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Photo Credit: © Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports

Oilers 6, Canadiens 2 post-game Oil Spills: La victoire!

The Oilers were in need of a statement win and, boy oh boy, did they get one. The Montreal Canadiens rolled into town and got completely blown out of the water by a fast, energetic, motivated Oilers team.

What happened…

The Oilers haven’t had very many fortunate bounces as of late, but they finally got one here to open the scoring. Matt Benning got the puck at the point and fired a clapped wide but it bounced off the boards and off of Antti Niemi’s back and into the net.

Soon after that, JJ Khaira flubbed a breakout pass from Matt Benning, giving Max Domi a break down the wings. That’s probably not the guy you want to give the puck to. Domi roofed a wrister over Mikko Koskinen’s shoulder to tie the game at 1-1.

Leon Draisaitl could have had about nine goals this game. In the first period, he hit the post twice and got stoned by Niemi in tight a few other times. With a few minutes to go in the first, McDrai hooked up to give the Oilers the lead. Draisaitl took a pass from McDavid and finally managed to get it by Niemie (and the post) to make it 2-1. This duo is something else.

The Habs tied the game again a minute into the second period. Our old pal Jeff Petry did some good work along the boards to get the puck to Jonathan Drouin behind the net who found pesky Andrew Shaw out front.

MORE fortunate bounces?! Immediately after Montreal tied the game, Drake Caggiula gave the Oilers the lead with a weird one. Caggiula brought the puck into the zone, dropped it off for Alex Chiasson who took a clapper on the net. Caggiula, who was driving towards the net, picked up the rebound in mid-air, dropped it down, and smacked some kind of wedge shot on net that managed to work its way through Niemi.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins extended the lead in the third period with a snipe past Niemi. He also helped Ryan Strome earn his first assist of the season on this one! Kris Russell also buried his first goal in 42 games with a shot from the point and Darnell Nurse scored another goal to make it 6-2 before the end of the game. Offence from everywhere!

By the numbers…

The numbers pretty much exactly line up with what we all saw last night. The Oilers absolutely pounded the Canadiens from the beginning to the end of the game and never took their foot off the gas. The score honestly flatters Montreal a little bit. While Antti Niemi allowed a couple ugly ones on Benning and Caggiula, he also robbed Draisaitl in tight a few times and, had he not stood tall, the Oilers could have buried 10 goals last night.

Thoughts…

  • The Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl connection was dominant last night. Putting those two together is always a recipe for success… when they’re on the ice. The key here is whether or not the rest of the team can stay above water in the ~40 minutes those two are watching from the bench at the same time. Last night, they did.
  • The fourth line was excellent and energetic yet again against Montreal. It seems this trio has simplified things as they’re now aiming to pay physically and make life difficult for the opposing team. They’re playing a more simple, north-south game with a lot of physical play, which is a recipe for success for a fourth line. They were Edmonton’s best line in terms of shot attempt differential, letting Montreal fire only seven shot attempts towards the net while generating 17 of their own.
  • The third line was still largely devoid of offence last night, but at the very least, they don’t give anything up the other way. The Lucic/Strome/Rattie trio only allowed Montreal to get three high danger chances when they were on the ice. You’d like to see them chip in with some offence, but if they can thrive as a defensive group, that’s better than nothing.
  • Mikko Koskinen had another strong game. He stopped 27 of 29 shots, and while he had quite a bit of room for error, the game could have gone a little sideways in the second period before the Oilers broke away. He did a good job of keeping things calm in net, allowing the Oilers to open up and really control the game offensively.
  • Back to the McDavid line, everyone knows him and Draisaitl are going to work magic together. The interesting part of the line last night was Drake Caggiula, who had probably his best game of the season. He was all over the place, playing gritty on the backcheck, playing pesky on the forecheck, and driving the net to open space for his two elite linemates. He might be The Answer for this top line.
  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    Thats was a good game by the Oil, they needed a win to keep from falling in the West and for confidence. Yes the Habs defence has let in 32 goals in teh last 7 games, but the Oilers started to play when the puck dropped not later, they need to do that all the time.

    Mc D and Dari are just magic, they just feed off one another and of course we all saw the results. Koskinen couple goals I didnt like but he settled down and was steady after that, I say roll with Koskinen, see if he can string some wins together. Give Talbot a break and let him get a fire lit in him like Cagguila did and hope he comes back better and for god sake Fire Dustin Schwartz already, get us a proven goalie coach!

    It was a fun game to watch the Oilers need to build off it, still need to work on the PK and the things in the defensive end of the game but overall a much better performance.

    • bcoil

      I guess if you think if you put in your posts 4678 times that they should fire Dustin Schwatz that Pete C is going to listen to you ??? I somehow don’t think that is going to work … What did Dustin do to you take your parking stall or something? ..Let it go

      • Glencontrolurstik

        Eakins Hair’s posts are mostly just “reads and repeats” like it’s “his” idea. So why not write in hopes that someone else will do the same?

      • Dallas Eakins Hair

        Nope. Dustin is a nice guy, great career at the U of A. But his lack of NHL experience as a player or a goalie coach is hurting the Oilers, landing the job because they fired Chabot and promoting him from being the Oil Kings goalie coach is an issue. Wrong person for the job

        • wiseguy

          The conundrum: If can’t hire a goalie coach who doesn’t have nhl goalie coach experience, how will there ever a goalie coach in the NHL?
          Since DEH is so repetitive, I’ll respond with the same answer each time. Scotty Bowman didn’t play a single NHL game. How did he do as an NHL coach?

  • OilersBro

    I like Drake with McDavid for two reasons:
    -He doesn’t wait for McDavid to move, he initiates the play which makes it tougher to shadow Connor
    -His puck retrieval and forechecking keeps McDavid playing offense for as long as possible

    • ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      Cags is only going to get better on that line, I think, as he now has a role and knows what to do to fulfill it.
      I’ve watched the McDrai goal from last night about twenty times and it doesn’t even happen without Cags batting down Shaw’s pass (after he’d just stopped Drouin’s attempted pass behind the net). The puck then gets up to McDrai and they’re off. It’s really an amazing sequence: Shaw should’ve been penalized for tackling/ holding on Nurse, All five Oilers are south of the dot in the corner, Shaw’s about to hit the open D man and Cags kills his pass to help spring McDrai. That would’ve been the game changer if Cags next goal wasn’t. But it was.

  • cityofchampions

    Roll with Koskinen until he merits being taken out of the crease. Roll with Cags on the top line until that doesn’t work, then plug and play another one of our 4th liners in that spot.

  • Arfguy

    Just like the Hagelin-for-Pearson trade between Pittsburgh and LA, Chiarelli should be looking to make a trade to take advantage of teams under-performing. Key targets should be:

    St. Louis Blues
    Vegas Golden Knights
    Florida Panthers
    Arizona Coyotes

    Those teams may be primed to make a shake-up type move and each have pieces that Edmonton badly needs.