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Oilers 4, Coyotes 3 (OT) post-game Oil Spills: Slump Buster

Milan Lucic scored a goal, the Oilers blew a lead, and then they won in overtime.

Highlights

The Coyotes opened the scoring, but Edmonton tied it up soon after with a short handed goal from JJ Khaira. Yeah, that’s right. Not only did they kill a penalty at home, but they also managed to score a short handed goal. Ryan Strome blocks a shot, carries it down the ice, gets a shot on goal, and Khaira buries the rebound. Very nice stuff.

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A few minutes later, Milan Lucic scored a goal. Yes, you read that correctly. For the first time in 2018, Milan Lucic scored a goal in an NHL hockey game. He took a pass from Leon Draisaitl, busted down the wing, wound up and bombed a clapper past Darcy Kuemper. You can see him mouth “finally” afterwards.

Jesse Puljujarvi extended the lead to 3-1 late in the second with a power play goal. Wow, maybe it’s a good idea to have a guy who can shoot like this out there with the man advantage. Who knew! Puljujarvi got himself open in the slot (partially because the Coyotes are terrible and all of them were following the puck) and ripped a wrister over Kuemper’s glove.

The Coyotes scored back-to-back goals with under 10 minutes left to tie the game, but the Oilers managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in overtime. The duo of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl in three-on-three overtime is automatic. Draisaitl feeds McDavid who quickly finds Oscar Klefbom for the winner. That was also Klefbom’s first goal since Dec. 9 against the Habs.

By the numbers

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All told, Arizona had 55 even strength shot attempts and Edmonton had 35, which isn’t a very good look for the Oilers. The first and third periods were played at a relatively even pace, but good lord, the Oilers got pounded in the second period at even strength, as Arizona had 21 shot attempts and they had just six. Also, the Coyotes had 19 high danger chances and Edmonton had just five, which is noticeable on the heat map above. Thankfully for the Oilers, they were able to excel on special teams, stopping all of the Coyotes’ three power play chances and scoring a power play and short handed goal of their own.

Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk

Thoughts…

  • It was great to see both Milan Lucic and Oscar Klefbom end their respective goal droughts. The Lucic one was worse because, well, he’s a forward and he’s paid to score goals. It was his first goal since all the way back on Dec. 23 against the Minnesota Wild and you could see the relief in his face after he pounded that slap shot past Darcy Kuemper.
  • Special teams helping the Oilers win a game? Damn! The power play looked a little better than usual as the Oilers moved the puck around with urgency. That said, I’m not a big fan of how they were looking for shots from so far away from the net without much traffic. The penalty kill was also quite a bit more effective than we’ve seen before as the Oilers are actually pressuring the other team rather than standing around and passively trying to clog up passing lanes. That was the difference in this game.
  • Ethan Bear, speaking of the power play, looked very good at the point. He’s got sort of a Marc-Andre Bergeron vibe to him in that he really dances around at the point confidently, giving himself room and dishing the puck around to his teammates with ease. He also has a bomb that he can get off quickly, which is a huge plus. But while Bear looked great on the power play, his play at even strength left, uh, a lot to be desired. At even strength, the Oilers were shelled with Bear on the ice as they got just four shot attempts and gave up 22. I don’t care if you don’t think stats tell the whole story or not, allowing five times as many shots as you create is not a recipe for success.
  • Let’s finish off with a positive. The Oilers blew a two-goal lead which was frustrating, but they actually showed some resilience to get the game to overtime when the Coyotes were pressing and then battled through to earn the win. So many times this season we saw the team completely deflate after allowing a goal or blowing a lead, but this time they powered through it. Though it was against the Coyotes. 


    • Spydyr

      I’m glad he is up for a cup of coffee something i had mentioned and had hoped for at the start of the season. From the small sample size it appears as if he needs more time in the minors to hone the defensive aspects of his game. I hope the Oilers take the time and develop him properly instead of rushing him like so many prior young players. Good things come to those who wait.