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Need a save, need a kill, and need to stop blowing two-goal leads, Oilers stumble in 5-3 loss to the Senators

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baggedmilk
3 months ago
I don’t think I’m talking out of school when I say that yesterday’s game against the Leafs was one of the worst starts the Oilers have had in quite some time, and it was going to take a much stronger effort against the Ottawa Senators if they were going to get themselves back into the win column. Unfortunately, the weekend ended up as one to forget, as the Oilers blew a two-goal lead on their way to a 5-3 loss to the Senators.

ZACH HYMAN GETS TO 50 GOALS

We all knew it was coming for a while now, but that didn’t make it any less fun to watch Zach Hyman cash in his 50th goal of the season on a power play tap-in from goal mouth. As soon as the goal went in, Hyman was mobbed by his teammates, who were overjoyed to see a player they clearly love get the goal. Hyman was smiling, his teammates were smiling, we were smiling, and it was a great moment worth remembering from the 2023-24 season.
Having written about how awesome he is about 200 times this season, I find myself at a loss for new ways to express how good he’s been. What I can do, however, is say congratulations to Zach Hyman for joining the elite club of 50-goal scorers at the NHL level. To put this into perspective, prior to Hyman’s second-period marker, only 91 players had achieved this feat since 1917, and a mere 96 in the entire history of the NHL.
The point here is that what Hyman just did is a truly remarkable and rare accomplishment, and the fact that none of us would have ever seen this moment coming when he signed his seven-year contract three years ago is the cherry on the sundae.

MATTIAS EKHOLM IS ON FIRE

Mattias Ekholm has been a stud for the Oilers since coming over from Nashville prior to the 2023 trade deadline, but I think he might actually be getting even better as we work through this stretch drive. Whether he’s denying teams offensive opportunities in the defensive zone or collecting points at the other end, Ekholm is making high-level plays at both ends of the rink.
With eight points (3G, 5A) in his last six games, Ekholm’s offensive touch is starting to come through a little bit more, and that’s an aspect of his work that often gets overlooked. Despite the fact we don’t talk about it much, Big Viking Daddy has quietly put up 34 points on the season, and I don’t think it’s unreasonable to suggest there’s even more to be had given how well he’s playing.

SPECIAL TEAMS ARE EVERYTHING

Maybe we should have expected trouble was coming when the Senators scored on their first power play of the night in only seven seconds. Maybe we should have known that this wasn’t going to be the Oilers’ night on the penalty kill? Then again, I probably wouldn’t have expected the Oilers to give up three power play goals on four shorthanded situations either. Coming into Sunday’s matchup, the Senators were listed at 16.7% on the PP so it’s not like the Senators have a world beating PP unit.
Needless to say, the PK was a huge problem.
On the bright side, the Oilers found a way to score a couple of power play goals on the three chances they got with the man advantage. Even though those two goals obviously weren’t enough, I’m still taking them away as a silver lining since the Oilers’ PP hasn’t been nearly as sharp on the road as it has been at home. Frankly, their success with the man advantage is one of the few takeaways from this game, so I’m taking it.

OTHER THINGS WORTH MENTIONING…

-Adam Henrique was bumped up to Draisaitl’s left wing for Sunday’s game, and it didn’t take long before he was able to cash in on the opportunity. He picked up his 20th goal of the season—second as an Oiler—on a friendly bounce off his left skate, beautifully redirecting Ekholm’s centering pass into the open cage.
-Calvin Pickard came into the third period of Saturday’s game against Toronto in relief and was right back between the pipes less than 24 hours later for his scheduled start against the Senators. Unfortunately, Pickard’s 17th appearance of the season was one he’ll probably be fine with forgetting. I mean, how else would you describe a start where he stopped only 11 of 15 shots and finished with a .733 save%?
-Make it 91 assists for Connor McDavid after the captain picked up two more helpers as he marches toward becoming only the fourth player in NHL history to register 100 assists in a single season.
-Evan Bouchard now finds himself at 72 points on the season after the three assists he picked up against the Sens, and all I can think about is how much of a bargain he is at the $3.9 million AAV price tag the Oilers have him at for this season and next. I know there are moments in the defensive zone that can be puzzling, but the way this guy can move the puck is truly remarkable.
-Ryan Nugent-Hopkins cannot buy a goal right now, and the snakebite is real. The guy hit three posts in the last two games, and not one of those pucks took a friendly bounce into the net for him. Instead, his goalless drought is extended to 13 games, and I can’t think of another player on this roster who needs an ugly one more than RNH.
-Getting 0/4 points this weekend hurts, and I can’t even pretend to not be bummed out about it.
-Is there a better way to end an article than with some faceoff percentages? No. That would be impossible. Thankfully, this is where I tell you that the Oilers won 53.7% of the faceoffs and at least I can be happy about that.

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