17
Photo Credit: © Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Coyotes 3, Oilers 2 (SO) post-game Oil Spills: McDavid-less Oilers squeak out a loser point

Edmonton’s losing streak has now reached five games, but, at the very least, the team managed to squeak out a point against the Coyotes last night. Given the circumstances, that isn’t a bad result.

What happened?

Minutes before the game, it was announced Connor McDavid wasn’t going to be in the lineup as he was dealing with the flu. Spending an entire day at a packed West Edmonton Mall will do that to you. With McDavid out, we knew the Oilers weren’t going to have much margin for error.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

After a tight, scoreless first in which the best chance the Oilers had was Alex Chiasson missing an open net, the Coyotes finally opened the scoring. Jakob Chychrun got a shot on net from the point and Josh Archibald buried the rebound past a sprawling Mikko Koskinen.

The Coyotes completely dominated the second period and it looked like they were going to cruise to an easy win, but the Oilers came out hard in the third period. They got a major momentum swing early on when Leon Draisaitl fed Adam Larsson for a one-timer at the point that went right through a screened Darcy Kuemper.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Despite Edmonton carrying the play and having some extended power play time, Arizona ended up regaining the lead mid-way through the third. Vinnie Hinostroza won a battle against Ryan Nugent-Hopkins down low and then beat him to the front of the net where he would bury a pass from Niklas Hjalmarsson.

Nugent-Hopkins would make up for the go-ahead goal in the dying seconds. Leon Draisaitl fired a cross-zone pass to RNH, Kuemper made the original save, but RNH would stick with it and bury his own rebound to tie the game.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Vinnie Hinostroza would end up sealing the game in the fourth round of the shootout. I was really feeling a Sam Gagner shootout winner, like the good old days, but it wasn’t meant to be.

By the numbers

This game really was a tale of two periods. The Coyotes completely dominated the second as the Oilers looked like they were staking around in quicksand. The Oilers came out hard in the third and got a big boost after Larsson scored that tying goal. All told, the first was close, both teams had a dominant period, and the shot attempts ended up split right down the middle.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Thoughts…

  • With McDavid out, last night’s game presented an opportunity for the rest of the team to step up and show what they can do. Most of all, really, it was a chance for Leon Draisaitl to be the guy without McDavid. The narrative around Draisaitl has become “he can only produce with McDavid and he can’t drive his own line.” The first time this year McDavid missed a game back in Dallas, Draisaitl was pretty much Edmonton’s only offensive force. It was the same deal last night against Arizona, as Draisaitl did a lot of the heavy lifting. Draisaitl had the primary assist on both Oilers goals last night and he was on the ice for roughly half of Edmonton’s high danger chances.
  • One thing I found disappointing was how little we saw of the Draisaitl/RNH combo. They started together as a trio with RNH-Draisaitl-Kassian, but RNH and Draisaitl only ended up playing 4:22 minutes together at even strength.
  • Zack Kassian had himself another strong game. He’s taken the opportunity in the top-six and ran with it. Many forget that Kassian was once a high draft pick and a top prospect, but he’s got some skill and offensive awareness. I would keep him up in that role for the rest of the season to try and build up his trade value.
  • Andrej Sekera made his season debut last night on the team’s third pair with Matt Benning. It was the first time all year Edmonton had their ideal blueline on the ice. It was nice having Sekera’s good first pass back in the mix because one thing the Oilers sorely lack is defenders who can transition the puck well. The pair struggled a little bit in their own zone, but given the fact he’s hardly played in the past 16 months, Sekera looked pretty solid out there.