Just like we drew it up! Final Score: 3-2 Oilers in OT
Did anyone else notice how drastically different the mood was around here over the last couple of days? It’s almost like beating the Flames and getting back in the win column was EXACTLY what this team and its fanbase needed. It’s almost like a dark cloud was lifted off of all of us and that winning feels good or something, ya know? All I know for sure is that my nights are a whole lot more fun when the Oilers win, and I was looking for another dose of that sweet sweet dopamine with a win over the shorthanded Canucks. Seeing as the Bruce Boudreau shine has worn off and COVID swept the leg on their goaltending, the Oilers had a really solid chance to turn one win into two provided that they could get a good start and maybe even score the first goal for once. I guess my point here is that I looked at this game as one that the Oilers should win and I was hoping the boys would come into the evening with the exact same belief. And to their credit, I thought the boys had a decent enough start but just weren’t able to get rewarded for their efforts. Once again, the hustle was there but the goals were not and I have to admit that the lack of finish had me feeling nervous heading into the first intermission.
Moving through the second period with the score knotted at zero, the Oilers needed to find a way to get more traffic in front of the goaltender to try and take better advantage of the pucks they were putting on net. As we’ve talked about a bunch of times at this point, they need to get greasier on the ice without depending so heavily on trying to create pretty goals and realize that the ugly ones look just as pretty on the scoreboard. Instead, what we got was a team that looked timid with the puck, stumbled through chunks of the second period, and looked generally unsure of what they needed to do to beat a fourth-stringer turned Patrick Roy. To make matters worse, the Canucks didn’t have the same scoring issues and were able to take advantage of their own chances to the tune of two unanswered goals, which seemed to set the stage for another devastating loss. The good news, however, is that the Oilers had other plans than simply running the clock out. Rather than folding up the lawn chairs and heading home, the boys got to work with shift after shift of steady pressure in the offensive zone until they were eventually able to break the seal before tying the game and sending it to overtime. For a team that couldn’t score to save their lives through 40 minutes, they came up with two huge markers in the third period to send the game to the bonus period.
At the end of the day, the Oilers ended up winning a game in OT that looked like a sure loss only 20+ minutes earlier, and I think they deserve plenty of love for showing some resilience and not giving up. Because of their hard work, the Oilers now find themselves with back-to-back character wins that would have never happened even a month ago, and that makes me a pretty happy blogger when all is said and done. Progress, my friends. One step at a time.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Ryan McLeod got the Oilers on the board (2-1) with a shot from a tough angle that beat Knight between the body and the post, and I wondered if that goal would be that opened the floodgates. Thankfully, that’s exactly what happened.
- Leon Draisaitl tied the game with a one-timer from the boards (2-2) only moments after a power play ended after Nugent-Hopkins found him with a bullet cross-ice pass that he absolutely teed off on.
- Connor McDavid got the game winner in overtime (3-2) after Darnell Nurse made a very nice one-handed pass to the centre of the ice and put it in a place where Connor could go get it. By no means was it the prettiest goal of McDavid’s career, but you know that one had to feel good as he hadn’t scored in a while.
- Mikko Koskinen played great against the Flames and I think a lot of people were thrilled for him, making tonight’s start incredibly interesting in that it gave him a chance to build up some confidence. At the other end of the rink, Koskinen’s counterpart is as green as it gets and this meant there was some pressure on him to make sure he didn’t get shown up by a guy making his fifth NHL start. And as hoped, Koskinen answered the call once again as he made some very big saves down the stretch to keep his team in it and allow them to come back. Even though he wasn’t nearly as busy as his counterpart, Koskinen was excellent when he had to be and deserves a bunch of love for the way this game ended up. Koskinen finished the night with 25 saves and a .926 save%.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins missed the last six games with a lower-body injury but he didn’t look rusty at all in this one. Not only did Nuge end up with 22:56 in TOI, but he also finished with an assist, four shots on goal, and offered a very real look at how important he can be for this hockey team.
- Another monster night for Darnell Nurse as he finished with 26:53 in TOI to go along with an assist, one shot on goal, two hits, and a +1 rating.
- The Oilers’ PK has struggled mightily lately but that was not the case against the Canucks as the boys were able to kill off the lone shorthanded situation they faced. Not only did they kill that penalty off but they did it at a crucial moment in the game too.
- I’m thrilled to report that we won the Corskis and outshot the enemy by a 50-27 margin.
- Diving into the fancies, the Oilers finished the night with a 65.69 CF% and a 71.34 xGF%.
- Faceoff fans will be elated to learn that the Oilers finished the night at 60% in the faceoff circle.
THE FACE PALMERS
- The Oilers gave up the first goal for the 10th straight game, and the 25th time in their last 29 games. I know it came at the halfway point of the game but the stat is still unbelievable.
- Elias Pettersson opened the scoring (1-0) with an unassisted goal after he fired a quick snapshot through a screen that beat Koskinen up and over the shoulder on the glove side.
- Tyler Motte extended Vancouver’s lead (2-0) with a shorthanded goal after JT Miller sent him in on a partial break that gave him plenty of time to rip the puck through Koskinen’s five-hole.
- The Oilers didn’t fire nearly enough pucks on net considering who the Canucks had between the pipes and it was endlessly frustrating to watch them pass up legit opportunities.
- Oilers finish the night at 0-for-3 on the power play against the NHL’s worst penalty kill while also giving up a shorthanded goal.
Tyler Myers probably doesn't even know how to flood a basement pic.twitter.com/vHunJMaRPt
— Spiced Oil (@Spiced_Oil) January 26, 2022
What happened to Elias Pettersson that he plays like Shawn Horcoff now?
— Jason – reportedly pissy (@AdamsOnHockey) January 26, 2022
Tucker and Spencer share a Facebook account.
— Murray (@MurrayYaganiski) January 26, 2022
the edmonton oilers if allowing the first goal was a good thing pic.twitter.com/ulGh6sccRc
— Ava (@avatarrant) January 26, 2022
— Kennedy (@kennedystrash) January 26, 2022
Nuge, you magnificent bastard.
— Travis Dakin (@TravisDakin) January 26, 2022