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GDB 58.0 Wrap Up: Oilers grind out a massive 4-3 OT win over the Capitals, sweep season series

Brad Malone, we speak your name. Final Score: 4-3 Oilers in OT

When these two teams last met up just over a month ago, the Oilers came roaring out of the gates with three straight goals in the first period that more or less set the table for the two points they cashed in when all was said and done. While I didn’t expect another field goal to start off tonight’s rematch, I was absolutely expecting the Oilers to hit the ice with the same kind of urgency — anything less at this point in the season is unacceptable. The good news is that the boys came out firing, they had some jump, Koskinen was ready to go, and they got the kind of start they needed to make sure everyone got their legs moving without having to chase on the scoreboard again. Even better was the way they carried that energy throughout the frame — when was the last time Edmonton got 20 shots in a period — and it’s almost bad luck that they weren’t rewarded for the work. And let’s be honest, if the Oilers didn’t get goalie’d by Samsonov then we’d probably be celebrating the best first period this team has had in months.

As much as we liked what we saw in the opening, we needed to see some finish to go along with all of those shots on goal and I was hopeful that the Hockey Gords would be so generous as to grant us a little luck in making that happen. As play got underway, the Oilers were once again the better team by a fairly wide margin, but it was the Capitals that got on the scoreboard first after an unlucky bounce on Bouchard led to a weird spinning marker by Backstrom. Down but not out, the Oilers kept the game close with a trio of huge kills on the PK that denied the Capitals from extending their lead and paved the way for the good guys to claw their way back. Led by their special teams, the Oilers were able to execute on both sides of the coin and that allowed them to deny goals at one end while adding one at the other end. Once the game was tied, the vibes at Rogers Place really started to swing in Edmonton’s favour, and with another offside-goal challenge mixed in to keep it that way, my heart told me it was only a matter of time before the lead would be ours and that’s exactly what happened.

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Up by a goal with 20 minutes to play, the Oilers were in a good spot to add a point or two to their tally but they needed to keep the pedal to the floor instead of trying to ride out the clock. And while I would say they did a decent job of rolling along, you knew the Capitals were going to be throwing everything they had on net to try and knot the score up, but it wasn’t until their fourth power play of the night that they were able to even things up. Even so, the Oilers were unphased. Instead of letting that tying goal shake the foundation of what they were building, the boys responded quickly with an unlikely goal from Brad Malone to restore the lead and set themselves back on the path to victory. What was most impressive for me was the resilience that the Oilers were forced to show at multiple points in this game, and how they were kept finding ways to rise to the challenge regardless of what the situation presented them. That’s the kind of jam that this team needs, ya know? As it turns out, the Oilers needed to dig deep once more after the Capitals managed to tie the game with only 1.8 seconds left on the clock, sending the game to overtime for a thrilling McFinish.

The wrap.

THE BRIGHT SIDE

  • Kailer Yamamoto tied the game at one apiece (1-1) with a power play goal after he parked himself in front of the net with his stick on the ice, ready and able to put McDavid’s centering pass into the open cage.
  • Cody Ceci gave the Oilers the lead (2-1) with a greasy goal after he charged towards the front of the net and chipped a loose puck up and over a falling Samsonov. It was the kind of ugly garbage goal that this team hasn’t scored nearly enough of this season, and I will be cheering loudly for every single one of them they can manage down the stretch.
  • Brad Malone (BRAD MALONE!) gave the Oilers back the lead (3-2) after he took a pass in the circle on the right side of the net and made a beautiful shot up and over Samsonov. The goal was Malone’s first in his last 67 NHL games and, as expected, the guy was fired up. Per Reid Wilkins on Twitter, Brad Malone’s assist on Ceci’s goal was his first NHL point since February 28, 2016. Jason Gregor added that Malone also played 280 AHL games between NHL points.
  • Connor McDavid ended the game in OT (4-3) after he and Draisaitl broke into the zone with a clear 2-on-1 and the captain used the chance to rip a shot through Samsonov down low.
  • I know he wasn’t quite as busy as his counterpart at the other end of the ice, but Mikko Koskinen was dialed in against the Capitals. From start to finish, he was making the kind of saves you need your starter to make and he provided his team with the kind of goaltending that allowed them to stay in the fight. I think back to the point-blank save on Ovechkin in the first period, and how the game could have ended up entirely different had he not flashed the leather in that moment. Either way, I thought Koskinen was excellent as he finished the night with 29 saves and a .906 save%.
  • How about the power play coming through with a huge goal when we needed it? I know that finishing at 1-for-4 is by no means a masterpiece, but I think you have to take it after the disaster we saw against Calgary.
  • Jeremy Coupal is a mega stud for his video review ways and I will scream his name from the mountaintops.
  • Evan Bouchard returns to the lineup, Evan Bouchard collects two assists.
  • Zack Kassian was back in the lineup for the first time since February 9th when he broke his jaw in the game against the Blackhawks, and I was curious to see how he’d do given that his face is probably still sore or tender, you’d think. Hockey is a contact sport… you get the idea. Either way, I liked seeing Kass throw his weight around a little bit even though he was wearing the full cage as a result of his job, and I definitely think this team needs more physicality.
  • Oilers won the Corski again, outshooting the Capitals by a 40-32 margin.
  • Once again, I come with peace and love to bring you a report from the spreadsheets which states that the Oilers finished the night with a 57.65 CF% and a 69.24 xGF%.
  • Jultz didn’t score! Great success.
  • Join us in Calgary for the March 26th BOA as we pack a bus with Nation Citizens and make our way south.

THE FACE PALMERS

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  • Nick Backstrom opened the scoring (1-0) with a flukey goal in the second period that saw Evan Bouchard knock down a saucer pass before the long-time vet spun around, whacked at the puck, and slid it under a falling Koskinen. It was the kind of goofy goal that we never have go our way but that’s the way our luck has gone these days.
  • TJ Oshie tied the game up midway through the third period (2-2) after taking a feed along the right-hand side of the ice with speed and firing a quick shot past Koskinen on the short side. This one was a stoppable shot, though, if I’m being honest.
  • The reffing was so shockingly bad in this game that I can’t even believe it. I mean, how did Ovechkin not get a penalty for the waterskiing he did on Hyman with the empty net? Ridiculous.
  • William Lagesson played only 8:56 in TOI and that’s a whole lot more noticeable when the team isn’t dressing seven defencemen.
  • Is it a mean thing to say if I admit that I kinda forgot that Tyson Barrie is hurt? I miss Nuge and I miss Jesse, but I don’t know that I can say the same about Barrie.
  • I regret to inform you that the Oilers won only 44% of the faceoffs.

SCORING SUMMARY

#GOODCONTENT

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LISTEN TO BETTER LAIT THAN NEVER

On this week’s show, I looked at Mikko Koskinen’s resurgence for the Oilers and how his fine play may affect Ken Holland’s trade plans as we head into the deadline. Subscribe on SpotifyApple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts.