Regulation win would have been nice but we’ll take it. Final Score: 4-3 Oilers in the shootout
When a team is missing eight of its regulars, I don’t think it’s unfair to expect a win since your team would seemingly have an advantage, right? Of course. It just makes sense. At least, that’s what I was thinking all day leading up to round three of the season series between the Oilers and Kings. Seeing as LA is beaten up heavily right now, I was felt like it was the perfect opportunity for the boys to grab two important points from a team they’re chasing in the standings. If they could get a good start and Koskinen could keep them afloat, the hurdles preventing them from a second straight win were limited at least in my mind. So when the Kings scored on their first shot of the night, it wasn’t exactly the best way to fill our tummies with warm and fuzzies, ya know? Thankfully, the Oilers were able to respond with a pair of goals late in the period to not only tie the game but also wrestle the lead away, and it felt like everything was falling into its rightful place.
Heading into the second period, there was no way that the Oilers should have felt comfortable with a one-goal lead, and I felt that it was incredibly important that they got the next one. So when McDavid put his team up by a pair of goals, I thought that maybe I’d be able to relax a little bit. That feeling lasted only 47 seconds, though, as the Kings were able to score the first of back-to-back goals that left us all wondering what the hell we had just watched. I’m not exactly, sure how the game went from a party to a dumpster fire, but that’s what happened in just over a minute and all of us were left to stare in bewilderment. Actually, Jason Gregor tweeted that this was the third time in the last eight days that the Oilers have allowed a pair of goals in under 25 seconds and that is not a stat you want to have on your scoresheet. To make matters worse, the boys were actually able to respond but a coach’s challenge from Todd McLellan for goalie interference ended up wiping Puljujarvi’s goal off the board. All-in-all, it was a Bad News Bears kind of period for the Edmonton Oilers and they needed to tighten it up a whole lot in the third if we were going to be celebrating a win.
With the game tied and 20 minutes to play, the Oilers need to shake off what happened in the second period and get back to pushing the pace as they were early on. Instead, what we got was a team that was back on their heels from the jump and it looked like they were just trying to hang on for dear life rather than establishing any attack of their own. Put another way, had it not been for Koskinen, the Kings would have run away with it down the stretch. For the first half of the period, it was all Kings and all I could think about was how I hope we could get enough goaltending that would allow the rest of the team to get up off the mat. Thankfully, the Oilers were able to wake up in the back half of the frame and worked their way into a bunch of chances, but in the end, it wasn’t for lack of opportunity rather it was the goaltenders that kept the game tied through regulation and overtime. The good news is that the boys were perfect in the shootout and they ended up closing out the win we all wanted, albeit after a little bit more hockey than anticipated. As much as it would have been nice to win in regulation and by no means was this a pretty win, you have to be happy that the boys were ultimately able to get the job done.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Shortly after the Kings got on the board, Cody Ceci knotted the score (1-1) with an absolute snipe of a shot from the high slot that beat Jonathan Quick up and over the glove.
- Leon Draisaitl gave the Oilers the lead (2-1) after finding himself alone near the side of the net where Hyman was able to find him for the easy chip up and over a fallen Quick, and from the way he celebrated, my feeling is that he wanted to get to 50 tonight.
- Albeit temporarily, Connor McDavid extended the lead (3-1) after his centering pass attempt from behind the net took a friendly bounce past Quick down low. Initially, it was called Puljujarvi’s goal but upon further review, it was soon changed over to a 37th tally for the captain.
- After a very strong start against the Coyotes, it wasn’t exactly surprising to see Mikko Koskinen back between the pipes and looking for his 25th win of the year, and while his night didn’t start so well — what else can you say about a first shot goal, though it was deflected — he was able to shake that early goal off and settle in quite nicely. And while I wouldn’t say that Kostco was perfect by any means, you have to admit that he was often the only reason the Kings weren’t able to run away with the game, and the fact that this win happened is a testament to how well he played. Koskinen finished the night with 38 saves and a .927 save%.
- Shout out to Brett Kulak for picking up his first point with his new club after picking up an assist on Draisaitl’s goal.
- I come to you with peace and love with info from the spreadsheets that state the Oilers finished the night with a 54.37 CF% and a 53.02 xGF% at even strength.
- Major props go to the penalty killers for handling all three of LA’s chances with the man advantage. Not only did the boys come up with some huge kills at key moments, but they were very calm and efficient at getting the job done.
- Two matchups against Todd McLellan, two wins for Jay Woodcroft.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Arthur Kaliyev opened the scoring for the Kings early (1-0) when he was able to get his stick on Alex Edler’s point shot as it was making its way through traffic.
- On the very next shift after McDavid extended the lead, Quinton Byfield pulled the Kings back to within a single goal (3-2) after he was able to track down the puck in the slot and ripped it past Koskinen down low.
- Only 14 seconds after Byfield’s goal, Carl Grundstrom tied the game (3-3) from in close after he was able to chop at the puck in the crease and slide it just inside the post. Frankly, this goal happened so quickly that I had to wait for the replay to even really understand what happened.
- The first half of the third period was rough to watch as the Oilers were getting absolutely shelled with shots and chances against, and the fact that they made it through unscathed is almost a miracle.
- The Oilers went 0/2 on the power play in a game when they desperately needed one in their limited chances. Unfortunately, the boys looked as disjointed as we’ve seen recently with two power play attempts that were anything but stellar.
- If you’re a fan of the Corskis, you won’t like knowing that the Oilers were outshot the Kings by a 41-33 margin.
- After a disappointing night against the Coyotes, I am saddened to reveal that the Oilers couldn’t bounce back and won only 45% of the faceoffs.
- The NHL site had the giveaways listed at 27-17 for the Oilers and that number honestly seems about right to me. They were a bake sale of turnovers tonight.
- This was another one of those nights where we the viewers had no idea what counted as a penalty and what did not.
- In the span of only 61 seconds, the Oilers went from putting themselves up by two goals and into a tie game. How? Why?
Ben finished his radiation and we’re on our way to cheer on the @EdmontonOilers. Tonight’s 50/50 supports Kids with Cancer and is such a great cause. #LetsGoOilers Let’s keep Ben’s winning streak going! pic.twitter.com/CMSnTJClTg
— Mike Stelter (@m_dan25) March 30, 2022
I am just pissed that McLellan never won a single challenge the while time he was coaching the Oilers, but waited until he moved to LA.
— Anthony Flynn (@anthonyjflynn) March 31, 2022
They’re saving all the penalties on LA for tomorrow against the Flames.
— VisuallyBetter (@Isuckatpicking) March 31, 2022
— Area man (@tsn75) March 31, 2022
A frustrated MacT once threw a wad of gum at Joanette from the bench and was penalized. We were in Buffalo or MSG IIRC.
— Robin Brownlee (@Robin_Brownlee) March 31, 2022
— Ryan (@radam100) March 31, 2022
Friday on Oilersnation Radio, the guys talked about the trade deadline, whether or not Ken Holland did enough, and tried to figure out if this team is good enough in net to make some noise in the playoffs… provided they get there, of course. Subscribe for free on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts.