Thanks, Dallas! Final Score: 7-1 Oilers
I know that I’ve basically written the exact same intro for each of the last three Wrap Ups, but the point is worth hammering home again — this was a must win hockey game for the Oilers. Full stop. End of story. I don’t need to tell you that the Oilers have lost their last three games and extending the losing streak was not an option. They should have wanted to beat the Stars with the same passion that they have for breathing and road babes. With the way the rest of the Pacific Division teams have heated up it was critical for the Oilers to maintain pace and cut the head off of this devil snake of a losing streak. The Stars are a beatable hockey team right now (5-5-0 in their last 10 before tonight) and I was hoping that their struggles would be the perfect remedy for what ails the struggling Oilers.
Even though they’re not having the season they would have wanted, the Dallas Stars are still a dangerous hockey team with plenty of offensive weapons that can hurt you if given the opportunity. Basically, what that means is that the Oilers had a solid chance of beating the Stars, but if they planned on eating from the dumpster again like they did against Montreal then we were in for another long walk down the short path to a bad time. Fortunately, our fears of another bad start got squashed as the Oilers showed up with a killer instinct like they knew that leaving two points on the table would be painful for everyone. I’m not saying that the Oilers didn’t want to win over the last three games, but I am saying that we haven’t seen much urgency in their game apart from Friday night against the Penguins. That clearly wasn’t the case tonight. This was a motivated Oilers team that grabbed this game by the balls and crushed them into dust.
At the end of the night, the Oilers were the better team and they deserved to win the hockey game. Aside from a few friendly nudges here and there, the Stars weren’t really much of a factor at all. In fact, Dallas was one of the most gracious houseguests that the Oilers have had in a while. They came in, didn’t make much of a mess, they tipped the housekeepers and gave a few of the Oilers a confidence boost that was sorely needed. This was a win that was needed by both the team and fans after a winless week added an extra layer of stress to the playoff push. Most importantly, Edmonton added another two points to the buffer between themselves and the LA Kings and kept pace with the teams they’re chasing in the Pacific. Thanks, Dallas, we needed that.
Wrap it up.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Benoit Pouliot scored his first goal in 28 games and it couldn’t have come at a better time. The first period was over halfway through and the Oilers had just squandered an early power play and the game had the kind of vibe where it felt like the Stars were being allowed to hang around. Pouliot’s goal (his sixth) seemed to break the stalemate and set the Oilers off on a wave of pressure and chances.
- Oscar Klefbom pumped home his 12th goal of the year on a power play bullet from the point. The power play seems to be running with Klefbom as the shooter lately and it was a successful strategy tonight.
- Darnell Nurse continues to bring a new angle to the backend with his mobility and willingness to shoot the puck and he was rewarded for it tonight. Darryl cashed in his fourth goal of the year on a shot that most NHL goalies not named Niemi would have stopped but no one ever asks how goals get scored, they ask how many you got. Either way, Darnell Nurse had a great night and he only seems to be getting better since coming back.
- David Desharnais scored his second goal with the Oilers and sixth of the year by being in the right spot at the right time to catch the puck as it bounced off the end boards. Lil D charged to the side of the net and was able to bang the loose puck past Niemi.
- Just under two minutes after Desharnais scored, Pat Maroon joined in on the fun with a fantastic individual effort that ended up chasing Niemi from the net. Pat Maroon had been in a drought coming into tonight’s game and, hopefully, his 22nd goal of the year can give him the confidence to open the floodgates a little bit.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins wanted to get in on the action as he scored his first goal in seven games by charging to the net and having the puck bounce in off his skate. Nuge’s 14th goal of the year was a greasy one and the result of getting himself into the grimy areas of the ice. Is it the moustache? You can’t prove it’s not.
- Connor McDavid was clearly jealous that six of his teammates had scored before him so he decided to add a goal of his own. Connor kicked the extra point (touchdown joke!) off of a beautiful pass by Patty Maroon for his team-leading 24th goal of the year.
- Leon Draisaitl admitted himself that he needed to play better and he did exactly that against the Stars. Big Sexy put up two points and was a menace to deal with in the offensive zone. Big improvement over the lull he had been in. Here’s hoping he’s en route for another heater.
- Cam Talbot wasn’t overly busy tonight but he was great when he was tested. Dadbot finished the night with 22 saves and a .957 save%.
- The top-9 deserve a shout out tonight as the Oilers got offensive contributions from all three of those lines.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Oscar Klefbom left the game in the second period after taking a puck to the throat. I don’t have to tell you what a massive loss Klefbom would have been and it was almost an out of body experience to see him back on the bench. Sportsnet had a shot of him on the bench and the mark left by getting hit with the puck in the neck was pretty bad. I can only imagine how bad that hurt.
- Ritchie’s second period goal was scored as a result of some sloppy coverage by the Oilers in their own end. The Stars hadn’t been able to get much going all night and allowing a goal to their fourth line wasn’t really a good look with Ritchie getting left alone in the slot.
- It’s kinda funny that the fourth line finished with a dash in the minus column on a night when the team scored seven goals in total, right?
- I was pretty bummed when Antti Niemi got the hook. I thought he was playing great.
- The Oilers have dominated the faceoff circle over the last three games and they lost all three of those games. Tonight, the Stars absolutely killed them on the dot but got killed on the scoreboard. What does it all mean? Regardless, the Oilers finished the night at 38% in the faceoff circle.
|12:12||Edmonton||Benoit Pouliot (6) ASST: Zack Kassian (14)||0-1|
|18:01||Edmonton||PPG – Oscar Klefbom (12) ASST: Milan Lucic (24), Leon Draisaitl (34)||0-2|
|02:06||Edmonton||Darnell Nurse (4)||0-3|
|05:42||Dallas||Brett Ritchie (12) ASST: Curtis McKenzie (8), Adam Cracknell (4)||1-3|
|09:30||Edmonton||David Desharnais (6) ASST: Anton Slepyshev (6), Andrej Sekera (21)||1-4|
|11:29||Edmonton||Patrick Maroon (22) ASST: Leon Draisaitl (35)||1-5|
|12:17||Edmonton||Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (14) ASST: Milan Lucic (25), Jordan Eberle (26)||1-6|
|14:00||Edmonton||Connor McDavid (24) ASST: Patrick Maroon (12), Zack Kassian (15)||1-7|
BEST OF THE TWEETS
Think McDavid phased through the defense like some kind of X-Man
— Matt Henderson (@Archaeologuy) March 15, 2017
— Mandeeeeez (@Mandeeeeez) March 15, 2017
— Ryder (@ryderfm) March 15, 2017
— Terry McLean (@terrycmclean) March 15, 2017
@jsbmbaggedmilk You're welcome. I looked him over and he's fine.
— The Real GordDawg (@GordDawg) March 15, 2017
Imagine Klefbom with those abs AND a raspy, Rod Stewart-like voice?
— Ryan (@RJB1982) March 15, 2017
THE NATION/APOLLO COLLAB 2.0
You’ve waited long enough, Nation. We are happy to introduce the 2017 Oilersnation X Apollo_Originals collaboration. We’ve got a new hat, a fresh tee, and a slick new hoodie coming at you to beautify your torso. All of the designs are up at www.NationGear.ca so keep finding pennies and raiding the couch for change because these babies are going to sell out again and once they’re gone they’re gone.