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Photo Credit: © Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

GDB 82.0 Wrap Up: Perfect Finish

Tonight was a beautiful role reversal. Over the past decade, the Oilers have finished many seasons in meaningless games against the Canucks. Tonight wasn’t really different, but instead of the Oilers playing things out with a roster full of random call-ups against Canucks fooling around in a shinny game while prepping for a playoff run, it was Vancouver on their way to offseason golfing while Edmonton left the ice saluting their fans after an incredible regular season. 5-2 Oilers. What a nice feeling.

To say the game was completely meaningless is an exaggeration on my part. There were two major storylines going on in tonight’s game: Connor McDavid’s pursuit of 100 points, and Edmonton’s unlikely, but possible, shot at a Pacific Division title and a Battle of Alberta in the first round of the playoffs. There will be no Battle of Alberta, as the Ducks beat the L.A. Kings and subsequently won their fifth-straight Pacific Division, but McDavid did become the first Oiler since Doug Weight to reach the century mark in a season. It was a perfect way to cap off what will likely be an MVP winning season for McDavid.

THE BRIGHT SIDE

  • Connor McDavid. What can you even say? What a player. McDavid almost scored one of the nicest goals of the season in the first period. He wheeled away from the defenceman like a goddamn rocket, and then put the puck between his legs, completely baffling Richard Bachman. Later on, he picked up a couple of assists tonight to reach the 100 point mark, a ridiculously impressive accomplishment in today’s NHL, and boy did he look fired up to do so. It was fitting that Leon Draisaitl was the one to score the goal, too. Those two have become one of the best combos in the league, and maybe one day, they’ll be the Gretzky to Kurri of the new generation. Am I getting ahead of myself?
  • I really enjoyed Eric Gryba’s game tonight. He doesn’t do much offensively and isn’t great with the puck at all, but he’s terribly difficult to play against. He finishes his hits, stands guys up, and is a monster in front of the net. His hit and fight in the first period were a thing of beauty. Matt Benning has struggled a bit recently, which is completely understandable for a rookie used to playing 40 games a season in the NCAA, so I wouldn’t mind Gryba getting some action in the playoffs. His physical play would be especially worthwhile in a seven-game series, because playing against a big, heavy guy who punishes you like that is exhausting.
  • It hasn’t been the best season for Jordan Eberle, but he’s certainly finished strong. Eberle recorded a hat trick tonight, and in the process, reached the 20-goal mark for the season. The Oilers now have five 20-goal scorers on their team, which pretty great for a team who apparently has zero depth and is nothing but a one man show. Milan Lucic has found another gear, and it seems Eberle has too. The Oilers badly need Lucic, Eberle, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to play at a high level in the playoffs, and they all seem poised to do so.
  • What an improvement from this year to last. Nobody, not even the surprising Blue Jackets, had a bigger improvement from last season to this season in terms of points. In 2015-16, Edmonton finished with 70 points. This year? 103. A 33 point improvement.
  • Again, Connor McDavid, ladies and gentlemen. Damn, what a player.

THE FACE PALMERS

  • In the second period, Matt Hendricks fed Anton Slepyshev with a beautiful pass for a tap in goal. It was Slepy’s first goal since March 16th against Boston, and his fifth of the season overall. And then it was taken away. The Canucks challenged the play for a missed offside call, and after a lengthy review, they called the goal back because Jordan Eberle, who was coming off the ice, has his leg in the zone before it the puck was dumped in. This rule is awful. Completely awful. Eberle had nothing to do with the play whatsoever, but despite that, Slepyshev lost a goal. It’s time to reconsider this offside challenge thing. I mean, sure, I get it for when Matt Duchene is, like, five feet offside, but when it involves some random player not involved in the play? Come on.
  • The Los Angeles Kings robbed us of a Battle of Alberta in the first round by being awful. The Kings had a 3-2 lead in the third period, but allowed a soft goal giving the Ducks the tie with under ten minutes to go in the game. Jarome Iginla scored the go-ahead goal for the Kings, which would have been perfect, sending Edmonton into a playoff battle with Calgary. Ugh.
  • Overall, there wasn’t much to complain about. A big win against the Canucks, we’re going to the playoffs, and McDavid got his 100. Nobody got hurt, and everybody on the team seems to be working nicely in their given roles. Let’s get the playoffs going. This team is ready.

SCORING SUMMARY

1ST PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
18:46 EDM PPG – Jordan Eberle (18) ASST: Leon Draisaitl (48), Oscar Klefbom (26) 0-1

2ND PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
02:00 VAN Nikolay Goldobin (3) ASST: Daniel Sedin (29), Henrik Sedin (36) 1-1
04:10 EDM Jordan Eberle (19) 1-2
14:46 EDM Drake Caggiula (7) ASST: Connor McDavid (69) 1-3

3RD PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
00:31 EDM Jordan Eberle (20) ASST: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (25), Milan Lucic (27) 1-4
01:50 EDM Leon Draisaitl (29) ASST: Connor McDavid (70) 1-5
02:35 VAN Nikita Tryamkin (2) ASST: Bo Horvat (32) 2-5

BEST OF THE TWEETS

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  • Mitch92

    Leon Draisaitl’s two points in game 82 raised his PPG just enough to take over tenth spot in the NHL from Jack Eichel. As a result Eichel misses out on a two million dollar bonus. No wonder he ripped his team in the media today!