SWEEEEEEEP! When was the last time we could say that? Final Score: 2-1 Oilers
If there was ever a game against the Blues where the Oilers had a solid chance of winning before it even started it was tonight. Follow me here. St. Louis moved Kevin Shattenkirk to Washington, Nail Yakupov didn’t play so the former Oilers curse wasn’t as strong, and there was a reasonable chance of seeing Jake Allen go full Jake Allen between the pipes. That, my friends, was a plethora of reasons as to why I felt confident that tonight’s two points should have been in the bag before the game had even started. Horse before cart. I know, I know…
As for what actually happened on the ice, it was almost hard to focus on the game after news had broken that Brandon Davidson got traded to Montreal in return for centreman David Desharnais. The fact that the news broke during the first period almost seemed to turn the game itself into a secondary storyline. Did this trade mean more trades are coming? He can’t really be done, can he? Why would Chiarelli move a young defenceman with another year left on his deal for an expiring contract on a 5’7 centreman? What does the expansion draft have to do with all of this? I have so many questions that have absolutely nothing to do with the hockey game!
The Oilers needed to find a way to win this hockey game, and after giving up the first goal they found themselves pushing right back against St. Louis and capitalizing on some timely chances that landed them with an early second-period lead that they were able to carry into the final 20 minutes. Despite Mark Letestu telling Gene in the second intermission that the Oilers weren’t going to sit back and let the Blues take it to them in the third period that’s actually pretty close to what happened. I think I can speak for many Nation citizens when I say that I was holding my breath over the last few minutes of the hockey game. Needless to say, the final minutes were tighter than we would have liked and one could argue that if not for Talbot’s dad powers then we might have been a different outcome.
Fortunately, the Oilers bent but did not break with Cam Talbot shutting the door and keeping the Blues from cashing in a late goal to tie the game. It may not have been perfect, but that, my friends, was a big road win at the end of a long road trip.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Milan Lucic seems to have found a string of luck lately as he scored again tonight after he finished off the play that had all three forwards getting in on the action. Lucic’s 14th goal came after he scored his 13th a couple nights ago in Nashville. On top of his goal, he also came up big to defend a teammate after Ryan Nugent-Hopkins got laid out in the corner. As always, you can check out Lucic’s scrap (his 5th of the year) versus Bortuzzo over at HockeyFights.com
- Mark Letestu scored his 13th goal of the season on the 5-on-3 power play early in the second period. McDavid and Nuge dug the puck out from beside the net and Letestu was standing out front, ready to smash it home.
- Cam Talbot was rock solid tonight, and a big reason the Oilers were able to maintain their lead late in the game. Talbot recorded his 32nd win of the season after finishing with 25 saves and a .962 save%.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins seems to be finding a little bit of touch lately as he put up another two points tonight and has six in his last seven games. There’s definitely a ways to go but it seems like Nugey is playing a little bit better of late. That’s good news for the Oilers down the stretch.
- Connor McDavid continues to put up assists like some kind of magician. McDavid got his 51 assist tonight and to put that into context Leon Draisaitl has 54 points total. Amazing.
- As we’ve come to expect, Oscar Klefbom led the team in ice time tonight with his 23:48 on the ice. If this is how good Klefbom is at 171 NHL games, how good will he be at 300?
- I like how the pairing of Larsson and Klefbom has come together over the course of the season. They seem to get more and more familar with each other and that familiarity is starting to pay off.
- The power play came up big on the 5-on-3 as it gave the Oilers Mark Letestu’s game winning goal.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Brandon Davidson was traded during the game for David Desharnais. Have you ever seen that before? Seems strange to me to do it during the game, no?
- Paul Statsny scored a first period, power play goal by planting himself in front of the net and deflection the point shot past Talbot.
- The Oilers allowed another power play goal tonight and it’s starting to be a problem. I’m not saying that Statsny’s goal was necessarily a “bad” power play goal to give up but the Oilers have been giving up PP goals about as often as Tim Horton’s gives out roll up prizes lately. Fortunately, the Oilers and Blues evened out on special teams tonight.
- I wasn’t a big fan of most of the third period. The Oilers sat back and let the Blues attack to the point where it felt like they played most of the minutes shorthanded. Thanks to Talbot for being there to lock it down when they needed him.
- Edmonton went 41% in the faceoff circle. Here’s hoping Desharnais can be useful.
- There were still too many giveaways at both blue lines for the Oilers and it gave the Blues avoidable possession time.
|11:07||St. Louis||PPG – Paul Stastny (16) ASST: Alex Pietrangelo (22), Jaden Schwartz (24)||0-1|
|11:51||Edmonton||Milan Lucic (14) ASST: Jordan Eberle (25), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (18)||1-1|
|00:41||Edmonton||PPG – Mark Letestu (13) ASST: Connor McDavid (51), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (19)||2-1|
BEST OF THE TWEETS
— The Towel Boy (@TheTowelBoy) March 1, 2017
Montreal has acquired Brandon Davidson from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for forward David Desharnais. Habs retain 20%. #NHL
— NHLNumbers (@NHLnumbers) March 1, 2017
— Todd Van Berkel (@ChillyCanadian) March 1, 2017
@jsbmbaggedmilk with just his Assists, it would place him 28th in scoring
— Lindsay (@Steele131) March 1, 2017
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