I’m glad all of Canada got to enjoy that. Final Score: 4-1 Oilers
I don’t know about you guys, but I spent my day with the belief that Thursday night’s loss was a product of a tired team that was playing the second half of a back-to-back set after suffering through another long bus ride home from Winnipeg. When you think about things my way, it’s easy to understand the sloppy decision-making and painful mistakes that went into that loss and why a rebound performance was not only expected but likely. Sure, you could write me off as an Oilers homer that’s always looking for the bright sides in their game, but I truly felt like I was going to be right this time and all that I needed was the proof. And if I’m being honest, I’ll admit to everyone here and now that I was feeling pretty confident with my game day prediction after the Oilers wrapped up the first period with a two-goal lead thanks to their captain being born as some kind of Game Genie. With a lead in their pockets and the McSpirit in the air, the Oilers didn’t have to change a whole lot in their games apart from maybe getting a few more shots on net.
Shot complaints aside, I thought the Oilers got the start they needed and the next logical step was to further extend the lead and really throw a turd in Calgary’s playoff punchbowl. I’ll give you a second to let the visual sink in… Good, right? Unfortunately, the Flames weren’t about to just lay down and die to allow our selfish plans to unfold and they did everything they could to narrow the gap, eventually halving the Oilers’ scoreboard advantage with a well-executed goal on the rush. The bigger problem, though, was that the boys got dummied over the last half of the middle frame and it was a trend that had to stop if they were going to maintain their lead let alone win the game. I know NHL games have their ebbs and flows, but this was too much and I demanded a refund. Up by one with 20 minutes to play, Edmonton was still in a good spot but they desperately needed to find their legs again because this did not feel like the night to try and run out the clock. The good news is that the intensity cranked up a few notches as the game drew closer to its end as both sides were feeling fiery and busting their asses to try and get two points.
On this night, however, it was the good guys that were too much to handle as the Oilers were able to weather a few late storms before closing out the win with a pair of empty-net goals that sealed the deal and push the Flames closer to a mathematical elimination. All in all, that’s a pretty good Saturday.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Connor McDavid opened the scoring (1-0) with a powerplay goal after Leon fed him the puck with speed at the blue line where he danced around the Flames’ defenders and ripped a shot past a stunned Markstrom. From start to finish, McDavid was excellent again and it was no surprise to see him finish the night with three more points on the pile.
- Only moments after McDavid got the party started, Ethan Bear extended the lead (2-0) with a one-timer goal from the circle after the captain set him up with a perfect pass to his wheelhouse. Not only did Bear score but he is so smooth with the puck that it made me want to mention it again here in the wrap up just so that there’s another public record of me pumping his tires.
- Josh Archibald nailed the coffin shut (3-1) with an empty netter from centre ice.
- I don’t know why the Flames thought they should pull the goalie again (I do get it but you know what I mean) and that gave Darnell Nurse the opportunity to pot a second empty netter to make it a 4-1 final score. Talk about a monster night for Nurse as the guy played a game-high 31:34 to go along with the goal, two shots on goal, three hits, and two PIMs.
- After a tough loss on Thursday night, Mike Smith was back in the crease and looking for a dose of redemption against his former club and that’s exactly what he got. All night long, Smith was fantastic for the Oilers as he provided them with solid footing to do their thing. Honestly, I don’t know what else to say about the guy other than he’s been a wonderful story all season long. Smith finished the night with 29 saves and a .967 save%.
- How about another casual
threefour-point night for Leon Draisaitl? Dude is ridiculous.
- Ryan McLeod got the bump to the second line in only his fourth NHL game and I was looking forward to seeing how he’d be able to handle the task, and just as he’s done over this first week, he looked like he belonged in that spot.
- Speaking of McLeod, I like the way his line looked with RNH and Puljujarvi on either side of them. All night long, this trio found different ways to manufacture zone time and I hope Dave Tippett gives them some more time to find some chemistry.
- Jesse Puljujarvi had himself a hell of a game and it was a shame that he wasn’t rewarded for his efforts with a goal or even some powerplay time because he was flying out there.
- Are we allowed to be happy about another secondary assist for Tyson Barrie or nah?
- The Oilers got a goal on two powerplay chances which was a very nice rebound after being held off the board in Thursday’s loss.
- Not to be outdone, the Oilers killed off all three powerplay attempts Calgary got with the man advantage for a clean sweep of the special teams battle.
- I’m very happy to end off your Saturday night with the wonderful news that the Oilers won 65% of the faceoffs? Sleep well, friends.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Johnny Gaudreau cut the lead in half (2-1) by pumping home a rebound on a Tkachuk shot from in tight after the Flames executed a perfect breakou
- The Oilers took their foot off the gas in the second period and it allowed the Flames to turn the tides and gather momentum, which was incredibly frustrating to watch. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I expect perfection from every shift but it isn’t a whole lot of fun to watch the boys making silly mistakes that they would usually avoid either.
- Despite the win, the Corsi Gords will be upset once again as the Oilers were outshot by a 30-29 margin.
— Ryan (@radam100) May 2, 2021
Oiler faithful should be pretty excited with Konovalov coming over to North America. A bit under the radar, but this is a very legitimate goalie prospect for the big club. https://t.co/0gNuqjcqjI pic.twitter.com/wvFSc9gS3D
— Byron Bader (@ByronMBader) May 1, 2021
kinda like puljujarvi on the second line. he's getting to carry the puck a lot and he's really really good at it
— kabir 🐜 (@sausagehobbit) May 2, 2021
I bet Tyler hasn’t had one ever before
— Surveyor Brett – Game Manager (@BLuchanski) May 2, 2021
Let this sink in. Mark Giordano, 37, will play an NHL game in May for the first time tonight. What a sad and telling reflection of the #Flames struggles since going to the Stanley Cup final in 2004.
— Darren Haynes (@DarrenWHaynes) May 1, 2021
I feel like this game needs at least… 2 more McDavid points
— WheatNOil (@WheatNOil) May 2, 2021
But only the one song. We all know where you got your peaches, man, mix in a different song.
— Marcel Schoenhardt (@mschoenhardt) May 2, 2021
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