GDB 69.0 Wrap Up: Depth goals, defence, and Connor McDavid lift Oilers to 4-1 win over the Stars
By baggedmilk6 months ago
Kick rocks, Dallas. I’ve hated you since the 90s. Final Score: 4-1 Oilers
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If you’re old enough to remember the Oilers and Stars playing each other in the playoffs every spring, chances are that there’s a healthy disdain for this team that still lives within you. For me, I remember the Oilers losing so many series against this team outside of the Marchant miracle in 97 that my hatred for the Dallas Stars is almost as deep-rooted as knowing to breathe without instruction. So to have the Oilers get through an early push by the visitors before building themselves a two-goal lead on goals by Foegele and Janmark was the exact start to the game we needed. Frankly, that first period was about as good as it gets from an Oilers team that needs to keep putting points on the board to maintain pace with the teams in front of them that just won’t lose. While there was still plenty of work left to be done, the boys put themselves in a good spot after 20 minutes.
Heading into the second period, the best thing the Oilers could do was serve up another dose of the exact same effort that put them in the lead in the first place. The thing I liked most about the first period was the way the Oilers played some simple hockey at both ends of the rink. Their puck movement was crisp, defensive details were tight, and I wanted to see them do it again. And since we knew the Stars were going to do everything they could to pull themselves back into the fight, I was expecting things to get spicy. Yet, despite Dallas coming out strong as we all expected, the Oilers got the team defence, goaltending, and luck they needed to make it through the storm. As the period wore on, the play flowed back and forth with each side getting its share of clean looks only to run into a goaltender that was having none of it. In total, the Oilers and Stars fired a combined 23 shots without finding the back of the net, and that set the table for was sure to be an intense finish.
Up by a pair with 20 minutes to play, the Oilers were in a great spot to pick up a fourth win in their last five games provided that they could grind it out without soiling themselves. I’m still thinking about the collapse I watched happen in Toronto last weekend, and we all needed the boys to do a better job of managing the puck and ultimately their lead. And for the first half of the period, the Oilers did a fine job of limiting Dallas’ time in the offensive zone and it looked like they were well on their way. But just as the confidence was starting to build, the Stars answered with a goal midway through the period to narrow the gap and ramp up the pressure. The good news is that Connor McDavid must have taken that goal personally because he responded with one of his own only 1:29 later to restore the two-goal lead and put two points within reach. And since they needed two again, the Stars pulled the goalie with four minutes left which was more than enough time for Mattias Janmark to nail the coffin shut with an empty netter and lock in what was a huge win for the Edmonton Oilers.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Warren Foegele stayed hot with the opening goal (1-0) with a one-timer tap-in from the side of the net after Nugent-Hopkins fed him with a nifty little cross-seam pass that he was able to lean into.
- Mattias Janmark continues to burn his old team as he picked up a shorthanded goal (2-0) after he and McDavid executed their 2-on-1 perfectly. Only seconds after Vinny Desharnais batted a sure goal out of mid-air in his own end, McDavid and Janmark rushed the puck down the ice the other way and buried their chance off the rush like champions. Janmark added an empty netter (4-1) after the Stars pulled their goalie early and opened themselves up for a final dagger.
- Connor McDavid restored the Oilers’ two-goal lead with a power play goal (3-1) after Leon found him with a pass in the slot that he ripped past Oettinger. Great pass and the shot was a bullet. Make it 131 points on the season for Connor McDavid as he continues to make the NHL look easy.
- Back between the pipes for his 39th start of the season, Stuart Skinner was looking to turn Tuesday’s win against the Senators into another as the Oilers look to pull away from the Kraken if only temporarily. And just as he’s been all season, Stu was steady and solid regardless of what came his way. He made all of the saves you’d expect from your start and some that probably could have gone in too, and it was the kind of performance that reaffirms why the net is his going forward. Skinner finished the night with 25 saves and a .962 save%.
- I love when the Oilers get three of four goals from players not named McDavid, Draisaitl, or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. LOVE it.
- I know Mattias Ekholm is our new, shiny toy but dammit do I ever love the way he plays hockey. The big man is so steady on the defensive side of the puck, but he also picks great spots to jump into the play to bolster the attack. It’s the early days of this new relationship but I am a big fan.
- How about a tidy little two-point night for Evan Bouchard? Dad is starting to pick it up with eight points in his last six games.
- The Oilers went 1/3 on the power play and a perfect 4/4 on the PK, including the shorthanded goal. The Oilers’ PK had allowed goals in eight of their last 10 games coming into the series finale against the Stars, but they were exceptional in this one. Pretty damned good night on special teams.
- I know how much you all love shots on goal and that’s why I’m thrilled to report that the Oilers outshot the Stars by a 30-26 margin, leading to a 53.45 CF% and a 48.70 xGF%. I love the way the Oilers were able to limit Dallas’ ability to get pucks through to Skinner.
- I just like to say the name Jani Hakanpää.
PRESENTED BY BETWAY
THE FACE PALMERS
- Wyatt Johnston pulled the Stars back to within a goal (2-1) on what was his third hack a puck that he was finally able to get passed a sprawling Skinner. The Oilers got caught on a rough line change that gave Dallas the zone with speed before burying the chance moments later.
- Jake Oettinger was incredibly annoying, wasn’t he? Had it not been for him, the Oilers would have had this game in their pocket by midway through the second period.
- I don’t want to complain about the refs but some of the “penalties” the Oilers got were complete nonsense.
- I regret to inform you that the Oilers won only 43% of the faceoffs. I know, I know, it’s devastating.
|12:12||Oilers||Warren Foegele (12)|
Assists: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (52), Evan Bouchard (24)
|15:53||Oilers||Mattias Janmark (7) (Shorthanded)|
Assists: Connor McDavid (74), Vincent Desharnais (5)
No Goals Scored
|9:49||Stars||Wyatt Johnston (19)|
Assists: Miro Heiskanen (47), Ryan Suter (18)
|11:18||Oilers||Connor McDavid (57) (Power Play)|
Assists: Leon Draisaitl (57), Evan Bouchard (25)
|17:17||Oilers||Mattias Janmark (8) (Empty Net)|
Talk to me, Twitter. Hit me up at @jsbmbaggedmilk and Wanye at @Oilersnation and you could find yourself landing in this very spot.
BETTER LAIT THAN NEVER
Fresh episode of Better Lait Than Now is out everywhere you get podcasts. This week, I’m talking the Year of Nuge, Connor McDavid’s heater, Leon Draisaitl hitting 100 points again, and a whole lot more.
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