary and they continued that trend tonight. If the Oilers are going to make the playoffs they need these guys to get going and they had another encouraging game.
- Eberle had all kinds of chances but could not beat Mike Smith or the post. With the quality of opportunities that he’s had over the past couple games it seems like a matter of time before he pots one.
- Team high 22:48 for Adam Larsson tonight. Impressive when you consider that he didn’t play Saturday night as a result of an injury.
- MORE MCPOINTS! Well, one at least.
- Oilers were 52% in the faceoff circle which is the second straight game this has happened. Progress? Dare to dream, Arnold.
- Oilers outshot the Coyotes 27-21. Not only did we win the game we also won the Corsi.
- Second place in the Pacific, baby.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Edmonton got caught sleeping in the defensive zone on Radim Vrbata’s second-period goal. They had been much tighter defensively until that point, and the miscue allowed the puck to end up in the back of their net.
- The Oilers power play could have really put the Coyotes out, but they couldn’t find a way to cash in on their chances. The PP struck out, going 0/2 for the game.
- The Oilers took way too many penalties. Even though the Coyotes power play only cashed in on one of their chances Edmonton still gave them too many at bats with five power play chances.
- I know I probably complain about the reffing too much but there were some weak calls, again. I’m thinking specifically of the Eberle call for goalie interference and a missed call against the Coyotes when they had their entire lineup on the ice at the same time.
- Tobias Rieder still annoys me and I don’t care what you say about it. Thanks, Tambo.
|03:34||Edmonton||Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (9) ASST: Jordan Eberle (19), Adam Larsson (7)||0-1|
|11:40||Edmonton||Jujhar Khaira (1) ASST: Mark Letestu (12), Zack Kassian (9)||0-2|
|13:37||Edmonton||Leon Draisaitl (17) ASST: Connor McDavid (37)||0-3|
|17:56||Arizona||PPG – Radim Vrbata (10) ASST: Alex Burmistrov (3)||1-3|
BEST OF THE TWEETS
— David Smitten (@DavidSmitten) January 17, 2017
The couple in front of me is taking selfies and I’ve made sure to smile for every single one
— Matt Henderson (@Archaeologuy) January 17, 2017
— Pete $waggerelli (@edmsso) January 17, 2017
@jsbmbaggedmilk That mustache rubbed off of Khaira’s beard when they hugged to celebrate Nuge’s goal.
— Kevin Wall (@Saskatchitoon) January 17, 2017
— Sean Maloughney (@SMaloughney) January 17, 2017
@OilersNation WE’RE NEVER LOSING TO ARIZONA AGAIN!!!!!
— Carmen Chinery (@geology24_7) January 17, 2017
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