The Day After 4.0: Oilers never squander lead, beat Hurricanes 6-4
Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
By Zach Laing1 year ago
Finally, the Edmonton Oilers started a game on time.
It took them their fourth game and a tough opponent in the Carolina Hurricanes to do so, but hey — better late than never, am I right?
The Oilers were able to jump out with a strong first period carrying a 1-0 lead into the first intermission. While there were more than a few sweaty moments in their 6-4 win over those tropical storms, they got the job done.
A four-point night from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Connor McDavid — with Leon Draisaitl and Zach Hyman each chipping in two — helped lead the charge for the Oilers.
While at times it wasn’t pretty, Jack Campbell got it done in the Oilers’ crease. Andrei Svechnikov beat him a trio of times as the Russian notched his first career hat trick, but there were multiple instances where the Oilers netminder stood on his head. Each of those three goals came off deceptive shots where Campbell either seemed screened or just out of position enough for the shots to go past him.
What the Oilers did do, however, is hold on just tight enough.
Zach Hyman gave the Oilers a lead with a rare powerplay goal that didn’t include a point from McDavid or Draisaitl 8:22 into the game — the long score of that frame. While Svechnikov got one of three 1:38 into the second tying it up, it was Ryan McLeod, who scored a shorthanded goal at the 8:20 mark, and Evander Kane — who scored 121 seconds later — that got and extended their lead.
Number two came for Svechnikov later in that second frame at 12:35, but Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored on a yawning cage 1:24 into the third. The back-and-forth affair continued all the way to the end, when McDavid sealed the deal with an empty net goal.
For the Oilers, it was all around the type of game you wanted to see from them up against their toughest foe of the year. At 5×5, they really struggled in the second, but otherwise controlled the game quite nicely. By the end of the night they controlled just 48.37 percent of the expected goal share, but had 69.58 percent of them in the first and 66.99 percent in the third.
Hockey’s an end-to-end game, but the Oilers’ ability to control the game when it mattered most is what was important about last night’s affair. Above all else, it could be the shot in the arm they needed. The ability to play in a tight game against one of the league’s best. A night where their stars shined. One where they never squandered a lead, no matter how hard their adversary pushed.
Next up for the Oilers? The homestand continues. They take on the St. Louis Blues for a little Saturday matinee action and the Pittsburgh Penguins Monday night. They’ll close out October with a three-game road trip through St. Louis, Chicago and Calgary.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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