GDB 65.0 Wrap Up: Oilers dominant in 5-2 win over the Sharks
By baggedmilk10 months ago
That’s how you do it, baby! Final Score: 5-2 Oilers
The last time the Oilers and Sharks matched up, the boys ran the show from start to finish and basically coasted into a 3-0 shutout. It was the kind of road game you aim for and because the win was so lopsided, I was expecting that the Sharks would want to repay the favour in their first visit to Rogers Place in what feels like forever. Even though San Jose has been mediocre for most of the season, they’ve been playing some decent hockey of late — the Sharks were 4-4-2 in their last 10 games leading up to this one — and that meant it was going to take more than a lacklustre effort to get a win they really need right now. And as hoped, the Oilers were undoubtedly the better team in the first period, generating quality scoring chances and opportunities more often than not. The bad news was that while the Oilers were getting all kinds of looks on Kahkonen, they couldn’t get anything past him (or the bar) and it left the game closer than it probably should have been.
Outside of the obvious problem of scoring a goal, I thought the Oilers needed to get uglier with their approach and have more bodies in front of the net to try and pick up some garbage. To that point, the Oilers may have been outshooting the Sharks but I’d also bet that their goalie had a clean look at most of them. If the boys could add a little spiciness to what they already had bubbling then I believed the added effort would go a long way. Unfortunately, it was the Sharks that struck first after the Oilers got caught with some less than stellar defending/goaltending tactics, and rather than grabbing the early lead, the boys needed to grind their way back to an even playing field first. The good news is that it didn’t take very long before the Oilers were able to climb out of the hole after scoring a pair of goals in quick succession to not only erase the deficit but wrestle the lead away for themselves. The thing I liked most about the Oilers’ response is that they never altered their approach or had their enthusiasm dampened, instead they continued to claw their way back into it.
Up by a goal with a period to play, the Oilers had a chance at redemption after giving up a third period lead on Tuesday night in Dallas, and I was hoping they would use the lesson of what can happen when you’re sloppy as the first step to cashing in these two points. Through the first few shifts, both sides looked almost tentative to get going as there was a lot of back-and-forth in the neutral zone but not a whole lot happening offensively. But as the period wore on, the ice started to open up at either end of the rink with both teams trading goals near the midway point to up the overall stress levels but keep it a one-goal game. It was one of those nights where the boys were playing well but the opposition was still lingering and it was making me nervous. Fortunately, the Oilers really cranked things up over the final half of the frame, and the Sharks’ ended up folding like a house of cards as the home side tagged them with a pair of late goals to lock in the win and secure the bag. At the end of the day, Edmonton got the result they deserved as they were the better team in every area, and just as importantly, they didn’t play down to their competition for even a second.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- @Kailer Yamamoto continues his heater of all heaters with his seventh goal (1-1) in his last eight games, tying the score on the power play with a slick move from the circle to the crease that he was able to slide through Lehkonen’s legs on his backhand.
- Only 3:05 after Yamamoto knotted the score, @Leon Draisaitl gave the Oilers the lead with a snipe from the circle that beat the goalie low on the blocker side. With the clock winding down in the third period, Draisaitl added a power play goal (4-2) to extend the Oilers’ lead after a perfectly executed power play that saw all five players touch the puck before it eventually wound up in the back of the net.
- @Derick Brassard extended the Oilers’ lead to two goals (3-1) after his saucer pass attempt to Nugent-Hopkins took a friendly bounce into the net off of a Sharks defender. I mean, you can’t come up with a better first impression than a goal, amirite?
- @Evander Kane keeps his heater going (5-2) with yet another empty-net goal. It seems as though Kane has taken over from Josh Archibald as the new sultan of sink when it comes to the empty net.
- @Mike Smith was back between the pipes for his 18th appearance of the season and looking for his seventh win after a decent performance in Colorado on Monday. And while I wouldn’t suggest he was fantastic — Smith always seems to be laying on his stomach for some reason — I will absolutely say that the veteran netminder was solid for the Oilers when they needed him. I didn’t particularly like the Hertl goal he allowed, but I’m certainly not going to write off the guy’s night after an ugly one when the rest of the game was pretty damned good. Smith finished the night with 28 saves and a .933 save%.
- A big shout out to the Oilers’ power play for coming through with goals on both of their chances with the man advantage. Maybe Nuge is the power play answer after all?
- Not to be outdone, the Oilers were also perfect on the PK and successfully killed off both shorthanded situations they faced.
- I come to you with peace and love to report that the Oilers finished the night with a 62.39 CF% and a 68.02 xGF% in the spreadsheet department.
- Welcome back, NUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE! It’s been over a month since RNH last played, but I thought he looked mighty fine in his return. Is Nuge the answer on the power play? He just may be.
- Shout out to Brett Kulak (18:27 TOI, one shot) and Derick Brassard (13:38 TOI, 1G) for looking solid in their respective Oiler debuts. It must be super weird to step into the lineup with a new team without so much as a practice — though, Brassard has played for half the league already — but I thought the boys did a really nice of slotting themselves in successfully.
- I really liked the third line that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins playing with Derick Brassard and Jesse Puljujarvi as that trio seemed able to get things going on more shifts than they didn’t.
- Once again, I am thrilled to advise that the Oilers won 52% of the faceoffs. Great success! Rejoice!
- LAST CALL TO 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
- @Erik Karlsson opened the scoring (1-0) on the back of a pretty passing play that had both the Oilers’ defenders and goaltender guessing as to what was coming next. It was like everyone was out of position all a the same time and it took a solid minute or two before the saltiness had worn off from this one.
- @Tomas Hertl responded to Brassard’s goal quickly with one of his own (3-2) after taking a pass right in the slot and roofing his shot up and over Smith on the blocker side. For some reason, Smith was down on the ice long before the shot so it’s not like Hertl had to pick the perfect spot or anything.
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