Three wins in a row as McDavid continues to dominate. Final Score: 4-1 Oilers
I’m not normally a grudge guy but I think I will always despise watching games against the Minnesota Wild because of the hours of boredom suffered at the hands of all those Jacques Lemaire-coached teams. Not only was their trap style boring to watch, the Oilers had to play them hundreds of times per year back in the old Northwest Division days. There were a bunch of horrible nights that have left a sour taste in my mouth even all these years later. Back to tonight, I wasn’t so much worried that the Wild were going to make me fall asleep anymore as I was having them make me eat another can of beets way too close to midnight. Unfortunately, with the way the Oilers started this hockey game, I thought that another beet-induced sleepness night was in my future. Despite playing last night, the Wild were the much better team at the start of the hockey game and they kept the Oilers in their own end for most of it. Not a good look for the home side.
As the game progressed, the Oilers settled into their game and started trading punches with the Wild rather than just sit back and take the beating. After making it through the first period unscathed, getting the saves they needed from Cam Talbot to stay in it, the Oilers were able to capitalize on a couple of second period chances to not only turn the tides but to get themselves ahead. Lead by their captain (as per tradition), the Oilers managed to make the most of the few chances they did have and they put home two straight goals past Dubnyk to give themselves a great chance at the win going into the third. That said, heading into the final 20 minutes with a two-goal lead is not exactly a position of comfort for the Oilers these days, and it’s exhausting to have to deal with the panic that comes with watching them try to hang over. Admit it, when the Wild scored their only goal midway through the third period that you had that ‘here we go again’ feeling too. Fortunately, that one goal was where the comeback ended for a change.
In the end, there was no third period collapse to come on this night but there was a team that walked away with a 4-1 win after a tough start that was saved by their goaltender. It may not have been the perfect win, but you certainly take it when you can. Besides, no one asks how, just how many.
Like chicken, we wrap.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- At this point, it’s almost a surprise that Connor McDavid doesn’t literally combust. The guy is white-hot and it is nearly impossible for any opposing defender to handle him. And as you’d expect, Connor got his team on the board after taking a little pass from Nuge and making something from nothing for his 32nd goal of the season. McDavid followed up with his second goal of the night just under three minutes later on the power play as he walked into the high slot off the boards and snapped a wrist shot past Dubnyk to give the Oilers a two-goal lead.
- Leon Draisaitl added an insurance marker on the power play to give the Oilers a two-goal lead with less than four minutes to play. Draisaitl was able to rip a shot from his off wing that beat Dubnyk and acted as the death blow for the Wild.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins added the fourth Oilers goal into the empty net as he got a full game playing alongside Connor McDavid and he was able to find a way to contribute with two points on the night. As the game went on, that pair looked more comfortable playing with each other and I’m hoping they get more than this single game to make it work because I feel like there’s magic in that combo.
- Cam Talbot was great in Thursday’s win against the Islanders, and he followed up with another fine performance against the Wild. He was the only reason the game stayed tied through 20 minutes and he gave the Oilers a chance to win. It hasn’t been a great year for Dadbot but this was an impressive game for the goaltender. Talbot finished the night with 32 saves and a .970 save%.
- Adam Larsson played a team high 22:53 and lead the team with eight hits, six blocks, and an assist for one of his best nights in a while. With Klefbom out, the Oilers are going to need Larsson to play more and do it well. He did that tonight.
- I thought tonight was the best of Ethan Bear’s young career so far. He played in all situations for the Oilers tonight and with Klefbom out for at least two games, the Oilers are going to need him to help fill the void. Solid effort for young Bear tonight as he added another assist to his resume.
- The special teams were perfect on the night (for real!) as the power play went two for two and the penalty kill took care of all three chances they faced. If only we had been able to get these kind of nights earlier in the year, huh?
- I’ve mentioned it a lot this year but one of the nice stories from the year has to be the Oilers improvement in the faceoff circle. Tonight was another solid night on the dot as the Oilers won 51% of the draws.
THE FACE PALMERS
- The first period was not good for the Oilers tonight. Frankly, they were lucky that Cam Talbot was on top of his game because this one could have been over early if he wasn’t.
- Charlie Coyle got the Wild back to within a goal after he was able to finish off a nice 2-on-1 passing play down low with Tyler Ennis. Talbot had no chance on the play as Ennis’ pass came in hot into the slow where Coyle basically had a tap-in.
- The Oilers had a really hard time breaking out of their own zone tonight. I don’t know what it was that made connecting on the outlet passes so difficult but they had a really hard time getting the puck out of their own end.
- I like Pontus Aberg so far and I think he adds some nice depth to the wing, but I don’t necessarily think he belongs on the first line with Connor McDavid.
- Oscar Klefbom being out of the lineup is not ideal, but neither is playing him while injured. Klefbom is the Oilers’ big minute guy and losing him for any stretch of time is going to hurt.
- Why does Dubnyk never allow a goal-against from centre ice when he’s playing against the Oilers? I feel like he owes us a few of those.
- Oilers outhit the Wild 43-21 which on the surface looks great, but, when you look at it more closely, you realize that you can only hit your opponent if you don’t have the puck. I’m not saying I don’t like the physicality, I’m just saying that outhitting the other team by a 2:1 margin means you spent a lot of time chasing.
|09:12||Edmonton||Connor McDavid (32) ASST: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (17)||0-1|
|12:00||Edmonton||PPG – Connor McDavid (33) ASST: Andrej Sekera (4)||0-2|
|09:44||Minnesota||Charlie Coyle (10) ASST: Tyler Ennis (12), Gustav Olofsson (8)||1-2|
|16:25||Edmonton||PPG – Leon Draisaitl (22) ASST: Ethan Bear (2)||1-3|
|17:27||Edmonton||EN – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (18) ASST: Connor McDavid (51), Adam Larsson (6)||1-4|
“No beets tonight boys. Bagged milk is watching”
— DasmusRahlin🍻🚨 (@chamb_d) March 11, 2018
Yeah, me neither.
— BURGER BARON🍁 (@Burger_Baron) March 11, 2018
Like, imagine if he didn’t have the flu for half the season 🤯
— Sam Laryea (@ThisGuySamlar) March 11, 2018
— Mark Beare (@Bearesy) March 11, 2018
— Kage D (@ThatGuyKage) March 11, 2018
WHAT YOU GET:
The bag: Exclusive 10th Anniversary Party tee, commemorative Nation poster, Pint GC, Oodle Noodle GC, stickers, and a ticket to enter all of the night’s draws
The giveaways: Signed jerseys, golf passes, our box for the Edmonton Prospects, a weekend in Jasper, FREE Oodle Noodle for a year, a weekend staycation at Crash Hotel, and more.
Anything else: We’ll buy a Nation Beer for first 100 people to show up, have special guests stopping by, and a silent auction from our friends at Pro-Am to raise even more money for charity.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Where: The Pint Downtown
When: April 7th, starting at 6 pm with the hockey game starting at 8 pm
Why: To celebrate 10 years together and raise money for Hockey Helps the Homeless
How much: Tickets are $30 each with net proceeds going to Hockey Helps the Homeless
How: Tickets are available here.
Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 03/10/2018 – 11:00 pm MST