GDB 7.0 Wrap Up: Special teams get the Oilers back in the win column with huge 2-1 win in Vancouver
By baggedmilk1 year ago
That’s how you do it, baby! Final Score: 2-1 Oilers
I said it this morning and I’ll say it again now: the Vancouver Canucks are a weird team to me. With plenty of skill littered throughout their lineup, the Canucks are the kind of team that can burn you on some nights and look like they don’t even belong in the league on others, meaning that I really wasn’t sure what to expect from them in this second matchup of the season series. Yet, against the Oilers, the Canucks always seem to raise their level of play and that meant our boys were going to have to match their intensity and be at their best by playing the kind of structured game that should allow them to avoid dropping a second straight game. And if they could get a good start, maybe it would be enough to push the Canucks off a ledge and into a four-game losing streak. That was the theory anyway. The good news is that the boys understood the assignment and got to work right from the moment the puck dropped, setting the tone with an early goal that gave them a lead that they carried into the intermission.
Heading into the second period, I was looking for the Oilers to keep the hammer down and not let Vancouver get up off the mat. We’ve talked a lot about flexing a killer instinct and this was the perfect time to show it. I wanted more goals, cement shoes, and the whole lot. Instead, what we got was a much better effort from a desperate Canucks team as they tried to claw their way back, but the Oilers did a nice job of bending without breaking under the pressure. As much as there were scrambly patches that were frustrating to watch, the important part is that Edmonton found a way to make it through unscathed which turned out to be incredibly important because it allowed their power play to extend the lead to two goals before the break. Up by a pair with 20 minutes to play, the Oilers had the table set to pick up two big points if they could find a way to keep pushing forward, meaning that I wanted to see them keep fighting for offence rather than trying to sit on the lead.
In the end, the Oilers weren’t able to get another goal to nail the coffin shut nor were they able to keep Vancouver off the board, but their strong play was rewarded with two big points and that’s what matters most. And with Demko keeping the game way closer than it probably should have been, I think the Oilers should be pretty satisfied with their victory because this was a night that easily could have been stolen from them.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Warren Foegele opened the scoring for the Oilers (1-0) on the power play when he had a rebound kick out to him in the crease and used quick hands to bang it over the line. It’s not very often that the second power play unit gets to go out, but they made the most of their time and got the boys on the board with a massive goal to grab the lead.
- Leon Draisaitl extended the Oilers lead (2-0) with another power play goal near the end of the second period after Nugent-Hopkins set him up for a one-timer from his office along the boards that beat Demko cleanly.
- I know he threw another point on the pile, but I need to take a minute to talk about how amazing Connor McDavid was in this hockey game. The fact that he didn’t score at least a goal or two was almost a crime because it seemed like he was creating offensive chances every single time he was on the ice. On the power play or even strength, McDavid was unstoppable and I wanted to make sure to give him some love for what was another incredible effort by the captain. I mean, the dude finished the game with nine shots on goal. That’s ridiculous.
- I know a bunch of us were worried about what we’d get from Koskinen in his fourth straight start, but the big man was unbelievable between the pipes despite not being nearly as busy as his counterpart at the other end. From start to finish, Kostco made all of the saves you’d want from your starter and some that probably could have gone in the net, rebounding incredibly well after a tougher outing against the Flyers on Wednesday night. Koskinen finished the night with 29 saves and a .967 save%.
- Evan Bouchard is just so good already, isn’t he? I mean, he’s already moved up to the top pairing in the lineup and hasn’t really looked out of place, which makes me insanely excited to find out where his ceiling will be. In 24:19 in TOI, Bouchard finished with one on goal, three blocks, and an assist.
- How about Ryan Nugent-Hopkins quietly finding himself on a six-game point streak? I know we’d love to see RNH get a goal or two soon, but it’s hard to argue with the 10 points he’s put on the board so far.
- I thought the Keith – Ceci pairing had a quiet, non-event night, which is exactly what you want from your second pairing.
- I liked Zack Kassian’s game and it is remarkable how noticeable he can be when he’s playing at his best, a sight we didn’t get nearly enough of last year.
- As we’ve seen all season, the Oilers’ power play is unbelievable and they were at it again tonight, scoring two goals on two chances with the man advantage. Keep taking penalties, people.
- Once again, the PK was also excellent for Edmonton as they were able to kill off Vancouver’s one chance to be up a man. Even more impressive was the fact that the Canucks had the goalie pulled at the time, putting the Oilers down by two at a critical stage of the hockey game.
- Isn’t it amazing what having a competent third line can do? Wow. WOW.
- For the fans of shots on goal, I’m thrilled to report that the Oilers outshot the Canucks by a 34-30 margin. Always love the Corski.
- I know you’ve been waiting patiently for the part of the Wrap Up where I tell you that the Oilers won 50% of the faceoffs. Well, here it is.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Brock Boeser got the Canucks on the board with five seconds left in the third period with a bullet of a wrister from the circle that beat Koskinen up and over the shoulder. Honestly, I felt bad for Mikko when the shot went in because I thought it would have been pretty cool for him to respond to Wednesday’s loss with a shutout.
- The Oilers stopped moving their feet for a big chunk of the second period and I thought they were very lucky that they didn’t get burned during the lull. Koskinen made some big saves and the boys got some luck with the posts, but there was a period of about five minutes that was pretty rough.
- If I’m going to nitpick, I think the Oilers gave the Canucks too many quality chances to score in the third period and that’s a detail I’d love to see them clean up sooner than later.
- Thatcher Demko was incredibly annoying again and it was because of him that the score wasn’t more lopsided than it ended up.
- How many posts did the Oilers hit tonight? Two? Three? It was wild.
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