Long live secondary scoring! Final Score: 3-2 Oilers
There’s always something annoying about a game against the Canucks isn’t there? For years, the Sedins shredded the Oilers like cheese for a pizza and even now that they’re retired our boys haven’t seemed to be able to find the key to unlock this franchise. In the three meetings leading up to tonight, the Oilers spent two of those nights looking for and successfully finding new and interesting ways to lose. Even with the Canucks being down some important pieces and playing on the second half of a back-to-back, I was at the game in late December when the boys allowed four goals on six shots in the first period and that baby is burned into my mind as an example of what not to do. That said, the boys have been playing well over this last stretch of games and I was really hoping that coming back home from the road trip wasn’t going to stop the good times from rolling.
Much to our collective delight, the Oilers were good to go from the moment the puck dropped. Actually, I might even go so far as to say that Edmonton played what was basically an ideal home period outside of taking the one penalty they took that went unpunished. The problem, of course, is that we’ve been hurt before so watching the Oilers pull out to an early lead doesn’t necessarily come with the levels of satisfaction that it should. Even as they built themselves a three-goal lead that looked like it was going to be enough to put the Canucks out of their misery, the Oilers found themselves making handfuls of little mistakes that cost them offensive chances against, some of which eventually found their way into the back of the net. As the game moved through the third period, the Canucks kept the pressure on and it turned what looked to be a sure win into a one-goal game that had the feel like it could go either way.
It wasn’t exactly perfect, but our boys were able to get the saves and offence they needed to close out a game that they absolutely needed to have. Next up, a rematch with the Leafs.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Alex Chiasson opened the scoring with his 19th goal of the season after Sam Gagner made a beautiful play behind the net that saw him taking his man, separating him from the puck, and making the perfect pass into the slot to the waiting PTO hero.
- Zack Kassian kept his hot streak going tonight as he picked up his 12th goal of the season off of a beautiful cross-crease pass from Connor McDavid that hit him right on the tape. Now that Kass has goals in four straight games after finding a spot on the top line with Connor and Leon, it’s hard to imagine that he had asked for a trade earlier in the season.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins set a new career high in points tonight with his 21st goal of the season, one that could end up being one of the easiest ones he’ll ever score. That’s not to say there was no skill involved in the goal, there certainly was, but Nuge used that big ol’ brain of his to get into the right spot and angle his stick. From there, Connor McDavid had the puck in the high slot and fired a hard pass over to his left where RNH was waiting with his stick on the ice for the “easy” deflection. It was a perfect pass by Connor and an equally perfect finish by Nuge that put the Oilers up by three goals in the early moments of the second period.
- Mikko Koskinen got another start tonight and I’ll be continually interested to see how he handles the starting job down the stretch. With a fresh three-year contract in his pocket, Koskinen has the keys to dad’s car and all we can do is cheer for the guy as he tries to navigate the corn maze they’ve thrown him in. As he has been in most games since the Talbot trade, Koskinen was rock solid between the pipes tonight and made the big and small saves his team needed to close out the win. In the end, he finished his night with 35 saves and a .943 save%.
- Connor McDavid put himself on a list with some fine company as he registered his third straight season with 60+ assists. Have to love adding another pair of assists on the McPile.
- Sam Gagner registered his 300th NHL point tonight with his assist on Alex Chiasson’s first period goal and I could not be happier about it. The dude has been pure magic since coming back to town and it’s the storyline we all needed to power us through the rest of the season.
- Did Leon Draisaitl get another point tonight? Yes. Yes, he did. Why? Because he’s on fire. The dude is so hot that he may spontaneously combust.
- I’ll give the Oilers props for killing off all four penalties they took, but I’d prefer if they didn’t get that many in the first place, ya know?
- MOAR POST-WIN COCKTAILS! As always, you can join in on the #BoozeNotBeets win cast conversation over on my Twitter account.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Jay Beagle got the Canucks on the board with a deflection from the slot that beat Mikko Koskinen low to the blocker side. Would you be surprised if I tell you that Beagle hadn’t scored in 21 games before tonight? You probably would be, would you? No, I didn’t think so.
- Alex Edler pulled the Canucks back to within a single goal with a seeing-eye wrist shot from the point that made its way through traffic and past Mikko Koskinen. Horvat made his way to the slot and had Edler’s point shot bounced in off the shaft of his stick, and despite the coach’s challenge for goaltender interference, the review came up in the Canucks favour and they were back in the mix.
- I’m not really a big fan of the Oilers giving up 37 shots against a team that’s missing a few key guys and that played last night.
- Wouldn’t it have been nice if the power play was able to cash one in tonight? Maybe then I would have been able to breathe during the last few minutes of the game.
- The Oilers gave up waaaaaay too many odd-man rushes tonight and they were very lucky that Mikko Koskinen was there to pick up the trash more often than not.
- Oilers win their fourth straight but don’t get any closer to the second Wild Card spot.
- Tobias Rieder may never score again.
- Oilers won only 45% of the faceoffs tonight which isn’t good enough against a younger team like Vancouver.
|05:21||Edmonton||Alex Chiasson (19) ASST: Sam Gagner (4)||0-1|
|14:07||Edmonton||Zack Kassian (12) ASST: Connor McDavid (60), Leon Draisaitl (43)||0-2|
|01:02||Edmonton||Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (21) ASST: Connor McDavid (61)||0-3|
|18:30||Vancouver||Jay Beagle (3) ASST: Brock Boeser (24), Ashton Sautner (1)||1-3|
|07:03||Vancouver||Alexander Edler (7) ASST: Brock Boeser (25), Elias Pettersson (31)||2-3|
— Slamin Samin (@samakehurst91) March 8, 2019
I push my fingers into my eyes pic.twitter.com/crCzajcNGT
— catatonicyouths (@catatonicyouths) March 5, 2019
Nuge is the best. Even fans of the Calgary Flames are giving him props tonight!
— FatDad69 (@fat_dad69) March 8, 2019
Found you!!! pic.twitter.com/fdtwG9fBZn
— David Smitten (@DavidSmitten) March 8, 2019
Poor fella is going to end up with the scurvy…
— Colin Stuckless (@ColinStuckless) March 8, 2019
Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 3/7/2019 – 9:30 pm MT