GDB 46.0 Wrap Up: Jay Woodcroft is The Answer, Oilers secure 3-0 win in San Jose
Photo credit:Academy Award winning Sharknado
By baggedmilk9 months ago
Undefeated in the Woodcroft era. Final Score: 3-0 Oilers
I don’t think I’m talking out of school when I say that this California road trip is one of the biggest three-game sets the Oilers have played all season, and I was hopeful that the team recognized the importance as well and hit the ice with urgency from the opening draw. Unfortunately, that didn’t really happen as the Sharks were the ones that found their legs early, manufacturing a flurry of early shots and chances that could have easily put them ahead had Skinner not been up for the task. Thankfully, the Oilers got the goaltending they needed to weather those first few moments without being burned, and it allowed them to respond with a pair of counterpunches that snuck through and landed. It was the kind of momentum swing the boys could have only hoped for back in December, ya know? Instead of chasing the game, the Oilers ended up walking into the intermission with a two-goal lead and that’s the kind of road period that seemed impossible only a month ago.
Heading into the second period, the Oilers needed to keep their effort levels up and do what they could to avoid letting the Sharks up off the mat. Instead of giving San Jose any lanes or windows to get back in the game, I wanted to see the boys shoot more holes in their dinghy and wave to them as they sunk to the bottom of the ocean. I wanted the killer instinct to come out and have this game put to bed as quickly as possible. And for basically all of the period, the Oilers did everything you could have asked them to — they were pumping shots on net while giving up only two on their own goalie — but they just couldn’t get anything past Reimer. It wasn’t for a lack of effort that the boys couldn’t score by any means, but perhaps the Hockey Gords are trying to teach them how to deal with a little bit of pressure. Rather than running away with the game as their played suggested they probably should have, the Sharks were able to keep the game closer than any of us would have liked. It’s a plausible theory, if you ask me.
Up by two goals with 20 minutes to play, I didn’t see a whole lot that the Oilers needed to change apart from maybe making some kind of sacrifice so that maybe the Hockey Gords would grant us another goal. As much as it’s nice to carry a lead for most of the game, the job’s not done until the final buzzer goes and I’d rather see the boys chuckin’ more goals on the pile than trying to ride out the clock and coasting to a win. Thankfully, Jay Woodcroft sees things the same way I do and he had the boys pushing for more offence to make sure they could nail the coffin shut, and that’s exactly what they got when Connor McDavid added a third goal on the board to give his team some insurance and make life just a little bit easier. With that goal out of the way and the Oilers with a commanding lead, the Oilers looked incredibly comfortable throughout the remainder of regulation time and it never really seemed like San Jose was even able to make this thing interesting. Quite honestly, this was the best road game the Oilers have played all season, and to see them close out this win as convincingly as they did was well worth staying up late to watch.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- The Oilers only score first in the Jay Woodcroft era.
- That was easily the best road game of the year and I’m not sure it’s that close.
- @Warren Foegele got the Oilers on the board first (1-0) after he went crashing towards the front of the net and had Evan Bouchard’s point shot take a friendly bounce in off his leg. For a guy that hasn’t scored in a while, you’ve gotta think McLovin
Only 65 seconds after Foegele got the Oilers’ opener, @Derek Ryan put the boys up by a pair (2-0) after he too was able to deflect a point shot — this time by Darnell Nurse — past Jame Reimer and into the back of the net.As I was just finishing up the article for the night, I noticed that the NHL had Darnell Nurse scoring this goal, which meant that his point shot bounced in off a San Jose defenceman even though the first look appeared as though it was Derek Ryan that got it.
- Early in the third period, @Connor McDavid added some insurance (3-0) with a quick snap through the five-hole after a hardworking shift by his line that left the Sharks scrambling in their own end like the Eakins-era Oilers.
- @Stuart Skinner was back in net for the Oilers for the first time since January 29th against the Canadiens, and I was hoping that he’d be bringing the AHL heater he’s been on with him for the ride which was exactly what he did. I mean, I’m not sure what else needs to be said about a guy that gets a shutout, but Skinner was absolutely everything the Oilers needed him to be despite not being nearly as busy as his counterpart at the other end. Even though the workload was lighter, Skinner was fantastic for the Oilers and finished his night with 20 saves for his first NHL shutout.
- I want to give @Ryan McLeod some love. The kid has all of the tools you need to make a go of it in this league, and it’s been a lot of fun to watch him improve as the season wears on.
- Speaking of Ryans, this was the best game Derek Ryan played in a while.
- How about @Evan Bouchard quietly picking up a pair of assists? Dad finished the night with two points, one shot on net, and one hit in 15:01 of TOI.
- Jay Woodcroft loves spreading the minutes around on the back end and there’s no better example than @Darnell Nurse playing only 23:11 on the night, which would basically be his normal total at the second intermission.
- The penalty kill was perfect on the evening, killing off all four of San Jose’s opportunities with the man advantage.
- I’m am thrilled to report in this here wrap up that the Oilers won 52% of the faceoffs.
- Oilers wrapped up the Corskis after outshooting the Sharks by a 41-20 margin.
- If you’re a fan of the fancies, I will let you know that the Oilers finished the night with a 71.79 CF% and a 70.1 xGF%.
- Check out the latest episode of Better Lait Than Never and let me know what you think! Subscribe to my podcast for FREE on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and wherever else you get your podcasts.
- Sign up for the new ON Newsletter! It’s a weekly thing I’m doing and I’ll have some giveaways, etc happening in there.
THE FACE PALMERS
- The Oilers’ power play was frustrating to watch for multiple reasons, but none greater than the fact that they went 0-for-4 on a night when they could have wrapped things up early had their PP been working.
- I want @Tyler Benson to score so bad and the fact that he hasn’t yet is a travesty. It’s coming, young sir, we all believe.
- I’m going to give James Reimer credit for playing well — he really did — but I am going to add that I think the Oilers could still do with some more traffic in front of the net to make life more difficult.
- Dave Tippett must feel like a real dunce for not suggesting to the boys that they should just not allow shots against them.
LISTEN TO OILERSNATION RADIO
This week on Oilersnation Radio, we gave our thoughts on Dave Tippett getting fired and what we expect from Jay Woodcroft in his first chance to run an NHL bench.
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