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Connor Brown gets his goal, Zach Hyman goal parade, and the Oilers stomp the Capitals 7-2 at Rogers Place

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Photo credit:Baggedmilk
baggedmilk
29 days ago
The Edmonton Oilers had an up-and-down wrap to their road trip, dropping two games against mediocre teams in the Columbus Blue Jackets and Buffalo Sabres before getting back in the win column with a dominant performance against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Last night, the boys were back at Rogers Place and looking to start a new winning streak against Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals, and that’s precisely what happened as the home side blew the Caps out by a 7-2 final score.

CONNOR BROWN GETS HIS GOAL

It’s been 72 NHL games and nearly two full calendar years (March 24, 2022) since Connor Brown last scored in the NHL, but last night, against the Washington Capitals, the man finally got his goal. At 11:00 of the third period, Brown found himself on a 2-on-1 with Evander Kane and charged the net with gusto, tipping Kane’s centering pass past Darcy Kuemper after the puck took a friendly bounce off his leg. Basically, it was the exact kind of garbage goal he needed.
It may not have been the prettiest goal Brown will ever score, but dammit, if that thing wasn’t beautiful to all of us. I was at Rogers Place last night, and I’ve never seen anything like the reaction after we all realized that he scored. There were hats hitting the ice, a standing ovation, and pockets of the crowd chanting his name on an endless loop for the rest of the third period. It was incredible.
I know a lot of us have given Brown a hard time for not being able to score, but it was truly amazing to be in the building and watch the reaction at the rink when he got when he finally got one to go. I’ve been lucky enough to be at Rogers Place for my share of cool moments over the years, but seeing everyone give him a standing ovation after he finally got rewarded with his first goal as an Oiler was pretty special.

ZACH HYMAN CAN’T STOP, WON’T STOP

It’s not very often you get to tie one of Wayne Gretzky’s records, but that’s exactly what Zach Hyman did last night when he made it 10 straight home games with a goal. Not only did Hyman score, but he tied the Great One’s record in style, turning in his fourth hat trick of the season with goals numbers 44, 45, and 46.
What was most interesting about Hyman’s hattie was that the third goal was initially credited to Evan Bouchard, and it took probably an hour before the league confirmed that the Oilers’ fifth marker belonged to ZMH and not Dad. That delay set the table for what was arguably one of the funniest and most disrespectful hat tosses that I’ve ever seen. With just over 90 seconds left in the third period, the in-house announcer revealed that Hyman had completed the natural hat trick, and that’s when the hats came raining down.
Even from my seat in the second level, I could tell that having hundreds of hats hit the ice that long after Hyman scored his third was a major annoyance for the Washington Capitals. You saw guys throwing their hands in the air, shaking their heads, and understandably just wanting the 7-2 shit kicking to be over with so they could get on the plane and go home. It was hilarious. I probably laughed for 15 straight minutes about how this whole thing went down, and what makes the late hat toss even funnier is that the staff had just spent time picking up hats after Connor Brown scored.

HOW ABOUT STUART SKINNER?

Stuart Skinner was back between the pipes for his 48th appearance and 46th start of the year, looking to build upon the fine work Calvin Pickard did in Pittsburgh on Sunday morning. What’s incredible about Stu’s night was how it started versus how it ended. If we’re being honest, I think there were more than a few of us who may have been feeling nervous after Skinner allowed two goals on the first two shots of the game.
Yet, from there onward, Skinner was perfect. Instead of getting rattled and crumbling, Skinner stopped the next 23 shots he faced, including some monster saves on Alex Ovechkin in tight. Even though Edmonton outshot the Capitals quite handily (37-25), it was hard to ignore how many grade-A chances Skinner was able to handle from some very strong scoring areas. He covered up a lot of mistakes.
There was the diving save on Ovi to keep the game 3-2, the glove save on him in the third period to keep the gap intact, and without even much of a description, I’m betting that you know which two stops I’m talking about. Isn’t that a sign of a stellar goaltending performance? Instead of allowing his night to turn into a mess after a tough start, Skinner finished with a .926 save%, and that’s a damned fine total, given where some of us thought the game would end up.

OTHER THINGS WORTH MENTIONING…

-Since November 24th, the Edmonton Oilers have a record of 35-9-2. That’s unbelievable. This season has been a hell of a ride, man.
-The special teams have been a point of conversation around here lately, and last night the Oilers were pretty damned good. On their four power play attempts, the boys looked like the studs we know them to be, as they were able to pick up three PP goals after dominating runs at 5-on-4. On the PK, the gang killed off 3-of-4 shorthanded situations they faced, and while it wasn’t a perfect night, you have to appreciate the way the boys kept the Caps quiet when up a man.
-I liked the way Brett Kulak stepped up in the absence of Mattias Ekholm, who missed last night’s contest due to illness. As he always does, Kulak quietly put in an impressive evening that saw him finish with an assist, two shots, one hit, and a +3 rating to go along with 18:47 in TOI.
-Gotta give some love to Troy Stecher for making his Oilers debut in the absence of Mattias Ekholm. While it must have been wild for him to play in his first game with the team without having much time to get settled, I thought he was pretty effective in his 13:33 of TOI. I mean, he’d probably want to avoid taking four PIMs if he could, my first impression of him was that he was pretty unnoticeable, and I say that as a total compliment.
-Tyler, Liam, and I were all at the game last night and we decided to put in a squad bet where everyone picked a leg for our three-man parlay. What did we pick, you might be wondering? Zach Hyman over 3.5 shots, Warren Foegele to score, and the Oilers to win by two goals or more. What happened? We all won big, and we all celebrated big.
-As you can imagine, I was elated to attend last night’s game and watch the Oilers win 52.7% of the faceoffs they took. Twas a magical night at the rink, indeed.

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