The Oilers have been really good since being eliminated from playoff contention. After a huge win over the Hurricanes in Carolina, the Oilers followed it up with a pounding of the Senators in Ottawa.
After Drake Caggiula opened the scoring in the first period, Connor McDavid extended the lead to 2-0 with his 35th of the season. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins takes a break-in pass from Ty “The Missing Piece” Rattie and then he finds McDavid streaking to the net for an easy snipe past Craig Anderson.
In the third period, McDavid returns the favour to Nugent-Hopkins. Matt Duchene scored a power play goal to cut the lead to 2-1, but right off the faceoff, McDavid picks up the puck off the draw and finds a streaking Nugent-Hopkins who buries a one-time snap past Anderson.
RATTIE TALLIES ANOTHER! pic.twitter.com/vNJbSRA3QS— Oilersnation.com (@OilersNation) March 23, 2018
What did I say? The missing piece! McDavid busts out of the zone and makes an Ottawa defender look like a turnstile then drags Cody Ceci towards him in the defensive zone before finding Rattie at the side of the net. Go to the net and good things will happen. Go to the net when you play with Connor McDavid and good things will happen a lot.
Connor McDavid NSFW pic.twitter.com/pYyC0TkbKW— Oilersnation.com (@OilersNation) March 23, 2018
This last McDavid goal is just absurd. He makes the Sens look soooooooo bad here it’s borderline bullying. I mean, the Sens are really bad, but he makes them look even worse than they actually are. McDavid picks up the puck at the blueline, breaks Mike Hoffman’s ankles, and then shovels one over Anderson.
The Oilers absolutely pounded the Senators in the first period, controlling the even strength shot attempts 29 to 13. Ottawa had a good second period at even strength, but it was off-set by the Oilers getting three different power play chances. All told, the shot attempts were split down the middle 48 to 47 for the Oilers given that Edmonton went into a defensive shell after getting a big lead. I think these numbers are generous to Ottawa who didn’t look good at all last night.
- Last night featured another excellent showing by the top line. Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins clearly have chemistry, but I feel like Ty Rattie has been a good glue piece to the line. I don’t think it’s all too difficult to find wingers who can excel with McDavid because he’s that good, but Rattie really thrives in the role because he’s a pure shooter who goes to the net. I’d still like to see a stacked up second line behind McDavid because it spreads the offence out more, but this McNuge thing is great.
- Cam Talbot had another good game, stopping 33 of 35 shots. He’s picked up wins in six of his last seven starts and is playing his best hockey of the season. Over that seven-game stretch, Talbot has a .946 save percentage. It was largely an ugly season for Talbot, but as he’s showing right now, he’s still a very good goalie.
- The Sens looked completely hopeless without Erik Karlsson last night. It was pretty obvious watching them last year during their playoff run that he was the key to their success, but seeing the team without him in the lineup is pretty incredible. They have a hell of a time generating offence and driving the play forward without him out there and there weren’t many times last night it felt like they were overwhelming. It seems likely Karlsson is dealt this summer, which I think would be a huge mistake for the Sens. Like McDavid, no matter how expensive he is, it’s worth it.