That’s how you do it, baby! Final Score: 5-2 Oilers
Fresh with the memories from the losses in Detroit and Buffalo, I saw this game against Chicago on the schedule and felt a shudder down my spine as I imagined the boys taking 40+ minutes to get their legs going. I don’t know what it is about the Oilers and playing lesser competition, but I’ll be the first to admit that I was nervous about the way this thing would go and that was the case even before we lost our #1 defenceman. Why this happens to us with such regularity is a mystery beyond comprehension, but I was hopeful that the suddenly depleted Oilers would still be able to make some magic happen. I mean, the forward group is more or less the same, right? Either way, none of us wanted to see any excuses. And as if they plucked it right from my hopes and dreams, the Oilers got the start they wanted as they were able to dummy the Blackhawks for four goals in just over 18 minutes. Even though Chicago was able to get one back before heading into the intermission, it’s hard to imagine a better period for the Oilers and I was excited to see if they could carry that energy over into the second.
Picking up where they left off, the Oilers had their wheels going in the opening minutes of the second period and it was almost unlucky that they were unable to extend their lead further because they were all over the Blackhawks and it wasn’t particularly close. At one point, the Oilers spent five straight minutes in the attacking zone and it was warming my blogger heart to see them pouring on pressure in waves. Even though the boys couldn’t score, it never felt like the tides were turning in Chicago’s favour or that their lead was ever in danger. Up by three goals with 20 minutes to play and Skinner dialed in as ever, the Oilers were in about as good of a spot as we could hope to close out the win and begin the Nurse-less era on a high note. If they could just avoid falling apart in the third then we’d all have the good fortune of continuing on with our weekends with an Oilers-powered smile on our faces. As hoped, the boys played a relatively low-risk game in the final frame and it prevented the Blackhawks from generating much outside of what one would normally expect, and after trading goals midway through the frame, the good guys were able to lean on their lead, run out the clock, and coast into an easy win.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Connor McDavid opened the scoring (1-0) after the rebound from Bouchard’s point shot kicked out to him near the side of the crease and he chipped it up and over the goaltender.
- Only moments after McDavid got the Oilers on the board, Tyson Barrie extended the lead (2-0) with a 5-on-3 power play goal after Leon Draisaitl set him up on a tee to blast off on a clapper from the high slot.
- Kailer Yamamoto threw some salt in Chicago’s growing wound with a shorthanded goal (3-0) after he picked off a sloppy centering pass and absolutely ripped the puck up over Larkinen’s glove hand. Not only was the goal pretty, it just so happened to be the Oilers’ first shorthanded marker of the season.
- The first period onslaught continued late in the frame when Ryan McLeod tacked on another one (4-1) when he took a pass in the slot from Warren Foegele and made a nifty little move to his backhand and flipping the puck over the goaltender.
- Leon Draisaitl went all of one game without scoring a goal and it clearly upset him because he got himself back on the board with a shorthanded snipe (5-2) after being sent in all alone by Evan Bouchard. Draisaitl’s 18th goal puts him on pace for 86 goals on the year. The guy is ridiculous.
- Not only did I think Stuart Skinner deserved a second straight start after the performance he put in against the Jets, but I was incredibly excited to see how he’d be able to build upon what was an unbelievable start for the hometown kid. Once again, Skinner was fantastic between the pipes and he gave his team a chance to win regardless of what was thrown his way, which is exactly what you want from your starter. Skinner finished the night with 28 saves and a .933 save%.
- A huge shout out to Philip Broberg for making his NHL debut, handling the task admirably, and even picking up his first NHL point with an assist on McLeod’s first period goal. You’d have to imagine the kid was nervous but I thought he played very well given the circumstances and I’m looking forward to watching what comes next for the 8th overall pick from 2019.
- By no means was this a perfect night by the defensive group, but I wanted to give them some love as a whole for coming together and patching something together that was effective enough to win the hockey game. There will be more bumps in the road while folks get healthy, but the boys got the job done here on night one and I’ll tip my cap to them for getting the job done.
- Two assists for dad!
- Even though he wasn’t able to score, I thought this was Warren Foegele’s best game as an Oiler. He was a bull in a china shop and 100% noticeable on nearly every shift he played, so I wanted to make a point of giving him some love for a very strong game. In his 13:38 of TOI, McLovin picked up an assist, four shots on goal, and two hits.
- After being kept off the board against Winnipeg, Edmonton was quick to get back on track with their power play after picking up one goal on four chances.
- I honestly think we should be talking about the penalty kill more because it’s been rock solid all season long, and I cannot begin to express how happy that makes me after suffering through so many years throughout the Decade of Darkness where they couldn’t stop basically anything. Tonight, the boys were able to handle three of three shorthanded situations and even popped their first shortie of the year.
- Neither Caleb Jones nor Jujhar Khaira scored and that’s a big win over the former-Oiler grudge goal curse.
- I could almost see Jason Strudwick fist pumping after learning that Willy Legs would be back in the lineup.
- The Oilers went seven straight games without scoring first and I’m very happy that streak is over.
- Your destination has arrived, friends. I know you’ve all been waiting for me to tell you all about the faceoffs and you’ve finally arrived at that special place in the Wrap Up where I tell you that the Oilers won 56% of the draws.
- Oilers won the Corskis by a 33-30 margin!
THE FACE PALMERS
- Alex DeBrincat got the Blackhawks on the board (4-1) after the point shot from Seth Jone was tipped a couple of times and deflected perfectly into the top half of the net. No chance for Skinner on that one. DeBrincat got a second goal at the midway point of the third period (4-2) after Bouchard lost the puck at the opposing blue line which allowed the Hawks to break into the zone on a 2-on-0 rush that they made no mistake on.
- I may have to head out into the street to find some kind of sacrifice to help Jesse Puljujarvi because our Bison King can’t buy one right now. That said, I may need an alibi a little bit later but I’ll let you know how things go.
- I don’t want to keep being the guy that’s constantly complaining about the refs but they were vomit-inducingly bad in this hockey game. I don’t know how many times Connor McDavid needs to get hooked/tripped/hacked at before he gets a call in his favour but the answer was unknown once again.
- Everyone on those Blackhawks teams knew about Kyle Beach.
— Machine Gun Ryan (@IAmByks) November 20, 2021
— Isaac Lamoureux (@IsaacLamoureux) November 21, 2021
I always knew broberg was going to be a point per game player in the nhl
— Paul Yanew (@pyanew11) November 21, 2021
Feel like it’s been forever since Leon Draisaitl scored a goal.
— WheatNOil (@WheatNOil) November 21, 2021
Dunno what you mean, you have been here the whole time. pic.twitter.com/XQi3GLlewL
— ⓈⒾⓃⓀⒺⓋⒾⒸⒽ (@OilySink) November 21, 2021
Leon Draisaitl scoring for the billionth time of the season: pic.twitter.com/QeMSRu9bWA
— Adam (@OilersAdam) November 21, 2021
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