GDB 47.0 Wrap Up: Unstoppable in the Woodcroft era, Oilers extend winning streak with 5-2 comeback in LA
By baggedmilk9 months ago
The student becomes the teacher. Final Score: 5-2 Oilers
Last night, the Oilers were able to handle the rusty San Jose Sharks with relative ease — SJ was incredibly sloppy and they put in the kind of performance that will always hand you a loss — and I was hoping for another dose of the same story against the Kings. As Gregor wrote this morning in the GDB, the Kings haven’t played for two weeks and that’s an eternity in the NHL, meaning the Oilers had another chance to get some work done against a squad that was unlikely to be at their best. Once we finally got through the @Drew Doughty tribute and the anthems, it was finally time to get to business and I was hoping the Oilers wouldn’t be feeling half as tired as I was for having to stay up this late. I mean, it was almost 9 p.m. by the time this thing started and it’s a school night. *spits* Thankfully, the glare from the Kings’ domes was enough to burn my eyeballs into the open position. The bad news was that it also meant seeing LA take an early lead on the back of a derpy play for the ages.
Chasing the game once again, the Oilers needed to pay much closer attention to their decisions with the puck because it was bobbling on them a little bit in the early going. Unlike what we saw against the Sharks, the boys weren’t quite moving the pill around as crisply, but if they could get that sorted out, then I saw no reason why they couldn’t pull their way back into the game. And much like we saw last night in the second period against the Sharks, Edmonton was once again defending well and doing a good job of limiting what they were giving up, but the tricky part seemed to be finding the back of the net at the other end. Try as they might, the Oilers simply could not beat Cal Petersen and I was starting to worry that having him stand on his head would start to creep into our boys’ minds and foil their attempt at a comeback. Thankfully, Connor McDavid was able to squash those fears late in the period with a solid second effort on his own rush that resulted in a tying goal and a chance to turn this game into points on the board.
With the game tied and a period left to play, the Oilers needed to build on the momentum they had going for themselves in the minutes leading up to their tying goal. But if they were going to get the next goal, they needed to keep the shots on net coming while simultaneously getting to the net to try and make create some chaos near the blue paint. With Petersen playing as well as he was for the Kings, I thought the Oilers needed to get an ugly one if they were to wrestle the lead away. It just seemed like the kind of game where the winner was going to be an unintended deflection or something, ya know? And even though I thought it might only take one more to get the job done, both teams figured that wouldn’t be enough as they each traded goals within the span of only a few minutes. Tied once again with the clock winding down, I thought the winner would come down to who made the last mistake but almost unexpectedly based on how things had been going, the Oilers managed to get another quick one to restore their lead before eventually locking the win down with a pair of empty-netters.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Late in the second period, @Connor McDavid tied the game (1-1) with a shot from a weird angle after he made a beautiful drive to the net that the goaltender was able to stop initially but not keep control of the rebound. Once the puck popped out off the pad, Connor was there to pump it over the goal line. As a result, McDavid has now scored in four straight road games.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins gave the Oilers the lead (2-1) shortly before the midway point of the third period after he found a loose puck near the crease, pulled off a little toe drag to change the angle, and fired a wrister past the goalie down low. I know he had a little bit of a slow start to the year in terms of goals, but he’s been very good since coming back from injury.
- With just under 5 minutes to play, @Kailer Yamamoto restored the Oilers’ lead (3-1) after being the business end of a beautiful passing play with Leon Draisaitl that saw the former MVP feed Yams with a perfect pass in the slot that he wasted no time of burying through the five-hole.
- @Zach Hyman added an empty-netter (4-2) with about a minute left to ice the game and nail the coffin shut.
- It always surprises me when teams are down by two goals and keep the goalie out, but that’s what happened and it allowed @Evander Kane to sink a second empty-netter (5-2) to make it a lopsided route.
- After a stellar performance against the Islanders on Friday night, Mike Smith was back in the crease and looking to build on what was undoubtedly his best start of the season. At first, Smith’s night started off shaky as a mistake he made behind the net was directly responsible for a goal, but he totally redeemed himself from there as he came up with a bunch of high-quality saves over the remainder of the game that kept his team in the mix. Smith finished the night with 30 saves and a .938 save%.
- I know it’s only a small thing but @Jesse Puljujarvi now has two points in his last three games after going eight games without a point leading into this stretch.
- The penalty kill was excellent once again, killing off all five of LA’s chances with the man advantage. Excellent performance.
- I have no idea how good he’ll be or where his ceiling is at but I’m a big Markus Niemelainen guy and I want you all to know it.
- I love the way Jay Woodcroft is spreading minutes around his roster because he legitimately looks like everyone is playing with more energy late in periods/the game in general. Am I wrong on that? I don’t think I am. Speaking of Woodcroft, this win made him the first coach in Oilers history to start out with a 3-0 record.
- If you’re partial to the fanciest of stats, I will let you know that the Oilers finished the night with a 47.69 CF% and a 59.68 xGF%.
- I had the ‘Can Opener’ count at four tonight, but I admit I may have missed one.
- 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
- Arthur Kaliyev opened the scoring with a softie (1-0) after Mike Smith turned the puck over behind the goal line and then flubbed on the save when he got back in the crease. Needless to say, it was not an ideal first goal to allow.
- Four minutes after Edmonton grabbed the lead, Philip Danault tied the game (1-1) with a one-touch shot from the point that caught the Oilers napping in their own zone as he was basically untouched in the slot when Viktor Arvidsson found him with a perfect pass.
- @Devin Shore played only 2:57 and I can’t say I noticed that he didn’t get another shift until I was looking at the TOI.
- The power play continues to struggle at an alarming rate and it’s getting to the point where it’s making me sad. The Oilers finished the night at 0-for-5 on the PP and it’s almost unbelievable.
- @Zach Hyman had to have his tongue stitched up? Did I hear that right? That’s horrifying.
- Oilers suffered a Corski loss after being outshot by a 32-29 margin.
- I am heartbroken to report that the Oilers won only 42% of the faceoffs.
- Those silver helmets the Kings wore are an abomination.
LISTEN TO BETTER LAIT THAN NEVER
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