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GDB +12.0 Wrap Up: McDavid sends Oilers to the Western Conference Final, caps off 5-4 comeback in OT

Eight wins down, eight more to go. Final Score: 5-4 Oilers in OT

Can I be honest for a minute? Today was the most stressed out I’ve been about a playoff game so far, and it’s a weird thing to admit considering the Oilers came into this thing ahead 3-1 in the series. Seeing as we knew the Flames were going to throw everything they had at the boys to try and keep their playoff dreams alive, I guess the concern was that we’d have guys looking past the fourth win and onto the Western Conference FInals. Knowing that there was a desperate team coming for them and that there’d be a storm to weather, I was looking for the Oilers to get a good start to try and negate some of the pressure that was bound to come their way. But in the start, it seemed like both teams needed a few minutes to feel each other out as neither side was really able to generate anything substantial. Unfortunately, that slow start also allowed the Flames a lane to get on the board first as they capitalized on one of the rare high-danger chances they had. If anything, I thought the Oilers were lucky to be down by a single goal because they were really struggling to put a couple of passes together. It wasn’t a horrible period or anything, but it was certainly sloppier than we would have liked.

Heading into the second period, I felt like the Oilers would be fine if they were able to tighten up their choices with the puck. If they could just pass the puck to each other rather than no one in particular then that small change would already be a sizeable improvement on what was happening early. Yet, despite their best attempts and a few quality looks on net, the Oilers couldn’t get anything past Markstrom in the first few minutes while the Flames were able to execute on another one of their chances at the other end. And for the third time in as many games in Calgary, the Oilers found themselves down by a pair of goals. But as we’ve seen just as many times in this series, being down by two goals wasn’t nearly enough for our boys to fold their hand. Then, in what can only be described as the wildest run of goals I’ve ever seen, the Oilers and Flames traded six goals back-and-forth in a span of eight and a half minutes. That insane sequence included a new NHL record for the fastest four goals scored in a span of only 1:11 in what can only be described as pure chaos.

With the game tied and 20 minutes to play, the Oilers had a real chance to punch their ticket through to the third round but it was going to take a much tighter effort defensively than we got in the second. They had to be much quicker on pucks instead of giving the Flames so much time and space to make moves. Over the first few shifts, the Oilers had all kinds of jump and turned that hustle into a few quality chances on Markstrom but couldn’t manage to get anything through him. At the other end, the Flames kept throwing everything they could on Smith from all angles in the hopes of catching him sleeping. As the pendulum swung back and forth, it became very clear that this was a ‘next goal wins’ type of period and so when Coleman scored I felt my heart sink into the pit of my stomach. But then the impossible happened. The goal was reversed for kicking even though this call will be debated for a long time, and instead of heading back to Edmonton for Game 6, the Oilers got a new life in the overtime period.

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Heading into OT, the Oilers needed to have a big push right from the jump because these bonus frames have not gone well for them over the last couple of years. They needed to find a way. Seeing as we got to this point on such a controversial decision by the NHL, the Oilers had to take advantage of the opportunity. And after a few tense moments in our own end, Leon Draisaitl found his ride or die in the high slot and hit him with a perfect pass, giving McDavid just enough time and space to snap a low shot by past Markstrom on the glove side. Don’t you feel like having McDavid set up by Draisaitl was the way this was meant to go? That’s the way I look at it. And just like that, the series was over and we’re moving on.

The wrap.

THE BRIGHT SIDE

  • Tomorrow is Ben Stelter’s big day and I want to wish him a very happy 6th birthday. You’ve inspired this city and we’re all in your corner. Happy birthday, Ben.
  • Darnell Nurse got the Oilers on the board (2-1) after Draisaitl hit him with a pretty pass to open ice that he was able to tee off on and beat Markstrom up and over the blocker.
  • Just over two minutes after Nurse cut the lead in half, Jesse Puljujarvi tied the game (2-2) after driving to the net and finding a loose puck left in the crease on Zach Hyman’s snapshot from the slot. Talk about the kid coming up with a massive goal at a time when we needed him the most.
  • Zach Hyman temporarily gave the Oilers the lead (3-2) with a power play goal after Nugent-Hopkins’ shot attempt was deflected right to his stick in the crease. Almost a carbon copy of his goal in Game 4, Hyman was able to outwork the defenceman and muscle the puck over the line.
  • Only 40 seconds after the Flames restored their lead, Evan Bouchard tied the game once more (4-4) with a blast from the point that made its way through traffic before making its way through the goaltender.
  • As it was always meant to be, Connor McDavid ended the series in OT (5-4) after taking a pass from Draisaitl in the slot and firing a quick snapshot past Markstrom low on the glove side. Even though it was a quieter night for McDavid, he came through with a clutch goal when we needed him to and it almost seemed like fate that he would be the one to put the boys through to the Western Conference Finals. Amazing series by McDavid.
  • All Leon Draisaitl does is put up multi-point nights and I’ve run out of words to describe how ridiculous he’s playing right now. And to do it on one leg? Incredible.
  • After allowing one of the weirdest goals I’ve ever seen in Game 4, I was looking for Mike Smith to come up with a big bounce-back effort — I know they won so don’t @ me — as he tends to do after moments like this. And even though it wasn’t his best game by any stretch, Smith still managed to outduel his counterpart by making that one extra save that was needed to win the game. By no means was this a pretty game by Smith, but the guy make some big stops, got some luck, and ultimately gave the boys the goaltending they needed to win the series. Smith finished the night with 32 saves and a .889 save%.
  • The Oilers only got one chance with the man advantage but they didn’t waste it as Zach Hyman was able to cash in yet another goal.
  • Not to be outdone, the Oilers were perfect on the PK as they killed off 2-of-2 shorthanded situations.
  • I’m not sure I agree with the Blake Coleman goal being called back for kicking but I’ll sure as hell take it. Holy hell, I did not expect that one to come back.
  • Jaaaaaaaaaaaaacob. Jaaaaaaaaaaaacob. Jaaaaaaaaaaaaacob.
  • Looking at the spreadsheets, the Oilers finished the night with a 49.18 CF% and a 54.05 xGF%.

THE FACE PALMERS

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  • Andrew Mangiapane opened the scoring for the Flames (1-0) on the back of a nice passing play down low that saw him slide into an open area behind the defencemen (somehow?) when Coleman hit him with a perfect pass that he buried quickly.
  • @Michael Backlund extended the lead (2-0) on a perfect redirection from just outside the crease after getting his stick on Michael Stone’s point shot.
  • Only 15 seconds after the Oilers grabbed the lead, Johnny Gaudreau walked the puck around the net to the circle and snapped a low shot to the far side that Smith absolutely should have stopped to tie the game at three apiece (3-3). How Gaudreau had that much time and space is beyond me but that’s what happened and I don’t really understand why?
  • Only 16 seconds after Gaudreau’s goal, @Calle Jarnkrok restored Calgary’s lead (4-3) with his first goal as a Calgary Flame after taking a pass in the high slot and beating Smith with a low wrister.
  • Having the Flames’ first line out against the Archibald-Ryan-Kassian trio wasn’t my favourite thing on earth, I’ll tell you that much. Unsurprisingly to anyone that’s been paying attention, this line also allowed yet another goal against while producing next to nothing at the other end.
  • The Oilers lost the Corskis again after being outshot by a 37-36 margin.
  • Not a big fan of seeing that the Oilers won only 33% of the faceoffs. Pretty horrible, in fact.

SCORING SUMMARY

#GOODCONTENT

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