HOLY HELL WHAT A COMEBACK! Final Score: 4-3 Oilers in OT
After the gong show in Minnesota, the Edmonton Oilers desperately needed a better effort in almost every facet of their game, and I don’t think I’m exaggerating. Outside of a guy or two, the team was flat from start to finish and that’s not nearly good enough or anywhere close to it — full stop. If the boys were serious about wanting to right the ship against a very good Capitals team, they were going to need more from every player in the lineup, including a bounce-back performance from the special teams and more strong goaltending. To put it another way, this wasn’t going to be another gimme game bestowed upon us by an easy stretch of the schedule, the Capitals are once again a legitimate threat in the Eastern Conference, and tonight’s matchup was going to be a much better benchmark of where the Oilers are at as a team.
Coming into tonight’s game, the Caps had won four straight games and the Oilers were going to have to be at their best if they were going to end the streak. In the early going, both sides had plenty of puck time and chances, though neither was able to get anything past the opposing goaltender, and with the Oilers riding a two-game goalless streak, you absolutely know that the lack of scoring must have been at the front of mind. Thankfully, nearly the end of the first period, Darnell Nurse brought a little bit of rain to the city after getting a goal off of a lucky bounce, ending the drought and giving the Oilers their first lead (and goal) since last Friday against Detroit. The bad news was that the Capitals wouldn’t roll over and die. In the second period, they were able to rattle off three straight goals, a likely death sentence for last year’s Oilers team, but our boys didn’t have any quit in them and they found a way to claw back into a game that many people thought was over and done with.
Frankly, getting this game into overtime took all kinds of balls (and some luck too), but I don’t think there’s any doubt that this was a massive win that many of us wouldn’t have seen coming at the end of 40 minutes. Once again, you have to admire the resilience shown by the Oilers’ star players as they did everything they could to drag their team back into the win column.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- After what seemed like an eternity without scoring a goal (165:58 to be exact), Darnell Nurse ended the drought late in the first period after he went to centre the puck and it deflected in past Holtby off of a Capitals’ defender. It wasn’t the prettiest goal by any means, but Gord knows we’ll take it.
- Leon Draisaitl pulled the Oilers to within a single goal (3-2) after being the business end of a perfectly executed 2-on-1 with Connor McDavid. The duo hadn’t had much luck on their 2-on-1s in the past couple of games, but they absolutely nailed it with this one. Since scoring on a perfectly executed 2-on-1 was so fun in the third period, the dynamic duo decided to do it again in overtime with Leon being the recipient of another perfect pass from the captain that he was able to smash past Holtby.
- Connor McDavid had been quiet for the past couple of games which was concerned to some but he was much better tonight, culminating with the game-tying goal he scored in the final moments of the third period. The Captain looked more like himself as he was flying around the ice, making plays, and causing havoc for Washington’s defenceman basically every time he was on the ice, especially in the third period. How about another three-point night for the captain?
- Mikko Koskinen was back between the pipes for the Oilers tonight, and he had a big job ahead of him considering the calibre of shooters the Capitals have in their lineup. After being perfect in the first period, Koskinen faced some adversity in the second as he was tagged for three straight markers, with the first goal being one that he’d definitely want back. However, Mikko shut the door in the third period and it gave the Oilers the backdrop they needed to complete an incredible comeback victory, something that wouldn’t have happened without the big Finn shutting the door. Was it a perfect win? No, not at all, but Mikko Koskinen finds himself on a five-game winning streak and a big reason the Oilers came away with two points. He finished the night with 25 saves and a .893 save%.
- Ethan Bear played a monster 26:48 tonight which led all Oilers defenders in ice time. I know I say this every night, but Bear continues to impress and he seems to get better and better as Tippett keeps giving him more minutes. The kid is hands down one of the best stories of this season so far.
- Sam Gagner made his season debut with the Oilers tonight and I thought he did a nice job of doing what was expected of him, meaning that he helped contribute a few offensive chances to a lineup that desperately needed them.
- For a team that ranks dead last in the NHL in shots on goal, the Oilers were able to throw 40 at Holtby and it’s hard to argue that this wasn’t a major reason they were able to come back.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Jakub Vrana tied the game (1-1) with a spin-o-rama shot from the boards that snuck through Koskinen near the body and it was a goal that the goalie would definitely love to have back.
- Moments after Vrana’s goal. Alex Ovechkin gave the Capitals the lead (2-1) after he parked himself in the high slot and deflected a high point shot in past Koskinen. In less than a minute, the Oilers went from leading the game to trailing by one. Midway through the second period, Ovechkin added a second goal on the power play after he found himself with all kinds of time that allowed him to pick the top corner with a perfect snipe.
- The bottom six needs to get something going offensively because they’re not doing much more than killing minutes right now and that’s a tough spot to put this team in once again. I mean, we saw this movie last year and it doesn’t end up so well so I’d really like to see someone (ANYONE) on those bottom two lines chip in with a point or two. Lawd.
- I don’t know what happened to the Oilers’ power play in the last week but it seems to have been haunted by some kind of demon. Does anyone know how much an exorcism costs?
- Speaking of special teams, the PK didn’t fare much better. On two kills, the Capitals were able to score once and those kinds of percentages that make it more difficult to win hockey games.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has had so many great scoring chances this year without being able to finish that it’s starting to drive me nuts. By my count, he’s at about seven or eight posts already and tonight he got robbed by Holtby with after pulling off a nice little move to his backhand on a second period powerplay. The guy is getting his share of chances but he’s not getting any puck luck to go along with them.
- NHL site had the giveaways as 19-11 for the Oilers and I’d have to agree that they were coughing up the puck too much. Get rid of a few of those needless passes and I think we can bring this number down.
- Do we care about 49% in the faceoff circle? We don’t, do we? Not tonight.
|13:20||Edmonton||Darnell Nurse (2) ASST: Leon Draisaitl (11), Zack Kassian (4)||0-1|
|05:40||Washington||Jakub Vrana (4)||1-1|
|06:27||Washington||Alex Ovechkin (8) ASST: Jonas Siegenthaler (2), John Carlson (16)||2-1|
|13:40||Washington||PPG – Alex Ovechkin (9) ASST: Tom Wilson (3), Jakub Vrana (3)||3-1|
|04:25||Edmonton||Leon Draisaitl (7) ASST: Connor McDavid (13), Zack Kassian (5)||3-2|
|18:22||Edmonton||Connor McDavid (6) ASST: James Neal (2), Alex Chiasson (2)||3-3|
|01:18||Edmonton||Leon Draisaitl (8) ASST: Connor McDavid (14)||3-4|
— dave reeve (@dreeve37) October 25, 2019
This is supposed to be good family fun I’m watching with my three sons who I’m allowed to see once a month, Dæyn, Bostyn, and Yance, and this is unacceptable
— Cam Lewis (@cooom) October 25, 2019
Beet futures are tanking
— Boots (@55_Boots) October 25, 2019
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Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 10/24/2019 – 10:05 pm MT