Mikko Koskinen, we speak your name! Final Score: 4-1 Oilers.
Does anyone else have the problem of scoreboard watching and getting angry when things don’t go our way? Last night, Calgary pulled themselves to within a single point of the Oilers and I found myself getting irritated by their win, especially since it was Cam Talbot that’s was leading the charge. Now, I realize how ridiculous that may seem since the Oilers were unable to do anything about it on an off day, but that doesn’t change the fact that I was annoyed anyway. Meaningful games in March are stressful, ya know? That said, the best way to squash the stress and soothe the scoreboard-related irritation was for the Oilers to keep winning and there was no better opportunity to do so than against a struggling Columbus Blue Jackets team that they’ve absolutely owned over the last couple of seasons.
Throughout the first period, the Blue Jackets were able to generate all kinds of chances on net but were denied by Koskinen, which allowed the Oilers to weather what ended up being a horrible frame for the home side. As a result, Koskinen’s stellar work was huge as it kept the game scoreless until the Oilers were able to grab a lead that they probably didn’t deserve off of an Alex Chiasson blast from the top of the circle. Moving into the second period, Edmonton needed to be better in basically every area if they were going to maintain or build upon their lead because they were tough to watch in the first. Thankfully, they did settle things down a little bit in the middle third, but they still struggled mightily to connect on passes or generate any kind of consistent pressure in the offensive zone. Frankly, the fact that they were able to maintain their lead through 40 minutes had more to do with Koskinen’s excellence than it did with the team playing well.
Heading into the third period, the Oilers were extremely lucky to be hanging onto their one-goal lead despite being severely outshot and outplayed. The good news is that they were able to extend their lead in the final 20 minutes, adding three goals up on the board in the latter stages of the period for a total that was simply too much for Columbus to overcome. That said, it was Mikko Koskinen that deserves the credit for tonight’s victory as he was lights out from the opening faceoff until the very end, and that allowed the Oilers to steal a win that they really shouldn’t have had. That said, sometimes you need your goalie to steal one and that’s the second time he’s been able to do that this week, a luxury we haven’t seen for this team in years. It may not have been prettiest win you’ll ever see — it was actually 50 shades of ugly — but you have to be happy to collect two points and move on to the next one.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Alex Chiasson opened the scoring for the Oilers early in the first period when he fired a half slapshot towards the net that made its way through a screen and beat Korpisalo on the glove side. Frankly, it was a little bit of an ugly goal but I was certainly happy to have it. Chiasson finished the night with a goal and assist.
- Caleb Jones added some insurance (2-0) late in the third period after he blasted a one-timer from the point that deflected on its way to the net and beat Korpisalo down low. I can’t tell you how much the Oilers needed that goal because it felt, at times, like they were hanging on for dear life.
- Only moments after Caleb Jones put the Oilers up by two goals, Connor McDavid added a third goal after a pretty little passing play by the first line that resulted in the captain having a tap-in. Through 40 minutes, McDavid had been a little bit quiet but he seemed to get his wheels going a lot more in the third period which was a welcomed sight to see.
- Riley Sheahan pulled out his best Josh Archibald impression as he scored the empty-netter to make it 4-1 Oilers.
- After a pair of strong appearances this past week, Mikko Koskinen was back between the pipes for his 33rd start of the year, tasked with getting the Oilers back into the win column against a desperate Columbus team that’s looking to hang onto their Wildcard spot. To put it lightly, Koskinen was hands down the best Oiler tonight and had it not been for him then Columbus would have easily run away with this game. From start to finish, he was fantastic. Full stop. Koskinen finished the night with 45 saves and a .978 save%.
- I was pumped to see that Oscar Klefbom was back in the lineup tonight as it not only gave the backend a boost but it also allowed everyone else to be properly slotted and not being forced to fight above their weight class. Even though he only played 22:16 tonight, it was nice to see the way he was able to defend and move the puck up ice.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins picked up an assist on Connor McDavid’s goal and extended his point streak to five games.
- The Oilers got another strong performance from their penalty killers tonight, handling all three chances they faced. Compared to the disaster we’ve seen from the PK over the last couple of seasons, the work the boys have been doing while down a man in 2019-20 has been simply remarkable.
- Edmonton won 56% of the faceoffs tonight and you guys know how much that makes me happy.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Gustav Nyquist broke the shutout with less than a minute left in the third period which was a real shame because it would have been nice to see Koskinen rewarded for a stellar evening. You could tell from the look on Dave Tippett’s face after the goal that he was not happy with his club for allowing the late goal to snap the goose egg.
- I don’t know why the Oilers had such a tough time connecting on passes tonight but it was a real problem that didn’t seem to go away. The NHL site has the giveaways listed at 16-5 for the Oilers and I feel like that’s being extremely generous because it felt like they were coughing the puck up a lot more than that.
- Getting outshot 46-24 isn’t a great look at the best of times. Third game in a row that this has happened and it’s a trend that needs to stop in a hurry.
- I’m not sure how the Oilers only got one powerplay chance tonight but they looked gross in that lone opportunity. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think they even got a shot on net?
- The Oilers’ offensive looked like it was concerned more about the toilet paper shortage than it was about scoring goals.
- Louie DeBrusk mentioned in the second period that Connor McDavid has been battling illness over the last little while which would explain why he doesn’t look quite like himself. Here’s hoping he gets healthy in short order because Gord knows we need him.
|03:08||Edmonton||Alex Chiasson (10) ASST: Jujhar Khaira (4), James Neal (11)||0-1|
|15:29||Edmonton||Caleb Jones (4) ASST: Kris Russell (9), Alex Chiasson (13)||0-2|
|16:25||Edmonton||Connor McDavid (33) ASST: Zack Kassian (18), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (39)||0-3|
|19:00||Columbus||Gustav Nyquist (15) ASST: Zach Werenski (21), Alexander Wennberg (16)||1-3|
|19:30||Edmonton||EN – Riley Sheahan (8) ASST: Josh Archibald (9)||1-4|
— Josh Andersen (@Nesredna97) March 8, 2020
SEND ALL YOUR TOILET PAPER TO MCDAVID!
— Cummingtonite? (@geology24_7) March 8, 2020
Can someone check on the Oilers shoot button I think their controller is broken.
— Brad Stepanko (@Spank_YEG) March 8, 2020
GET HIM IN A HYPERBARIC CHAMBER!!!!!
— SignYam4Ever (@RPW_1832) March 8, 2020
He has a million game point streak in my heart
— easily amused (@PaulMuribellum) March 8, 2020
MI-KKO KOSKI-NEN MIKKO KOSKINEN MI-KKO KOSKI-NEN MIKKO KOSKINEN 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
— Jay Downton (@thesquireyeg) March 8, 2020
You're GD right… pic.twitter.com/84qOg1FCkn
— TheTowelBoy (@TheTowelBoy) March 8, 2020
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