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Instant Reaction: Oilers close out regular season as B Squad takes beating in Colorado

Colorado Avalanche Nathan MacKinnon
Photo credit:© Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
15 days ago
Well, 82 games are in the books, and hopefully, 16 more wins are on the way. What do you think of the regular season?
In the final game of the season, the Edmonton Oilers took on the Colorado Avalanche without Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Mattias Ekholm, Evan Bouchard, and Evander Kane. 
As you can imagine, the game went how you thought it would, with the Oilers going 4-0 early in the first period, before Dylan Holloway scored his sixth goal of the season late in the first period. In what will likely be his last game. Zach Praise scored the fifth and final goal of the regular season for the Avalanche.
Something worth noting: Nathan MacKinnon picked up two assists, bringing him to 140 points, breaking the Colorado Avalanche/Québec Nordiques all-time record for points in a season, so that’s fun. He has a real shot at winning the Hart Trophy, but Nikita Kucherov is still my front-runner.
There was an odd decision made, as the Oilers started Stuart Skinner on Thursday with the entire top six resting. This doesn’t really make sense, as you want your netminder to have confidence heading into the playoffs, not to be shelled and allow four goals on 13 shots for a .692 save percentage.
Calvin Pickard, on the other hand, had a solid game after coming in for Skinner, saving 13 of 14 shots for a .929 save percentage. He’ll be useful in short spurts if Skinner struggles like he did last season. Also, Jack Campbell is still an option, as it looks like he’s regained his confidence down on the farm.
Dylan Holloway needs to be in the lineup during the playoffs. Since his latest recall, he has three goals and five points in six games, and the line of him, Ryan McLeod, and Corey Perry have the makings of a very good third line.
I thought Philip Broberg had a fine game, but he’ll probably head down to Bakersfield to help with their playoff run. It’s a good experience for any young player, but like I said in the last Instant Reaction, the Oilers need to crap or get off the pot in regards to Broberg. Play him, or trade him for a piece to help them push for a playoff spot next season.
Troy Stetcher didn’t have a good game, taking two penalties in the first period. The “hook” probably shouldn’t have been called, but this isn’t what you want to see from your seventh defenseman who has had limited playing time.
Sam Gagner could have played his final game in the National Hockey League. Hopefully, the Oilers can win him a Stanley Cup, but if it is his final game, he’ll have no issues transitioning to a coaching role or a scouting role.
Up next: As I write this, the Anaheim Ducks are leading the Vegas Golden Knights 3-1 with about five minutes left. The Los Angeles Kings are up 3-1 against the Chicago Blackhawks during the second intermission. If the scores hold, it looks like the Los Angeles Kings and the Edmonton Oilers will play each other in the first round for the third consecutive season. Fun!
If you enjoy my content, you can follow me on Twitter @Ryley_L_D.

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