Koskinen we’ve never doubted you! Final Score: 4-0 Oilers
I know we’ve talked about it a lot already but I can’t get over how odd the schedule has been so far this season. We’re already 12 games in and the Oilers haven’t played against anyone from the Pacific Division yet but have had pairs of games against Boston, Nashville, and now Chicago. It’s weird, right? Coming into tonight’s rematch against the Blackhawks, the Oilers had the advantage of going up against what was supposed to be a tired team on the second half of a back-to-back set. But just like the last time these teams met, Chicago did not at all look tired nor did they give the Oilers an inch without having to earn it first, though our boys didn’t do themselves any favours with their apparent love of wishful passes to no one in particular either. Early on, Edmonton tried to force way too many passes into areas that were already covered and it gave the Blackhawks all kinds of unnecessary offence and possession time, but as we’d see a lot on this night, Koskinen was there to shut the door.
After struggling to truly get settled in and weathering the odd storm or five, the Oilers struck first with a goal by Caggiula that gave them a lead that they would not give up. Despite giving up the first goal and three more after it, the Blackhawks carried the play for large chunks of this hockey game, but they ran into a force that they were simply not prepared for. From where I blog, Mikko Koskinen was easily the best Edmonton Oiler tonight and his stellar play actually turned what could have easily been a loss into two huge points. Yes, the Oilers scored four goals which should be enough to win on most nights but I’m not so sure things would have ended up the way they did without the goaltender standing on his head. Whether it was a routine save or a ten-star chance from the slot, Koskinen shut the door time and time again and gave his team the confidence they needed to ultimately get the job done.
For the Oilers and every one of us reading this now, it was nice to see the team get the goaltending and timely goal scoring they needed to grind out a win. I know it’s strange to say considering the 4-0 score, but this win was no gimme and you have to like the overall team effort that made it happen.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- After waiting for weeks to get his first start of the season, Mikko Koskinen was back between the pipes tonight and he was excellent tonight, especially early on when the Oilers had a hard time hanging onto the puck. Frankly, the Oilers depended on Koskinen way too much for my liking and they were damned lucky that he his game was on point because he bailed them out way more often than you’d like to see. This was a huge night for the Finn and now I’m wondering whether or not we’ll see him again on Saturday against Detroit. Koskinen finished the night with 40 saves and the first shutout of his NHL career.
- A lot of people, myself included, were wondering how McLellan puts Caggiula up on the first line after having a tough game against the Wild but he did his part to prove us all wrong after he scored a big second-period goal to open the scoring. He followed up with a shorthanded goal off of a slick little deke after Jujhar Khaira set him up perfectly in the slot. Caggiula’s second of the night was also the Oilers second shorthanded goal of the season.
- Jason Garrison put the Oilers up by two goals after he absolutely ripped home a clapper from the point on the power play. Tobias Rieder set him up on a tee and Garrison got all of what became his first goal as an Edmonton Oiler and it put the Oilers up by a pair late in the second period.
- Alex ‘The Answer’ Chia’s son must have heard us talking about other people challenging for his belt because he came up with a big goal in the third period that put the Oilers up by four and essentially ended the Blackhawks’ will to live.
- Three cheers for secondary scoring!
- Tobias Rieder keeps adding more and more assists to his totals, has been playing well, and I can’t think of anyone I want to score more than him.
- Jesse Puljujarvi made his return to the lineup tonight and I like the way he looked despite only playing just over 11 minutes. He was engaged, used his size a little bit more than he has been, and was far more noticeable than the last time we saw him. That said, the Condors are playing a lot of games coming up and I think Bakersfield would be the best place for him.
- The Oilers allowed three power play goals on three chances against the Wild but they were perfect on Chicago’s trio of opportunities tonight.
- Another shout out will go to the power play that came up with a goal and finished the night at 1/4.
- Booze not Beets! Wincast is coming up and, as always, you can follow along over on my Twitter account.
- Why not wind down your Thursday with the ninth episode of Oilersnation Radio? The podcast is now available on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, SoundCloud, Google Play, YouTube and wherever else you want to listen.
THE FACE PALMERS
- The Oilers were heavily outshot tonight (40-29) and were very lucky that their goaltender was there to save them. I’m not saying they should order him an edible arrangement but they should probably order him an edible arrangement.
- The first Oilers power play of the night was all kinds of ugly. Toews got a breakaway, they gave up a 2-on-1, and couldn’t even manage to get a shot on goal. Fortunately, they found a way to score later in the game but that first one had me every shade of nervous.
- The NHL’s site had the giveaways at 23-8 for the Oilers and I believe it. For some reason, the boys had all kinds of trouble with their passing and transition game because the Blackhawks seemed to read them like a book.
- I wonder what’s going to happen (if anything) with the Brandon Davidson elbow on Darnell Nurse that happened late in the third period. Both guys were fired up after the play and were each ejected as to prevent further shenanigans from going down. It was definitely a hit to the head by Davi so we’ll have to wait and see what comes next.
- Ryan Strome may never score again. Gord knows I’m pulling for him but the offence is just not going his way right now and I think I might head out into the cool November night to find some kind of sacrifice that can end this drought.
- Not a great night for the Oilers in the faceoff circle (47%) but it could have definitely been worse. Something to work on.
|00:18||Edmonton||Drake Caggiula (3) ASST: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (11), Connor McDavid (10)||0-1|
|19:23||Edmonton||PPG – Jason Garrison (1) ASST: Tobias Rieder (6)||0-2|
|06:49||Edmonton||SHG – Drake Caggiula (4) ASST: Jujhar Khaira (2), Matt Benning (2)||0-3|
|10:38||Edmonton||Alex Chiasson (5) ASST: Tobias Rieder (7), Leon Draisaitl (7)||0-4|
HOW IS CAM WARD ONLY CAPABLE STOPPING SHOTS AGAINST THE OILERS????
— Matt Henderson (@Archaeologuy) November 2, 2018
We never know who bagged milk is. Bagged milk is brownlee. Brownlee is baggedmilk. Brownlee in a birthday suit pic.twitter.com/fFisN3NW6B
— Jesse Goddard (@Jessekgoddard) November 2, 2018
@jsbmbaggedmilk what are the chances that Kosk is “The Answer”?
— Cynical Oilers Fan (@CynicalOilerFan) November 2, 2018
@jsbmbaggedmilk you need to give more grief to Caggiula. Seems like it may have motivated him. And I'm ok with that.
— Tony (@omegamoose) November 2, 2018
— N Taylor (@MeteoChef) November 2, 2018
THE REAL LIFE PODCAST
You’ve spent the last week pining away for a new episode of the Real Life Podcast and the wait is finally over! This week, the boys are bursting with excitement as the Oilers find themselves near the top of the Pacific Division standings for the first time in a while and they just can’t hold it in.
Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 11/01/2018 – 10:45 pm MT