The Day After 59.0: All gas, no brakes as Edmonton Oilers dominate Pittsburgh Penguins in 7-2 win
Photo credit:Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
By Zach Laing9 months ago
If you walked in the door from work like many others did last night and saw the Pittsburgh Penguins hold a 1-0 lead early in the game, don’t worry — you weren’t the only one pulling your hair out.
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I mean really. Kris Letang scored 1:05 into the game, and immediately it was a “here we go again!” sort of feeling. But it didn’t last long as the Edmonton Oilers put on one of their finest performances of the season in a 7-2 win.
After scoring on their first shot, the Oilers took over the game almost instantly. It took little time for Edmonton to get on the board themselves with Connor McDavid’s improbable goal scored from below the goal line where he banked a puck in off the back of Tristan Jarry. I don’t think we’ll ever find out the true science behind that one because my lord was it something special.
Leon Draisaitl added another powerplay tally at the end of the first, and this game was on. Come the second, the wheels fell off the wagon for the Penguins. The Oilers got goals from Kailer Yamamoto, Devin Shore, Warren Foegele and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins by the end of the frame, while McDavid would add another with a penalty shot goal with under four minutes to go.
But most importantly, for the first time since the All-Star break, the Oilers played a full-60. Crazy what happens when they do, hey? Now these Pittsburgh Penguins aren’t the same team they’ve always been. They’ve struggled defensively this season giving up the fourth-most shots against per hour at 5×5 this season. Teams have gotten their looks, and the Oilers made the most of them last night.
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Edmonton had sputtered heading into this game with a 3-1-4 record since the break scoring 31 goals while allowing the same. They were getting points, but they were also giving them away, too. Shootout losses to the Philadelphia Flyers, Detroit Red Wings and New York Rangers, as well as an overtime loss to the Colorado Avalanche, and things were starting to get a little snug in the collar.
That’s four points the Oilers lost and really shouldn’t have. Ideal? Far from it. The worst thing in the world? No. They could’ve gotten zero points out of those games, so take it when you can, I suppose.
What we’ve started to see, and something we saw last night, too, was more contributions from depth scorers. Over those nine games, for example, Warren Foegele and Jesse Puljujarvi are ranked 1 and 2 among Oilers forwards who have played over 50 minutes in 5×5 points per hour. Among 377 eligible forwards over that same time, Foegele ranks 15th and Puljujarvi 38th. Depth scoring is important, and it’s been a huge story as of late for this team at a crucial time in the season.
The next will be riveting to watch. Leading up to the trade deadline one week from today, the Oilers play the Columbus Blue Jackets Saturday, Boston Bruins Monday, and the Toronto Maple Leafs next Wednesday.
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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