Sam Gagner could be the answer. Final Score: 2-1 Oilers
I’m still trying to wrap my around how this season has gone so far and even with tonight’s win, it’s a spiritual journey that may not have an end anywhere in sight. After losing the first two games of the year, the Oilers went on a bit of a heater that shot them towards the top of their division, and it looked like they were finally moving down the right track. For a short moment, things were actually looking positive around here. But then the wheels fell off, which led to Todd McLellan being replaced by Ken Hitchcock, a new coach bump, a few weird trades, and another collapse that was somehow way worse than the one that got the first guy canned. Needless to say, it’s all been very emotional.
With the Ducks playing (and losing) last night in Calgary, the Oilers needed to do what they could to get a quick start and try to take advantage of any tired legs the visitors may have. With Connor out of the lineup, there was a lot more pressure on everyone to find a way to chip in some offence and take this game over without affording the Ducks the time they needed to settle into their gameplan. Unfortunately, the Oilers did the exact opposite of that as they snoozed through the first ten minutes of the game, registering only a single shot on goal. It was the kind of start that made me feel like we were in for a long night, and while there were patches of the game where things didn’t go their way, the Oilers managed to keep themselves engaged. Fortunately, the boys executed the rope-a-dope a little and got themselves going before the Ducks were able to cash in, turning the opportunity into a lead that they would not give up.
By no means, was this a perfect game by any means, there were plenty of holes in that hockey game, but I thought the Oilers did a good job of bending without breaking and they battled their way into a hard-fought win. At this stage of the season, the Oilers need to get some wins regardless of how they pull them out and everyone from the crease on out did enough to make that happen, and for that I’m thankful.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- How about Josh Currie opening the scoring with his first NHL goal in his third game with the Oilers!? I always love when guys get their first and to see how excited Currie was is pretty special. Not only did he score his first NHL goal, I thought Currie had a great night overall. He was effective with the puck, threw his body around when he had the chance, and always seemed to be noticeable when he was on the ice. This will be a night that he won’t ever forget and to do it on Hockey Night in Canada is a cherry on the sundae.
- Sam Gagner is on fire! BOOM SHAKALAKA! In just his fourth game with the Oilers, Gagner already put home his second goal since the trade and his return has really been giving fans something to feel good about.
- Mikko Koskinen kept his start streaking rolling today as the Oilers try to figure out what they truly have in the guy despite Chiarelli inking him to a new three-year deal only days before getting punted out of town. From his end of the bargain, Koskinen did absolutely everything the Oilers needed from him tonight and had it not been for him then we probably would be talking about another loss here. All night long, Koskinen made the kind of saves that gave his team a chance to win and he deserves a lot of props for keeping the door closed. Koskinen finished the night with 33 saves and a .971 save%.
- Oilers got a big night from Adam Larsson tonight as he played a team-high 26:02, finishing with six hits (some of them huge), three blocks, and two takeaways. I thought Larsson was very solid in his own end tonight and he seemed to swallow up any puck that was around him.
- First point for Andrej Sekera since coming back from injury! Atta be, Rej!
- Having Sam Gagner and Zack Kassian on the same line really is a mind full, isn’t it? It’s going to take a minute to get used to this new reality.
- How about the Oilers winning 55% of the draws tonight? The Ducks are an experienced team down the middle and you have to like the boys grinding out faceoff wins.
- We won a goal review from Toronto! Great success! I mean, it would have been nice to get the same result two years ago but what are you gonna do?
- Let there be booze! As always, you can join in on the #BoozeNotBeets wincast conversation over on my Twitter account.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Carter Rowney got the Ducks on the board after he charged toward the front of the net, getting himself in position to put the cross-crease pass from Nick Ritchie up over Koskinen. Matt Benning was the goose on this play as he tried to chop at the puck along the boards only to get pick-pocketed by Ritchie. Not a great look for Benning on this one.
- Can I go on record as saying I still hate when Connor McDavid is not in the lineup? I’m not going to complain about the suspension any more than I already have but I can’t help but feel personally hurt when I’m not allowed to watch him play. That said, I did appreciate how he low-key called out the DoPS after he got off the ice this morning.
- Getting outshot 34-21 is not great and had it not been for Koskinen then this game could have easily gone another way.
- Weird that there were only two penalties called tonight. It’s not that I’m complaining but that is strange considering the rivalry and historical chippiness that we tend to see from these two teams.
- Ryan Kesler maintained his status as having the league’s most punchable face for what seems like decades now. It’s an impressive run and I can’t imagine the champion that will be able to dethrone him.
|16:00||Edmonton||Josh Currie (1) ASST: Milan Lucic (11), Andrej Sekera (1)||0-1|
|00:57||Edmonton||Sam Gagner (3) ASST: Leon Draisaitl (38), Kris Russell (9)||0-2|
|11:43||Anaheim||Carter Rowney (4) ASST: Nick Ritchie (18), Michael Del Zotto (6)||1-2|
— Brad Slater (@Iwantadonair) February 23, 2019
“Is McDavid the dirtiest player of this generation?”
– A two hour TSN special.
— Yamamoto97 (@Stephane774) February 22, 2019
— Ryder (@ryderfm) February 24, 2019
.@cmcdavid97 My friend Matt and I are drinking and we could use a third person if you’re bored
— Ryan (@IAmByks) February 24, 2019
Like having McDavid and Manning on the same te—
— Kris (@Kristoph_errr) February 24, 2019
Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 2/23/2019 – 10:30 pm MT