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GDB 19.0 Wrap Up: Oilers overcome another slow start with a 5-3 bounce-back win over the Coyotes

Just like we drew it up! Final Score: 5-3 Oilers

Last night’s loss to the Dallas Stars had to be one of the season’s most annoying games to sit through, right? Whether it was the Oilers’ inability to get anything going or the refs that refused to call any of the obvious penalties in our favour, it was one of those nights where the only thing you could do is just flush it and move on with your life. That’s why I was pretty happy about this back-to-back set because it gives the boys a chance to get right back to work without having to overanalyze what went wrong, and the fact that their next opponent on the schedule was the horrible Arizona Coyotes was like a nice little bonus since they’re a team I expect the Oilers to beat them more often than not. But as we’ve seen way too often lately, the Oilers came out flat once again and it ended up burning them to the tune of a one-goal deficit. I don’t know what’s going on right now, but the Oilers have a major problem with falling behind early and it’s a recipe for disaster no matter how you slice it. Having it happen against Dallas is one thing but the Coyotes too? Yikes. Thankfully, the boys tied the game up on the power play before heading into the intermission, but the point remains that they seriously need to figure out why they can’t seem to start the game on time.

With the game tied up and the Oilers in need of some major improvements to their play, I didn’t know what to expect from them in the second period and that’s a big part of what’s made this recent stretch of games so frustrating. The good news is that the boys had their legs moving and looked much more engaged, which allowed them to manufacture so many more chances for themselves in the offensive zone than they were early on. In fact, I’d say that it was almost bad luck that the Oilers were unable to tack on more than the one goal by Draisaitl onto the board given the number of 10-bell chances they seemed to have. Had it not been for Wedgewood, we would have been laughing with a huge lead heading into the third period, but instead, what we were looking at was a game that was only one shot away from being tied. My point here is that even though Edmonton played well enough to wrestle the lead away, there was still plenty of work left to do if they planned on locking in the win. But if they kept their feet moving and puck choices tight, I didn’t see any reason why the Oilers should give this one up and that’s sort of what happened as they were able to tack on a trio of goals to put the game out of reach. Sure, we could also mention that the Coyotes were able to score two of their own to make the score closer than it needed to be, but I’m choosing to focus on the win because that’s what matters most in the end.

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The wrap.

THE BRIGHT SIDE

  • With just over five minutes left in the first period, Connor McDavid tied the game (1-1) with a power play goal after he drove to the crease in time to chip a loose puck past Wedgewood and over the line. McDavid added an empty-netter to close the game out (5-3) but the funny part about the play was that he so obviously wanted to get the puck over to Draisaitl rather than scoring himself.
  • Another game means another multi-point night for Leon Draisaitl as he was able to give the Oilers the lead (2-1) after the puck kicked out to the former Hart Trophy winner right in his office along the boards. Draisaitl added a second goal (4-1) in the third period on the power play after he and McDavid pulled off the give-and-go before Drai simply ripped a shot through Wedgewood. With four points on the night, the guy is an absolute warlord on the ice and I’m never going to stop pumping his tires.
  • Zack Kassian got elevated to the top line for this one and the move paid off for Dave Tippett as Kass was able to extend the Oilers lead (3-1) midway through the third period after McDavid found him open in the slot and ready to tee off. As much as there were a lot of us that questioned the move to bump Kassian up in the lineup, it’s hard to argue with the results as he picked up a multi-point night while riding shotgun with the big boys.
  • I can’t say enough about the way Ryan McLeod is playing right now. With each passing game, he looks more and more like his time in Bakersfield is over and I cannot wait to see where he ends up in his progression by the time the season is over.
  • Gotta give some love to the makeshift defensive group for getting the job done even though it wasn’t the prettiest defensive effort we’ll ever see.
  • When you draft a guy like Philip Broberg you hope that he will eventually play meaningful minutes but I will certainly admit that I didn’t necessarily expect him to have to cover so many in only his third NHL game.
  • After a quick three-game break, Mikko Koskinen was back between the pipes and looking for his 10th win of the season in only his 13th appearance overall. Even though he wasn’t nearly as busy as his counterpart at the other end, I thought Koskinen played very well and came up with some huge saves to keep his team in it, especially in the first few minutes. As the game wore on and the ice started to tilt, Koskinen did a decent job of staying focused and making enough saves to wrap up the win. Koskinen finished the night with 24 saves and a .889 save%.
  • The power play came through for the Oilers once again as they were able to shame the cheaters on two of four chances with the man advantage.
  • Equally as impressive was the fact that the penalty killers were able to discard both of Arizona’s chances when up by a man.
  • For those of you that love the Corskis, I am thrilled to report that the Oilers outshot the Coyotes by a 44-27 margin.
  • With no games until Saturday, I couldn’t imagine leaving you for the next few days without reporting that the Oilers won 59% of the faceoffs.

THE FACE PALMERS

  • The Oilers have now given up the first goal in nine of their last 10 games. Another brutal start for the Edmonton Oilers.
  • Clayton Keller opened the scoring (1-0) with a backhanded deke that he put upstairs after the Coyotes broke into the zone on a 2-on-1 rush that they were able to execute perfectly.
  • Travis Boyd pulled the Coyotes back to within two goals (4-2) after a chaotic shift in the Oilers’ zone ended up with Boyd getting his stick on Chychrun’s shot from the point. It was the kind of play that annoys any Oilers fan that was watching.
  • Only 1:23 after Boyd pulled the Coyotes up off the mat, Shayne Gostisbehere narrowed the gap to only a goal after he was able to pick up a pick in the circle and rip a high shot up and over Koskinen’s glove hand. It was another chaotic shift for the Oilers in their own zone and it ended up turning this game into a much closer affair than it should have been.
  • Way too much sloppiness in the third period to allow the Coyotes back into the mix even though they had no business making the score as close as it was.
  • Russell – Barrie played fine enough, I guess, but that is not a first pairing (based on usage) that I want to look at for very long.
  • We’ve got some snakebite happening on the team right now and I’m about ready to head out into the streets to look for a sacrifice. I may need an alibi later, but I’ll let you guys know.

SCORING SUMMARY

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#GOODCONTENT

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