GDB 74.0 Wrap Up: The Oilers weren’t perfect but they got the job done in 5-4 win over the Coyotes

1 year ago
Nice try, Arizona. The mullet has always been our thing. Final Score: 5-4 Oilers
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After dropping Saturday’s game to the Vegas Golden Knights, the Oilers needed to get back in the win column to make sure they’re keeping pace with the rest of the Pacific Division playoff teams that just don’t seem to lose. And with a rematch with Vegas coming up tomorrow, the boys needed to kick this back-to-back set off on the right foot. The problem with that plan is that the Coyotes are actually pretty damned good when playing at their tiny arena. With a record of 20-11-4 at Mullett Arena coming in, you just knew that they weren’t going to be an easy out. What I didn’t expect, however, was that these two teams would score five combined goals in the first 20 minutes. They had this wild call-and-response thing going on and it was a rollercoaster I didn’t see coming. We had power play goals, shorthanded goals, lead changes, and just about everything you could imagine before the period was over.
With the way the first period took weird turns without notice, I had no idea what to expect from these clubs heading into the middle third. All I knew for sure was that the Oilers had a one-goal lead and if they could just stay out of the box then they’d probably have a pretty decent chance of extending it. So when the boys hit the ice with some jump in their step, I think we were all feeling hopeful that we were only a shot away from the floodgates opening. But even though that moment never arrived, the Oilers were easily the better team in the period and it was almost unlucky that they weren’t rewarded further. Even so, the boys did a really nice job of building opportunities for themselves without sacrificing too much at the other end, and that combination proved to be a handful for the Coyotes to handle. And if Edmonton could keep that same level of effort and execution going in the third, I saw no reason why we wouldn’t be celebrating a win when the final buzzer sounded.
Up by two goals with a period to play, the Oilers didn’t have to do anything apart from keeping the same thing going. If they could do that then victory was only 20 short minutes away. Unfortunately, what actually happened looked more like an Eakins-era performance than anything we saw in the first or second periods. Not only did the Oilers come out flat and look like they were content to try and sit on their lead, but they ended up coughing up their two-goal lead before the period was even five minutes old. It was like the goal of hockey was to erase all of the good things they had done earlier with dumb mistakes and lacklustre defending. Thankfully, the Coyotes seemed to think that tying the game was the finish line or something because once they got there they kinda fell apart and took a string of penalties that gave the Oilers the daylight they needed to reclaim the lead for a final time. Once Ryan Nugent-Hopkins wrestled the lead back into Edmonton’s corner, he and his teammates did a much better job of locking things down to ensure they finished the job.
At the end of the day, this wasn’t the most spectacular win we will ever see and there were plenty of details that need to get cleaned up, but the Oilers did what they had to do to pick up two points and that’s what matters most right now. It wasn’t a pretty win, but it was a huge one.
The wrap.


  • Only 50 seconds after the Coyotes opened the scoring, Zach Hyman tied the game (1-1) on the power play with a tap-in from the edge of the crease that beat the goaltender down low. The puck moved from Nuge to McDavid to Hyman in a snap, and there was nothing the Coyotes could do about it.
  • Only 35 seconds after Arizona restored their lead, Evan Bouchard tied the game for a second time (2-2) with a snipe from the circle that beat Vejmelka up high. Dad put that puck upstairs so quickly that you’d think they were unworn New Balances.
  • Darnell Nurse gave the Oilers the lead (3-2) late in the first period with a shorthanded goal after he jumped up into the rush, took in the high slot, and buried his shot through the goaltender’s arm and body. I mean, it probably should have been a save but we will happily take it. The goal was the Oilers’ 14th shortie of the season, which has them tied for first in the NHL with Vancouver.
  • Leon Draisaitl gave the Oilers some insurance (4-2) with a shot from near the boards that made its way through a light screen before beating Vejmelka down low. Draisaitl’s goal marked the 300th of his career and 46th of the season. Here’s to 300 more, Leon.
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins gave the Oilers back the lead (5-4) on a power play goal midway through the period after he found the rebound from Bouchard’s point shot near the side of the net and pumped it past an outstretched goaltender. Over his last 10 games, RNH has registered 13 points and I hope he never walks away from this heater. His two points tonight make it 91 on the season, which puts him right there to hit 100 before the regular season wraps.
  • Jack Campbell was back between the pipes for his 32nd start of the season and looking to build a little confidence after another tough outing — albeit a win — against the Sharks last Monday. And just as we saw last week in that game against San Jose, Campbell wasn’t exactly fantastic but he made the saves he needed to make to close out the win. So what does it mean? I don’t know. I have a hard time trusting that he’s going to stop pucks, but at the same time, he’s finding ways to win the few starts he’s given so I guess you have to be somewhat satisfied with the results. Campbell finished the night with 29 saves and a .879 save.
  • I wanted to give Nick Bjugstad some love because I think he’s quietly fitting into the lineup better than a lot of us expected that he would. He’s not the flashiest guy you’ll ever watch, but he does a lot of things right and adds a nice (gigantic) layer of depth that we needed down the stretch.
  • The Oilers power play was clutch once again, cashing in goals on two of four chances with the man advantage.
  • I know people make fun of the Coyotes for playing in a tiny arena — rightfully so tbh — but I have to say that I would LOVE to go watch an Oilers game there if the team is still around by the time I get a chance. Not to mention, maybe it was just me but it sounded like a home game in there.



  • Mattias Maccelli opened the scoring (1-0) with a shot from the high slot that made its way through traffic and passed Jack Campbell on the glove side. Maccelli added another goal early in the third period (4-3) with a dangle in front of the net after a turnover in the Oilers’ zone led to some extra time for Arizona which they took advantage of quickly.
  • Barrett Hayton restored the Coyotes’ lead (2-1) on the power play after his shot took a friendly bounce off of Ekholm’s skate and bounced up and over Campbell. Leading up to the goal, the Oilers’ PK box had started falling apart, which led to Hayton having all kinds of time and space at the side of the net. Shortly after Arizona halved the lead, Hayton tied the game (4-4) after picking up a rebound near the side of the net and buying it into the open net.
  • I very much disliked the way the Oilers started the third period. It was like they thought the two-goal lead they had was written in ink and that they didn’t have to work their asses off to close out the game. Obviously, I’m making this up but I don’t know how they can go into a third period so casually when points are as important as they are right now.
  • What the hell was going on with the refs? I know the Coyotes play in a college arena but did the NHL also have to employ college referees? What the hell was that? Both sides had missed calls, phantom calls, and horrible calls… it was a buffet of misery for the guys in stripes.
  • Even though I don’t agree with many of the calls made in this hockey game, the Oilers still had four penalties to kill off as a result. Unfortunately, they were unable to run a clean sheet as Arizona picked up a goal on one of their four power play chances.
  • Klim Kostin may never score again and I think I need to take to the streets to find a sacrifice.
  • If you’re a fan of shots on goal, you’ll be heartbroken to learn that the Oilers were outshot by a 33-29 margin.
  • You may also be distraught to discover that the Oilers won only 48% of the draws as well.


3:50CoyotesMatias Maccelli (9)
Assists: Jack McBain (10), Lawson Crouse (18)
4:40OilersZach Hyman (32) (Power Play)
Assists: Connor McDavid (80), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (57)
12:59CoyotesBarrett Hayton (16) (Power Play)
Assists: Lawson Crouse (19), Nick Schmaltz (32)
13:34OilersEvan Bouchard (5)
Assists: Warren Foegele (12), Nick Bjugstad (12)
18:11OilersDarnell Nurse (9) (Shorthanded)
Assists: Kailer Yamamoto (12)
14:32OilersLeon Draisaitl (46)
3:52CoyotesMatias Maccelli (10)
Assists: Lawson Crouse (20), Jack McBain (11)
4:50CoyotesBarrett Hayton (17)
Assists: Clayton Keller (45), Nick Schmaltz (33)
12:05OilersRyan Nugent-Hopkins (34) (Power Play)
Assists: Evan Bouchard (28), Leon Draisaitl (68)


Talk to me, Twitter. Hit me up at @jsbmbaggedmilk and Wanye at @Oilersnation and you could find yourself landing in this very spot. 


Fresh episode of Better Lait Than Now is out everywhere you get podcasts. This week, I’m talking Connor’s Mc60, Leon Draisaitl’s ridiculousness, and a whole lot more.

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