What kind of paperwork do we need to fill out to play Columbus every night? Final Score: 4-1 Oilers
Remember the last time the Oilers played against Columbus? Of course you do. Our boys strolled into CBJ’s barn, threw down one of the most impressive games of the season, and walked away with two big points that looked like the start of something bigger. Instead, here were are only a couple short weeks later and rather than talking about a playoff push, we’re trying to figure out why the team’s CEO would think it’s a good idea to blame Tobias Rieder for not making the playoffs in front of a room full of people. Yeah, I know he apologized and said he and Rieder laughed about it, but I’m still trying to wrap my head around this one. Though, considering that I’ve been an Oilers fan my whole life, I’m not sure why I would be surprised by the weird things that go on with this hockey team.
As for the game itself, I wanted another taste of what happened the last time these two teams met. I’m not saying that I was necessarily expecting another 4-0 shutout, though it would certainly be nice, but maybe something with that same type of effort and intensity? I don’t think that’s too much to ask, right? Unfortunately, at least to start, what we got was an absolute snoozer that saw both clubs firing only six combined shots on net by the time the game was a period old. To be fair, things picked up in the second period as both teams managed to generate some shots on net and trade a pair goals, but even then, there wasn’t a whole lot to get excited about outside of a few flashes here and there. Periods of boredom aside, with the game tied heading into the third period, the Oilers had a chance to add two more points to the coffers and throw up another roadblock in front of Columbus’ playoff drive.
Much to the delight of my beet-stained insides, the three big boys took things over in the third period and put the game on their backs as they produced six points between them on the team’s three goals, powering the Oilers to a big 4-1 win.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- The Oilers tied the game up at one apiece on a play that started with some strong board-work by both Josh Currie and Joseph Gambardella that resulted in a loose puck that sprung Kyle Brodziak for a clear chance on goal.
- Zack Kassian gave the Oilers their first lead of the night after he found himself as the business end of a perfectly executed 2-on-1 with Connor McDavid that left the goalie with absolutely no chance. The goal was Kassian’s 14th of the year which ties his career high in goals, something he last accomplished back in 2013-14 with the Vancouver Canucks. The guy has been rolling since Hitchcock bumped him up with Connor and it’s been fun to watch him take advantage of the opportunity.
- Connor McDavid scored his 37th goal of the year after Leon Draisaitl fed him a perfect saucer pass that set him up with all the time and space he needed to strip the goaltender down to his undies and spank his bum. Hell of a goal for the captain. I’ve always got time for McPoints, and want it to be known that I’m grateful for each and every one of them.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored the Oilers’ fourth goal and set a new career-high with his 25th goal of the season after Leon Draisaitl set him up with a wonderful opportunity from the slot. From there, Nuge ripped a wrister through Korpisalo’s arm and body, nailing the coffin shut in the process.
- Leon Draisaitl lazily put up another three points tonight, including some absolutely beautiful passes to set up McDavid and RNH. What a guy.
- Joseph Gambardella picked up an assist on Brodziak’s first period goal which resulted in his first ever NHL point, and for that reason, we speak his name.
- Mikko Koskinen got yet another start tonight and I was very interested to see how he’d do given the fact that he got an early hook on Tuesday night in St. Louis. Much to our collective delight, Koskinen was rock solid tonight despite not being overly busy. In the end, he made the saves he needed to make and it gave the Oilers the confidence they needed to get the job done. Koskinen finished with 18 saves and a .947 save%.
- Can we talk about how nice it’s been to have Andrej Sekera back in the lineup? The guy’s poise with the puck has been so very missed and I forgot how much I appreciated the little things he does.
- The Oilers did a very nice job of keeping the Blue Jackets from getting shots on goal tonight. Despite their own struggles with getting pucks on net, you’ve gotta respect the fact that the Oilers only allowed 19 shots on net tonight.
- Do I love the Oilers winning 55% of the faceoffs tonight? Yes. Yes, I do.
- Torts’ press conference should be fun.
- There shall be booze! As always, you can join in on the #BoozeNotBeets win cast conversation over on my Twitter account.
THE FACE PALMERS
- David Savard opened the scoring for Columbus midway through the second period after he found his way to the slot just in time to perfectly deflect a hard pass from Nutivaara past Koskinen and into the net. Considering the game had so few shots at that point, it was anyone’s guess who would crack the code first.
- The NHL site had the Oilers with 14 giveaways tonight (Columbus had eight) but I think that number is a little bit high.
- How was there only one penalty called all game? It’s not that I’m complaining, we all know the Oilers’ PK has been suspect over the years, I just find that to be a strange stat.
- I still can’t believe that Bob Nicholson thought it was a good idea to throw Tobias Rieder under the bus in front of a bunch of season ticket holders. Yeah, I know he apologized, but there’s no way that this kind of crap doesn’t affect what’s going on in the dressing room. For a team that loves to talk about character as much as the Oilers do, it’s pretty shocking how often they make themselves look like they don’t know what the words means. That said, Rieder may never score again.
|11:35||Columbus||David Savard (6) ASST: Markus Nutivaara (14), Ryan Dzingel (28)||1-0|
|13:17||Edmonton||Kyle Brodziak (6) ASST: Joseph Gambardella (1), Josh Currie (3)||1-1|
|00:45||Edmonton||Zack Kassian (14) ASST: Connor McDavid (70), Leon Draisaitl (49)||1-2|
|14:02||Edmonton||Connor McDavid (37) ASST: Leon Draisaitl (50), Darnell Nurse (28)||1-3|
|16:15||Edmonton||PPG – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (25) ASST: Leon Draisaitl (51), Andrej Sekera (3)||1-4|
This whole time I thought it was Oilers fault you kept having to eat beets…. clearly it was all Tobias’ fault. Who woulda thunk it?! 🤷♂️
— Curtis Cripps (@curtiscripps) March 22, 2019
Hitch has a spring in his step
— Woodguy (@Woodguy55) March 22, 2019
Now hear me out; John Shannon, President of Hockey Operations.
— Chris Rogers (@SkaSaxGuy) March 22, 2019
What’s his glove hand like? Asking for a friend…
— Mike (@tpr0012) March 22, 2019
They'd probably be making the playoffs if Brodziak had 10-15 goals but Toby Reider is holding him back #BlameToby
— Chevy 🍕🍺 (@ThatTommyCkid) March 22, 2019
— Dustin Nielson (@nielsonTSN1260) March 22, 2019
— The Towel Boy (@TheTowelBoy) March 22, 2019
Maybe Bob Nicholson…
— FatDad69 (@fat_dad69) March 22, 2019
Clearly he doesn't care. Might not even get to 50 goals.
— The CW (@CJW_101) March 22, 2019
Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 3/21/2019 – 9:45 pm MT