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GDB 37.0 Wrap Up: Oilers complete the comeback, end their losing streak with big 5-3 win over the Flames

Thanks, Calgary, we needed that! Final Score: 5-3 Oilers

This morning in the GDB, I wrote that the Flames are a team that always gets the Oilers fired up and I was hoping round two of the season series would be no exception. As you can imagine, the vibes around the Oilers right now are anything but stellar, but I also felt that a big Hockey Night in Canada win over their provincial rivals would go a long way to turning the tides. I mean, if a date with the Calgary Flames wasn’t enough to get the blood pumping then we may need to start thinking about bringing in an exorcist to get the demons out or something. Putting my paranormal plans aside for the moment, I really just wanted the Oilers to get off to a decent start and give us something entertaining to watch on a Saturday night. And while I think they did their best to follow through on their end of the bargain, I also thought they looked like a team that is very much struggling to get their confidence back. Instead of getting pissed off that they gave up the first two goals again, I actually felt story for the boys as the look on their faces was painful to watch. Yet, despite the two-goal deficit,  I don’t even think that the boys were playing poorly but rather that they are in desperate need of some good luck to go their way.

Down by two goals but with plenty of time left to play, I was just looking for the Oilers to keep competing hard despite the fact that I wasn’t exactly hopeful about a comeback. I know things aren’t going well but I thought that if they could at least show that they gave a shit then I think a lot of us would take that right now. And to their credit, the Oilers hit the ice with purpose in the second period and it was very nice to see that their hard work was rewarded with a pair of power play chances that they used to erase Calgary’s lead and get themselves back in the mix. The thing I liked most is that the Oilers kept battling despite the early hole and they looked about as determined as we’ve seen them be in months, not only coming back to tie the game but even wrestling the lead away albeit temporarily. Instead of letting another rough start sink the ship, the Oilers showed the kind of resilience needed to earn the opportunity to get a point or more from a game that may have seemed out of reach only 20 minutes earlier. From where I blog, the fact that the Oilers were in a tie game heading into the third period was the opportunity they were looking for to make something positive happen and end the losing streak in style.

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The bad news is that the Oilers were outplayed in the third period by a fairly wide margin, but the good news is that they also got the goaltending needed to weather the storm and give themselves a chance. With their goaltender doing everything he could to keep the game tied, the boys needed to help him out and find a way to cash in one more goal to grind out a win that they desperately needed. So when Leon Draisaitl put himself back on the highlight reel with a beautiful game-winner to complete the comeback, you could almost feel the tension around here lift a little bit and I could not be happier to see it. Gord knows we all needed that win.

The wrap.

THE BRIGHT SIDE

  • Evan Bouchard got the Oilers on the board (2-1) with a power play goal after he bombed a shot from the point that make its way through traffic and past Markstrom on the glove side. Bouchard added a second power play goal (2-2) only four minutes later as he, once again, found a way to get a puck through traffic that Markstrom couldn’t see until it was already past him.
  • Brendan Perlini can’t stop scoring goals right now and my body is here for it. As we’ve seen a lot from him lately, Perlini was rewarded for his shoot-first mentality with another snipe of a goal from the high slot that beat Markstrom up and over the glove.
  • Late in the third period, Leon Draisaitl gave the Oilers back the lead on an incredible individual effort that saw him carve through the Flames’ d-coverage before dangling Markstrom and finishing off the highlight reel goal. Draisaitl added the empty netter (5-3) late in the game to ice the game and I don’t think I’ve ever been happier to see one of those go in the net. Based on the way he was moving the puck around, Draisaitl looked a whole lot more like himself and that’s why I wasn’t surprised to see that he had finished his night with four points on the board.
  • McDavid’s pointless streak is over too!
  • After getting tagged with six goals against the Florida Panthers, I was very intrigued to see what kind of performance we’d get from Mikko Koskinen in his 22nd appearance of the season and I’ll be the first to give him props for showing up the way he did. Even though I wasn’t a big fan of the third Flames goal, I thought Kostco was excellent and he found a way to give his team a chance to win even when they were down by a pair. I know this win won’t be enough to win anyone over, but you have to give the guy credit for stepping up like this even with all of the pressure on the world on his shoulders. Koskinen finished the night with 44 saves and a .936 save%.
  • The Oilers desperately need their power play to get going and I’m hopeful that scoring a pair of goals on three chances with the man advantage will be enough to build up some confidence. BOUCHARD ON THE POWER PLAY, PLEASE!
  • Darnell Nurse had himself another big night on the back end, finishing his night with a team-high 24:53 in TOI to go along with five shots on goal, three hits, and four blocks.
  • I want Tyler Benson to score a goal so so badly. The kid makes plays with limited minutes and I know the whole city is pulling for him to finally get his first.

THE FACE PALMERS

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  • Make it 15 times in their last 16 games that the Oilers have given up the first goal of the game. Even worse is that the streak of misfortune has now reached nine straight games where this has happened.
  • Matt Tkachuk opened the scoring (1-0) after he beat Cody Ceci to a rebound near the slot and banked it past a stretched-out Koskinen who actually made a really nice first initial save on the play. Either way, we can add another chapter to the first goal against saga that’s going on here in Edmonton.
  • Are you surprised Milan Lucic scored (2-0) to extend Calgary’s lead? You’re not, are you? We are in hell.
  • Less than a minute after Perlini grabbed the lead, Noah Hanifin tied the game (3-3) with a wrister from the point that made its way through a screen and beat Koskinen upstairs.
  • The penalty kill continues to struggle as the Flames were able to get something done on one of two power play chances.
  • The NHL site had the giveaways listed as 16 for the Oilers but I’m not sure I buy that number. The boys were coughing the puck up a lot in the third period and those giveaways made for a stressful final 20 minutes.
  • I’m afraid I must report that we lost the Corskis after being outshot by a 47-31 margin.
  • Looking at the fancies, the Oilers finished the night with a 42.45 CF% and a 36.5 xGF%.
  • Faceoff fans will be upset with the news that the Oilers finished the night at 46% in the faceoff circle.

SCORING SUMMARY

#GOODCONTENT

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

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