Playoffs baby! Final Score: 5-3 Oilers
For Edmonton Oilers fans, the nights when we’ve had a chance to clinch a playoff spot have been few and far between over the last decade+, making tonight’s opportunity a special one. You see, if our beloved Oilers could manage to grab at least a single point out of this game, it would ensure that we’d see playoffs here in Edmonton for only the third* time in 15 years. As far as postseason stats go, I can’t think of many that are worse than that but here we are. Regardless, having the chance to clinch a playoff spot is something that I was super excited about and I was hoping that the boys would be buzzin’ at the same frequency, ya know? And in the early going, the Oilers hit the ground running with a flurry of chances and really looked like they had no interest in putting off Clinchmas to another day. The excitement was high, the shots were flying, and McDavid looked ridiculous from the jump. Yet, despite grabbing a lead with a beautiful passing play from the top line, the first period ended in a tie after a missed assignment in the defensive zone allowed the Canucks to rebound and temporarily even up the score.
Moving into the second period, the Oilers needed to maintain their pace while also making sure that there were no more costly mistakes in their own zone. When they’re at their best, the Oilers find ways to attack the offensive zone without allowing themselves to get burned in transition. Thankfully, the period couldn’t have started much better as the Oilers were able to restore their lead before I even had a chance to sit down after grabbing a fresh NationBeer, setting the tone for what would be a wild frame of hockey. Even though the Canucks predictably battled as best they could, they were unable to match the Oilers’ intensity or get themselves any closer than being down by a goal. With a two-goal lead in their pockets and 20 minutes to play, the Oilers were in about as good of a spot as they could to close this thing provided that didn’t find creative ways to hurt themselves. And much to our collective delight, the Oilers did a pretty good job of keeping their gameplay tight without taking too many chances with the puck, which allowed them to cruise through the final third without ever having their lead in doubt even with Boeser scoring late.
At the end of the day, the better team won the hockey game and I’m happy to report that it was our boys that were able to get the job done.
*screw it, I’m counting the bubble games
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Jesse Puljujarvi opened the scoring (1-0) with a new career-high in goals as the business end of a beautiful tic-tac-toe passing play with Draisaitl and McDavid. Honestly, the boys moved that puck around so quickly that Holtby had no chance on the play and probably still hasn’t fully figured out what happened.
- Tyson Barrie restored the Oilers’ lead (2-1) only 18 seconds into the second period after he was jotting on the spot and knocked home a rebound from right in the slot. At first, it looked like a broken play that wasn’t going to turn into much and then Barrie appeared out nowhere and picked up the garbage.
- Connor McDavid extended the lead (3-1) after entering the zone with speed and ripping a heavy wrister through Holtby that trickled slowly over the line. McDavid added an empty-nette (5-3) in the dying seconds of the game put the final nail in the coffin. McDavid was an absolute freak again tonight as he finished the game with four more points on the pile. Just ridiculous.
- Dominik Kahun gave the Oilers their two-goal lead back (4-2) with a wicked one-timer from the right-hand side of the ice after a pretty little passing play by Nuge and Kulikov got him the puck in his wheelhouse.
- Mikko Koskinen was back between the pipes with the task of backstopping the Oilers into the playoffs, and he got the job done even though it wasn’t a perfect evening by any means. That said, I wouldn’t hang any of the three goals on Koskinen as you have to give the Canucks some credit for getting things done, but I will give him credit for making the stops needed to get the win. Koskinen finished the night with 20 saves and a .870 save%.
- Shout out to Dmitry Kulikov for picking up his first point with the Oilers!
- I’m going to turn the Wrap Ups into a Ryan McLeod appreciation post by the time this season is over. I just love the kid’s wheels and think that he’ll be a menace to society when he’s able to put everything together with some more at-bats.
- He only got one assist next to his name but I thought this was one of the best games Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has played in a while. From start to finish, he was skating well, stealing pucks, dishing all of the ice, and with a little bit of luck, could have had a goal or two.
- The Oilers only had to kill off one penalty tonight but they got the job done and for that I salute them.
- The Corsi Gords will surely be pleased as the Oilers outshot the Canucks by a 32-23 margin.
- When you have the two best players on the planet, the only option is to make a t-shirt that reflects their brilliance. Shine bright, boys. Pick up the Dynamic Duo tee here.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Nate Schmidt tied the game (1-1) with a wrister from the high slot that made its way through traffic and past Koskinen on the glove side. Schmidt picked up the puck near the blue line, made a move towards the inside of the ice, and fired a quick shot that knotted things up at one apiece.
- Only 41 seconds after McDavid made it a two-goal game, JT Miller pulled the Canucks back to within one after he carved his way through traffic, pulled off a nice little dangle to the backhand, and roofed the puck up over Koskinen.
- Brock Boeser made it a 4-3 game after he picked up the puck off of a faceoff and ripped a quick wrister up and over Koskinen on the blocker side.
- The Oilers got only one chance with the man advantage but they were unable to get anything done unfortunately.
- Can someone explain to me why Tyler Ennis plays as little as he does? I don’t get it.
- I gotta be honest: I was shocked to see that Jujhar Khaira was back in the lineup. I know he’s been cleared and given the green light, but I would have expected him to sit out a little bit longer than he did after having his bell rung twice in quick succession. Just me?
- Do you hate knowing that the Oilers won only 48% of the faceoffs? You’re damned right you do.
Ryan McLeod. Big fan. Love the rush, love the toothless smile.
— The Mad Hatter (@TheMadHatter91) May 4, 2021
did you know that if the oilers clinch a playoff spot tonight it doesn't really count because nine games were against ottawa?
— zach laing (@zjlaing) May 4, 2021
— Ryan Nutzenberger (@ryan_nutz) May 4, 2021
"It's whatever, stats don't matter to me." – McDavid after getting his 8166th point of the season
— Ryan Nutzenberger (@ryan_nutz) May 4, 2021
What a difference a year makes. pic.twitter.com/5JrF5umswP
— Robin Brownlee (@Robin_Brownlee) May 4, 2021
McDavid reaches 90 pts in his 50th game. Other fastest since 1997…
Crosby: 54 games in 2006/2007.
Draisaitl: 57 games last season.
Kucherov: 58 games in 2019.
Jagr: 58 games and Thornton 60 games in 2006.
McDavid’s previous fastest to 90 points was 60 games last season. #NHL
— Jason Gregor (@JasonGregor) May 4, 2021
The part where he kissed his fingers, held them up to the camera and said 'This one's for you, Baggedmilk' suggested you're on to something.
— John Epler (@eplerjc) May 4, 2021
— Surveyor Brett – Game Manager (@BLuchanski) May 4, 2021
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