Whoooaaaaa, mama, that’s a close shave. Final Score: 2-1 Oilers
As we make our way through the back half of the 2021 NHL season, the North Division is starting to get tighter and points are getting more valuable. I know I take shit in the comments section sometimes for overusing ‘must win’ around here, but I honestly think that we’re getting a spot in the schedule where it’s true. Not to mention, I’d much rather have these points already in the bank for the next time a losing streak comes along and we all start losing our minds. As for the game itself, the first thing that comes to mind is how boring the start of this thing was. I looked at the shot clock somewhere near the midway point of the first period and the combined shot total was somewhere around six or something, the frame wrapping up with only 10 total shots. I mean, what is that? Were both sides just that exhausted or have the Oilers and Jets turned into defensive juggernauts overnight and we didn’t see it coming?
Picking up in the second period, the pace of the game started to increase as both sides got their legs moving and I could not have been happier to see the snoozefest come to an end. There were more chances, there more shots, there were more saves, and there were way more reasons to be interested than we got in the opening frame, punctuated by the incredible two-goal performance by McDavid that gave his team the lead. From start to finish, I honestly thought the game was very evenly played but that the Oilers happen to have the good fortune of Connor McDavid in their lineup and he was unstoppable. With a one-goal advantage in their pockets with 20 minutes to play, the Oilers were obviously in a good spot but I didn’t think they were going to be able to close this game out by simply sitting on the lead and waiting for the buzzer. I thought they were going to need at least one more goal to really nail the coffin shut.
But, as I usually am, I was wrong about the need for more offence as the Oilers were able to shut the door and secure two points by grinding out the last period of a very tight hockey game. As much as it would have been nice to get the empty netter and breathe a little bit, the Oilers got the saves and the luck they needed to get the win and that’s what matters. Those are two huge points, my friends.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Connor McDavid broke the stalemate early in the second period literally five seconds after he jumped onto the ice for his shift after he grabbed the puck near the boards and fired a quick wrister past Brossoit on the blocker side. McDavid added a second marker that was nearly identical just under 10 minutes later, and if you look at the replays of the two goals it’s pretty hilarious to see him zip two shots to the exact same spot.
- Mikko Koskinen was back between the pipes in pursuit of his ninth win of the season, and while the big man wasn’t overly busy, at least early on, he was as sharp as we could have hoped when he was called upon. As the game wore on and the Jets started to settle in, Koskinen was asked to make a lot more saves with many of them coming with traffic out front and sticks in lanes, and he did a fine job of kicking all but one of them aside. Koskinen finished the night with 24 saves and a .960 save%.
- Darnell Nurse is an ice time machine for the Oilers this year and he did it again tonight. Even on the second have of a back-to-back, Nurse played 28:14 and finished with an assist, five hits, one shot on goal, and a +1 rating.
- Are we allowed to be happy about Tyson Barrie picking up two secondary assists or nah? I don’t know what the rules are anymore.
- Make it two points in two games for Zack Kassian since returning from injury, and his assist on McDavid’s second goal of the night will probably go down as one of the easiest of his career. It was a nice little pass by Kassian, but it also must have been fun to have the best seat in the house as he watched McDavid do his thing.
- Ethan Bear has looked so much better over these past two games and while he didn’t show up on the scoresheet, I’m making a point of pumping his tires.
- The PK was only tested one time tonight but they came through with a big kill when needed.
- Were you worried that I was going to finish up this here Wrap Up without letting you know that the Oilers won 57% of the faceoffs?
THE FACE PALMERS
- Mathieu Perreault tied the game at one apiece (1-1) after he was able to get a stick on Thompson’s low shot, deflecting the puck perfectly through Koskinen’s five-hole.
- To quote Wanye from Twitter, that first period was beige.
- After going 3/4 on the powerplay last night, I was really curious and intrigued to see how tonight would play out. Were the Flames that bad or are the Oilers heating up or both? As it turns out, the refs weren’t calling anything again so the boys were only given one chance with the man advantage and they were unable to make something happen with it.
- Caleb Jones played only 9:47 and I would love to know what Dave Tippett is thinking in terms of his usage. What is he seeing or not seeing, ya know? It’s an interesting one.
- Kailer Yamamoto had the night off tonight and I’m hoping that the injury he’s nursing is nothing too serious. Having him out for a while would be bad news for the Draisaitl line.
- @Evan Bouchard I miss youuuuuuuu.
— Alice Moran (@Alice_Moran) March 19, 2021
— Dallas Nitz (@Nitzy14) March 19, 2021
— Ryan (@IAmByks) March 19, 2021
Less boring more scoring
— Rey Javier (@unbeREYvable) March 19, 2021
It’s because he gets gravy power play points from Tyson Barrie
— the juice (@ConAirNcCagevid) March 19, 2021
Wasn’t he the guy that went before Jesse in the same draft???
— Andolf (@AndolfAlberta) March 19, 2021
Mikko Koskinen is playing so good tonight we won’t see him for another 3 weeks #LetsGoOilers
— Joshua🥇 (@nhlforester) March 19, 2021
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