The Day After 50.0: The Oilers roll into the All-Star break with good vibes

Photo credit:© Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Cam Lewis
1 year ago
Following a lethargic loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets that snapped the team’s six-game winning streak earlier this week, the Edmonton Oilers rebounded by beating the wheels off of the Chicago Blackhawks.
The lowly Blackhawks kept things tight in the first half of the game but the floodgates opened up for the Oilers in the second period. Tyson Barrie, Connor McDavid, and Zach Hyman scored during a two-and-a-half-minute onslaught to make the score 5-1 and it was smooth sailing the rest of the way.
The best moment of the game came late in the third period when U of A goaltender Matt Berlin, who was filling in on a one-day contract while Stuart Skinner was out with an illness, was put in the net in relief of Jack Campbell. Berlin faced one shot and made the save, so he’ll have a 1.000 save percentage next to his name in the NHL.
After the game, head coach Jay Woodcroft said that it was captain Connor McDavid’s idea to get Berlin into the net so he could experience NHL action…
“It wasn’t meant for any other purpose than giving a young man life experience that he’ll never forget,” Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft said. “I’m sure he will carry that memory with him for the rest of his life. He’ll be in the record books as having played in the National Hockey League.”
“We were just trying to give a cool moment to someone who was here,” McDavid said. “He lived out a dream to play in the NHL. “It’s nice to see a moment like that… He’s a young kid. You never know what his path can do. Maybe we’ll see him one day in the league. For today, he’s played in the NHL. That’s something he can hang his hat on for a while.”
“I thought they were kidding,” Berlin said. “I thought they were joking. “Coach [Woodcroft] said, ‘At the three-minute mark, be ready to go. The first whistle after the three-minute mark, you’re going in.’”
“It might be the most memorable save I’ve made in my career,” Berlin said about stopping a shot from Chicago defender Caleb Jones. “It was very special.”


Parting notes…

  • The win caps off an excellent month of January for the Oilers, one that saw them climb from the bubble of the playoff picture in the Western Conference to within striking distance of the top spot in the Pacific Division. Edmonton hasn’t lost a game in regulation since January 9 and they went 8-2-2 all told for the month.
  • With a goal and two assists in the win, Zach Hyman has reached the 60-point mark for the first time in his career. He set a career-high with 54 points last year in his first season with the Oilers and his previous career-high before that was 41 points.
  • Also hitting the 60-point mark on Saturday was Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Through 50 games, he’s just nine points shy of matching the career-high that he set back during the 2018-19 season. The Oilers now have four different players with 60 points.
  • Evander Kane scored in the third period, netting his first goal since returning from the scary wrist cut that he suffered in Tampa Bay back in November.

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