GDB 62.0 Wrap Up: Oilers extend winning streak to five games with 6-3 win over the Devils
By baggedmilk1 year ago
A little adversity does the body good. Final Score: 6-3 Oilers
As much as I love a good Oilers matinee, nothing can ruin your day quite like having to sit with a loss for the rest of the day, and that’s why I need the boys to wrap up this homestand with another win. As always, the play was to get a quick start, shoot from everywhere, crash the net, and make life as miserable for the Devils as they possibly could. I’ve said it 25 times today so I’ll say it again here, New Jersey is a team the Oilers needed to beat and that’s why I was incredibly pumped to see the boys get on the board in the opening moments on the back of a couple of dominant shifts that I thought would set the tone. Unfortunately, the Devils were able to respond with a quick tying goal to knot things up again, but for a few minutes there, I was ready to plan our victory lap. Even so, I thought the Oilers had a pretty solid period overall and if they could just tighten up a little bit with their puck choices then we were going to be alright.
With the game tied and plenty of time left to grab control, I thought the only real change the Oilers needed to make was to get more traffic in front of the net to look for potential garbage left by a goalie that’s spent the bulk of his career in the AHL. I thought that instead of looking for the perfect play, Edmonton needed to get more pucks on net with guys standing in Gillies’ grill or charging towards him to make life uncomfortable. Yet, despite my wishes and best intentions for the Universe, the second period was much more evenly played than I would have liked, and I’d even say that it was the Devils that were carrying the play far too often. Backed with a strong performance by Mikko Koskinen, the good news is that the Oilers were able to weather those storms until Evander Kane got the chance for a timely, sneaky wrap-around goal to restore the lead just ahead of the break. It wasn’t the prettiest period by any means, but the Oilers still managed to win the frame even though they may have needed a little bit of luck to get it done.
Up by a goal with 20 minutes to play, the Oilers needed to do a much better job of breaking the puck out of their own zone as they were too often missing on an exit, giving the Devils additional attacking time that they wouldn’t have had otherwise. A quick team to be sure, the Devils were wheeling all over the ice and the Oilers really had a hard time handling the heat, including in the defensive zone as we saw on the tying goal in the first few seconds of the frame. To make matters worse, the Oilers were also shooting themselves in the foot with passing plays that were well off the mark, more or less gifting the Devils bonus looks on their goaltender. It was one such gift that gave the Devils their first lead of the game, putting the Oilers behind for the first time in a game they absolutely had to have. Down but not out, I thought the boys did a fine job of stopping the bleeding when they had to. And like a well-timed montage from an 80s movie, the Oilers fought their way back into the game with four straight goals to not only tie the game up but wrestle the lead back in convincing fashion.
It was almost like the boys needed a dose of adversity to realize how close they were to blowing it before they realized that they had to get back on their horse. Either way, you’ve gotta love the Oilers wrapping up a perfect homestand that saw them climb their way back into a playoff spot and beat some teams that they should and maybe some that we may not have expected.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Make it four games in a row where the Oilers have scored the first goal.
- @Leon Draisaitl opened the scoring (1-0) only 1:11 into the game after he picked up a Puljujarvi pass near the side of the net with a wide-open net to shoot at and he’s not going to miss those very often.
- @Evander Kane restored the Oilers’ lead (2-1) late in the second period with a wrap around goal that originally looked like it was kicked out by Gillies until we got that sweet, sweet goal horn interruption in the middle of the play. After a quick review confirmed it to be a good goal, Kane’s 11th goal of the season was exactly what the Oilers needed as the Devils were actually taking it to them quite a bit. Kane added a power play goal midway through the third period (4-3) to restore the Oilers’ lead and erase what was a fantastic start by the Devils.
- @Tyson Barrie tied the game (3-3) midway through the third period with a sharp angle snipe from near the goal line that banked into the net off Gillies’ head. Make it goals in two straight games for Barrie after going months without, and I’m honestly happy for the guy.
- Only 49 seconds after Kane restored the lead, @Zach Hyman gave the Oilers some insurance (5-3) after Draisaitl’s centering pass basically kicked off his skate/stick and into the net. By no means is this the prettiest goal Hyman will ever score, but it came at the perfect time and that’s what makes his 21st of the year beautiful to me.
- @Mikko Koskinen was back between the pipes for the 36th time this season, and I would suspect that he was looking for a better personal performance than we saw in his last start to the Detroit Red Wings where he wasn’t quite as sharp as he’s been over the last six weeks. And from start to finish, I thought Koskinen was solid outside of the second goal by Bratt that I thought he probably should have had, but he came through when his team needed him and kept them in it even during the moments when the Devils were getting more done offensively. Kostco is now 10-1-2 with a 2.56 GAA and a .921 save% over his last 13 starts. Koskinen finished the day with 25 saves and a .893 save%
- Love the Corskis? Good news, friend, the Oilers outshot the Devils by a 40-28 margin.
- I come to you with more spreadsheet messages that advise that the Oilers finished the night with a 54.55 CF% and a 49.88 xGF%.
- How about the Oilers’ penalty kill handling three-of-three shorthanded situations, many of which came at critical moments in the games.
- Not to be outdone, the power play scored a goal on the lone opportunity they had, wrapping up what was a perfect day for the special teams.
- Props to Zack Kassian for scrapping in the second period — as always, Nation Dan has it up at HockeyFights.com — but I was honestly surprised to see him do it after just getting back into the lineup because of a busted face.
- I am delighted to advise that the Oilers won 59% of the faceoffs. Magic, dear Internet friends.
- I won a bunch of money today and I’m pretty happy about it.
- Join us in Calgary for the March 26th BOA as we pack a bus with Nation Citizens and make our way south.
THE FACE PALMERS
- @Jesper Bratt (1-1) tied the game shortly after Draisaitl’s opener after Duncan Keith got caught with a rough pinch, opening the lane for Bratt to slide through for a clean breakaway on the goalie. Combine all kinds of time with a nice dangle on the finish and you’ve got an annoying comeback marker that could have been avoided. Bratt added a second goal (2-2) in the opening minute of the third period after a puck kicked off the back boards to him and he was able to bank it in off a sliding Koskinen.
- @Nico Hischier gave the Devils their first lead of the day (3-2) after a horrific exit attempt by the Oilers blew up in their own faces, gifting the Devils an odd-man situation down low that led to a pair of grade-A chances. Absolute garbage from Edmonton on the play.
- The Oilers had a tough night with their breakouts as they always seemed a bit short, late, and unable to get their sights dialed in. There was no example better of what I’m talking about than the third-period goal by Hischier that was a direct result of a blown exit.
- I’m not sure how the Devils got only one penalty all day, but okay.
- I know I complain about the refs a lot but I hope the one guy was okay after Draisaitl hit him right in the face with his clearing attempt.
- This was not a great game for @Duncan Keith from my side of the TV screen. I just thought he was a step behind all afternoon and it ended up costing the team chances to score and goals on the board.
- Warren Foegele played only two shifts for a total of 53 seconds in the first period, and I honestly thought he must have been hurt. Foegele finished with 10:31 in TOI but clearly, there was something that Woodcroft didn’t like.
BETTER LAIT THAN NEVER
On the latest episode of Better Lait Than Never, I run through all of the reasons why the Oilers are going to make the playoffs, what they should do at the deadline, and why Mike Smith scares the shit out of me. Subscribe on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts.
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