*loads CD player, presses play* ? I BLESS THE RAINS DOWN IN AFRICA! ? Final Score: 4-3 Oilers in OT
The Oilers were on a three-game losing streak coming into tonight’s game against the Coyotes and if that’s not a slump buster waiting to happen then I don’t know what is. At least, that’s what I would say for most teams under normal circumstances. For the 2017-18 edition of the Edmonton Oilers, you never really know what you’re going to get so it wouldn’t really be surprising to see them either stomp the Coyotes or get shutout by them like they did last time. As it turns out, it was neither of those things. In the last game, the Coyotes scored on the first shot of the game. That didn’t happen tonight, but they did manage to open the scoring only 3:29 into the first period. Apparently, keeping the Coyotes off the board early is the Oilers’ kryptonite and they’re fresh out of ideas.
First goal aside, the Oilers put together a fine start to this hockey game and they needed with the way this one shook out. Sure, it came against the Arizona Coyotes, and they’re horrible, but the boys came out flying tonight and took care of the details that had been costing him over this most recent losing streak. That is, until they got a two-goal lead again. I don’t know what it is about the Oilers and letting the wheels fall off when they’re up by a pair but it’s a real problem right now. How many games have we seen over the last month where we’ve watched the Oilers come up with new and creative ways to collapse in the third? It feels like this time when there was a scratch on my Montell Jordan CD and every time it would get to the chorus of This Is How We Do It the song would either start over or skip a couple times before playing through. I mean, it’s a fine song and all but all I ever wanted it for it to play and end as it was supposed to.
My point is that the Oilers are a mess right now when they have a lead and you just never know how things will end up. Sometimes they’ll recover and pull out the win, but sometimes the milk goes bad. On this night, they were lucky that the third period mistakes didn’t catch up to them to the point of adding an embarrassing Coyotes-induced L to the board. You can’t complain too much about a win, but they probably shouldn’t be happy about how they got there.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Jujhar Khaira has been a great story this season and I could not be more pumped to watch it happen. Khaira, a former third-round pick, scored his 11th goal of the season after driving to the next and picking up Ryan Strome’s rebound. The guy has scored all kinds of goals this year and I love it. I need a Khaira jersey. I’m a big JJ guy.
- Make it 30 straight games for Milan Lucic without a goal… wait… WAIT… LUCIC SCORED! After 29 games without scoring a goal, the longest such drought in his NHL career, Milan Lucic finally got the monkey off his back after he put his head down and ripped a slap shot past Kuemper. Tonight was a good game for the big man as he had some chances and it looked like he was going to get more than one.
- Jesse Puljujarvi scored his 11th of the year after Nuge found him in the slot and he wasted no time in ripping a wrist shot into the top corner in a spot where Kuemper had no absolutely chance of stopping it. Big goal for the Big Finn.
- Lucic wasn’t the only one to end his drought tonight as Oscar Klefbom scored his first goal in ages for the OT winner. That goal not only won the game but also saved the Oilers of the embarrassment that would have come with a comeback loss to the Coyotes. Klefbom was out with McDrai and timed his zone entrance perfectly which allowed Connor to find him at the back door to beat Kuemper.
- Connor McDavid is the greatest gift to this city that we’ve had in ages. Love him. Respect him. Enjoy him. With that said, tonight was another one of those nights where he put on a shot and I will never get tired of watching it. McDavid stayed hot tonight with an assist on the game winner that now puts him in sole possession of 2nd place in the points race.
- Cam Talbot had a nice game tonight and played more like the guy that got the Oilers into the playoffs last year. He was squared to the shooters, controlled his rebounds and made the saves you’d expect from your starter. I mean, the last few minutes got interesting again but I would say that the team in front of him has equal blame in that. Regardless, it was another win for Dadbot as he finished the night with 32 saves and a .914 save%.
- Tidy little two point night for Leon Draisaitl. The big man and McDavid sure do know how to make magic together, don’t they?
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins got the helper on Jesse Puljujarvi’s goal and it quietly gives RNH two points in the two games he’s played since coming back from the rib injury. Not only did Nuge contribute on the scoresheet tonight, he was also all over the puck defensively. Kid is a beauty. #KeepNugeForever
- Once again, it’s that magical time in the wrap up where I get to inform you guys about the Oilers’ special teams! *ducks flying fruit* Wait! They did really well this time.
- The PP went 1/4 on the night with Pool Party scoring a big goal.
- The PK went 0/3 on the night. Locked. It. Down.
- Anyone else feel tingles in their loins when they see Ethan Bear taking clappers on the power play? Kid has a rocket and it will be interesting to follow his development along.
- One of the underreported bright spots in this season of darkness has been the Oilers’ general improvement in the faceoff circle. They were good again tonight, winning 54% of the draws.
THE FACE PALMERS
- I’m sorry but you cannot collapse like that to the Arizona Coyotes. You know why. I mean, I know you won but getting to OT shouldn’t have happened.
- Jason Demers opened the scoring for the Coyotes after his point shot – that was going a mile wide, I should add – deflected in off Kris Russell’s skate. It was a perfect deflection that only seems to happen against the Oilers. Are you surprised that the goal game within the first five minutes? No, I didn’t think so.
- Christian Dvorak got the Coyotes back to within a goal late in the third period after the Oilers thought and icing call was coming and basically stopped playing while the Coyotes forged on. Dvorak picked up the puck at the side of the net and got it past Talbot on the short side. And thus the collapse began.
- Niklas Hjmalmarsson tied things up at three apiece in what was probably the most predictable goals of all time. Apparently, two-goal leads are the devil and when Dvorak scored it seemed like only a matter of time before they would get another.
- The NHL site had the giveaways as 17-9 and I believe it. The Oilers were in full donation mode again in the second and third periods. Sometimes, I guess, passing to your teammates is more of a suggestion than a thing that happens.
|03:29||Arizona||Jason Demers (6) ASST: Oliver Ekman-Larsson (24), Derek Stepan (30)||1-0|
|08:01||Edmonton||SHG – Jujhar Khaira (11) ASST: Ryan Strome (19)||1-1|
|13:21||Edmonton||Milan Lucic (10) ASST: Leon Draisaitl (38), Matt Benning (13)||1-2|
|17:04||Edmonton||PPG – Jesse Puljujarvi (11) ASST: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (16)||1-3|
|11:31||Arizona||Christian Dvorak (12) ASST: Richard Panik (15)||2-3|
|15:21||Arizona||Niklas Hjalmarsson (1)||3-3|
|00:50||Edmonton||Oscar Klefbom (4) ASST: Connor McDavid (50), Leon Draisaitl (39)||3-4|
What? Is this an episode of “Deep Thoughts” by Jack Handey now? They were pretty good. Now they’re not. And you made a “Washington Generals are due against the Globetrotters” bet. #Simple
— David Smitten (@DavidSmitten) March 6, 2018
— Psydef (@Psydef) March 6, 2018
@OilersNation can I be the first to say any future combination of Khaira and Bear be referred to as Khair Bear
— Sean Maloughney (@SMaloughney) March 6, 2018
I’m unhappy with how many beets .gifs you’ve needed this season.
— Jordan (@Walljordan) March 6, 2018
And to finish it off with a ?
— Shaun Duell (@ShaunDuell) March 6, 2018
Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 03/05/2018 – 10:00 pm MST