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GDB 69.0 Wrap Up: Just the way we drew it up, Oilers extend winning streak with 6-5 OT win over the Blues

Never in doubt. Final Score: 6-5 Oilers in OT

Easily the worst part about the last part of the season is the stress that comes with the hours leading up to puck drop and not knowing what kind of effort you’re going to get from the boys. When they’re playing at their best, the Oilers can hang with anyone in the league — we saw it against Tampa and Colorado — but the problem is that we don’t get to see them firing on all cylinders nearly often enough. While there’s no doubt I love seeing the boys beat up on poo teams like the Coyotes, I’d much rather follow up a tough win against the Kings with a statement game against the Blues. Not only are they a rock solid hockey team, but they play the kind of hockey the Oilers will need to manage when playoff time comes around. What I didn’t expect, however, was a four-goal outburst for the boys that set them up in a way that I wouldn’t have expected in two hundred years. The only downside, in my opinion, was that the Blues had to give Binnington the hook because I thought he was playing great.

Moving into the second period, we knew that the Blues were going to come out firing and do what they could to try and pull themselves back into the game after falling into a three-goal hole. From an Oilers perspective, I couldn’t think of a better way to prevent such a comeback than by adding a fifth goal to their tally and extending the space between them, but it was simply not meant to be. Instead, the Blues were able to pick up an early goal to cut the lead to two goals with an early one after the Oilers started the frame back on their heels. Unlike the first, the Oilers weren’t able to do as they wished with the puck and they almost looked like they weren’t sure how to handle St. Louis now that they’d decided to not roll over and die. As the period wore on, the play flowed back and forth much more evenly with both sides getting their share of chances, but it was the Blues that put two goals up on the board to the Oilers’ one and ultimately won the period. Honestly, it wasn’t pretty and I think we all knew that the Oilers would have to be a whole tighter in the third if they wanted to close out this win.

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Up by two goals with 20 minutes to play, the boys needed to come out swinging from the get-go rather than easing their way into the period as they did in the second. I mean, the Oilers were in really good shape but that advantage could disappear in a hurry if they weren’t careful, and it was going to take a lot more than a ho-hum effort to close out the two points. The bad news is that the Blues were able to pull themselves back to within one with another early goal that came as a result of some sloppy defending that looked like a page from the Eakins era. I don’t know why the boys decided to make winning this hockey game as difficult as possible, but there were times when that truly seemed to be the goal here.  So when the Blues eventually tied the game near the midway point of the period, I’d be lying if I said I was surprised since there was nothing about the way the boys were defending to getting saves that led us to believe otherwise. The good news is that the boys were able to respond in overtime to close out the win, but I’ll be the first to admit that there were moments when I wasn’t exactly feeling so confident.

The wrap.

THE BRIGHT SIDE

  • WE’RE 4-0 IN THE BEN STELTER ERA!
  • Oilers just won their ninth straight home game.
  • Zach Hyman got the Oilers on the board (1-0) after the Blues turned the puck over near their blue line and the Oilers’ forward group turned it around in a hurry with a beautiful passing play. All of a sudden, the puck went from Draisaitl to Yamamoto to Hyman and in the back of the net for his 23rd goal of the season. Just over three minutes later, Hyman added a second goal (2-1) to restore the lead after he stole the puck behind the Blues’ net, walked it out front, and ripped a shot over Binnington.
  • Midway through the first period, Evander Kane extended the lead (3-1) with a shorthanded goal after the Blues absolutely fumbled the puck in their own zone, allowing him to steal it and fire a backhander through Binnington’s legs. The Evander Kane heater continues as he finished the night with three points.
  • Somehow still in the first period, Connor McDavid chased the goaltender with a fourth goal in the period (4-1) after he picked up a Kane rebound near the crease and slipped it through the goalie’s legs with a quick bang-bang reaction play. McDavid wasn’t done there, though, as he wrapped the game up in OT (6-5) with a perfect deflection on Draisaitl’s centering pass that he was just barely able to get past Husso. It was the little dose of luck that we desperately needed to get this thing done.
  • Right when things looked like they were slipping away, Darnell Nurse restored the Oilers’ two-goal lead (5-3) after he charged towards the net, picked up the rebound on Kane’s shot, and flipped it up and over Husso.
  • With two assists on the night, Kailer Yamamoto has now registered 15 points in his last 12 games.
  • How about a quiet two-point night for Cody Ceci?
  • Gotta give some love to the PK for killing off all three of St. Louis’ chances with the man advantage.
  • If you’re a fan of the Corskis, you will be tickled to learn that the Oilers outshot the Blues by a 40-36 margin.
  • I also come to you with stories from the spreadsheets to advise that the Oilers finished the night with a 53.47 CF% and a 55.09 xGF% at even strength.

THE FACE PALMERS

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  • Pavel Buchnevich tied the game (1-1) with a wrap around goal after his initial shot was stopped but the rebound kicked back out to the shooter, giving him a lane to walk the puck around the net and put it home. To make matters worse, Mike Smith got spun around in the crease somehow and it took him ages to get across the crease, which was obviously less than ideal in the situation. Buchnevich picked up another goal early (5-4) in the third period after he picked up a loose puck in the middle of the Oilers’ coverage and tucked it into an open net.
  • Robert Thomas got the Blues back in the game (4-2) with a goal that came on the back of a turnover near the blue line after Nugent-Hopkins got caught trying to make a play instead of simply clearing the zone, and all of a sudden, the Oilers’ lead wasn’t quite so comfortable.
  • Brayden Schenn cut the lead to one (4-3) on a goal that Mike Smith absolutely had to have. Schenn beat him through the legs on a clean shot from the top of the circle that had absolutely no business going in the net.
  • Ivan Barbashev tied the game (5-5) with a deflection/shot from right in close that beat Smith up high after Ryan O’Reilly found him with a perfect pass to the slot.
  • Did we think the game was over after the fourth goal or what?
  • Mike Smith was back between the pipes for the 20th time this season and looking to rebound from the tough situation he was thrown into in Calgary on Saturday, and while I’d say he got the job done, there were too many moments that were pretty scary to watch with there being no better example than the Schenn goal that was 1000% stoppable. That’s not to say that Smith is to blame for every goal — Gord knows the team in front of him was porous, to say the least — but by my count, he allowed two goals that have to get stopped and that’s a big problem. Smith finished the night with 31 saves and a .861 save%.
  • The penalty that Warren Foegele took at the beginning of the third period was one of the dumbest penalties I’ve seen in quite some time, and I don’t mean that because the refs messed up.
  • The NHL site had the Oilers giveaways listed at 15 but I don’t think I buy that.
  • While I don’t understand how the Oilers got only a single power play chance, they were unable to get anything done with the opportunity.
  • I am devastated to report that the Oilers won only 39% of the faceoffs.

SCORING SUMMARY

#GOODCONTENT

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BETTER LAIT THAN NEVER

With McDavid and Draisaitl chasing another huge season, I spent a big chunk of this week’s podcast talking about how much I love those two dudes. Not only that, the Oilers have played very well over the last couple of weeks and that means another opportunity for me to pump the team’s tires. Subscribe on SpotifyApple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts.