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GDB 56.0 Wrap Up: Playoff bound Oilers close out regular season with a 4-1 loss to Vancouver

#MISSION21 here we come. Final Score: 4-1 Canucks

Despite the fun that usually comes with a Saturday matinee, I was feeling more stressed out about watching today’s game than I was excited about it. In the GDB, I wrote about how I’d probably be fidgety and anxious about everyone making it through the game without incident until the final buzzer sounded and that’s exactly what happened. With each meaningless shift, I stressed about our boys and it was the kind of angst that I bet many of us were trying to manage. Since there haven’t been many playoff runs around here to give us all the experience we need to handle these pre-playoff emotions, today’s finale against the Canucks was a long and interesting at-bat that provided a rollercoaster of emotions from boredom to excitement. Frankly, it was too much for a ‘who cares’ game to close out the schedule. Not to mention, if you’re here in Edmonton, you know that it is absolutely beautiful outside right now and the last thing I wanted to do was spend even one minute of my Saturday pissed off about what happened in the last game of the season.

Fears of injuries aside, I cannot even begin to express how much I love a Saturday matinee in May because it gave me the perfect excuse to crack a few beers, watch the Oilers do their thing, and plan out what I’ll be throwing on the BBQ immediately after the third period ended (steak and potatoes btw). With the playoffs kicking off on Wednesday, this last tuneup was a good excuse to relax and pay as much or as little attention as you wanted, knowing that the real business is still a few days away. For a fanbase that hasn’t had a whole lot to celebrate over the years, this game felt like the night before a vacation where you just can’t wait for it to be over and now that it’s over and in the books, I plan on spending the next four days prepping my body for the inevitable stress of another playoff run. Back in 2017, there were a few moments when I thought my heart was going to erupt so I plan on getting myself ready with an array of salads and light cardiovascular activity. Only four more sleeps, my friends.

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Oh, and since I should probably mention it, the Oilers ended up losing the game. C’est la vie.

The wrap.

THE BRIGHT SIDE

  • Nobody got hurt! Hazzah!
  • Adam Larsson opened the scoring (1-0) with a one-timer from the points after McDavid found him with a cross-ice pass that he could lean into.
  • Connor McDavid finished a 56-game season with 105 points. That is ridiculous in every imaginable way. It’s like the guy is playing a video game that no one else even knows about.
  • Leon Draisaitl added another assist to his totals to finish his season with an equally remarkable 84 points. Had this been a full season then Leon would have absolutely smashed his career high.
  • Evan Bouchard sighting! In 17:57 worth of TOI, Dad got two shots on net, one hit, one block and a -2 beside his name that will likely unsure that Dave Tippett won’t play him again until next season.
  • Slater Koekkoek made his first appearance after missing 35 games with a broken collarbone, and I thought he was definitely trying to make a case for why he should be an option for some playoff minutes.
  • The penalty killers were able to take care of both of Vancouver’s chances with the man advantage, continuing their hot run of PP denials that we’ve seen over the last month or so.
  • How could we ever dream of moving forward with our weekends without knowing that the Oilers won 55% of the faceoffs? You can relax now, friend.
  • 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

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  • Bo Horvat tied the game at one apiece with a shorthanded goal after the Oilers gave up a two-on-one that the Canucks executed perfectly. This was the second straight game where the Oilers have given up a shortie and I am not a big fan of the trend.
  • Matthew Highmore gave the Canucks the lead in the third period (2-1) with a wrister from the faceoff dot that beat Koskinen up and over the glove side. Later in the period, Highmore added a second goal (4-1) after chopping the puck towards the net and the very stoppable puck trickled through the goaltender’s legs.
  • Only 16 seconds after grabbing the lead, the Canucks got some insurance when Travis Boyd picked up a pass in the slot and lifted the puck over Koskinen on the same glove-hand side. Before the goal, however, the Oilers got caught with another tough turnover in their own zone that Vancouver was able to turn around quickly, and it was the kind of play that the boys have to get rid of in the playoffs.
  • Thatcher Demko was incredibly annoying this afternoon, wasn’t he? I mean, the save he dropped on Alex Chiasson was ridiculous, and had it not been for him then this probably would have been a win for the Oilers.
  • MIKKO KOSKINEN got his last start of the regular season (maybe the season) and I was looking for him to finish off strong after a couple of shaky outings over his last two appearances. And had it not been for the trio of quick goals in the third period, I would have probably said that he played relatively well but was simply outdueled by his counterpart but instead he let the wheels fall off. Koskinen finished with 37 saves and a .902 save%.
  • The Oilers were unable to get anything done on their three chances with the powerplay which is a little bit of a bummer as the boys cleary could have used the offence.
  • The Corsi Gords will be very unhappy when they check out the box score on the ol’ Internet machine because the Oilers were outshot by a 41-32 margin.
  • Was bummed to see that Ryan McLeod would be missing the game because I felt like today would be his day to grab his first NHL goal.
  • Kailer Yamamoto missed his second straight game but I was actually happy to see that he was out again so that he had the extra time to heal up before the big dance starts.

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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