Welcome to the Puljujarvi show. Final Score: 5-2 Oilers
After a week of probable (alleged?) binge drinking and relaxation, I was expecting both of these teams to play a loose and sloppy game. I was expecting turnovers aplenty and more giveaways than a Christmas parade, with the team that made the fewest mistakes ending up with two points. As expected, it wasn’t the sharpest start to a hockey game that you’ll ever see but the Oilers did a good job of puck recovery once they lost it, something the Canucks weren’t quite able to match. That early advantage in time of possession gave Edmonton the opportunities and chances they needed to build up a two-goal lead.
Heading into the second period, the Oilers must have felt too comfortable with their lead or something because they let the wheels fall off in the first half of the frame. The Canucks came roaring back with a power play goal and added another on an odd man rush that was converted perfectly. Early on in the year, giving up an early lead would have meant certain disaster. Fortunately, the Oilers were able to stop the bleeding rather than laying down to die and the perseverance paid off. Edmonton bounced back with another go-ahead goal to take back a lead that they would not give up. Instead, they kept on the gas and pulled away for a big divisional win.
In the end, the Oilers beat a team that they should beat and collected two critical points that will keep their season on life support. With only two more games to play before the All-Star break, the Oilers have an opportunity to keep their head above water and make up some ground in the standings.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Pat Maroon opened the scoring with an early first-period goal after he was able to put home a perfect cross-crease pass from Connor McDavid. He added an empty net goal for his 13th of the year to seal the deal for his team. Maroon finds himself on a three-game goal scoring streak after Todd McLellan reunited him with the captain in Nashville and he’s doing all the things that made us fall in love with him. With the trade deadline coming, he’s either upping his trade value or giving up more reason to miss him when he’s gone, depending on how you look at it. Great night for Patty.
- Jujhar Khaira beat Markstrom upstairs with a beautiful backhand goal after Puljujarvi threaded a needle with the pass. From start to finish, this goal was pretty and the finish by Khaira was Rob Thomas smooth.
- Jesse Puljujarvi had himself a hell of a game tonight, and I was pumped to see him get rewarded with a goal. The big man was all over the puck tonight and he was making plays basically any time he was on the ice, and he rode that hot streak to a three point night. Maybe there’s something to hitting the ODR on your vacation?
- Leon Draisaitl smashed the fourth goal of the night on a beautiful two-on-one with Jesse Puljujarvi and Markstrom had absolutely no chance. Draisaitl’s line was rolling all night and it almost seemed like a matter of time before Leon was going to get in on the action.
- I love watching Connor McDavid do the things that only he can do, and he had a lot more room to get those things done tonight against the Canucks. The captain was flying tonight and there was no better example than the assist he got on Pat Maroon’s first period marker. He beat his man with speed and found the Big Rig with a perfect, tape-to-tape pass.
- Cam Talbot has had an up and down year and we haven’t seen him play at the levels he was at last season all that often. That said, he was great tonight. He was square to the shooter, kept his rebounds under control, and he made all the saves that you would expect your starter to make. Talbot was great for the Oilers tonight, stopping 25 of 27 shots for a .926 save%.
- Adam Larsson played a team high 24:00 minutes and added an assist for what amounted to a fine night for the big Swede. Larsson was solid in his own end, he threw his body around, and made smart plays with the puck whenever it was on his stick.
- Darnell Nurse keeps getting better and I’m excited to see where his ceiling is. Darryl played 23:46, had three shots on goal, was +4, and did a nice job of picking his spots to jump up into the play.
- I really liked the Lucic-Draisaitl-Puljujarvi line tonight. That’s a lot of human being on one line and they were too much for the Canucks to handle.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Zack Kassian got a shorthanded breakaway early in the second period but wasn’t able to beat Markstrom on the glove side. At the other end of the ice, Daniel Sedin scored a deflection goal from the slot to get the Canucks on the board and narrow the Oilers lead to only one goal. The black cloud continues to hang over the penalty kill at Rogers Place.
- Brandon Sutter tied the game at two apiece after he was able to cash in on a perfectly executed two-on-one with Sven Baertschi.
- Why oh why can’t the Oilers kill off a penalty at home? Coming into tonight’s game, they were a historically bad 55.4% at home despite doing well on the road with an 86.6% kill rate. How does that happen? In tonight’s game, the trend continued as the Oilers only managed to kill off 2/3 of the chances they faced. At least tonight’s 66% success rate brings their average up?
- Not to be outdone, the Oilers went 0/3 on the power play as they apparently have no interest in scoring with the man advantage.
- The bye week rust was evident at times and the NHL agreed as they listed the giveaways as 12 apiece. Sometimes you can play with fire and not get burned.
- The Oilers were horrible in the faceoff circle tonight, winning only 35% of the draws they took. Missing Nuge already.
|01:25||Edmonton||Patrick Maroon (12) ASST: Connor McDavid (38)||0-1|
|17:59||Edmonton||Jujhar Khaira (8) ASST: Jesse Puljujarvi (4), Leon Draisaitl (26)||0-2|
|01:46||Vancouver||PPG – Daniel Sedin (11) ASST: Alexander Edler (13), Brock Boeser (19)||1-2|
|08:56||Vancouver||Brandon Sutter (4) ASST: Sven Baertschi (11), Christopher Tanev (6)||2-2|
|18:54||Edmonton||Jesse Puljujarvi (9) ASST: Adam Larsson (3)||2-3|
|04:37||Edmonton||Leon Draisaitl (12) ASST: Jesse Puljujarvi (5)||2-4|
|17:17||Edmonton||EN – Patrick Maroon (13)||2-5|
PAUL COFFEY IS COMING ABOARD
Paul Coffey will be used in a skills-coach, player development capacity with the young blueliners here and in Bakersfield. "Another set of eyes," said coach Todd McLellan.
— Jim Matheson (@NHLbyMatty) January 21, 2018
Today we heard that Paul Coffey would be coming back to the organization in some capacity or another. The news was confirmed during tonight’s broadcast where they revealed that there will be a press conference to announce the deal tomorrow. Apparently, Coffey will be some kind of skills coach which is a vague title to say the least.
— Senor Alanza (@BPowder15) January 21, 2018
— Chris Gordeyko (@TheNationChris) January 21, 2018
— Steve Carnochan (@buckle84) January 21, 2018
Puljujarvi is literally the “I’ve been practicing this move on the ODR all day” kid.
— Gerard Murray (@GMurray237) January 21, 2018
— AussieOil (@manninm) January 21, 2018
— The Awesome MsVickie (@Vickietorious) January 21, 2018
Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 01/20/2018 – 11:00pm MST