Playing down to our competition is the Oilers’ love language. Final Score: 5-2 Blue Jackets
I think I’ve said how much I love a good matinee twice already this morning, but I’m going to say it again right now because there’s nothing that I love more than an Oilers game to kick off my day. Not to mention, when that game happens to be an expected win because the team you’re facing is generally terrible then, all of a sudden, you’ve got the makings of a fine little Sunday. And when you get a goal from Kane only three minutes in, how can you not be feeling the big mood vibes? At the very least, you couldn’t hope for a much better start than we got. From there, however, I thought the Oilers took their foot off the gas a little bit and allowed the Blue Jackets to get settled in manufacture a handful of decent chances for themselves. As a result, that short lull by the Oilers gave Columbus some life, and having that boost resulted in a tying goal in the back half of the period. I’m not saying it was a disastrous result by any means, but I doubt the Oilers were overly satisfied with the result heading into the intermission.
Heading into the second period, the Oilers needed to do a better job of getting some traffic in front of Merzlikins because he seemed to be locked in for the Jackets and while Kane was able to beat him cleanly early on, I wasn’t sure that they’d be able to repeat based on how he bounced back. Before getting to that, though, the Oilers had to clean up what was left of the penalty they took in the dying minutes of the first after a scrum broke out in the Columbus zone with our side getting the extra two minutes. Once that was out of the way, the boys got back to business and put together a string of shifts in the offensive zone that the Blue Jackets struggled to manage and caused them to take what proved to be a costly penalty. After going scoreless with the man advantage over the past few nights, the PP proved to be the difference as neither team was able to get anything to click at even strength. That said, we may need to consider some kind of offering to the Hockey Gords for blessing us with a gift basket worth of posts and crossbars in the closing minutes to keep the Oilers up by a goal.
Up by a goal with 20 minutes to play, the Oilers need to keep pushing for offence while also tightening up a touch in their own zone. In the second period, the boys got caught flying the zone a little bit early and were honestly lucky that they didn’t get burned. While I’m not saying that the Oilers were awful by any stretch, the fact that Columbus was able to hang around the way they did felt like having a mosquito buzz around in your tent while you’re trying to sleep. While there’s a good chance nothing awful will happen, there is always a shot that the annoying mosquito could turn into a problem, which was what it felt like when they tied the game less than two minutes into the frame. To make matters worse, the Oilers weren’t able to respond with a goal of their own to restore the balance and it left the door open for Columbus to grab their first lead of the game, which they eventually did with a clutch power play marker. And while the story will be that the Oilers gave up four straight in the third period to piss away their lead, it was the lack of finish early in the game that ended up killing them.
Instead of locking down home-ice advantage for the playoffs, the Oilers end up losing to a shorthanded squad that they should beat more often than not and our Rogers Place advantage will have to wait another day.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Evander Kane cannot stop scoring goals and the heater continued this morning (1-0) with a snipe from the slot after McDavid found him with plenty of time and space. I mean, what can you say about 21 goals in 40 games? Ridiculous.
- Leon Draisaitl restored the Oilers’ lead (2-1) with a power play goal from his office after — you guessed it — McDavid hit him with a cross-ice pass to the wheelhouse that he was able to tee off on.
- Another multi-point game for Connor McDavid as he continues to put Jonathan Huberdeau in the rearview mirror. Make it 11 points for McDavid in his last three games.
- I love seeing that the power play was able to get something done on one of its three chances because the PP is kinda the only thing that hasn’t been firing on all cylinders over these last few weeks, and I’d love nothing more than to see the boys get hot before the playoffs. Obviously, we needed more than the one goal today but it was nice to see the boys execute.
- Oilers were back in the Corski win column after outshooting the Jackets by a 35-31 margin.
- The spreadsheet society offers good news after the Oilers finished with a 56.63 CF% and a 52.37 xGF%.
- I had the can opener count at two tonight.
- Shout out to the posts for bailing us out a handful of times! They tried their best to make this happen.
THE FACE PALMERS
- The Oilers were outworked by a team that’s missing a huge chunk of their everyday starters and that’s incredibly frustrating to me. The refs certainly didn’t help, but I ain’t got no time for excuses.
- Four straight goals for Columbus in the third period. *farts loudly*
- Eric Robinson tied the game (1-1) late in the first period after he drove to the net and found a loose puck waiting for him in the crease. Overall it was a broken, lucky bounce kind of goal that I don’t know how much more the Oilers could have done to prevent it other than maybe Yamamoto collapsing to the net a little quicker but even so… way she goes sometimes.
- Oliver Bjorkstrand tied the game for a second time (2-2) on another bouncing puck around the net that the Oilers just couldn’t get a handle on after they got caught running around in their own zone.
- Nick Blankenburg gave Columbus the lead (3-2) with a power play goal — his first in the NHL — after his wrister from the point made its way through traffic, off the bar, and into the back of the net.
- Jack Roslovic extended Columbus’ lead (4-2) on the back of a 2-on-1 rush where the Oilers couldn’t take away the pass, which left the goal scorer open with an empty net to shoot at.
- Cole Sillinger wrapped things up with an empty-netter (5-2) to give the Blue Jackets four straight goals.
- For the first time in a while, the Oilers gave up a goal on the power play (1/3) and it ended up being the game winner.
- After watching Mike Smith do his thing for the last for games, Mikko Koskinen was back between the pipes and looking to lock in home ice advantage for his teammates in the playoffs. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be as neither he nor his teammates were very sharp this morning, and it proved to be costly as they simply gave up way too much in their own end and Kostco wasn’t able to bail them out enough. Koskinen finished the game with 26 saves and a .867 save%.
- Elvis Merzlikins was far too annoying for my liking. Far too annoying indeed. Elvis left the building with 33 saves and a .943 save%.
- Nuge’s line was invisible.
- How can you not be filled with sadness when you find out that the Oilers won only 48% of the faceoffs?
- I don’t know how many times the Oilers would lob a soft pass to no one in particular but it happened far too often for my liking and we were actually lucky Columbus couldn’t take advantage more than they ultimately did.
- Today was the game of game where we really missed Darnell Nurse’s ability to wheel the puck out of his own zone. Here’s hoping this injury is as minor as they say and that’s back up and running as quickly as possible.
— Patrick 🇺🇦 (@OhNoNotPatrick) April 24, 2022
You've got to admire the committment pic.twitter.com/5TKYTmBXhF
— TheTowelBoy (@TheTowelBoy) April 24, 2022
— Jesse Goddard (@Jessekgoddard) April 24, 2022
BETTER LAIT THAN NEVER
How can you not be excited about what’s going on with the Edmonton Oilers right now? With Clinchmas upon us, I dove into what’s working, what I’m excited about, and how Jay Woodcroft has turned this team around in a way I didn’t think was possible. Subscribe on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts.