The Oilers came out with a bang opening the season with a shutout over the Flames, but then things started to go sideways. After a flat 3-2 loss to the Canucks, they started getting pummeled by teams, so much so that the Oilers disastrous PR tag “Here come the Oilers” was slowly making a comeback for sarcastic reasons. The team has smartened up and made games tighter than Talbot’s five-hole, with a few exceptions. Tighter games mean more chances to head to extra time and the Oilers seem to enjoy the extra space on the ice playing three on three hockey. I mean, who wouldn’t love three on three when you have the likes of McDavid, Draisaitl, Nuge, Klefbom, and Nurse?!
Sixty minutes wasn’t enough
They’ve needed extra time to sort out four games this season, going 3-1 in them. The first taste of overtime came against the Blackhawks on October 19th, when Toews and his gang definitely dominated the frame, and the Oilers were lucky after Saad nailed the goal post. McDavid was able to draw a penalty when he hit turbo speed and Kane hooked him. Then the powerplay headed to work — McDavid found Klefbom at the top of the point, and he sent it to the hash marks where Letestu fired it home, ending the Oilers four-game losing streak.
The Oilers then staved off the defending Cup champs and forced them to Overtime on October 24th. The frame only lasted 82 seconds, but it was a display of skill and talent. Crosby bested Draisaitl in the faceoff dot to start, and Letang fired a shot that Talbot stopped to start the back and forth action. Leon and Sidney then traded off shots before the Talbot stopped the puck. The Oilers then made the fatal error missing the net and allowing Kessel to charge down the ice to win the game. It was exhilarating to watch some of the games top players go back and forth in what seemed like a speedy chess match.
Most recently, the Oilers needed overtime to solve the outcome of their last two games. The game against the Islanders on November 7th showed everyone how much chemistry Drisaitl has with McDavid. Tavares defeated Draisaitl in the dot to start it out. However, the Islanders coughed up the puck with their three players deep in the Oilers zone. McDavid rushed up the ice with only Leddy on him, he dropped the puck to Draisaitl who made a nice spin-o-rama pass to an open McDavid, who made no mistake ending the game.
On Thursday night, the Oilers utilized the same deadly duo of McDavid and Draisitl in extra time. In an almost identical entrance to the zone, McDavid carried the puck up the right wing, but this time he kept the puck on his stick blowing past the defender. While charging to the net, he threw on the breaks and set up Leon for the nifty one-timer to end things.
Three on three can be your best or worst friend
I’m sure there are some teams that dread having to go to overtime, but can you imagine facing off against Leon and Connor?! It’s no secret one of the keys for this team is McDavid’s speed — on two of those goals he dashed his way into the zone. It’s apparent that not everyone can play with McDavid — some can’t keep up and others overthink it more than I did during my college finals. We cheer for a talented team that can put guys on the ice who are going to make other teams work hard, and those five minutes of extra space has worked in our favour so far this year. It can be a nail biter, but I thoroughly enjoy the extra period.
What are your thoughts on the Oilers heading into overtime games?