Figs. Final Score: 4-3 Leafs in OT
After an unexpected week off, the thing I was hoping for the most was that the Oilers were going to be as fired up for tonight’s game against the Leafs as we all were. If you looked around social media today, it was pretty obvious how jacked up we all were to be able to watch the boys play again after missing three due to COVID protocols, and it felt like that relentless excitement was the exact vibe I wanted Edmonton to bring to Hockey Night in Canada. In the early going, though, it was the Leafs that were buzzing while the Oilers looked like a team that hadn’t played in a month let alone a week. At one end, Toronto was running their cycle, creating chances, and firing pucks on net whereas our beloved heroes struggled to get much of anything going and would often pass up chances to shoot even when they did. There were passes to no one, there were turnovers aplenty, and it was a tough start despite the scoreless tie. They were rusty, simple as that.
As the game moved into the second period, the Oilers started out just as sloppily as they did in the opening frame and it wouldn’t be long until the Leafs were able to take advantage of it. While the first goal of the game by Engvall was definitely a lucky one, it was a product of the Oilers being unable to produce anything from themselves offensively and the attempts to make something happened often resulted in a turnover. Thankfully, they were able to respond quickly with a counterpunch from Nurse but the boys certainly didn’t do themselves any favours over the first half of the game. The tides, however, would soon start to change albeit temporarily. Led by the Dynamic Duo, the Oilers were able to manufacture some quality scoring chances through the middle third of the game and while that in itself was fun to watch, it doesn’t get much better than seeing our two MVPs push the squad to a two-goal lead. All good news, right? Well, it looked that way up until the Oilers took their foot off the gas for the third period and tried to sit on their lead, allowing the Leafs to score two quick ones in succession to tie the game and send it to overtime.
In the extra frame, both sides traded chances back and forth a little bit before the Leafs got the winner on another lucky bounce after the puck redirected in off of Darnell Nurse’s skate and over Smith’s glove. In the end, this loss hurts a lot because it should have ended with a regulation win for our boys, but they were simply unable to weather the storm and it cost them. While it’s nice to grab a single point, the Oilers could have been tied for the division lead rather than trailing by three points as they are now.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Darnell Nurse continued his heater of a season with a second period goal that tied the game (1-1) after McDavid fed him a pass with speed and he ripped a shot through Campbell’s legs.
- Leon Draisaitl gave the Oilers the lead (2-1) after McDavid somehow found him with a perfect pass from the corner that made its way through a trio of sticks before the reigning Hart Trophy winner clapped it one with a perfectly executed one-timer. How about another casual three****-point night for Draisaitl? Dude is a freak.
- Tyson Barrie extended the lead to two-goals (3-1) with a perfectly placed snipe after Draisaitl hit him with the puck as he was charging towards the net and the former Leaf roofed it.
- Connor McDavid now finds himself on a 10-game point streak and I want to take this moment to remind him again how much I appreciate him. The captain finished the night with a pair of assists.
- Mike Smith was back between the pipes in pursuit of his 12th win of the season, and to put it lightly, I thought he was great for the majority of this game. Whether it was a routine save or something that turned his old ass body into a pretzel, Smith played very well and the fact that he wasn’t able to secure the win has to be endlessly frustrating because I thought he performed well enough to maybe deserve it. Smith finished with 27 saves and a .871 save% but I honestly think the numbers are worse than he actually played.
- How happy were you to see Kailer Yamamoto back in the lineup? For me, I can’t get enough of his tenacity and relentlessness on the puck and I really noticed the gap without him on the ice.
- The Oilers’ penalty kill was perfect, killing off both of Toronto’s opportunities with the man advantage.
- I know he didn’t get a point but I still wanted to recognize Jesse Puljujarvi for the way he’s shooting from everywhere and willingness to drive to the front of the net.
THE FACE PALMERS
- I very, very, very much dislike a third period collapse. Very much.
- Pierre Engvall opened the scoring for Toronto with a lucky bounce when his shot attempt popped up in the air and fell into the net after bouncing off Mike Smith’s head. It was weird, but it happened. Initially, the goal was waved off when it looked like he may have touched the puck with his hand, but upon further review, he never touched it and the Oilers found themselves in a hole once again.
- John Tavares pulled the Leafs back to within a single goal (3-2) on a pretty little between the legs passing play by Alex Galchenyuk that set the captain up with a clean look on net.
- Only moments after the Tavares goal, William Nylander tied the game (3-3) on a blast from the slot after the puck took a friendly bounce right to his stick. At that point, the Oilers were a complete disaster in their own zone and you could almost feel the tying goal coming.
- Auston Matthews completed the comeback in OT after his shot/pass(???) attempt took a really friendly bounce off of Nurse’s skate and into the net. Not much Smith was supposed to do on that one.
- The Corsi crowd can’t be happy about seeing the Oilers outshot 31-20. I mean, I’m not happy about it either but I assume the fancy stats folks must be much more upset.
- I have a real problem with the way the Oilers gave up the puck. The NHL site has only six giveaways listed a the Oilers’ total but I don’t buy that for a second.
- I’m not sure how the Oilers only got one powerplay opportunity but that’s what happened, and unfortunately, they weren’t able to capitalize on it.
- Who’s the genius at the NHL scheduling department that let Connor McDavid go this long without playing in Toronto for Hockey Night in Canada? Seems like an obvious play to have the best player on earth showcased in the biggest slot of the week, no?
- Evan Bouchard I miss youuuuuuuu.
- Were you wondering if I would make it through the first Wrap Up in a week without letting you know that the Oilers won only 33% of the faceoffs? Yikes.
Feeling dangerous, gonna put my life in Mike Smith’s hands tonight and take a shot for every goal the Leafs score on us
— Aime (@aimeok) March 27, 2021
Jesse Spezzajujarvi pic.twitter.com/7LZa3RNobC
— Matty Go Sens (@Gerv_Rebrand) March 27, 2021
Look at the size of Puljujärvi's pants. Somewhere there's a Toyota with no seat covers
— Ryan (@IAmByks) March 27, 2021
Leon Draisaitl now 15 points away from passing Marco Sturm. #LetsGoOilers
— Nicklaus Good (@NicklausGood) March 28, 2021
The one thing I like about the last couple of seasons of the Oilers vs most of the previous versions is that sometimes it looks like they do things on purpose.
— Beaker (@OilBeak) March 28, 2021
How about: 👔☀️ 🍒?
— GoOilers (@gooilers97) March 28, 2021
Wonder if @jsbmbaggedmilk is paying attention to the faceoff percentage tonight.
— Turner L. Watson (@TurnerWatson) March 28, 2021
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