Six in a row, baby! Final Score: 3-2 Oilers
Today was a weird day. Knowing how important this game was for both clubs, I spent the 12 hours leading up to puck drop pacing around my house in nervous anticipation. I must have done a time check on my phone at least 212 times in the hopes that we’d be closer to game time, but the seconds were ticking by so very slowly, which ended up being yet another reason to hate an 8:30 PM start. But once the game finally did get going, the Oilers couldn’t have gotten much of a better start as Connor McDavid was able to get them on the board with a little bit of magic only 3:17 minutes into the action. Seeing as we knew this game would likely be another tight one, having the first goal on the board was huge. Even though the McMarker came early in the period, the goal proved to be invaluable as neither side was able to get anything else past the goalies, and we all know how important getting the first one is for the Oilers’ success this season. Would a good start lead to a better finish? I was hoping so.
Moving into the second period, the Oilers needed to keep rolling with all gas and no brakes because having only one goal wasn’t going to cut it, and rather than allowing the Kings to even things up, I wanted to see the boys put them in the rearview mirror. That said, we knew that LA was going to fight back to try and get the game knotted up and that meant Edmonton was going to need to be on top of the details in the defensive zone while also keeping their puck choices tight at the other end. If they could keep the juices flowing while also avoiding the need to force plays that weren’t there then I felt we would be okay. What I didn’t expect, however, was that the power play would let us down by giving up a shorthanded goal that was completely avoidable from my side of the TV screen. To make matters worse, that goal completely swung the momentum in LA’s favour, and rather than setting themselves up for a win, the Oilers looked more like they were just trying to hang on without getting burned. Fortunately, Warren Foegele restored the lead late in the period, but I think most of us would agree that the boys were lucky to still be ahead after 40 minutes.
Up by a goal with a period to play, the Oilers needed to get back to what was working for them in the first period because what went on after that was anything but pretty. It was almost like that failed power play chance that resulted in a shortie really cut deep or something, and I was hoping that Woodcroft could get his boys back on the same page for what was an incredibly important final period. But as much as I hoped the Oilers would come out firing and take over the period, it was the Kings that were once again manufacturing the bulk of the scoring chances. Peppering the net with shots from all over the ice, the home side was quite happy to throw the kitchen sink at Mike Smith and I thought we were very fortunate that the veteran was on top of his game because our lead could have evaporated in a hurry. Even when Bouchard scored fairly quickly to make it a two-goal game, I think we all knew it wasn’t going to be enough of a lead to make anyone feel comfortable until the final buzzer sounded. Thankfully, dad’s goal did end up being the winner in the end, and even though the last 15 minutes were incredibly stressful, the Oilers got the job done and picked up two massive points.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Connor McDavid opened the scoring (1-0) only 3:17 into the game after Bouchard found him flying through the neutral zone with speed and he used it to burn a Kings’ defender before roofing a short-side snipe up and over Jonathan Quick. How about a 15-game point streak for the captain as well as goals in his last six games? Dude is ridiculous.
- Warren Foegele restored the Oilers’ lead (2-1) late in the second period on the back of a beautiful passing play that saw the puck move from Bouchard to Ryan to McLovin and into the back of the net, all in the blink of an eye.
- Early in the third period, Evan Bouchard gave the Oilers some insurance (3-1) with a bomb from the point that Jonathan Quick got a piece of but not enough to prevent the puck from dribbling over the line. How about a casual three-point night for dad?
- Mike Smith was back between the pipes for the fourth consecutive game and looking to build upon what was a very strong performance against the Sharks on Tuesday, and I would argue that he did exactly that. From start to finish, Smith was solid for his team and he made the saves needed to weather the storms without getting thrashed about. Put another way, Smith laid a solid foundation for the Oilers and it allowed them to sneak through a few too many lulls without getting burned, and that was ultimately the reason they won the hockey game. Smith finished the night with 31 saves and a .933 save%.
- Three cheers for Leon Draisaitl being back in the lineup. Hurray! Hurray! Hurray!
- Another point for Evander Kane and the heater continues.
- Gotta give the PK some love for killing off all three shorthanded situations they faced, and a lot of that credit has to go to Mike Smith for the volume of saves he needed to make to get it all done.
- Another Brett Kulak appreciation post.
- Am I allowed to celebrate that the Oilers won 50% of the faceoffs? I’m gonna do it.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Trevor Moore tied the game (1-1) early in the second period with a shorthanded goal after Tyson Barrie tried to clear the puck out of his own zone with a weak play along the boards and the Kings were able to turn it around in a hurry before breaking in along on Smith. Absolutely dreadful.
- Shortly after Bouchard extended the lead, Viktor Arvidsson pulled the Kings back to within a single goal (3-2) after he picked up the puck along the boards with enough time to walk it into the slot and rip a shot through traffic that somehow made its way through the bodies and past the goaltender. I
- The second period was… less than ideal, ya know? Too many turnovers, too much time back on their heels, and too many clean looks on net for LA.
- The power play wasn’t overly active against the Kings and maybe that’s a good thing because the boys went 0-for-2 with the man advantage and gave up a shortie while they were at it. Not good. Not good at all.
- The NHL site had LA listed with 23 blocked shots but it honestly felt like more than that.
Unfortunately, the Oilers lost the Corskis again after being outshot by a 33-30 margin.
- Word from the spreadsheets wasn’t much better as they showed the Oilers finishing with a 47.62 CF% and a 49.86 xGF%
- I guess the LA Kings have a free pass to hit guys in the numbers, and I’m honestly embarrassed for not knowing that sooner.
the cameramen heard @jsbmbaggedmilk's complaints about the moon angles and are now opting for the super zoom. bold strategy.
— zach laing (@zjlaing) April 8, 2022
I used to run an A&W. You do NOT mess with the 6AM coffee crowd.
— Taco (@Gdzacher) April 8, 2022
Okay but like what if McDavid was the roast beef and Drai was the ched and Nuge was the delicious onion bun holding it all together?
— Vaccinated Tim 🇵🇸 (@Timmah780) April 8, 2022
letin’ ‘em play = not doing their jobs
All time quote from @jsbmbaggedmilk
— Electronic Jordan (@ElectronsJordan) April 8, 2022
BETTER LAIT THAN NEVER
Leon Draisaitl hitting 50 goals for a second time, Mike Smith shutting up the haters, and the standings are as tight as one could possibly imagine. All this and more on a new episode of Better Lait Than Never. Subscribe on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts.