LOL at the haters! Final Score: 5-3 Oilers
Despite what many would have expected at the beginning of the season, the Oilers played (and won) a game in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Even with Connor McDavid, plenty of people had the Oilers written off before even playing a single game this year, and there’s a sense of satisfaction in seeing them be this wrong. That same doubt continued before tonight’s game as the talking heads raised all kinds of doubts about whether the Oilers would be able to keep up with the seasoned Ducks, and I wanted nothing more than for Edmonton to find a way to throw it back in their faces. This series is going to be a bloodbath and the Oilers are going to have to find a way to stay focused because the Ducks are going to play as dirty as the refs will let them get away with.
While the pregame shows would have led you to believe that the Ducks were going to walk away with this game, it was much tighter than some panels would have had you believe and obviously didn’t end up the way they predicted either. The play basically flowed back and forth until the whistles blew, and even then the shenanigans didn’t stop. The animosity was on full display from the opening puck drop and neither team was willing to back down, whether that meant throwing a punch or scoring a goal. In terms of chances and goals, the Oilers and Ducks fired burning arrows back and forth until there was only one team left standing. Fortunately, Edmonton was able to cash in four third-period goals and close out a big win on the road to open the series.
Pretty good for a team that no one expected to win, huh?
Wrap it up.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Mark Letestu came up huge on the power play with two goals on the night. His first came on the 5-on-3 power play and it tied the game up early in the second period. His second goal came from the exact same spot on another power play and it temporarily put the Oilers up by a goal. The Ducks were getting called for their countless stickwork and Clutch Letestu made them pay for it.
- Adam Larsson scored his first playoff goal as an Oiler and it gave the visitors a little bit of insurance (not for long) midway through the third period. As if that wasn’t unlikely enough, Larsson followed up with his second of the night, which ended up being the game winner. If the playoffs are about unlikely heroes, then how about Adam Larsson popping two ginos? His first ever multi-goal game couldn’t have come at a better time.
- Leon Draisaitl had a monster night with a goal and three assists. He powered through the Ducks at every turn. Big Sexy 2.0 did his share of heavy lifting and then some as he continued his reign of terror over the Ducks.
- Pat Maroon picked up two assists on the night as he continues to pick up the pace as the playoffs go on. The big man needs to keep going and help Leon with taking the pressure off Connor.
- Cam Talbot was as sharp as was needed and he gave the Oilers a chance to win. At the end of the day, that’s all you can really ask of him. Talbot finished the night with 33 saves and a .917 save%.
- If Nuge didn’t have bad puck luck right now he would have no luck at all. He’s playing well but he just can’t seem to sink one. Yet again, he had a few nice chances in deep but he couldn’t get anything past Gibson. Worst luck of all was the shot that hit Gibson off the mask and then hit the post. I’ll look for a goat/chicken/something to sacrifice. That said, Nugey did get an assist on Letestu’s first of the night.
- The Oilers went 2/5 on the power play and they ended up being huge goals in the end. If the Oilers can find a way to hit another gear with the man advantage then the Ducks are going to be in big trouble.
- One more playoff win against the Ducks than Calgary.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Ryan Getzlaf scored a power play goal less than a minute into the second period and it stung even more considering the weak Oilers play that resulted in the penalty right at the end of the first period.
- Patrick Eaves got the Ducks back to within a goal (3-2) after the Ducks won yet another faceoff and he was able to get a stick on the point shot.
- Jakob Silfverberg tied the game up by knocking the puck out of mid-air after it took a strange bounce off of Talbot’s blocker.
- The Oilers gave up a two-goal lead in the third period. They got away with it this time but that’s still something they’re going to want to eliminate.
- Josh Manson is apparently allowed to cross check as often as he wants. How many would you guys say that he got away with? At least five.
- If you were watching a hockey game for the very first time and you chose tonight’s game, you would probably think that the Ducks are allowed to crosscheck/slash/hack as much as they want. Even though they did get called often for their stick work, this team is dirty and there’s no other way to really say it.
- The Oilers also took some bad penalties but I can’t help but mention that a couple of the calls were pretty weak. The Ducks were only able to capitalize on one of their power play chances but Edmonton would still be best served staying out of the box. Let that be Anaheim’s thing.
- Speaking of stick work, Connor is going to have to figure out a way to deal with basically dragging Ryan Kesler around all series long. McDavid didn’t have the same jump that we’re used to seeing and the panel was implying that he could be hurt during the second intermission. Their evidence was flimsy but who knows? I’ll hope for the best. To be fair, he did get an assist tonight on Letestu’s second goal of the night.
- The Oilers went 43% in the faceoff circle and it wasn’t unexpected considering they finished 30th in the regular season for faceoffs, and the Ducks finished at number one. Still won. Meh.
- “Scrumdog millionaires” -Jim Hughson
|00:37||ANA||PPG – Ryan Getzlaf (4) ASST: Cam Fowler (1), Ryan Kesler (2)||0-1|
|06:22||EDM||PPG – Mark Letestu (2) ASST: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (1), Leon Draisaitl (3)||1-1|
|06:23||EDM||PPG – Mark Letestu (3) ASST: Leon Draisaitl (4), Connor McDavid (3)||2-1|
|08:03||EDM||Adam Larsson (1) ASST: Leon Draisaitl (5), Patrick Maroon (1)||3-1|
|09:22||ANA||Patrick Eaves (2) ASST: Ryan Getzlaf (3), Brandon Montour (2)||3-2|
|10:47||ANA||Jakob Silfverberg (3) ASST: Andrew Cogliano (1), Ryan Kesler (3)||3-3|
|15:20||EDM||Adam Larsson (2) ASST: Oscar Klefbom (2), Patrick Maroon (2)||4-3|
|18:55||EDM||EN – Leon Draisaitl (2) ASST: Milan Lucic (2), Adam Larsson (2)||5-3|
BEST OF THE TWEETS
I'm not sure what is a penalty anymore.
— VisuallyBetter (@Isuckatpicking) April 27, 2017
Most players grow playoff beards.
— Travis Watt (@HandsMcDangles) April 27, 2017
— Doug Millar (@DougMillar80) April 27, 2017
— Grumpy John (@jcummings76) April 27, 2017
Seriously..Pre-Game..blah blah Kesler is the best defensive forward in the game…Post-Game..blah blah…OMG is something wrong with McDavid
— Dustin Nielson (@nielsonTSN1260) April 27, 2017
— Jason Gregor (@JasonGregor) April 27, 2017
GEAR UP FOR THE PLAYOFFS
If you’re down in Anaheim, head over to Violent Gentlemen HQ tomorrow (Thursday) from 4-7PM for some NationGear (including new grey game day tee), some new VG releases, a fantastic food truck, and neutral grounds to discuss the playoffs with some fellow fans.