That was a great effort by the Oilers and they deserved to win that hockey game. Final Score: 4-1 Oilers
After Tuesday night’s game against the Penguins, the Nation was split on what to expect from the first matchup of the season against the defending champs. Some folks (like me) were in the camp where they thought that losing 6-5 in OT to the Pens isn’t the worst thing that could have happened and outside of a few mistakes here and there the boys played pretty damned well. Other folks were mad that the Oilers are throwing away points in winnable games, giving themselves a far tougher road to the playoffs down the road. Neither side was wrong but it was interesting to see how people react to the same game that we all watched. Honestly, all I really cared about was that I just wanted to see our boys play that way again. If they can get everyone going all at the same time and find a way to make it happen every night then we’re going to be alright here. Is that too much to ask? I don’t think so. Needless to say, if the Oilers were going to win this game then they were going to need to get that kind of effort again, and I’m thrilled to report that they did.
Tonight’s generational talent showdown started out with a much slower pace and tighter overall defence than we saw against the Penguins, and it felt like both teams needed some time to feel each other out. The checking was close, the time to make plays was minimal, and both goalies made some big saves early on that kept things scoreless. That was, of course, until the Nation’s favourite dad, Evan Bouchard, blasted home his first NHL goal with a half-slapper from the point on the power play. After getting themselves on the board, what I especially liked was that the Oilers didn’t take their foot off the gas after grabbing themselves a lead. They scored and got back to work, which is exactly what we’ve always wanted. And even when the pace picked up and the Caps kept grinding, the Oilers did a fine job of making safe plays with the puck to get themselves out of trouble and, even more importantly, they got the saves they needed to maintain their lead. Even as they were nursing their one-goal lead throughout the third period, our boys maintained their composure and hustle and never once sat back, trying to hang on until the final buzzer sounded. They earned these two points.
From start to finish, this was arguably the most complete effort the Oilers have put in so far this season and they deserved to win. If they can keep playing like that then we’re going to be in pretty good shape here.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Massive shout out to Evan Bouchard for scoring his first NHL goal after he fired a heavy shot from the point that made its way through traffic and beat Holtby. We’re so proud of Dad for scoring his first. And on a serious note, that goal made him the youngest Oilers defenceman to ever score a goal. How’s that for some history? Here’s to many more, sir.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored an absolutely beautiful shorthanded goal in the second period to put the Oilers up by a pair. Nuge picked up the puck at the Caps’ blue line, walked his man, ripped a perfect snapshot past Holtby, and finished it off with a big fist pump. This was the Oilers’ first shorthanded goal of the season and it was an absolute gem.
- Alex Chiasson apparently wants to get himself into Rocket Richard conversation this year because he just can’t stop scoring. He added some insurance to tonight’s game with an absolute snipe that beat Holtby up high and restored the Oilers two-goal lead. Make it three goals in two games for the wily vet as his excellent day continued. In case you hadn’t heard, Chia’s Son received his Stanley Cup ring from the Capitals this morning and followed it up with a clutch goal. That’s a good day.
- Just when we thought that maybe Connor wasn’t going to get a point tonight he goes out and gets an empty-netter on a very unselfish play by Nugent-Hopkins. RNH could have fired it down for his second of the night but he instead passed the puck to the captain who finished of the play.
- Cam Talbot was much better tonight than he was on Tuesday against the Penguins. He was square to the shots, controlled his rebounds well, and was much more steady in the crease than what we saw two days ago. In every way, Talbot was great tonight and deserved the win. He finished his night with 31 saves and a .969 save%.
- The Oilers power play continues to produce as they were able to cash in some much-needed offence again tonight, finishing their night at 1/4 with the man advantage.
- Not to be outdone, the Oilers were perfect with the penalty kill tonight, taking care of the only Caps power play they had.
- Tonight was a very good night for the Klefbom-Larsson pairing as they both played over 24 minutes and looked rock solid in the process. The Oilers are going to need these two guys to be dialled in and they were exactly that tonight.
- Anybody else crack up laughing when you saw Kyle Brodziak selling the faceoff violation penalty? I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that called before and now we’ve seen the Oilers benefit from that same penalty in back-to-back games. Classic.
- It’s no surprise to anyone but Kris Russell came up with some really clutch blocked shots tonight. I’m always amazed by how willing this dude is to throw his body in front of the puck and he came up with some big stops tonight.
- Two quiet assists for Toby Rieder!
- Shout out to the Flames for getting absolutely demolished at home by the Penguins. I know that has nothing to do with this game but it’s still fun regardless. Great success.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Shortly after Nuge put the Oilers up by two goals, Andre Burakovsky got the Capitals on the board with his first goal of the season. Yes, you read that right. Burakovsky with his first of the year because the Oilers are cool like that.
- Oilers got pumped in the faceoff circle tonight, winning only 43% of the draws. At the end of the day, they won 4-1 so who cares, right? Just pointing it out as an area to improve.
- I don’t really understand what the Oilers are doing with Jesse Puljujarvi and it won’t help his case that they won tonight. It’s clear that the coaching staff doesn’t trust him so it doesn’t make any sense to me at all that they wouldn’t send him to Bakersfield and let him play 20 minutes per night. Give him a list of stuff to work on and let him gets big minutes in the minors to work it all out.
- The Oilers blocked a ton of shots tonight. I love their willingness to sacrifice the body but it’s not a great long-term strategy overall. That said, it worked tonight and for that I’m grateful.
- Braden Holtby was really annoying tonight in the sense that he often ruined my love of McGoals. Selfish of him imo. Seriously, though, Holtby had Connor’s number all night long and it was a fun battle to watch.
|16:28||Edmonton||PPG – Evan Bouchard (1) ASST: Kailer Yamamoto (1), Tobias Rieder (2)||0-1|
|10:06||Edmonton||SHG – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (3)||0-2|
|12:21||Washington||Andre Burakovsky (1) ASST: Nic Dowd (1), John Carlson (9)||1-2|
|09:16||Edmonton||Alex Chiasson (3) ASST: Tobias Rieder (3), Adam Larsson (3)||1-3|
|18:43||Edmonton||EN – Connor McDavid (6) ASST: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (8)||1-4|
— connor morkdavid (@morkalork) October 26, 2018
@jsbmbaggedmilk that's a goal Bouchard can talk to his grandkids about when he gets home.
— Sean Maloughney (@SMaloughney) October 26, 2018
His GoodInTheRoom/60 just skyrocketed
— Tyler Collin (@JimTheMonk) October 26, 2018
Bouchard could be his grandpa.
— Anthony Flynn (@anthonyjflynn) October 26, 2018
— Ty Hilgersom (@tyhilg7) October 26, 2018
NATION ROADIE TO CALGARY
Friends, your time is running out if you want to get in on this road trip to Calgary. We’re about 3/4 sold out and you have less than a week to make the call on coming or not.
Give me the details, guy:
- When? Saturday, November 17th, 2018
- How much? The depends on how many people are coming with you. To put it another way, we’ve got a range of options including single occupancy ($329/person) up to groups of four ($249/person).
- Why? Because we love to party
- Where do you buy tickets? Right here, friend. But be warned, just like the last time we did this, the trip sold out quickly and procrastinating will be your enemy if you want to come.
Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 10/25/2018 – 11:00 pm MST