Take that, worst team in the NHL! Final Score: 4-2 Oilers
After the disaster that took place in Toronto last night, I had a hard time imagining any scenario where the Oilers didn’t play better than what we saw against the Leafs. For about six minutes during that second period, the Oilers were as bad as we’ve seen all year and that set the bar so low that I refused to believe that they couldn’t be better. Coupling the fact that the Senators are ranked dead last in the NHL and that they just traded away their three best players, I felt like there was no better opportunity for the Oilers to right the ship after getting blown out than tonight in the nation’s capital. That was the hope, anyway. So when the Oilers found themselves down by an early goal that should have been prevented, all I could do was shake my head and try to process what the hell is going on around here.
Fortunately, as the game moved through the second period and into the third, the Oilers were able to settle things down a little bit and actually produce some chances for themselves in the offensive zone. I don’t know why it took them a period before figuring out what they needed to do but I guess it’s better to show up later rather than never? Rather than sitting back and waiting for the Senators to do their thing, the Oilers were much more aggressive with and without the puck over the last 40 minutes and that allowed them to carve out their own opportunities rather than always waiting for a chance to counterpunch. No, I’m not saying that their game was anywhere close to perfect but I was happy to see some signs of life. That said, even with the win I thought the Oilers gave the Senators way too much space in all three zones and it wasn’t exactly encouraging to see the last place hockey team outskate and outwork our boys for large portions of this hockey game.
I mean, we’ll take the win and the two points but let’s not pretend that this couldn’t have easily gone the other way.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Connor McDavid tied the game up at one apiece after he found the puck right in the slot and perfectly executed the Gordon Bombay triple-deke to fake out Anderson and roof his 33rd goal of the season.
- Sam Gagner gave the Oilers their first lead of the night with his third goal in seven games back after the trade that sent Ryan Spooner to Vancouver. Ty Rattie did a nice job of finding the puck at the side of the net and sending it out front where Gagner was waiting with his stick on the ice before sliding the puck past Anderson and into the empty cage.
- Colby Cave scored his first goal as an Oiler tonight after he pulled off a nifty little deke in tight that sent Anderson sprawling the wrong way, leaving an empty side for Cave to tuck the puck into. Cave has been playing well over the last little while and I was happy to see him get rewarded for his efforts.
- Zack Kassian added an empty-netter to give the Oilers some much needed insurance as the Senators were really pouring it on over the last 10 minutes of play. Personally, I thought Kass may have been offside on the play but I definitely won’t complain about the goal not coming back.
- After getting the hook last night, I was really interested to see how Mikko Koskinen was going to respond. I mean, let’s be honest, some of those guys he allowed against the Leafs were AHL calibre and he needed to be better in every single way if the Oilers were going to have a chance to win. Koskinen held up his part of the bargain today as he stopped 35 of 37 shots and finished with a .946 save%.
- I wanted to give a shout out to the Rieder-Cave-Currie line for being one of the most effective trios the Oilers had all night. Yeah, I understand how sad it is that this line was arguably the team’s best, but that’s where we at and I thought they deserved some love for it.
- Speaking of Josh Currie, he got his first career assist tonight on Connor McDavid’s second period goal and he added another on Cave’s third period marker. We’ve reached the point of the season where we’re forced to look for silver linings and Currie’s enthusiasm certainly qualifies. Who knows where he ends up in the long run, but I’m happy for the guy for the little run he’s on right now.
- Darnell Nurse had another fine night on the blue line as he finished his night with a team-high 24:50, an assist, a hit, and four blocked shots.
- Magnus Paajarvi didn’t score! Great success.
- Let there be booze! As always, you can join in on the #BoozeNotBeets wincast conversation over on my Twitter account.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Chris Tierney opened the scoring for the Senators after he lost his man behind the net, made his way to the front of the crease, and smashed home a loose puck underneath Koskinen.
- Are you surprised to hear that Mark Borowiecki scored his first goal of the season tonight? You’re not, are you? How about if I tell you that it was the first goal he’s scored in his last 62 games? No, I didn’t think so.
- Shout out to the Oilers for having another goal against waved off. We’re on a nice little run of luck with these goal calls right now, and I don’t ever want the train to stop.
- Getting outshot 37-26 by the last place team is not a great look and had it not been for Koskinen then this game could have easily been over early, and that’s a horrible reality to be living.
- How about the Oilers winning only 44% of the draws tonight? Not near good enough against an AHL team like the Senators.
- I was trying to figure out which of these two teams has more AHLers on their roster and I actually struggled, which is a terrible sign if you’re a fan of the Edmonton Oilers.
|13:59||Ottawa||Chris Tierney (7) ASST: Brady Tkachuk (18), Drake Batherson (6)||0-1|
|06:47||Edmonton||Connor McDavid (33) ASST: Josh Currie (1)||1-1|
|17:21||Edmonton||Sam Gagner (4) ASST: Ty Rattie (7), Matt Benning (9)||2-1|
|01:46||Edmonton||Colby Cave (2) ASST: Josh Currie (2)||3-1|
|07:15||Ottawa||Mark Borowiecki (1) ASST: Christian Jaros (8), Colin White (20)||3-2|
|18:53||Edmonton||EN – Zack Kassian (9) ASST: Darnell Nurse (25), Leon Draisaitl (39)||4-2|
31 vs 26 is underway.
— Rob Tychkowski (@Rob_Tychkowski) March 1, 2019
At least we broke that Tierny guy out of his slump.
— St. Michel (@TroyPeterson99) March 1, 2019
Just think about how mad everyone is gonna be when we win the draft lottery 🙂
— Xavier Alonso (@xalonso54) March 1, 2019
How long till McDavid snaps like Ned Flanders?
'Now calm down Connolly-onolly-onolly-onolly, they played their best shoddily-iddily-iddily diddly, gotta be nice hostility-itily-bitily-diddly AW HELL DIDDLY DING DONG CRAP! CANT YOU MORONS DO ANYTHING RIGHT?' #herecometheoilers
— Chris Topher (@SezChris) March 1, 2019
Got a MPS jersey the day after that game lol.
— Zack (@KrazyKraka187) March 1, 2019
Another Oiler to score before Rieder… 🤔 Poor guy.
— Trent Billey (@TrentBilley) March 1, 2019
Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 2/28/2019 – 8:00 pm MT