Duck soup. Duck tartar. Roast duck. Duck skewers. Duck fried rice. Duck juice. Final Score: 4-0 Oilers
This was a big hockey game for the Edmonton Oilers and it had a playoff kind of feel to it. Coming into tonight, the Oilers were three points back of the Ducks in the Pacific and this was almost a must-win kind of night if they hope to have a shot at the division title. It wasn’t going to be easy, though, as the Ducks are a tough team to beat at the worst of times and when they’re on their game they can be a very difficult to deal with. If they wanted to win, the Oilers were going to have to play 60 minutes of consistent hockey, free from the peaks and lulls that we’ve seen at times.
One of the biggest hurdles for the Oilers to overcome was the need to get a good start on the road against a team that they are chasing in the standings. This “playoffs” idea is new territory for a lot of these players and when you add in the possibility of a division title chase it’s not hard to imagine a few nerves being there for a game this bigly. After a tentative yet scoreless first period was in the books, the Oilers seemed to settle into their game plan and limit the Ducks ability to make plays. Rather than allow the Ducks to dictate the play like we’ve seen for years, the Oilers were able to stick around and take full advantage of their chances, erupting for three goals in the second period.
Going into the third period with a three goal advantage and Talbot standing on his head meant that the Oilers were going to have to screw up badly if the Ducks were going to get themselves back in it. Rather than keep their three goal lead in their pocket and hope for the best, the Oilers picked up where they left off in the second and were able to add to their goal total rather than just sit on it. After they scored their fourth goal it was curtains for Anaheim. As far as road games go, this was about as good as it could get for the Oilers, as they played their most complete game in California so far this season.
As far as wins go, this was as bigly as they come and rather than find themselves going into San Jose down by four points the Oilers will only be down two. The playoffs and the division are still in sight. This is all real, my friends.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Leon Draisaitl scored his 18th goal of the year off of a nice little give and go with Connor in the slot. I’ll admit, when they were first passing the puck back and forth, I swore at my TV until Leon ended up putting the puck home. I would like to publicly apologize to my neighbours for the screaming f-bomb. Big Sexy 2.0 took over the team lead in goals with his second of the night and 19th of the year. Draisaitl one-timed Maroon’s pass cleanly through Gibson’s five-hole for the fourth Oilers goal of the night.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has played much better over the past month and his offense seems to be coming around as well. Nuge scored his 11th goal of the season on a quick snapshot from the high slot that beat John Gibson clean. Is the sudden surge in offense due to the pirate facial hair? We can’t say for sure that it’s not.
- Zack Kassian scored an absolutely beautiful goal after moving his big torso down the ice and finishing off the play with a nice move to his backhand for his fourth goal of the year. For a guy that’s supposed to be a face puncher, Kassian has got some wheels and mitts for a guy in the bottom six, and he now finds himself on a five-game point streak. That’s nice to have, my friends.
- Cam Talbot was the wall Trump hopes to build for the Oilers tonight. He was rock solid and his perfect play gave his team a chance to win the hockey game. When you combine Talbot at his best with four goals worth of run support, you have a pretty good recipe for success. Talbot stopped all 26 shots he faced for his third shutout of the season.
- MCPOINT! Connor McDavid got his league-leading 41st assist on Leon Draisaitl’s second-period goal as he continues his quest for the Art Ross.
- Pat Maroon got an assist against his former team and they had to pay for a portion of it both figuratively and financially.
- Anton Slepyshev has been impressive since being recalled from Bakersfield and he added an assist to his points total. He seems to get better the more he plays and his wrist shot has some mustard behind it. There could be something there.
- Oscar Klefbom played a team-high 22:25 and was a +2 on the night.
- The Oilers killed off both of Anaheim’s power play chances, resulting in a perfect evening.
- No forward played 20 minutes tonight which means that they should have some energy to spare for tomorrow’s game against the Sharks. First place is sight, my friends.
THE FACE PALMERS
- A little bit of a slow start for the Oilers in the first period. They looked tentative and unable to really get much going. Edmonton whiffed on two first period power play chances that could have set them up with an early lead (not that it mattered).
- The Oilers went 0/2 on the power play and had one of the chances cut short when Matt Hendricks was tagged for the hand-on-puck-faceoff thing.
- The Oilers were only 44% in the faceoff circle. I know it didn’t matter tonight, but it’s still an item that needs to be improved.
- I’m nitpicking but the Oilers only got six shots and five shots in the first and third periods respectively. Gibson was generous tonight, but they’ll need to get more shots on net than that in the future.
- I guess it was ‘do literally anything other than go to the Anaheim Ducks game’ night for Ducks fans and I am proud to report that it was an overwhelming success.
- Ryan Kesler *shudders*
- Do you remember who the Oilers got for Andrew Cogliano? It was a second round pick. Do you know who they used that pick on? Marco Roy. *fart sound* Yeah, yeah dead horse – I know.
|05:33||Edmonton||Leon Draisaitl (18) ASST: Connor McDavid (41)||1-0|
|17:55||Edmonton||Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (11) ASST: Milan Lucic (18), Anton Slepyshev (3)||2-0|
|19:44||Edmonton||Zack Kassian (4) ASST: Mark Letestu (13)||3-0|
|01:34||Edmonton||Leon Draisaitl (19) ASST: Patrick Maroon (8), Andrej Sekera (17)||4-0|
BEST OF THE TWEETS
To hide the low attendance, the Ducks painted all of the seats the colour of disinterested Angels fans. @OilersNation
— Brett Gitzel (@brettgitzel) January 26, 2017
— TurnTheRedMilePretty (@Pretty__G) January 26, 2017
— paul ermantrout (@paulermantrout) January 26, 2017
— Higgs-Distortion (@Higgsdistortion) January 26, 2017
“Talbot should be an All Star.” ?☕️ pic.twitter.com/GSY6wFM4sP
— Ryan ?♂️ (@IAmByks) January 26, 2017
@OilersNation I’m honestly starting to get worried about my health this spring!! I’m afraid of how much alcohol we will consume
— Rick Weidemann (@RPW_1832) January 26, 2017
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