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GDB -1.0 Wrap up: Hockey night in Cologne

This game was awesome. I don’t care that we took them to overtime, it was great watching the boys play on some international ice. Final score: 4-3 Oilers

While the rest of the NHL kicks off their season today, the Oilers are playing their final preseason game. That’s okay with me though, because as you know, this game is in Germany and was played against the Cologne Sharks. The coach of the Cologne Sharks? Leon Draisaitl’s father!

This game was a blast to watch. I’ll never get tired of watching a hockey game overseas because the fans are on a whole other level over there. I’ve also been looking forward to watching Connor McDavid play on the international ice for a long time now and he never disappoints. There’s just so much room for a guy with that kind of speed to skate with and it’s a great sight to see.

As you’ve probably heard, our very own The Nation Dan has traveled to Europe to watch this game as well as the one in Sweden on Saturday. He confirmed the fact that the atmosphere was on a whole other level than North American hockey and that there’s something to be said about all of the loyal Edmonton Oiler fans who traveled to see the team. What we’ve learned from the Vegas away games last year is that Oiler fans are one of the most passionate in the league.

Let’s wrap.

First period

The atmosphere of this game lived up to all expectations. Before the puck even dropped, the sold-out crowd was standing, cheering, and chanting endlessly. Please watch the video below to see the crowd react to the introduction of Leon Draisaitl. It gives me goosebumps. Tobias Rieder also got a large ovation of course as he was also born and raised in the country.

Speaking of Tobias Rieder, he opened up the scoring early off of a beauty pass by Leon Draisaitl. Leave it to the two Germans to get the Oilers on the board during this special game. Amazing!

Overall the first period went just as planned for the Oilers. They didn’t necessarily dominate the period, but they definitely had the upper hand. We killed two penalties and had a failed powerplay opportunity of our own. Connor McDavid along with everyone else on the ice was feeding Leon Draisaitl for the shot every chance they could.

Second Period

The Cologne Sharks had a big pushback this period and played very well. We gave up a couple breakaway opportunities to them and left Koskinen hung to dry on a couple plays including their goal to tie the game up at one.

The tie didn’t last long as Milan Lucic stepped up in the slot to fire home a one-timer feed from Connor McDavid. A goal for Lucic is a win for our fans. Anything to get that guys confidence higher than it was yesterday is a win for this team. Lucic has also been criticized heavily for being put on the powerplay by McLellan (Happy Birthday 51st birthday Todd, by the way). This Lucic goal WAS on the power play so we can expect him to stay there for a while.

Ryan Jones was absolutely buzzing in the second period for the Cologne Sharks and REALLY wanted to score. He had a couple of wide-open opportunities but couldn’t finish the job, which is the most Decade of Darkness thing ever to happen to him. Connor McDavid was buzzing, as usual, Leon Draisaitl and Tobias Rieder were flying out there as expected, and even Drake Caggiula was pitching in on a couple of important scoring chances. For a guy who just got a raise this summer, that’s a relief to see.

Third period

The third period was a bit of a mixed bag. The Oilers came out firing on all cylinders to be quickly stopped by the Cologne powerplay. Cologne scored a tough one on the power play in the first half of the period and took the momentum from there.

Just seconds later, Ty “The Answer” Rattie stepped up to the plate and gave the Oilers back their lead. The lead didn’t last long as minutes later the Cologne Sharks tied it up again.

Mikko Koskinen made a few very solid saves this game, but I never really felt comfortable at all with him in net. He looked pretty sloppy on a couple goals and probably would have liked them back. There were a couple times where the Oilers defenceman completely let him down, but I expect a little more out of our backup goaltender.

Overtime

We officially can’t make fun of the New Jersey Devils for taking their game against the Swiss to overtime yesterday as we did the same thing. The Oilers dominated the shots 35-19 at the end of regulation but couldn’t take advantage of some crucial chances.

Thankfully we pulled through in overtime. Ryan Strome scored the game winner with a nice deflection from an Ethan Bear pass. Connor McDavid got the second assist for his second point of the game.

Final Thoughts

This game was a lot more stressful than I expected it to be but the win is all that matters. It was an entertaining game and I’m sure it was an absolute blast for the Oilers to play in as well. Leon Draisaitl will have ultimate bragging rights over his dad until the next time they play against each other which may be never.

The Cologne Sharks did an excellent job at keeping the Oilers to the outside and played very well against the NHL team on this large ice. These types of games are always a different flavor of hockey so you can’t blame the Oilers for taking them to overtime. The Oilers have officially closed out their preseason with a 7-1 record. Is there a Preseason Stanley Cup or ribbon we get? For now, we’ll have to watch in jealousy of all the other NHL teams kick off their regular season tonight and wait patiently for Saturday’s season opener against the New Jersey Devils.