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GDB Wrap Up 14.0: Smith shines as Oilers top Senators with 3-1 win

I’m counting Larsson’s goal which means the Oilers scored all four markers. Final Score: 3-1 Oilers

Coming into the third meeting of the season against the Senators, I found myself still annoyed about the way things ended in Calgary on Saturday night. To me, the Oilers left two points on the board because they couldn’t get a save, and I was nervous that the boys would also be thinking about what happened two days ago rather than focusing on the task at hand. I mean, sure, we all assume that the Oilers should be able to handle the Senators on any given night, but I also know that’s a team that ended their losing streak with a big win over the Canadiens. My point is that if you sleep on the Sens, they have some guys that can ruin your evening and that was an outcome that simply could not happen. The Oilers need points and the Senators are a team they should beat more often than not and it’s really as simple as that to me.

Early on, this game was a lot more even than anyone would have liked and it was stressing me out to see the Oilers pass up on a handful of quality scoring chances because they were trying to force an extra pass through. I know I exaggerate sometimes when I talk about these things but we’re talking about clear looks at the net that were completely wasted — it was shocking tbh. And with the score tied at bagels heading into the second period, the Oilers weren’t exactly in a position to be overly picky when it came to finding ways to score. Unfortunately, I didn’t expect them to go so far as to rip a shot into their own net to end the drought either. Thankfully, the boys were also able to put one into the correct net a little bit later on in the frame, but the problem of being tied with the Senators remained. However, as the game wore on through the third period, the Senators were simply outmatched as the Oilers were able to run their cycle down low as they pleased, and that added pressure and zone time was exactly what they needed to crack things open.

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In the end, the Oilers were the better hockey team and they got the two points they deserved.

The wrap.

THE BRIGHT SIDE

  • Leon Draisaitl tied the game up at one apiece after what was arguably the best shift of the season by his line. Draisaitl, Yamamoto, and Kahun ran a perfect cycle down low while also mixing in passes up top to the defencemen, and it had the Senators scrambling to the point of exhaustion. By the time Draisaitl put the puck through Murray’s legs, Ottawa had been made to look ridiculous a handful of times. Add another two points to the pile.
  • Tyler Ennis gave the Oilers the lead (2-1) with an absolute beauty of a goal that saw him perfectly execute a toe-drag to shoot combo that beat both the defenceman and Matt Murray. Initially, Ennis looked like he was going to drive wide but that’s when he decided to dangle and make something happen on his own.
  • Josh Archibald added the empty netter to put the final nail in the coffin. I was happy to see Archibald get the insurance goal since he came up with a huge blocked shot in the moments leading up to it.
  • It wasn’t exactly surprising to see that Mike Smith would man the crease for the first time this season after being taken off the IR yesterday afternoon, and my first thought when I saw the news was that we were going to have to get used to the way he plays again. Unlike Koskinen, Smith has no problem wandering out of the crease and there were a couple of times when he went out to make a play with the puck that had my anxiety CRANKED up. Even so, Smith was great in his debut and even though he was asked to bail his teammates out far more often than any of us would have liked, the veteran netminder was up to the task and rose to the challenge. Smith finished with 27 saves and a .964 save%.
  • I was almost worried that Connor McDavid’s point streak was going to end but then the captain picked up a quick assist on Archibald’s empty netter to extend the run to 10 games.
  • I love the way Evan Bouchard moves the puck. That is all. The rookie played 16:58 in TOI to go along with three shots and two blocks.
  • Edmonton needs to do better on the penalty kill and they did tonight, killing off both of Ottawa’s chances with relative ease.
  • You know I like seeing the Oilers win 52% of the faceoffs.
  • The Oilers didn’t have a single fighting major over their first 13 games but they got two scraps in the opening minutes of this one. Both Jujhar Khaira and Zack Kassian dropped the mitts early as a means of trying to get the team (and themselves) going. Kassian, specifically, was called out by Dave Tippett for nothing being properly engaged so it wasn’t exactly surprising to see him try to make a mark. I give both of these dudes plenty of credit for having the balls to chuck ’em even if the second fight resulted in Kassian getting injured.

THE FACE PALMERS

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  • Were you surprised to see that the first goal of the game came when Adam Larsson ripped a shot into his own net? I know there’s more to it than that, he and Evgenii Dadonov were battling for the Tkachuk area pass and the latter got credit for the goal, but when we think back on what happened we’ll know that it was really Larsson that pumped this goal home. Classic.
  • I don’t know what was going on with the Oilers in the first period but they were passing up some glorious chances to shoot the puck. The biggest mistake that everyone was talking about was Yamamoto wasting a gorgeous chance from the slot when he tried to give the puck back to Draisaitl who was already in the corner. All I want is for someone to let Yamo know it’s cool if he shoots too.
  • I didn’t like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins game as I thought he gave up the puck far too often. That’s not to say it was all bad, RNH had a few solid chances to score, but I don’t think he’s playing at the level we need from him.
  • The Oilers’ powerplay was not good, and more often than not, even had a hard time even getting set up in Ottawa’s end in the first place. On a night when the team wasn’t getting much done offensively, they really needed the powerplay to come through with a goal and they could not get one on four chances with the man advantage.
  • Zack Kassian and Kris Russell both left the game in the first period with the former being unable to return. Kassian only took one more shift after his fight but then wasn’t seen again, so we’ll have to wait and see what, if anything, the fight had to do with his absence.

SCORING SUMMARY

#GOODCONTENT

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