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GDB 55.0 Wrap Up: Even with reduced minutes, McDavid gets two points in the 4-3 Oilers OT win

It wasn’t pretty but we’ll take it. Final Score: 4-3 Oilers in OT

I’m not going to lie, the fact that this game started at 3pm was pretty sweet because it gave me an excuse to stop everything I was doing, crack a beer, and watch our playoff-bound Oilers play a meaningless game that gets us a small step closer to the big dance. Did the score matter? Not really. Did the stats matter? Not unless the boys had bonuses to play for. Apart from wanting to sew bubble wrap into Edmonton’s jerseys and pants, I was planning to sit back and enjoy the game for what it was regardless of the outcome. And with the Canadiens resting 11 of their regulars, I felt pretty good about our chances of having ourselves a fun little afternoon here. The Canadiens, however, seemed to have different plans as their youngsters got started with plenty of energy that gave the Oilers fits. Yet, despite the Habs scoring a pair of goals on a tough giveaway at both ends of the ice, the boys seemed unphased and found a way to respond both times in short order. Now, I’m not suggesting that giving up two rough goals in the opening period is the start you’d want, but if it’s ever going to happen, it sure does help when you’re playing a team that has half its roster sitting out.

Moving into the second period, the Oilers needed to do a much better job of making good puck choices because they were coughing up gifts all over the ice like they were running a Christmas raffle. It wasn’t that the boys were horrible by any means but they weren’t exactly tight with their details either. The good news is that the Oilers seemed to improve shift-by-shift and they looked much more balanced in all three zones, which allowed them to grind out the period until eventually being rewarded with a goal. By no means was this the prettiest game the Oilers have played, but one thing they were able to do was to erase mistakes with their powerplay whereas the Canadiens wouldn’t even get the chance to try. Up by a goal with 20 minutes left to play, I was obviously hoping for an Oilers win but mostly curious about how Dave Tippett would dish out the ice time as he was rolling the lines all night without really leaning on anyone. So when the Canadiens were able to tie the game up for the second straight night, it wasn’t like I was overly upset about it but rather confused about how Montreal’s farm team was outworking our boys to the point of getting the game to overtime.

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Even though the Oilers got the result they should have considering the roster the Canadiens put out there, it wasn’t nearly as easy as we may have expected and I wonder how much the boys are looking ahead at the job that will need to get done. Either way, it was still nice to see Kahun finish the game off in OT to keep the good vibes rolling into Saturday’s season finale.

The wrap.

THE BRIGHT SIDE

  • Alex Chiasson tied the game (1-1) after he made a nice play on his man in the slot, did a half-turn, and fired a wrister up and over the goaltender.
  • Only moments after giving up a shortie, the Oilers were able to knot the game up for a second time (2-2) when Ryan Nugent-Hopkins ripped a filthy shot up and over Primeau on the glove side.
  • Leon Draisaitl gave the Oilers the lead (3-2) with a powerplay goal that came on a scramble in the crease when the puck squeaked out of the pile and onto the reigning MVP’s stick and he wasted no time in depositing it.
  • Dominik Kahun closed out the win (4-3) in OT after picking up a beautiful cross-ice pass from Draisaitl and pulling off a clever little dangle that caught Primeau by surprise.
  • What can you say about Connor McDavid when the guy gets on the scoresheet more often than not? Another multi-point game? The guy is ridiculous. All season long, McDavid has put this team on his back and carried it forward, and I cannot wait to see what he does when we get to the playoffs. a
  • After a night off on Monday, Mike Smith was back between the pipes for another tune-up game before the playoffs start, and I have to say that I’m happy he got this one out of the way because it was not his sharpest outing. After two goals he’d probably want back to start the game, Smith settled in and gave the Oilers the goaltending needed to register the win. BY no means was this a perfect game by Smith, but I’d rather he work the kinks out now. Smith finished the game with 26 saves and a .897 save%.
  • Another two-point night for Tyson Barrie puts him into the scoring lead for NHL defencemen. His defence certainly leaves something to be desired but it’s hard to question what he does on the offensive side of the puck.
  • How about some props to JAMES NEAL for registering points in three-straight games? Seeing as he probably has the most playoff experience on the roster, having him start to heat up could be a very good thing.
  • The Oilers were able to get two goals on three chances with the man advantage and there is nothing that makes me happier than a hot powerplay as we head into the playoffs.
  • Not to be outdone, the Oilers’ PK did a fine job of handling the lone disadvantage they faced.

THE FACE PALMERS

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  • Cole Caufield opened the scoring for the Canadiens (1-0) after he intercepted a Tyson Barrie passing attempt and quickly ripped a wrister past Smith. According to Jack Michaels on the broadcast, it was the ninth time this year that the Oilers allowed a goal on the first shot of the hockey game.
  • @Nick Suzuki restored Montreal’s lead (2-1) after he broke into the Oilers’ zone on a shorthanded two-on-one (like what?) and ripped a low shot that beat Smith low to the glove side. Suzuki added a second goal to tie the game (3-3) in the third period after another tough giveaway (Caleb Jones this time) gave Montreal a free look on net from a dangerous spot on the ice that they made no mistake of burying.
  • The Oilers had a tough third period and it was frustrating to see them get so handily outworked even though the outcome didn’t mean anything.
  • I didn’t like hearing that Kailer Yamamoto was missing today’s game because he was banged up, but the good news is that the Oilers have a couple of meaningless games left where he can get some rest.
  • The Corsi Gords will be unhappy to find out that the Oilers were outshot by a 29-22 margin.
  • I regret to inform everyone that the Oilers won only 39% of the faceoffs. As Metallica so beautiful said, you know it’s sad but true.

SCORING SUMMARY

#GOODCONTENT

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Talk to me, Twitter. Tweet at @Oilersnation and @jsbmbaggedmilk for your chance to land in the Best of the Tweets.

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