An Array of Emotions in Oilersnation

Photo credit:Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Gregor
1 year ago
The reason you love sports is because of the emotion it brings you. Last night’s unexpected Oilers victory ran the gamut of emotions ranging from frustration, anger, fear, shock, and joy. It was quite the ride.
Had you hooked up any Oilers fan to a lie detector after David Pastrnak scored with 0.02 second remaining in the first period to give Boston a 2-0 lead, they’d have answered “yes,” when asked if the game was over.
How could they not? The Boston Bruins are the best team in the NHL.
They were 30-0-3 when scoring first.
They were 28-0-1 when leading after the first period.
They were 35-0-2 when leading after the second period.
The Bruins were riding a 10-game winning streak and looking to be the fastest team in NHL history to 50 wins.
But the Oilers removed all three zeros from the aforementioned stats, delayed the Bruins’ quest for 50 wins, and stormed back to defeat them 3-2 in regulation for their biggest victory of the season. It was unexpected.
The game started well. The Oilers had the puck in Boston’s end for the first three and a half minutes. They were buzzing, but then Boston exited its zone, and missed the stretch pass, but it took a bounce off the boards to Brad Marchand and his shot went right through Stuart Skinner 3:51 into the first period. It was the Bruins’ first shot of the game on their first entry into the offensive zone.
Frustration entered Oilersnation.
A great start was erased in one second. But the Oilers didn’t fold. They killed off two penalties, one of which included David Krejci’s goal being called back for offside. The rest of the period was tight checking, and very physical. Mattias Ekholm led the way with four first period hits. The Oilers didn’t give up much, but they didn’t generate much either.
Then with five seconds remaining in the first period Skinner had his pass knocked down in the corner by Krejci, who found David Pastrnak in the slot and his shot eluded Skinner with 0.02 seconds remaining. The Bruins led 2-0 which usually meant “Lights Out Irene.”
It was Skinner’s toughest period of the season. I don’t recall him being the direct culprit on two goals in a period all year.  Some fans were feverishly typing out on Twitter or in the GDB comment section their displeasure.
Anger abounded in Oilersnation.
But the Oilers didn’t fold. Skinner did what good goalies do: He refocused and didn’t allow another goal.
In the second period, there weren’t many chances either way, until Matt Grzelyck lost an edge high in the Oilers zone, and Edmonton suddenly had a four-on-one. How often has that happened this season? Mattias Janmark carried the puck in the zone and then dropped it to Evan Bouchard in the slot. Bouchard skated in, and instead of making a fancy pass, he ripped a snapshot just inside the post. It was his first goal in 44 games. Forty-four games and he’s shooting like a guy on a six-game scoring streak. Smart play by Bouchard.
Cautious optimism crept into Oilersnation.
The third period began. Each team had four shots in the first four minutes, but all of them came from 23 feet or farther. But then the Oilers’ surprising go-to playmaker stepped up. Devin Score, I mean Shore, knocked down a Patrice Bergeron clearing attempt, took the puck into the corner, waited until Ryan McLeod was in position, and put the pass right on his tape. McLeod ripped home his 11th goal of the season. It was his first goal in 13 games. His toothless grin was on full display on the bench.
Shock and surprise welcomed those in Oilersnation who didn’t turn the TV off after the first period.
The Oilers and Bruins were suddenly tied with 13:52 remaining.
Over the next nine minutes, there were a total of two shots. The Oilers had one and the Bruins had one. The Oilers got their first power play during this time, but the first unit didn’t register a shot. The second unit managed one from Darnell Nurse.
The clock ticked down to the five minute mark, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins crossed centre and dumped the puck in off the back boards. Bruins’ goalie Jeremy Swayman stepped out of his net and knocked it behind the goal. Leon Draisaitl beat the Bruins defender to the puck, slid it back to the right point to Cody Ceci, who quickly moved it to Nurse. Nurse took one step and fired a seeing-eye wrister that alluded Swayman. It was Nurse’s first goal in 29 games.
Fist-pumping and jubilation erupted across Oilersnation. So did nervousness. The Oilers led with 4:49 to play.
The Oilers just needed to continue their strong defensive play. They hadn’t given up much all game.
The clock ticked down. It was just under four minutes and then without warning, fear, panic, and despair gripped Oilersnation.
Connor McDavid and Derek Ryan collided in the neutral zone. McDavid instantly clutched his left knee. Ryan, upon realizing what happened bent over and put his glove to his face, likely thinking “OMFG.”
Rage, anger and sadness spread throughout Oilersnation as McDavid got up slowly and made his way to the bench. He left with 3:50 to go.
How many fans thought or said, “There goes the season?” Many, I suspect.
Two minutes ticked off the clock. It felt like an eternity. My nine-year-old son watched the third period this morning. When McDavid collided with Ryan he yelled “Oh no.” I didn’t say anything and watched how concerned he was, but then how excited he was when he saw McDavid back on the ice. “I bet Derek Ryan is relieved,” he said. I suspect he was.
But then relief seeped back in Oilersnation as McDavid stood up and returned to the ice exactly two minutes later.
The final 1:51 began with a face off in the Oilers’ end and the Bruins with six skaters.
Recently acquired Nick Bjugstad won two faceoffs v. Bergeron to the right of Skinner. Then Leon Draisaitl beat Bergeron to Skinner’s left. Three key faceoffs and three huge wins for Edmonton.
With a 1:15 remaining Ryan Nugent-Hopkins took a pass from McDavid, skated through centre, and shot at the empty net from just outside the blue line. He missed.
Nervousness ratcheted up within Oilersnation.
The Bruins re-entered the Oilers’ zone. Butt cheeks tightened within the Nation. Pastrnak’s shot was stopped. Then Nurse blocked Bergeron’s shot and a few seconds later the Oiler exited their zone.
McDavid got a pass inside the Bruins zone, and tried to deke around Bergeron, who had gone down to block the shooting lane, but McDavid lost control of the puck and it slid into the corner. Seconds later McDavid got it back, spun, and shot at the empty net.
Wide again. 17.8 seconds remained.
“WTF is happening?” echoed through Oilersnation.
The seconds ticked down and the Oilers won 3-2.
Being down 2-0, on two goals Skinner would like back, on the road against the NHL’s best team — a team that hadn’t lost in regulation when scoring first, leading after 20 minutes or leading after the second period. Yet the Oilers found a way to win.
Three goals by players who ended goal scoring droughts of 44, 13, and 29 games.
To say it was a big win for Edmonton would be an understatement. It was massive.
And most fans needed a drink, a smoke, a shower or all three, after experiencing a wave of emotions that felt like a playoff game.
I bet you loved it though. It is why you are a fan.


Mar 9, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Edmonton Oilers defenseman Mattias Ekholm (14) celebrates with goaltender Stuart Skinner (74) after defeating the Boston Bruins at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports
I love underdog stories and there is no better unexpected outcome than the play of Shore right now. It is amazing what confidence will do for a player. Shore was a healthy scratch for 12 of 13 games between December 19th to January 14th. He was reassigned to Bakersfield for a conditioning stint on January 15th. He registered no points on January 20th and 21st, but then scored 2-3-5 in three games on January 25th, 27th and 28th.
He was recalled from his conditioning stint on January 29th so he could spend the bye week in Edmonton with his family. When the Oilers returned from their break Shore was reassigned and recalled multiple times, before being reassigned on February 15th. The Oilers wanted to activate Kailer Yamamoto and needed room. But Shore never played a game in the AHL as Evander Kane got injured on February 17th and Shore was recalled on an emergency basis.
He joined the team in Colorado on the 19th and picked up an assist. He’s played nine games since being recalled and has 1-4-5. And his assists have been patient, well-placed passes. Only McDavid (9), Warren Foegele and Draisaitl (6) have more 5×5 points than Shore since he was recalled.
Shore knows he could be a healthy scratch again in the future. The Oilers have 13 solid forwards. Klim Kostin hasn’t played poorly, but he’s been a healthy scratch in two of the last three games. It is a good problem for head coach Jay Woodcroft. Shore is playing so well that Woodcroft can’t take him out. He’s made key plays every game and he’s riding a three-game point streak. In limited minutes he is producing and playing very well.
It isn’t just his point totals. He has the best SF%, GF%, and xGF% among Oilers players in those 10 games. When he’s on the ice Edmonton has outscored the opposition 6-1.
Since January 1st the Oilers have outscored the opposition 36-20 without McDavid and Draisaitl on the ice. The Oilers’ depth forwards have played a major role in them turning their season around. Shore is the latest one to chip in. Who knows how long it will last, but Shore’s recent play has been great to watch from someone who loves underdog stories. And he’s proven to himself he can still be a productive player in the NHL.


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