Connor McDavid life is a good life. Final Score: 2-1 in the shootout
Tonight was one of those nights where no matter what happened, the side stories were going to take over the narrative one way or the other. With Jordan Eberle (and Brandon Davidson) making his first trip back to Edmonton since being traded for Ryan Strome, you just knew that the story was going to be hammered to death leading up to the game and throughout, and that’s exactly what happened. All I really wanted was for Eberle to not burn us on home ice like so many former Oilers have done before him. To start, my wish looked plausible, as neither team was really able to get much of anything done offensively despite some decent counterpunches being thrown back and forth. The Oilers had their share of opportunities, but they couldn’t cash on anything which was nerve racking, considering this season has trained me to expect a collapse to come at any point.
With the game tied at bagels heading into the third period, it felt like both teams were playing chicken with their first mistake and whoever got there first would end up losing. Unfortunately, it was our boys in orange who blinked first and allowed the game’s first goal 1:54 into the third period, after a bad turnover at the blue line resulted in the Islanders roaring back the other way to score on the transition. As the clock wound down, it looked like that goal was going to be enough and the Oilers were going to go the full 60 without scoring. That was until Connor McDavid came to the rescue as he so often does, banking the tying goal in off Brandon Davidson’s stick and the goalie’s mask. Normally, late goals go against the Oilers, so it was really nice to finally have one go their way to tie things up and get them to overtime.
Unfortunately, heart-attack time didn’t solve anything so the game had to be ruined and the Oilers had to get things done in the shootout. In the end, the good guys got the extra save they needed to close out the win and they were able to ruin New York’s quest for points. As much as it was nice to see Ebs again, I’m not sad to send him away unhappy.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Connor McDavid scored the game tying goal with under two minutes left in the third period after a friendly bounce of Brandon Davidson’s stick and into the net, saving the Oilers from what looked like a shutout loss. McDavid had nine shots on goal tonight and was actually playing on all four lines by the end of the game. McLellan needed a goal and the best way to make that happen is to have Connor McDavid on the ice 100% of the time. I get it.
- Cam Talbot was really good again and the Oilers needed him to be, considering the lack of scoring. From basically the first period onward, the game felt like one of those nights where the winning team would need to lean on their goaltender to close out the win and Talbs was up for the challenge. He finished the night with 30 saves and a .968 save%.
- Oscar Klefbom got a very loooooong assist on McDavid’s goal as he made a beautiful 150-foot outlet pass that sent the captain off on his way. Despite being hurt, injured, or whatever, Klefbom played a very effective 23:25 tonight and was arguably the Oilers’ best defenceman. Why anyone in management would want to move him, especially on a down year, is beyond me.
- Jujhar Khaira is an absolute destroyer of worlds when he drops the mitts and Cal Clutterbuck’s face was the recipient of all kinds of fist kisses as payback for his blind-side crosscheck on Iiro Pakarinen. Before the puck drop, JJ told Clutterbuck they were going and he beat the hell out of him after it dropped. I don’t know why anyone would want to fight Khaira, honestly. As always, you can check out the scrap again here.
- As a team, the Oilers were a miserable 39% in the faceoff circle. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, however, was 58% on the dot tonight and was the only centre to have a good night in that aspect. The Oilers need this guy more than the media gives him credit for.
- Welcome home, Jordan. You were a good soldier for a long time and the cap-dump trade that sent you out of town was completely unnecessary for this season, but, what’s done is done and you’re an enemy and that means I hate you now. Even so, it was good to see you back at Rogers Place.
- Davy, I missed you the first time you left and again the second time too. I know how much you loved playing here and here’s hoping we reunite again in the future. Thanks for the assist on the tying goal, buddy. It’s appreciated.
- The Oilers were a perfect 2/2 on the penalty kill tonight as they continue to see improvement in that area over the last month or so.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Thomas Hickey opened the scoring after the Islanders walked the puck down the ice after a freebie turnover by the Oilers at the blue line. I don’t know how many times this season that the Oilers have given the puck up at either blue line and the other team has turned it around for a goal, but I feel like it has to be at least 20 by now. I’m guessing on that number, of course, but you know what I mean.
- WHY CAN’T YOU HIT THE NET!? I swear the Oilers need to spend a week just lining pucks up and firing them on the net. If you miss you do pushups and make a donation to charity. Whatever it takes to fix this.
- Once again, it’s that very special time in the wrap up where I check in on the power play. Are you excited!? *ducks flying fruit*
- The PP went 0/1 on the night and actually iced the puck on their PP chance.
- I look forward to when Andrej Sekera’s robot leg gets the software update. That surgery really sewered his season as he hasn’t been the same since coming back from injury.
- How bad is the Oilers depth on the wings? Nuge nearly has as many goals this season (17) as his wingers do in their careers combined (18). Not ideal for your second line. I hate to sound negative after a win but I don’t know why Caggiula gets as many chances as he does with top-six minutes? Why him and not Puljujarvi?
- I mentioned it above, but the Oilers got killed in the faceoff circle tonight (Nuge aside) with a paltry 39% success rate.
- How did the Oilers win the hockey game without having the most hits? (34-NYI, 33-EDM)
|01:54||New York||Thomas Hickey (4) ASST: Brock Nelson (13), Ryan Pulock (15)||1-0|
|18:10||Edmonton||Connor McDavid (31) ASST: Oscar Klefbom (15), Ethan Bear (1)||1-1|
|Edmonton||Goal – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins|
|New York||Goal – Jordan Eberle|
|Edmonton||Missed – Leon Draisaitl|
|New York||Missed – Anthony Beauvillier|
|Edmonton||Goal – Connor McDavid|
|New York||Missed – John Tavares|
Well that was easy. pic.twitter.com/1LN1NdqxDN
— Ryan (@IAmByks) March 9, 2018
— Dallas Huybregts (@dallylamma) March 9, 2018
— The Brown Mamba 24 (@parrypannu89) March 9, 2018
The only Oiler line that hasn't been juggled is the Ebs Barzal Beauvillier line.
— Ahuoseh (@pezknowlege) March 9, 2018
*offer valid as part of Karlsson or OEL mega trade
*offer not valid in Qc
*offer only valid if Chiarellis not involved
*keepnugeforever is a registered trademark of anyone that bleeds oiler blue
— David (@OilersFanInMTL) March 9, 2018
Make this spring break one to remember with a ski trip to @TourismJasper! With light, fluffy snow conditions and warmer temperatures, there is no better time than spring break to hit the slopes at @MarmotBasin! www.jasper.travel/winter
Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 03/08/2018 – 10:00 pm MST