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Photo Credit: © Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Oilers 3, Blues 2 (SO) post-game Oil Spills: Oilers rally to overcome slow start

The Oilers came out flat in the first period but managed to battle back with a strong second and third period to earn a win against the Blues in the shootout. It wasn’t pretty, but all that really matters is those two points.

What happened…

The Oilers came out slowly in the first and St. Louis capitalized quickly. The Blues’ fourth line, which has been a pit offensively most of the season, opened up the scoring as Oskar Sundqvist won a race to a puck behind the net and found Ivan Barbashev waiting in the slot all alone.

The Blues made it 2-0 before the end of the first. I think you have to give credit where credit’s due here. Chris Butler took a good point shot and the rebound came to Brayden Schenn who buried the puck from a difficult angle.

The Oilers’ effort was much, much better in the second frame. They came out flying and quickly cut the lead in half. Darnell Nurse got the puck on the half-wall and brought the puck behind the net before finding Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in the slot. That’s a much-needed goal from a non-McDavid line for the Oilers.

Cam Talbot, who hadn’t won a game in over a month, came up with a huge save to keep the game at 2-1. Talbot hasn’t been good lately, but he was excellent last night and he certainly gave the team a chance to come back and win.

The Oilers were relentless in the third period. Finally, with the goalie pulled and under a minute on the clock, Connor McDavid found Oscar Klefbom at the point for a one-time bomb to tie the game at 2-2. The more we see of that Klef-bomb, the better.

This isn’t something we aren’t used to. The usually-automatic duo on McDavid and Leon Draisaitl couldn’t score a goal in overtime so we had to go to a shootout. Nugent-Hopkins and McDavid came through for the Oilers in the shootout with gorgeous goals and Cam Talbot slammed the door, stopping both Blues shots for the win.

By the numbers…

The numbers perfectly match what your eye test would tell you about last night. The Oilers were horrible in the first period, as St. Louis shelled them in shot attempts 17 to 10 in the opening frame. Then, after that, the Oilers put their foot on the gas. They took control of the game, hammering St. Louis in shot attempts 26 to nine in the second frame and 16 to eight in the third.

Thoughts…

  • When was the last time the Oilers pulled the goalie and scored a goal with under a minute to go and ended up winning the game? Seriously, I have no idea. It feels like it’s been ages. I know it wouldn’t actually be this one, but the last time I can legitimately remember it happening was back in 2005-06 when Chris Pronger scored that game-tying goal against the Coyotes with like a second left on the clock.
  • Cam Talbot had himself a monkey-off-the-back game. The great thing about having him and Mikko Koskinen on the team is how they push each other to be good. If one isn’t playing well, the other is in net, and both know they have to earn their spot in net. That certainly wasn’t the case in the past when Talbot was starting 70 games a season no matter what. Talbot made a few huge stops to keep the Oilers in the game and, hopefully, this represents a turning point for him.
  • The second pairing of Kris Russell and Darnell Nurse had a rough night. I’m not sure I would throw blame at either player, but this isn’t a pairing that works all too well. Ideally, Andrej Sekera returns to 2015-16 form, but that’s a big ask. I think the Oilers need to acquire a middle-pairing defender at some point to split this pair up.