Photo credit:Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
The Day After 30.0: After coughing up two-goal lead, Edmonton Oilers charge back in 6-3 win over New Jersey Devils
By Zach Laing1 month ago
If you’re a fan of roller coasters, you would’ve loved Thursday night’s NHL game between the Edmonton Oilers and New Jersey Devils.
After the Oilers roared out of the gate with two goals in the first 5:24 of the game, they coughed up three straight, only to mount a stunning comeback in the third period for a 6-3 win.
Just how they drew it up, I’m sure.
And while the night saw the Oilers play their game, outshooting the Devils 38-26, controlling 56.52 percent of the shot attempt share and 32.1 percent of the expected goal share, nothing changed for them in any of the three periods. The only thing that happened was the Devils bounces went in in the second, and the Oilers’ did in the third.
” I think tonight was a good show of resilience,” said captain Connor McDavid, who, along with multiple teammates, wore Pride Tape in warmups, honouring the Devils’ Pride night, before he ended the evening with a goal and an assist. “You need one of those to snap a losing streak like that.
“I think we had lots of loose pucks around the net, lots of little plays that could’ve gone. All of a sudden, third period they start going in. You stay with it long enough, you get rewarded, and I thought we did that tonight.”
THE DAY AFTER IS PRESENTED BY BETWAY
And for the Oilers, that’s been the tune of their game almost all season long.
Early in the year, when they were outplaying opponents on a night-in, night-out basis yet still losing games easily, those bounces were miles away from going in for the Oilers. Then, a coaching change, some confidence was instilled, and suddenly, those bounces were going in.
Goals were 39-13 in favour of them as they embarked on an eight-game winning streak. But then, the bounces stopped.
Trampled by Tampa. Flattened by Florida. Ironed out by the Islanders.
So for the Oilers to stick with their game and come out strong the way they did in the third period, it’s a good sign.
“I’ve liked a lot of aspects of our game. I feel like we’ve had lots of chances; we’ve just been finding ways to lose games,” McDavid said. “I thought we did that on the island, we did that against Tampa, the Florida game was kind of a write-off.
“I thought we responded well tonight. Obviously tough spot down one heading into the third, I thought there was great resilience. The boys stuck with it.”
It’s not like it was just the McDavid show last night. Now, sure, he, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Zach Hyman helped score twice, but the contributions came from all over. Depth was key as Ryan McLeod scored twice, and Adam Erne, playing in his first game in nearly a month, scored too — something Connor Brown, scratched in favour of Erne, hasn’t been able to do this season.
“My dad was in the stands, my best buddies in the stands, good time to get my first one. It felt great,” said Erne. “We only come out here once this year.
“Usually I get to be around a lot more playing in the east in the past. It’s definitely special to perform in front of them.”
And in the eyes of head coach Kris Knoblauch, it wasn’t just the goal that impressed him.
“We were so happy for him on the bench,” he said. “It was unfortunate, it was almost a month since his last game. A couple things happened. We went on a winning streak… And then he also got sick, which held him back from getting in the lineup a little bit earlier than he did tonight.
“He was ready and good for him. He played a really good game. Obviously, it was nice to see him score the goal, but I thought he broke up a lot of plays defensively. Adam played a really good game. That’s what we expect from him, and he delivered.”
With the Oilers set for the second half of a two-games in two nights Friday against the New York Rangers, Knoblauch and co. will be hard-pressed to make any changes to this lineup.
Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at email@example.com.
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