GDB 81.0 Wrap Up: Oilers keep the win streak alive after Bouchard scores the 2-1 OT winner
By baggedmilk1 month ago
We’re still in the mix for the division and the conference titles! Final Score: 2-1 Oilers in OT
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As I wrote in today’s GDB, I’m having a hard time getting fired up for these last two games considering the playoffs are kicking off next week. It reminds me of watching an opening band you don’t really care about before the main event brings the house down. I know we all want the boys to bring home the division and maybe even the conference, but at this point, I think I care more about getting everyone through these last two games in one piece. That all said, I found that my opinion changed quickly when the puck dropped. There’s something about a late-season matchup with the defending champs that gets the heart pumping a little bit harder than normal. And to have the first 20 minutes go back and forth as equally as it did with both sides trading goals in a span of only 36 seconds, the night felt more like a preview of what’s to come a few weeks from now rather than two sides playing out what’s left.
Heading into the second period with the score tied at one apiece, the game was very much up for grabs and it felt very much like whoever made the fewest mistakes would be the ones to seize control. And from the opening draw both sides picked right back up where they left off in the first, play flowing from end to end with quality chances often being the result. From an Oilers’ perspective, I thought they did a really nice job of manufacturing offensive opportunities but the problem was that Alexander Georgiev kept coming up with the answers. Not to be outdone, Stuart Skinner was equally strong for the Oilers and was called upon to make some huge saves in the back half of the period to keep the game tied. Needless to say, it was not for a lack of effort or clean looks on net that there were only two total goals after 40 minutes. Instead, this was a case of two teams and goaltenders that were dialed in and not giving up an inch, which lined us up nicely for an intense finish to the night.
The game knotted at one with 20 minutes to play, this game was so evenly matched that it was tough to say who would come out on top, but if the Oilers could keep pumping shots on net then I felt like they’d give themselves a chance. So when the third period started with Edmonton peppering Georgiev with pucks, it looked like the plan in was in motion. But just as we’d seen all night long, the goaltenders for both clubs had no interest in letting anything else past them as both teams were denied sure goals on more than one occasion. It was like the Hockey Gords were demanding that this game went to OT because there could have easily been more than a couple of game winners along the way had it not been for some heroics between the pipes. Once we got to the bonus period, however, it was Bowen Byram’s hook on Connor McDavid that ended up being the difference as that power play set the table for Evan Bouchard to cash in the game winner to extend the winning streak to eight games and keep the Pacific Division and Western Conference titles in sight.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- The Oilers picked up a franchise-record 27th road win of the season.
- Only 36 seconds after the Avs opened the scoring, Mattias Ekholm tied the game (1-1) with a blast from the high slot after Ryan McLeod set him up with a pass that he could walk into.
- Evan Bouchard picked up the OT winner (2-1) with a power play goal, after he took a pass in the high slot, picked his spot, and snapped a wrister past Georgiev on the blocker side. Beautiful shot by dad to close out the night.
- Even though Stuart Skinner wasn’t nearly as busy as his counterpart, that didn’t mean he didn’t come up with some massive saves throughout the night. From start to finish, Stu was steady between the pipes and he made all of the saves (and then some) that you would expect from your starter. No, he didn’t face the volume that Georgiev did at the other end, but he was damned sharp when he needed to be and he gave the Oilers a huge performance in net. Skinner finished the night with 28 saves and a .966 save%.
- Congrats to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on his 800th NHL game!
- Did Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl get points? Yes. One apiece, in fact.
- Zach Hyman had seven shots on net, and I think that it’s incredibly unfortunate that he wasn’t rewarded with a goal.
- I was happy to see Ryan McLeod back for the first time in a while. In his first game back, McLeod picked up an assist on Ekholm’s goal to go along with two shots on net, two PIMs, and 11:45 in TOI.
- It’s not very often that the Oilers’ power play gets held off the board, and the Avalanche weren’t able to get that job done either even though it took until OT for Edmonton to finally cash in one of their four chances with the man advantage.
- The Oilers’ penalty kill came through with a clutch performance, killing off all three of the shorthanded situations they faced.
- If you’re a big fan of shots on goal then you will be thrilled to learn that the Oilers outshot the Avalanche by a 40-29 margin.
- Am I happy that the Oilers won 50% of the faceoffs? Yes. Yes, I am.
PRESENTED BY BETWAY
THE FACE PALMERS
- Ben Meyers opened the scoring (1-0) on what I can only describe as a horribly unlucky play that saw the Colorado player lose the puck and have it take an adventure through bodies before winding up in the net. It was ridiculous, and I don’t really know what else to say about it.
- Alex Georgiev was incredibly annoying from start to finish. He’s the reason this game was even close.
- If I’m going to nitpick a little bit, it would be because the three 100-point guys played a lot of minutes and while I totally understand that you want the win, I also think that we’ll need those guys to be feeling fresh next week. Again, I’m nitpicking.
- It’s hard to imagine how we ever survived without Mattias Ekholm.
|4:52||Avalanche||Ben Meyers (4)|
|5:28||Oilers||Mattias Ekholm (9)|
Assists: Ryan McLeod (12), Warren Foegele (15)
No Goals Scored
No Goals Scored
|1:50||Oilers||Evan Bouchard (7) (Power Play)|
Assists: Connor McDavid (88), Leon Draisaitl (74)
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 hitting 100 points, Leon Draisaitl getting 50 goals for the third time, took your voicemails, and a whole lot more.
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