The Day After 66.0: With stars silent, Edmonton Oilers mount seemingly insurmountable comeback to beat Boston Bruins 3-2
Photo credit:Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports
By Zach Laing11 days ago
Evan Bouchard. Ryan Mcleod. Darnell Nurse.
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No Connor. No Leon. No Nuge. No Zach.
On Thursday night, it was depth that rang true for the Edmonton Oilers as they did the unthinkable beating the Boston Bruins at TD Gardens. In fact the Oilers did something that no other team in the league had done this year by coming from behind to win. Heading into last night’s game — one that saw the Bruins carry 2-0 and 2-1 leads after the first and second periods, respectively — Boston had a 28-0-1 record when leading after one, and a 35-0-2 record when leading after two. Yes, you’re reading that right.
I mean, wow. What can you say?
It wasn’t exactly a pretty win for the Oilers, that’s for sure. Brad Marchand scored 3:51 into the first period on the Bruins first zone entry, and first shot of the game, and with less than half a second on the clock to end the period, David Pastrnak zipped a shot home. Yeah, it wasn’t pretty. Stuart Skinner struggled early on last night, there’s no other way to cut it. A first-shot goal is never nice, and the Pastrnak goal happened, in part, due to a weak turnover by him behind the net.
But come the second, the Oilers got to work and got back into the game. When B’s defenceman Matt Grzylck blew a tire, Edmonton was afforded a 4-on-1 chance and Mattias Janmark dropped it back to Evan Bouchard. The young defenceman blasted a shot home past Jeremy Swayman, and it was a one-goal game. For Bouchard, the tally snapped a 43-game goalless drought — one that’s very likely the longest of his hockey career. Through the rest of the period the Oilers fought and clawed against a tough team with neither really taking it to the other.
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The third period rolled around and suddenly, the tide started turning in the Oilers’ favour. And just 6:08 into the period, McLeod capitalized on a nice feed from Devin Shore to tie this game up at two. Out of nowhere, Shore has been seemingly shot out of a cannon and has been making big plays for the Oilers as of late with his assist marking his third in as many games.
Nurse, meanwhile, would blast home the eventual game-winner at the 15:11 mark of the third period. The Oilers gained the line and the puck cycled back to him at the point, and a long-wrister was able to find it’s way home.
This season is slowing starting to feel like last. A lot of highs and lows and some inconsistent play into the new year and through January, but then it just starts to click. It happened late last season and we all saw what the Oilers did beating the LA Kings then making quick work of the Calgary Flames in five, before fizzling out in a series against the Colorado Avalanche that was tighter than some think.
It’s starting to feel the same this season. Maybe it’s the metaphorical high from last night’s win, but that was a huge, huge win and in all honesty, it’s a game the Oilers should truly be able to hang their hats on because it’s not a game where the stars carried the team. The only top-six player to register a point was Leon Draisaitl, who got a second assist on Nurse’s goal. Sure, they got a few shots on goal here or there, but they weren’t being relied upon to shoot the lights out. Edmonton only ended up with one powerplay opportunity last night, too. They didn’t have the opportunity to go and score a bunch with the man advantage and I think that only adds to how impressive that performance was.
And I mean come on, how about Stuart Skinner? Far from an ideal night after his early blunders, but he really shut the door on the Bruins last night. Boston’s the second highest-scoring team in the league next to Edmonton, and the fact the Oilers as a whole were able to hold them to only two was a great, great sign.
Next up will be a fun one Saturday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
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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