CONNNNORRRRRRRRR! Final Score: 6-5 Oilers in OT
On a night that began with the Kevin Lowe banner raising ceremony, I couldn’t help but wonder whether sitting through what was undoubtedly a moving ceremony would affect our boys when game time rolled around. Even though things kicked off way before puck drop, my silly Oilers-fan brain started trying to draw imaginary touchpoints between the lengthy ceremony and how that would affect the boys when it was over. Certainly, I understand and appreciate that the Oilers finally retired Lowe’s number — I’m not one of those people that seemingly hate him for whatever reason — but I also know that we’ve watched more than a few nights over the years where the boys have come out flat after sitting through ceremony X, Y, or Z. As much as this night was to celebrate Lowe’s accomplishments with the team, there was still a hockey game to win and I was looking for the boys to keep the good times rolling. Unfortunately, the start we got from them was exactly what I was worried about as the Oilers looked like they were skating through sand for much of the first period, which made the fact that New York was able to get on the board first anything but surprising. Thankfully, the boys were able to settle in as the frame went along, eventually battling their way back into a tie game with a clutch goal by Zach Hyman to knot things up before the buzzer.
Moving into the second period, the Oilers really needed to get their legs moving because they did not have a great start to this hockey game and they were at serious risk of falling behind again unless they turned things around. And just as I feared, the Oilers were flat once again, and rather than making a push to grab the lead, that sluggishness resulted in Edmonton getting tagged with a field goal against that put them in a hole with no apparent plan to get out. Yet, as the period progressed, the tides started to turn in the Oilers’ favour as the boys were able to execute a little bit better before eventually being rewarded with a goal by Puljujarvi to chip away at the deficit. Down by two goals with 20 minutes to play, the Oilers got themselves on the board with an early power play goal that seemed to spark the downpour of offence that they would need to complete the comeback. Even when the Rangers restored their lead midway through the frame, it never looked like the Oilers were deflated or out of the game so when McDavid scored to send us to the bonus period, it felt like winning was the only conclusion.
It may not have been pretty, but man was that ever fun.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- With just under two minutes left to play in the opening period, Zach Hyman tied things up (1-1) with a fantastic effort in front of the net that saw him win a puck battle before eventually punching home his own rebound.
- Late in the second period, Jesse Puljujarvi pulled the Oilers to within a pair of goals with a power play marker (4-2) after Nugent-Hopkins found him burning up the ice with a stretch pass that gave him the time and space to unleash a clapper that Georgiev had no chance on. Puljujarvi added a second goal in the third period to tie things up (4-4) after parking his giant torso in front of the net until it was time to hack away. What a game by Puljujarvi.
- Tyson Barrie pulled the Oilers to within a single goal (4-3) on the power play after a beautiful little give-and-go set him up to unleash a perfectly placed wrist shot from the high slot that beat the goaltender high on the glove side. I don’t know what teams can do to try and stop this power play from doing its thing but to this point in the season that’s a job that looks nearly impossible.
- Connor McDavid tied the game up (5-5) with a goal that I’m honestly having a hard time finding the words to describe. One on four, the captain dangled his way through the Rangers’ defensive coverage before deking the goaltending out of his shorts and sending the Rogers Place crowd into a frenzy.
- Leon Draisaitl finished the comeback off in OT (6-5) after he found himself all alone in front of the goaltender, slipping the puck through his five-hole. How about another three-point night for Draisaitl?
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins extended his points streak to nine games with yet another assist as he continues to reap the rewards of the orchard he apparently planted between the playoffs and now.
- Mikko Koskinen was back between the pipes for his seventh straight start and tasked with backstopping our boys to a fourth straight victory. While a lot of us probably wouldn’t have expected Mikko to play as much as he has been this early in the season, the big man has done an excellent job of laying the groundwork for his teammates to go out and do their thing and I was looking for him to keep that going here against the Rangers. And while it wasn’t a perfect night for the big Finn, he was able to make the saves he needed to make to secure the win even if he needed plenty of help from his teammates. Koskinen finished the night with 20 saves and a .800 save%.
- For as long as the opposition will keep taking penalties, I will expect the Oilers to torch them on the power play and that’s exactly what happened again as the boys were able to tag New York with two goals on two chances with the man advantage.
- For the Corski fans out there, you’ll love to know that the Oilers outshot the Rangers by a 39-25 margin.
- Was your heart going pitter-patter in eager anticipation for that special time in the Wrap Up when I let you all know that the Oilers won 59% of the faceoffs? Patience is a virtue, friends.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Filip Chytil opened the scoring (1-0) early in the first period after ripping a wrister from the slot that beat a stickless Mikko Koskinen after a weird sequence that saw the Oilers get caught with a dose of bad luck.
- Kevin Rooney restored New York’s lead (2-1) after a pair of costly giveaways by the Oilers basically gifted the Rangers the extra zone time they needed to bury
- Chris Kreider extended the lead to two goals (3-1) when he picked up the puck with speed near the Oilers’ blue line and ripped a perfectly placed shot up and over Koskinen on the glove side.
- Dumping salt in the wound, Mika Zibanejad put the Rangers up by three (4-1) after parking himself in the slot and having a centering pass bounce in off his skate. While Kostco did his best to try and sell the kicking motion defence to the refs, the replay wasn’t able to bail him out. Shortly after the Oilers tied things up a four apiece, Zibanejab restored the lead (5-4) with a beautiful wrist shot from the circle that rose quickly and beat Koskinen above the blocker. I know some people were blaming Nurse and some were blaming Koskinen on the goal, but I think the real answer is that there’s plenty to go around.
- The penalty kill was okay but they weren’t great after allowing one goal on two shorthanded situations.
- I don’t think I’m talking out of school when I say that this was a rough start for the boys as they were only able to muster four shots on goal through the first ten minutes or so. Thankfully, the Rangers weren’t able to get more done than they did because this was about as sloppy of a start as we’ve seen from the boys in a minute or two.
- I wrote that previous point in the first intermission, not yet knowing how disastrous the middle frame would be. If the first period was bad, the second period was Weekend At Bernie’s 2.
— Wade Poloway (@munch34m) November 6, 2021
— Antoni's Bakery (@andreoglou) November 6, 2021
KING OF BISON! pic.twitter.com/qRI8vlAa35
— GB&Q (@GBandQ1) November 6, 2021
oilers twitter is divided on whether that 5th goal should be blamed on nurse or koskinen. i will settle the dispute: the person who should be blamed is you, the fan
— kabir 🐜 (@sausagehobbit) November 6, 2021
Because entering the zone is such a chore and dads hate doing things twice.
— Réal🎸 (@pwrcord) November 6, 2021
If I was an NHL defenseman I would just line change every time McDavid stepped on the ice
— Andy Cole (@AndyCole1984) November 6, 2021
The real hero of the night is frank. 10/10 perfect season. Mcdavid who? @jsbmbaggedmilk
— Tyler D'Aoust (@DAouster) November 6, 2021
i think i could lift a car right now if i wanted too
— Kennedy (@kennedystrash) November 6, 2021
You know we were going to do it. Grab your Kept Nuge Forever hoodie right here.