GDB 78.0 Wrap Up: Make it five wins in a row as the Oilers handle the Kings by a 3-1 score
By baggedmilk11 months ago
THAT’S A HUGE WIN, BABY! Final Score: 3-1 Oilers
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The stupid thing about the Pacific Division right now is that the Oilers have won nine of their last 10 games but can’t seem to gain any ground on the teams they’re chasing. That’s what made tonight’s rematch against the Kings all the more important as a regulation win would bump the boys up into second place and back into a position for home-ice advantage. So when the Oilers started the game with only one shot on goal through 17 minutes of play and two overall in the period — mostly because of LA’s horrible trap congestion and blocked shots — it was hard to get too excited about what was going on. Then again, with only three shots on goal at the other end, it’s not like the Kings were shooting the lights out either. Have you ever seen anything like that? I don’t know that I have.
Based on the way the first period played out, it was hard to figure out what to expect heading into the middle third. Assuming it would still be a slog to get anything done, the Oilers needed to find a way to navigate the quicksand that is LA’s defensive strategy. The good news is that the boys were able to get more pucks through in the first few minutes than they had in the entire first period, but it still wasn’t enough to break the stalemate. It wasn’t until the Oilers got their third chance on the power play that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was finally able to beat Copley with a snipe from the slot that beat him on the blocker side. Unsurprisingly, that goal proved to be a big one as the Kings were unable to respond over the final eight minutes, once again heading into the second intermission down by a goal. Five days ago, the Oilers found a way to close out the game and we were only a short break away from finding out of they could do it again.
Up by a goal with 20 minutes to play, I was thinking the exact same thing as I was when these two teams were in this same situation last week: the Oilers really needed another goal because one wasn’t going to be enough. Even though Stuart Skinner shut the door down on Thursday and looked like he could do it again, I still wanted the boys to give him a little more run support just to be sure. I even sent a prayer or two up to the Hockey Gords to try and tip the scales. And yet, despite some strong looks on Copley, the Oilers couldn’t sneak anything else past him. Unfortunately, that left the door open for LA to knot the score up with a late marker by Viktor Arvidsson to set the table for a wild finish. The tie didn’t last long, though, as Leon Draisaitl picked up his 31st power play goal just over two minutes later to restore the lead Edmonton would not give up again. And with Darnell Nurse’s empty-netter as the final nail in the coffin, the Oilers picked up a fifth straight win, two huge points, and slide their way up into second place in the Pacific Division.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins got the Oilers on the board (1-0) midway through the second period on the power play after Draisaitl found him with enough time and space to pick his spot. Nuge’s 36th of the season was massive as he gave Edmonton the lead in what was a very tight hockey game. With a goal and an assist, you can make it 99 points for RNH.
- Leon Draisaitl restored the Oilers’ lead (2-1) with a second power play goal after he found a loose puck laying in the net and chipped it over the line. The goal and two assists give Draisaitl 123 points of the season, and what’s hilarious about that is that he won’t get a nomination for the Hart Trophy just because he plays with Connor McDavid. Even though he’s running away with 2nd place in league scoring, he’s not going to get any love for it outside of Edmonton. I see you, Leon, I see you.
- Darnell Nurse wrapped the game up with an empty-netter (3-1) after his clearing attempt from his own goal line curved its way into the open cage.
- How about another casual multi-point night for Connor McDavid to bring him to 148 on the year? Incredible season. Truly remarkable.
- Stuart Skinner was back between the pipes after getting a breather on Saturday night, and he was almost as incredible as he was when he shut the Kings out the last time he faced them. Even though he wasn’t nearly as busy as he was five nights ago, Skinner was still dialed in and made the saves you’d want your starter to make. As a result, the Oilers had the foundation behind them to do their thing and pick up two massive points. Thanks, Stu, you’re playing some great hockey right now and I wanted to say that I appreciate you. Skinner finished the night with 20 saves and a .952 save%.
- Are you surprised that the Oilers’ power play came through with two goals on four chances with the man advantage? You’re not, are you?
- Speaking of the power play, Evan Bouchard picked up another sneaky assist as he continues to fill in nicely for Tyson Barrie on the blue line.
- Not to be outdone, the PK killed off all four shorthanded situations they faced and that was obviously a huge part of the reason we’re talking about a win here. Four straight kills and I’m not even exaggerating when I say that the Kings didn’t really look dangerous at all.
- Isn’t it fun to see the Oilers throw their weight around against hateable teams like the LA Kings? Great fun indeed, my friends. According to the NHL site, the Oilers outhit the Kings 39-23.
- If you’re a fan of the Corskis then you’ll be thrilled to read that the Oilers outshot LA by a 33-21 margin. Even getting that many shots seemed unlikely after registering only two in the first period.
- I love faceoff wins, and the Oilers won 60% of them. I could not be happier.
PRESENTED BY BETWAY
THE FACE PALMERS
- Viktor Arvidsson tied the game in the back half of the third period (1-1) with a knuckler from the point that made its way through a screen and over Skinner on the glove side.
- Pheonix Copley was annoying between the pipes despite my secret admiration for his badass name.
- Have you ever in your life seen a hockey game that had only five total shots on goal as we saw in the first period? Weird. Super weird.
No Goals Scored
|Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (36) (Power Play)
Assists: Leon Draisaitl (71), Evan Bouchard (30)
|Viktor Arvidsson (25)
Assists: Trevor Moore (18)
|Leon Draisaitl (51) (Power Play)
Assists: Connor McDavid (85), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (63)
|Darnell Nurse (12) (Empty Net)
Assists: Leon Draisaitl (72)
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 talked about Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ amazing season, defended Darnell Nurse, took your voicemails, and a whole lot more.
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