Oilers lock up home ice in a generally frustrating 3-2 OT loss against the Arizona Coyotes

22 days ago
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed that the Oilers lost 3-2 to the Arizona Coyotes in overtime, but at least they picked up the point they needed to keep first place in the Pacific Division within reach.


I know I should be complaining about the Oilers’ slow start and why it took them about 35 minutes before they really looked engaged, but instead, I’m choosing to focus on the positives. I know losing to the Arizona Coyotes is annoying, and we all wanted to get that extra point in the standings, but even with the OTL, the Oilers still managed to lock in home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs.
That’s an advantage that could prove massive for line matchups regardless of who the first-round opponent ends up being, and it was nice to see that the boys officially checked that item off their to-do list. Now, with only four games left to play on the schedule, the biggest question mark left on the year is who will be visiting Rogers Place for games one and two when the post-season kicks off next weekend.


I really wish there was a way the Oilers could keep Adam Henrique because I absolutely love what he brings to the team. Even though he only has five goals and six points in his 18 games played with the Oilers, I appreciate how he’s quietly good at many different things. Henrique is a Swiss Army Knife in the same way that Nugent-Hopkins is in terms of versatility, and those are the kind of players who are always valuable because of the options they provide.
We’ve already seen Adam Henrique play on the wing and at centre with various linemates in his short tenure with the Oilers, and he seems to handle it all in stride. Even though we’d obviously appreciate another goal or five out of the current 23-goal man, you have to respect the way he rarely gets caught with costly errors and mistakes. The guy seems to play clean hockey every time he’s on the ice, and it would be incredible if he somehow decided he wanted to stay in Edmonton for a league-min contract. Dare to dream.


I know the Oilers and Coyotes face off again next week, but this week’s news about the team moving to Utah has me bummed out for the small group that actually cares about that hockey team. The Coyotes have been in the desert for 28 years, and 20 of those years have been clouded with rumours and talk about why they shouldn’t be there.
Now that they’re leaving for Utah, all I can think about is how bad I feel for the people who have supported them over the years, only to get kicked in the pills over and over again. Now, after three different arenas, a run in bankruptcy court, and an array of various owners, the Coyotes’ story is finally coming to an end, and that bums me out.
Even though hearing about the Coyotes being moved just feels like a part of life at this point, I admittedly thought that this song and dance would just keep going on. It seemed like Gary Bettman would never let the Coyotes leave, and that must have given Coyotes fans some hope that they’d find a way to figure this out. Unfortunately, we’ve finally reached the end of the line, and I can only imagine how disappointing that is for Coyotes fans who keep pulling the short end of the stick.


-Darnell Nurse tied the game at two apiece early in the third period with a seeing-eye slapper from the point that made its way through a sea of bodies before passing through Vejmelka and into the back of the net. The contract the guy signed will always stand in the way of cheering for the guy for some people, but I will always cheer for Nurse when he has something go his way. Gord knows we’ll need him if there will be a parade in a few months from now.
-Tip of the cap goes to Evander Kane for picking up a pair of assists, giving him four points in his last four games. Yes, I understand that those first points came in only two games, but I still think it’s incredibly valuable if Kane can heat up a little bit heading into the playoffs. Here’s hoping this current stretch is the start of that happening.
Calvin Pickard may have been the Oilers’ best player over the first half of the game, even if I strongly disliked his rebound control. Had it not been for some big saves by the backup, the Coyotes could have easily found themselves up by a couple of early goals, but instead, the Oilers stayed close. In the end, Pickard was obviously outdueled by Vejmelka, but I’d argue that he was a big reason Edmonton was able to grab the single point.
-Digging into the special teams, I don’t know how it’s possible that the Oilers were only given a single power play opportunity, but they didn’t get anything done with the chance. On the PK, the boys handled both shorthanded situations they faced, further improving the little run they’re on at home.
-Was anyone else confused when the crowd started doing the wave when the boys were down by a goal? I’m a big wave guy, but you won’t catch me doing it when the team is losing. Just me? Can’t be.
-As much as I’m disappointed that the Oilers lost on Friday night, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t thrilled to see they had won 65.5% of the faceoffs.


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