That’s what it do, baby! Final Score: 4-1 Oilers
I don’t know how many of you fine folks are scoreboard watching as much as I have been lately, but it’s starting to stress me out how time is running out and the Oilers are chasing a playoff spot. At this point in the season, there isn’t much room for error and while tonight’s game against the Lightning wasn’t necessarily a must-win situation, it’s about as close as it gets if you’re thinking about the psyche of the players and all those that love them. We just need the points, ya know? And since the first step to picking up a win is to get a strong start, I loved seeing the Oilers get on the board early with a beauty by McDavid to not only grab the lead but also set the table for what we hoped would be a positive outcome. Even though there weren’t as many goals as we would have liked to see, the Oilers played about as well as we could have hoped as they made Tampa battle for every inch. All-in-all, it was a very good period for the home side, but if I’m going to complain it has to be about the wasted opportunities on the power play as the Oilers went goalless on three-straight chances with the man advantage.
As much as I was feeling good about their start, I was worried that the blown power plays were going to come back to haunt the Oilers down the line, and the only way to avoid such a fate would be to stay out of the box and get more done at even strength. Seeing as we knew the game management was coming, I was hoping the PK would be a little more on point because we were going to need it to be. And as predicted, the Oilers were faced with a shorthanded situation almost immediately, and to their credit, did a nice job of handling the test and getting back to business. Shift after shift, the Oilers were throwing all kinds of heat at the Lightning net and had it not been for Brian Elliott then this game would have been well in our favour. Thankfully, McDavid was able to tack on some insurance in the final moments of the frame, finally rewarding the Oilers for their work after throwing a kitchen sink’s worth of chances on net. Through 40 minutes, Edmonton was easily the better of the two teams and they were in a very good spot to pick up a win provided they could finish off strong.
Down by two goals with 20 minutes to play, you knew that Tampa was going to push hard to try and claw their way back, and the Oilers had to do better than sitting back and waiting for the final buzzer. This wasn’t the time for the rope-a-dope. Thankfully, what we got was an Oilers team that was hungry for more offence and had no interest in sitting back and letting Tampa Bay dictate the play. Instead, it was the third straight period where the home side was the better team. Even when Bogosian got the Lightning on the board, the Oilers were completely unphased and it was only a matter of a few minutes before they were able to respond with a goal of our own before eventually closing the game out with an empty-netter. For me, this win was as impressive as it gets for a team that is desperate for points. To take on the defending champs and dominate big chunks of the night is something we should be pretty pumped about and I will happily tip my cap to the boys for their efforts. Hell of win, boys. Two huge points.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Connor McDavid opened the scoring (1-0) with yet another highlight-reel goal after picking up a pass from Yamamoto with all kinds of speed in the neutral zone, blowing past Victor Hedman like he was a pylon, and finishing off the play with a patient deke around the goalie. Beautiful magic from the captain. McDavid added a power play goal (2-0) in the final minute of the second period after taking a pass along the boards and sniping a perfectly placed wrister that beat Elliott down low.
- Leon Draisaitl restored the Oilers’ two-goal lead (3-1) with a nice deke through Elliott’s legs after he stole the puck high in his own zone and broke in all alone. I mean, the big man had to haul ass to maintain the clean break but he got the job done with both the wheels and the hands.
- Kailer Yamamoto set a new career-high in goals with an empty-netter (4-1) to put the final nail in the coffin on what was a huge win for this hockey team.
- Mikko Koskinen was back between the pipes for his 32nd start of the season and looking to secure his 21st win of the campaign. Despite not being quite as busy as his counterpart, Koskinen still had to deal with 32 shots from some guys that can really fire the puck, and he came up with the saves needed to lock in a huge win. Even though I didn’t really like the Bogosian goal he allowed, I thought Kostco was fantastic for his club as he continues to build himself an impressive run of games down the stretch. Koskinen finished the night with 31 saves and a .969 save%.
- How about a sneaky two-point night for Tyson Barrie as he picked up a pair of helpers.
- Tack on another assist for Evander Kane as he continues to fit in with his new team.
- An eventful return for Josh Archibald, wasn’t it? Scrap and a melee to go along with 6:26 in TOI.
- For the second straight night, I’m going to give Zack Kassian some love for the way he was throwing his body around, hitting basically everything that moved, and being a general menace to society in the process.
- The penalty kill was fantastic as they were able to kill off all four of Tampa’s chances with the man advantage.
- Looking at the Corskis, this was a dominant performance by the Oilers as they outshot the Lightning by a 49-32 margin.
- I come to you with peace and love to offer up yet another report from the spreadsheets which states that the Oilers finished the night with a 55.56 CF% and a 54.29 xGF%.
- I am thrilled to announce that the Oilers won 57% of the faceoffs. Splendid, indeed.
- Pat Maroon didn’t score! Great success.
- I don’t know what your final count was but I had the “shooting mentality” count at 12 when all was said and done.
- 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
- Zach Bogosian got the Lightning on the board (2-1) after he was all alone in the high slot when he took a pass and ripped a snapshot through Koskinen on the blocker side. TBH that’s a save I’d like to see Kostco make.
- Is there a different Brian Elliott that plays in the NHL or are we back in 2014? Guy stood on his head and it was annoying.
- By my count, the Oilers hit five posts? I mean, what kind of luck is that? This game should have been 10-1.
- How bad was the power play again? I’m honestly flabbergasted how the best power play in the league through the first couple of months can look so awful down the stretch? I know McDavid scored to get the Oilers to 1-for-7 on the night, but my point remains.
It would be a good prank if Hyman was skating around with Ovechkin's stick still stuck to his hip
— Ryan (@IAmByks) March 13, 2022
— 🌋🇺🇦Wacke Geologist🇺🇦🌋 (@geology24_7) March 13, 2022
Find someone that looks at you the same way
— LoomTunez (@LoomTunez) March 13, 2022
It’s Nugeless and thus, it’s useless.
— Kerry McGowan (@306Kerosene) March 13, 2022
Not the best scenario for showcasing
— Radley Mahinay (@RadleyMahinay) March 13, 2022
Oh you didn’t hear about the new rule? Superstars can hook players that are on empty net breakaways.
— Michael Ostashewski (@MichaelO17) March 13, 2022
LISTEN TO BETTER LAIT THAN NEVER
On this week’s podcast, I talked about how being an Oilers fan can be incredibly stressful at the best of times, and how the pressure of a playoff push ramps those vibes up in a huge way. I also looked ahead at the trade deadline, ran through the biggest stories of the week, and answered your voicemails. Subscribe on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts.