Three McPoints and a win make for a good night. Final Score: 4-3 Oilers
Remember the first game the Oilers played against the Golden Knights when they absolutely slaughtered them and we all thought (read: hoped) that it would be a turning point in the season? Good times. Unfortunately, that turning point never did come for our boys and, instead, we’re watching an expansion team make the playoffs in its first year for the first time in NHL history. Actually, it feels like these teams should have reversed records or something, but the universe had other plans for us. The Hockey Gords must have wanted to test our dedication, I guess. Ah well, it’s almost over. With only two games left in another playoff-less season filled with disappointment, all I really cared about for tonight was that we all walked away entertained.
With 20 minutes on the books, the Oilers found themselves with a one-goal lead, were doing a good job of trading punches with the Golden Knights which meant that life was looking a little bit sunnier for those that have stuck this thing through. But then the second period started and the Gords tested us once again. Before the period was even five minutes old, the Oilers had already given up their lead and ended up down by a goal for good measure. They started to go full Oiler and you know what happens when they do that. Though they had some chances to tie things up again, the Oilers couldn’t cash in on anything and found themselves 20 minutes away from a sixth straight loss. Heading into the third period down by a goal, we needed a hero to emerge and get the boys back into the game. First the tie and then the win. *plays Matt Benning’s music*
On this night, the Oilers were up for a challenge as they not only tied the game up on Benning’s early third-period marker but rallied for three straight goals, giving themselves a two-goal advantage with under seven minutes left to play. Even with the third Vegas goal and a late penalty to kill, the Oilers would bend without breaking and not give up their lead for the second time. To their credit, the Oilers never quit and managed to close out a hard-fought comeback win that was as entertaining as anything we’ve seen lately. Considering that being entertained (and McPoints!) was all that we wanted, I’ll go ahead and consider this night a success.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins opened the scoring after finishing off a beautiful tic-tac-goal passing play that started with a perfect cross-ice pass from McDavid to Rattie before winding up on RNH’s stick and in the net. Amazingly, that goal was Nuge’s 23rd of the season which is only one off from his career high. He would have crushed that total had it not been for his broken ribs. I don’t know anyone can look at this player and think that he’s expendable. Madness.
- Matt Benning has missed the past couple of games with a wrist injury but you wouldn’t have been able to tell with the goal he scored to tie the game up at two apiece. Benning had all kinds of dangles going on in the high slot before firing a wrister through Malcolm Subban and into the net. The Oilers don’t get much offence from their defence and so Benning’s goal was not only well-timed but also a welcomed sight.
- Mike Cammalleri gave the Oilers back their lead after he snapped his 7th goal of the year past Subban after receiving a McPass in the slot. Cammalleri may not be the sniper he once was, but he can still get that shot off in a hurry when given the opportunity. Tonight’s goal was Cammalleri’s second in a week after not scoring for 100 years prior to that, and I was happy to see him finish off what could be his last season on a high note.
- Ty Rattie put the Oilers up by two goals after Connor found him with space on the wing, beating Subban cleanly with a wrist shot. Rattie continues to make a case for himself as he keeps finding ways to produce with McNuge. For a guy that needs a new contract, he’s doing everything he can to show the bosses that he deserves one.
- After being held off the scoresheet in his last couple of games, Connor McDavid was back to his usual tricks with three McPoints in yet another dominating performance.
- Cam Talbot wasn’t perfect tonight but he made enough saves to win the hockey game, and he never allowed the Golden Knights to extend their lead beyond a single goal which gave the boys the opportunity to get back in it. When they needed a big save they got one and he gave them a chance to win which is ultimately the point, isn’t it? Talbot got his 30th win on a night when he made 30 saves for a .909 save%.
- Adam Larsson and Darnell Nurse each played over 23 minutes with both playing an effective flavour of hockey while also finding opportunities to move the puck forward as well. Larsson, as usual, was throwing his body around and his three hits were tied with Jujhar Khaira for the team lead. As for ol’ Darryl, he did a good job of picking his spots to jump in the play and try to get involved offensively. Solid night for the first pairing.
- I know I just pumped both of these guys’ tires but it deserves its own bullet point. I was happy to see that McNuge would be reunited tonight because I don’t think Connor has been the same in the two games with Nuge by his side. Dusty wrote about it yesterday and I agree with him that Nuge is better on his wing than Draisaitl is and I’ll fight anyone that disagrees with me.
- Normally when I talk about the special teams it’s for angry reasons. Tonight, both the PK and PP get to live in the bright side and that’s a bullet point we can all be thankful for.
- PP went 1/3 on the night in a rare goal with the man advantage
- PK went 0/2 on the night and killed off a huge third period chance that could have tied the game late in the third period. Clutch kill AT HOME.
- Not sure why the rest of the league has such a hard time with Vegas. They’re not that good. I keed.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Would you be surprised to find out that Brayden McNabb hadn’t scored in 25 games before breaking that streak tonight? No? Didn’t think so.
- Brandon Pirri put the Golden Knights up by a goal after the Oilers apparently forgot that the second period had started. Before the period was even five minutes old, the Oilers went from leading by a goal to trailing by one.
- Oscar Lindberg scored the Knights’ third goal of the game and got his team back to within a single goal. As per tradition, the Oilers got lost in their own end and Lindberg found a way to be wide open right in front of the net and he made no mistake of burying his chance when he found him.
- What happened to the Oilers winning faceoffs? It couldn’t have all been Mark Letestu, could it? Nuge on the wing? What happened there? They only won 47% of the faceoffs tonight and, even though that’s not too bad, that’s not where they want to be. Ryan Strome was 8%. How does that happen?
- The NHL site had the giveaways listed as 19-11 for the Oilers again. They love coughing that biscuit up, don’t they?
- I’m not going to complain about the refs tonight, but that phantom call on Puljujarvi at the end of the third period was ridiculous.
- This is my last wrap up of the season because of the Nation Anniversary Party on Saturday night and I have to say that it’s bittersweet. I would have really loved to write more playoff stuff to troll the other teams and their fans, but it wasn’t meant to be this year. Here’s hoping the Oilers can make the changes needed in the offseason to get us all back to a place where we’re not having to watch the spring tournament like we’re standing outside the club with the wrong shoes on. Thanks for another fun season of wrap ups, Nation. I always enjoy writing these and I hope you guys get a kick out of them too.
|07:03||Edmonton||Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (23) ASST: Ty Rattie (4), Connor McDavid (63)||0-1|
|02:00||Vegas||Brayden McNabb (5) ASST: Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (10), Ryan Carpenter (6)||1-1|
|04:47||Vegas||Brandon Pirri (3) ASST: Alex Tuch (22)||2-1|
|01:49||Edmonton||Matt Benning (6) ASST: Ryan Strome (21), Drake Caggiula (7)||2-2|
|10:07||Edmonton||PPG – Michael Cammalleri (7) ASST: Connor McDavid (64), Leon Draisaitl (45)||2-3|
|13:15||Edmonton||Ty Rattie (5) ASST: Connor McDavid (65)||2-4|
|14:37||Vegas||Oscar Lindberg (9) ASST: Shea Theodore (23)||3-4|
Shooting it won’t kill it. You’ll need to impale it on a wooden stake and bury it face down.
— Peter Parker (@kalahari_jr) April 6, 2018
— FatDad69 (@fat_dad69) April 6, 2018
@OilersNation is it just me, or is Keegan Lowe more of a second tier defenceman?
— James Rothwell (@rothwell_james) April 6, 2018
@OilersNation maybe Rattie meant even his dad could score 100 points on Nuge’s line? 🤔
— Tanner Krim (@t_krims81) April 6, 2018
@OilersNation Plot twist, game 81. McLellan fights the ref and wins.
— Peter Parker (@kalahari_jr) April 6, 2018
I hope someone out there near #yeg will be able to set @jsbmbaggedmilk up with some tannerite, a firearm, and a piece of farmland so he can launch a can of beets (or 2, hopefully) into the sumbitchin’ stratosphere.
— Vince Roth (@oh_shart) April 6, 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, 04/5/2018 – 10:00 pm MST