One win down, one win to go. Final Score: 2-1 Oilers
The last time these two teams played, the Oilers played well enough and scored enough to win the game but couldn’t get the saves they needed to make it happen. I was frustrated, you were frustrated, and the fact that the boys left points on the board in a winnable game still annoys me two weeks later. For round two, I was looking for the Oilers to hit the ice with the same pace as we saw in the series against the Jets to try and get a quick start against a team that’s been struggling early in games recently. The Flames have been taking some heat down south after dropping two of their last three games, and I saw that as an excellent opportunity for Edmonton to kick another team while they’re down and grab the first two points from this weekend’s back-to-back set. If they could compete against the Flames as they did against the Peg then we were going to be in for a good time on a Friday night in. Even though that didn’t necessarily happen, we did learn that the Oilers can come up with a different way to win when they need to.
With an early goal from Jesse Puljujarvi getting the ball rolling, the Oilers pushed their way into the start they wanted and had the Flames back on their heels with a chance to build on their lead. As an added bonus, Mike Smith looked like he too was ready to handle his business and the combination was enough to calm the pre-game jitters. But despite the early hole, Calgary wasn’t about to roll over and die or make things easy, and the Flames started to even the tides with some quality chances of their own as the period wore on. The back-and-forth continued some more throughout the second period with both sides even trading goals in quick succession in the final moments of the frame, leading me to believe this thing was going to go down to the wire. Up by goal with 20 minutes to play, the Oilers had the chance to get themselves back onto a winning streak going and also create some space between themselves and the playoff cutline. To their credit, the Oilers did not look like they had any interest in giving up the lead as they locked things down defensively and limited many of Calgary’s chances to the outside, and it was the kind of defensive effort that deserved the final result.
While this may not have been the most exciting Battle of Alberta any of us have ever seen, the most important thing is that the good guys ended the night with two points in the bank. I don’t know about you guys, but I’ll take a boring win over an exciting loss any day of the week.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Jesse Puljujarvi continued his amazing run with a first period goal (1-0) after a charging Barrie found him camped out in the slot and fed the big Finn with a perfect pass to his wheelhouse. Puljujarvi now has five goals in his last seven games, and I cannot wait to see how high this kid can fly.
- Gaetan Haas appreciation post! You know I was pumped to see Haas rewarded with his first goal of the season (2-0) after he found his own rebound near the side of the net and banged it past Rittich. Besides this goal being a vote of confidence for those of us on Team Haas, the thing I liked most was that it was yet another goal being scored by someone other than the usual suspects. Depth matters and I am here for it.
- Mike Smith is always a trip because you don’t know whether you’re going to get rock-solid goaltending or a night that basically ends before the first period is over. For the most part, he’s been excellent since coming back from the IR but that tough one against the Jets from last week is still in the back of my mind, making this start against the Flames all the more stressful. On this night, Mike Smith was fantastic and while he wasn’t overly busy, he made plenty of big saves to provide the foundation needed to pull out this win. Smith finished the night with 20 saves and a .952 save%.
- Darnell Nurse played a mindboggling 30:01 tonight and put up an assist, one hit, four blocks, and finished with a +1 rating. Monster game from Nurse.
- The Oilers won another game without McDavid or Draisaitl registering a point!
- I thought Ryan Nugent-Hopkins played a very nice game defensively, specifically when he was called upon on the penalty kill. All night long, Nuge was a filthy little puck thief and I wanted to give him a shout out for his efforts on the defensive side of the puck.
- All of a sudden, Alex Chiasson is quietly putting some point on the board. The veteran forward now has four points (2G, 2A) in his last five games.
- The penalty kill was very good for the Oilers tonight and they came up with three huge stops at moments when the Flames were desperate for a goal.
- Milan Lucic didn’t score!
- Oilers outshot the Flames by a 25-21 margin.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Rasmus Andersson cut the Oilers’ lead in half (2-1) with a snipe of a shot from the slot after Johnny Gaudreau found him with a perfect pass behind the coverage. Andersson had plenty of time and space to get a clean shot off and he made no mistake with the chance.
- If I’m going to nitpick a little bit, I still think the Oilers are passing up too many chances to shoot the puck.
- Lately, I’ve felt like the powerplay has struggled a bit because the boys have wasted some quality chances to shoot for an extra pass that may or may not work out. When the PP is simple, the job gets done and that’s what I wanted to happen when the Flames got caught cheating. Unfortunately, I did not get what I hoped for as the Oilers were blanked on two chances with the man advantage.
- You know how much I love faceoffs wins and I did not like seeing that the Oilers won only 46% of them.
- I wonder if Dave Tippett would want to try Kyle Turris out on the wing because I have to admit that I prefer to have Gaetan Haas in that spot at this point.
I can't promise leaving the Saddledome with an Oilers W, but I can guarantee leaving with a shovel
— Cam Lewis (@cooom) February 20, 2021
— Nicolas Joly (@ncjoly1) February 20, 2021
My mother took my phone away and I just got it back. What did I miss?
— Ryan (@IAmByks) February 20, 2021
You're starting to scare me
— Taryn 🦊 (@tarynor) February 20, 2021
They might call him for embellishment
— William Mikespeare (@tpr0012) February 20, 2021
Dk heading into a hairpin turn 😂
— Shaun Ali (@shaunathan) February 20, 2021
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