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GDB 7.0 Wrap Up: Skinner shines between the pipes, Oilers start road trip with 3-1 win over the Blues

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Photo credit:Tom Kostiuk
baggedmilk
1 month ago
Stuart Skinner we speak your name! Final Score: 3-1 Oilers.
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Did anybody else audibly groan when you saw the St. Louis Blues on the schedule only four short days after they bored everyone to death at Rogers Place? Sure, the Blues won and all but if everyone watching fell asleep before the game ended, did the loss ever really happen? But even though I’m complaining about the way the Blues play, the reality is that their defensive shutdown style can’t come out if they don’t have the lead. On Saturday, St. Louis picked up an early power play goal and fell right back into their prevent defence, which made it incredibly difficult for the Oilers to gain any sort of traction. If the plan was for Edmonton wanted to respond with a road win of their own, grabbing the first goal was going to be incredibly important. So when Jesse Puljujarvi’s deflection got the boys on the board early after what was arguably their best start of the year, I could almost hear Oilers fans fist pumping and sighing in relief at the same time.
After putting down their best first period of the season so far, the Oilers battled hard to give themselves a headstart and I was eager to see if they’d be able to follow it up. As we know all too well, it’s one thing for this team to put in a solid period or two but another story entirely for the good times to roll for 60 minutes. Not to mention, we knew the Blues were going to push back hard to try and even things up, and weathering that early storm was going to be a challenge. Slipping punches and countering effectively, the Oilers did a really nice job of navigating the early push from St. Louis while also manufacturing opportunities for themselves at the other end. Yet, despite the flurry of chances at either end, both goaltenders played like they had no interest in ever letting another goal get past them. Had it not been for O’Reilly sneaking one in right before the buzzer, this game looked like we might be in line for another one-goal finish (yeah, yeah, empty net).
In a tie game against a former champ like the Blues, the Oilers needed to do everything humanly possible to avoid giving up another goal. Even though being down by one isn’t the end of the world, I needed the boys to avoid giving St. Louis the chance to trap up and lock things down, not just for the points in the standings but also for our collective sanity. Up until O’Reilly tied the game, the Oilers were looking about as solid as we could hope for them to be in a road game against a legitimate threat, and my hope was that they would keep the pedal to the floor and finish what they started. But as expected, the Blues had other plans. From the opening draw until the final buzzer, St. Louis was all over the Oilers in the offensive zone but Stuart Skinner was having none of their nonsense. Instead of coughing up a go-ahead goal, Skinner shut the door for good, and it gave the Oilers just enough daylight for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to pick up the winner with a greasy one near the crease. All-in-all, this was a fantastic win for the boys as they kick off their first road trip and I’m hoping they take a bunch of lessons away from this one as we carry on into Chicago. Two huge points.
The wrap.

THE BRIGHT SIDE

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  • Jesse Puljujarvi opened the scoring (1-0) after getting his stick on Darnell Nurse’s shot from the high slot, deflecting the puck perfectly through a couple of Blues defenders before making its way past Binnington. Today on Better Lait Than Never, I talked about Puljujarvi needing to get on the board so that he could gain a little bit of confidence, and I’m hoping this goal will be the start of a productive run for the big fella.
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins stayed red-hot with his fourth goal (2-1) in his last five games after he found a puck near the side of the net and chipped it threw a fallen Jordan Binnington. Nuge’s 200th NHL goal was the kind of greasy one I’ve been looking for and I could not be happier to see that my boy is NBA Jam style on fire.
  • Zach Hyman finished the game off with an empty-netter (3-1) after Leon Draisaitl found him with a stretch pass that put him in alone with the empty cage.
  • With the Oilers heading into a back-to-back set, I thought it was an interesting decision to have Stuart Skinner kick things off one night one against St. Louis. It’s not that I didn’t trust him with the task, but rather that I’ve almost gotten used to the backup goalie getting the “easier” game over the last decade or so. That was not the case tonight. Instead, Skinner got hit with shots from all angles and rose to the challenge as if he’s been in the league for years, and I could not be more bullish on his future between the pipes. Skinner finished the night with 37 saves and a .974 save%. BTW, I will watch features on his moustache any day of the week.
  • Connor McDavid is so much fun to watch and tonight was another one of those nights where he could have easily finished with a multi-point night had it not been for Binnington.
  • Brett Kulak really looks like he’s starting to settle in after what was a bumpy first couple of games on the second pairing. In 18:26 of TOI, Kulak finished with a hit, four blocks, one takeaway, and a +1 rating.
  • Foegele, McLeod, and Puljujarvi is Edmonton’s best third line that I can remember. Full stop.
  • The Oilers won 57% of the faceoffs and I could not be happier about it.
  • Tyler Pitlick didn’t score! Great success.

PRESENTED BY BETWAY

THE FACE PALMERS

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  • With under five seconds left in the second period (c’mon!), Ryan O’Reilly tied the game (1-1) after batting a loose puck out of the air and past Stuart Skinner. It was one of those plays where a scramble broke out and
  • For the seventh straight game, the Edmonton Oilers have given up a power play goal. I don’t know what’s going on when the boys are down a man, but they need to figure out how to shut the door.
  • To make matters worse, the Oilers didn’t get anything done on the power play in either of their two chances with the man advantage.
  • I noticed that McDavid wasn’t really taking draws today and I wonder if there are any lingering effects from when he ran into the post on Monday night?
  • For the second straight game, the Blues blocked a tonne of shots (21 according to the NHL) and the Oilers struggled to get their secondary shots through to Binnington.
  • Speaking of shots, the Blues outshot the Oilers by a 38-28 margin, which is certainly not ideal but also a product of all those blocked shots.
  • I don’t know what kind of curse is plaguing Warren Foegele right now, but my guy is going to be thinking about some of the chances he missed all night long.

SCORING SUMMARY

#GOODCONTENT

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