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Oilers PK shines and McDavid calls game in 3-2 OT win against the Stars

American Airlines Arena Dallas
Photo credit:Baggedmilk
baggedmilk
25 days ago
The Edmonton Oilers picked up their first Western Conference Final win in the Connor McDavid era, and it was the captain who called game with a perfect redirection in his first shift of double overtime. Oilers win 3-2 in OT.

CONNOR McDAVID CALLS GAME

I would LOVE to know what was running through Connor McDavid’s mind when he took the double minor for high sticking in overtime and was forced to sit in the box for four minutes. You could tell by the way he argued that he was fired up about getting tagged for one, whereas Matt Duchene was not for holding his stick. I know McDavid spoke about it briefly in his post-game presser, but I’d love to know what was really going through his mind at that moment.
In my imagination, I like to think that McDavid was telling himself that if the PK came through for him, he would find a way to win it. From my spot in the upper bowl, I could see McDavid sitting in the box, and all I could think about was how he was going to be so pissed off with himself that the only way the game could end was if he did it himself. So when he got that incredible chance in front of Oettinger in the first OT, I was stunned that he couldn’t find a way to cash in that opportunity.
Yet, on his first shift of the second overtime period, McDavid’s perfectly placed redirection on the centering pass from Bouchard snuck past Oettinger on the blocker side and gave the Oilers a win they certainly deserved. It was the kind of McMagic we needed for the Oilers to close out a win in a game where they were the better team. For my money, this was one of the best games McDavid has played so far in the playoffs, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he builds on that night as we head into Game 2.

ZACH HYMAN WAS FANTASTIC

Zach Hyman was relentless in Game 1. Whenever the puck came near him, ZMH was all over it and did everything humanly possible to keep it on his stick. Not only did he score a goal that resulted from being strong on the puck and out-battling Chris Tanev in front of the net, but he was a machine on the forecheck all night long. It was almost like Hyman made the decision that no one was going to get the puck from him ever again, and I was amazed by the way he was able to maintain control down low.
In the end, Zach Hyman keeps doing all the little things that help his team win. Whether scoring big goals or keeping the puck on his stick on the cycle until his linemates can find some space, Zachary Martin Hyman is pretty much built for this kind of hockey. I know I’ve said it a bunch of times over the course of the year, but the guy has been so much better than I ever expected him to be, and I’m so damned impressed how he keeps getting better as his time with us rolls on.

SOME LOVE FOR STUART SKINNER

Stuart Skinner faced 33 shots on Thursday and stopped 31 of them, which was good for a .933 save% and a big Game 1 win. The reason I’m starting this section with his stats is because there were so many doubters about Skinner’s game after what happened against Vancouver that there is a sizeable chunk of hockey fans — not Oilers fans — that thought he had no chance competing against Oettinger.
Well, in Game 1 at least, Skinner rose to the challenge and went save for save with a very good goaltender at the other end. He looked calm, handled the puck well, and looked like the guy who was one of the best in the league for a run of a few months. Had Stu not been dialled in from Jump Street, the Oilers could have found themselves in a hole while they were trying to shake the nerves off, but he stood tall and laid the foundation for what was a massive road win.

THE PENALTY KILL

The Oilers’ PK was tasked with killing off five shorthanded situations against the Stars, and they got the job done like champions. As I’m watching the boys kill off penalty after penalty, I couldn’t help but think of the YEARS when the Oilers couldn’t get a kill to save their lives, and now they’ve got the best PK in the playoffs. At a 92.5% kill rate, the Oilers’ PK is lights out right now, and my body is here for it.

OTHER THINGS WORTH MENTIONING…

 
Thanks to Reid Wilkins, I learned that this was the Oilers’ first win in double OT or later since Shawn Horcoff beat San Jose in triple OT on May 10th, 2006. Is it a sign? I’m choosing to believe it’s a sign.
-Leon Draisaitl opened the scoring with his ninth goal of the playoffs and extended his point streak to 13 games. Just so we’re clear here, Drai has points in every single playoff game so far. That’s bananas. But not only is he getting it done on the offensive side of the puck, but there were also many instances of him hauling ass back to the d-zone to break up plays too. The guy is just so damned good at playoff time that I wish I were smarter so I could come up with better words to describe how great he’s been.
-Can we talk about the fact that the Dallas Stars weren’t called for a single penalty outside of a bench minor in over four periods of play? I’m not trying to be some conspiracy theorist or anything like that, but you can’t tell me that every player in a Dallas Stars jersey was a perfect angel in Game 1. It was ridiculous. The good news is that the PK was perfect in Game 1, killing off all five shorthanded situations they faced, including the double minor to Connor McDavid in overtime. Amazing effort.
-Should we talk about Brett Kulak’s 10-bell giveaway that resulted in the first Stars goal, or should we leave it alone? Playoff Kulak has been sensational so far in the playoffs, but that giveaway could have turned the tides. He’ll be better, but that mistake was costly.
-After going to Los Angeles and Vancouver for the first two rounds and dealing with their fanbases, which could be incredibly toxic, it was so refreshing to come to Dallas and not have any of those same experiences. If anything, every Stars fan we met was very nice and blown away that we flew from Edmonton to Texas to watch our boys play. They were friendly, their chirps were pretty funny, and I’d be remise if I didn’t mention how great the experience was in Game 1 after getting screamed at for two nights in Vancouver. Shout to Stars fans, and I never thought I’d say that. Oh, and no, I’m not talking about the BANG guy — he wasn’t anywhere near us.
-I know my schtick is that I love faceoffs, but you can’t tell me I was the only one who wished the Oilers could win a draw in the third period and overtime. Instead, the boys won only 44.3% of the draws, and some of those losses resulted in some quality shots against Skinner. Fortunately, we still managed to come up on top, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t getting rattled late in the game when the guys kept losing faceoffs in their zone.

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