Back in the win column! Final Score: 3-2 Oilers in OT
When the Oilers and Rangers met in their first and only meeting of the season up until tonight, our boys were desperate for a win after opening the season with two straight losses. Fast forward five months into the future and we’re very much still in the same boat. With the Oilers hanging onto their playoff dreams by the skin of their teeth, every single game is a must-win at this point and the Rangers are a rebuilding squad that our boys simply had to find a way to beat. Add in the fact that it wasn’t even Lundqvist starting in net and there was even more reason for this night to end with two points. Over the past couple of weeks, the Oilers, outside of the two losses to the Leafs, have been playing some of their best hockey and tonight’s game against the Rangers provided them with an opportunity to get back in the win column and keep that momentum going.
After coming out like a house on fire and building themselves an early two-goal lead, the Oilers found themselves in the driver’s seat with an excellent chance to take complete control of the hockey game. Then, as we’ve seen many times before, the Oilers allowed their opponent to work their way back into the game with all kinds of space and puck time that gave them a lane they needed to chip away at the lead. In the second period and parts of the third, the Rangers started to get more zone time and they used it to throw absolutely everything they could at the net, a tactic ended up getting them on the board and eventually tying the game. That’s not to say that the Oilers stopped playing, they didn’t, it’s just that the Rangers were playing more of a greasy style of game while our boys were seemingly always looking for the perfect pass/play rather than throwing pucks at the net and crashing the crease for the leftovers.
At the end of the day, the Oilers managed to grind out two big points that they desperately needed but it wasn’t exactly smooth sailing that led them there.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Connor McDavid opened the scoring for the Oilers with a quick release from the slot that beat Georgiev low to the glove side. After taking the pass, Connor had that thing off his stick in a real hurry and the goaltender just couldn’t react fast enough to keep it out.
- Matt Benning extended the Oilers’ lead to two goals with a seeing-eye slapper from the point that made its way through traffic and past Georgiev. Initially, the goal was waved off due to a high stick but Ken Hitchcock challenged the call and it was deemed that it was the Rangers’ own defenceman that made contact with the goalie and not Zack Kassian as was initially thought.
- Leon Draisaitl closed out the game with one of his patented one-timers from the right side of the ice as Connor McDavid set him up perfectly with a cross-ice pass that landed right in his wheelhouse. I don’t know if anyone else gets as fired up as I do to see Leon firing from that spot all the time but it’s really turning into a sweet spot on the ice for him and I hope the good times never end. Add another three points to the pile for Leon Draisaitl as he remains Boom Shackalacka hot, hot, hot. If this was NBA Jam, the dude would be a blazing inferno at this point and I, for one, hope this heater never ends.
- After missing the game against Toronto due to illness, Mikko Koskinen was back between the pipes tonight and looked damned fine to boot. From start to finish, Koskinen was rock solid outside of the first Rangers goal and had it not been for him then we probably wouldn’t be talking about a win right now. Koskinen stood tall when his teammates needed him to and he made the saves that gave them the chance to win, which is all you can really ask from your goaltender. Koskinen finished the night with 28 saves and a .933 save%.
- Darnell Nurse had a massive game for the Oilers tonight, especially after Oscar Klefbom went down in the first period. Nurse played 30:42 for the Oilers tonight and finished his night with an assist, six shots on net, one block, and a hit. Atta be, Darryl.
- I’ve been pumping his tires a lot lately but how could I not mention how well Zack Kassian is playing right now? The guy is easily playing his best hockey as an Oiler and I am pumped about it.
- Ryan Strome didn’t score! Great success.
- Oilers won 57% of the faceoffs tonight which is a beautiful sight for this bagged-blogger.
- BACK ON DEM POST-WIN COCKTAILS! As always, you can join in on the #BoozeNotBeets win cast conversation over on my Twitter account.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Brendan Lemieux got the Rangers on the board with a quick writer that he snapped from the hash marks that beat Koskinen to the far side. By the way Koskinen reacted, you could tell that he didn’t like the goal and felt like he probably should have had it and I would tend to agree to agree with him.
- Brett Howden tied the game up with his first goal in 36 games after Tobias Rieder coughed up a terrible turnover right in front of the net that was basically a gift for the Rangers. Brutal.
- I didn’t like how the Oilers allowed the Rangers to work their way back into the game with a couple of flukey goals that probably shouldn’t have happened. Yeah, I know shit happens but I felt like the Oilers were giving the Rangers more opportunities with the puck than they deserved.
- Seeing Oscar Klefbom take a slapshot to the pills in the first period was painful for every single dude that watching the game tonight and I wish the guy a speedy recovery. I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we all sent out a thought and a prayer out into the universe for him.
- Tobias Rieder may never score again.
|06:08||Edmonton||PPG – Connor McDavid (34) ASST: Alex Chiasson (12), Leon Draisaitl (46)||0-1|
|08:02||Edmonton||Matt Benning (3) ASST: Leon Draisaitl (47), Zack Kassian (9)||0-2|
|11:29||New York||Brendan Lemieux (11) ASST: Kevin Shattenkirk (22)||1-2|
|01:33||New York||Brett Howden (5) ASST: Brendan Lemieux (5)||2-2|
|00:35||Edmonton||Leon Draisaitl (42) ASST: Connor McDavid (64), Darnell Nurse (27)||2-3|
— Naked Nines (@PantlessWayne) March 12, 2019
Wild down by 1.
Coyotes down by 3.
Klefbom down by 2.
— ⛺️?☕️ TCD ☕️?⛺️ (@The_Camper_Dave) March 12, 2019
@jsbmbaggedmilk don’t wanna get you too excited, especially if you’re in a public place, but I just saw that Nugey has a slight McTuft going on right now.
— OilFan – (Grief Stage: Acceptance) (@kalahari_jr) March 12, 2019
— The Towel Boy (@TheTowelBoy) March 12, 2019
Rieder is saving it for the playoffs.
— VisuallyBetter (@Isuckatpicking) March 12, 2019
Strome is just so good at slacking off in overtime in Edmonton
— Cody Matthews (@MatthewsECody) March 12, 2019
— Susan Dechant (@dechant_susan) March 12, 2019
Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 3/11/2019 – 9:45 pm MT