Instant Reaction: Evander Kane scores twice as Oilers rebound well with dominant performance against Avalanche

Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
29 days ago
How fun would a series between the Colorado Avalanche and the Edmonton Oilers be? Well, pretty darn fun if Friday’s game was any indication, as the Oilers got one over on the Avalanche, beating the 2022 Stanley Cup champions 6-2.
With the win, the Oilers have clinched a playoff spot for the fifth consecutive season. Moreover, they are now on 97 points, just five points behind the Vancouver Canucks with a game in hand and a game between the two teams later this month.
The Oilers jumped out to an early lead as they had zone possession to begin the game. Darnell Nurse received the puck taking the shot, and Corey Perry was in his office to deflect it home.
With about eight minutes left in the period, the Avalanche were able to get one back with a good zone entry, with Jonathan Drouin being all alone in the slot. He made no mistake to tie the game at one.
Ross Colton put the Avalanche ahead of the Oilers with a big power move, beating Ekholm around the boards. Colton cut in, skated past Skinner and buried it to give the Avalanche a 2-1 lead, the last time they’d score in this game.
It wasn’t too long before the Oilers tied it. They established the cycle, found Connor McDavid behind the net, and quickly banked it off the foot of the Avalanche defender to tie the game up at 2.
Early in the second period, Mattias Ekholm laid Mikko Rantanen out along the board. Jack Johnson made the foolish mistake of trying to fight Ekholm on a clean hit and served a two-minute minor.
To rub salt in the wound, Ekholm later scored the game-winning goal. The puck kind of just bounced around after he touched it, finding its way between the legs of Alexandar Georgiev. This was Ekholm’s third goal in four games. Good stuff.
Late in the second period, and I mean really late, Ryan McLeod made a terrific stick lift to strip the puck in the neutral zone, then brought the puck into the zone and took a Ryan Smyth-esque clapper. The puck bounced off the netminder’s glove and deflected in off Evander Kane for his first goal in 22 games.
Gene Principe arm-wrestled Phil Heath, an American Bodybuilder… and won? Principe is the best, not much else to say.
McDavid scored his second of the game on a loose play on a zone entry. He found himself all alone in front of the net as the puck pinballed around. Of course, the best player in the league made no mistake for his second of the game.
On a zone entry, McLeod found Kane, who shot from a weird angle and the puck found its way in once again. I’m sure he’ll take it after not scoring for 22 games.
Things worth mentioning…
Connor McDavid picked up two points, bringing him to 128 points on the season. Nathan MacKinnon picked up an assist, moving him to 131 points on the year. However, Nikita Kucherov still leads the way with 133 points in the very exciting Art Ross race.
In 2022, the Oilers clinched a playoff ticket with a win over the Colorado Avalanche. According to our very own Woz, Evander Kane scored a hat trick in that game. History nearly repeated itself with a two-goal night.
Evan Bouchard picked up two assists, moving him to 78 points and ahead of Roman Josi. He is now third in points for defencemen behind Cale Makar and Quinn Hughes (who has 86). Bouchard deserves some Norris consideration, even if Hughes will be the clear winner.
Up next: It won’t be too long before the Oilers are back in action, as they’ll head down Highway 2 to face off against their Pacific Division rivals. The Calgary Flames were eliminated from postseason contention on Thursday night, so expect them to play hard and loose.
If you enjoy my content, you can follow me on Twitter @Brennan_L_D.

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