The Day After 68.0: The big boys came out to play in Oilers 6-3 win over the Senators
Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
By baggedmilk6 months ago
It wasn’t always pretty but it was a beautiful win to me. Final Score: 6-3 Oilers
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Considering the way things went for the Oilers on Saturday night in Toronto, my hope was that they would head into last night’s game against the Senators with a little bit of a chip on their shoulders. I wanted them to be as pissed off about blowing that 3-1 lead as I was, and I wanted them to take out their vengeance on a Senators team that’s starting to slip a little bit. That said, I was also nervous about counting my chickens too early as we all know what can happen when the boys go up against a struggling club that’s playing a third-string goaltender. Thankfully, on this night, our fears of disaster were averted and the Oilers were able to get the job done, but that doesn’t mean everything was sunshine and roses either. Despite what the score may have you believe, the Oilers had to bust their asses to pick up these two points and you have to give the Sens credit for the way they battled to the end.
Let’s get to the recap.
PRESENTED BY BETWAY
- Derek Ryan is an unstoppable force at Rogers Place and that continued again tonight as the former Golden Bear opened the scoring (1-0) with a snipe to the top corner after Ryan McLeod found him with a pass near the circle with speed. Loved the finish by Ryan, and I loved seeing McLeod get himself an assist after what was obviously a tough night on Saturday.
- Brady Tkachuk tied the game (1-1) on the power play just over four minutes later after the Sens got a lucky break when his centering pass took an unfriendly bounce off of Vinny Desharnais’ skate. Way she goes sometimes.
- Leon Draisaitl restored Edmonton’s lead (2-1) on a pretty little give-and-go with Warren Foegele that saw the pair pass the puck back and forth before the former MVP eventually picked up the goal with a slick shot from the slot that beat the goaltender down low.
- Tim Stutzle tied the game for a second time (2-2) with a shorthanded tap-in after an Evan Bouchard shot from the high slot went wide, resulting in the 2-on-1 going the other way.
- Overall, the first period had plenty of highlights that were completely erased by needless mistakes by the Oilers. If anything, the boys almost looked comfortable once they got the lead and the result was a handful of puck mistakes that proved costly.
- Shots in the first period were 9-6 for Ottawa and I don’t think anyone would pretend to be overly pumped about it.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins restored the Oilers’ lead (3-2) with a power play goal after Dylan Gambrell’s clearing attempt went right onto RNH’s stick in the circle and he ripped it past the goaltender without hesitation.
- Leon Draisaitl picked up a second goal (4-2) with a one-timer from the slot after Connor McDavid found him with a perfect pass that he was able to tee off on. McDavid, Draisaitl, and Foegele ran the show on that shift and probably could have had more than one, but it took the Dynamic Duo connecting on a one-tier to finally get the job done.
- Nick Bjugstad extended the lead to a field goal (5-2) with a beautiful deke to his backhand after Mattias Ekholm found him behind the coverage with more than enough time to execute what was a fantastic play. Amazing pass by Ekholm, even better finish by Bjugstad.
- The Oilers got a lot more pucks on net in the second period (16-9) and it paid off for them in a big way. The boys were outshot in every game on their road trip and I want to see them throwing shots on the goalie.
- Tim Stutzle picked up his second goal of the game (5-3) with a snipe from the slot after Batherson found him with a one-handed pass that left him with a clean look on Skinner. The Oilers actually had the play covered pretty well, but the nice play by Batherson to set up Stutzle managed to get through the coverage.
- Connor McDavid responded shortly after Stutzle’s marker with an empty net goal (6-3) that sealed the deal and gave him 56 on the season. Oh captain, my captain.
- Evan Bouchard was lucky to get away with a horrific giveaway in the third period that was basically a replay of what happened with Ryan McLeod on Saturday in Toronto. Thankfully, Skinner was able to bail his teammate out this time, but that was as rough of a giveaway as it gets when you’re trying to close out a win.
- The Oilers’ PK obviously hasn’t been great lately but they manage to kill off two key penalties in the third period that prevented the Sens from getting any closer than within two goals. As much as it was annoying to see them give one up earlier in the night, those were two clutch kills to cap off the night.
OTHER THINGS WORTH MENTIONING
1) Leon Draisaitl must have known that Oilersnation Germany was in the house because the big man put on a show. Not only did he finish with a pair of goals and six shots on net, but he was wheeling and dealing all night, which is pretty much impossible to spot if you’re the opposition. Draisaitl was excellent.
2) Stuart Skinner had a really strong night in support of an Oilers team that needed him to bail them out for some egregious errors way too often for my liking. I couldn’t tell you exactly how many 10-bell saves he had to make throughout the night, but the boys were coughing up giveaways all over the ice and he had to be sharp on more than one occasion to keep his club in the lead. Even though his .906 save% isn’t overly sexy, I don’t really think it tells the whole story either.
3) I want to give Warren Foegele some love for the way he filled in for Zach Hyman on the line with Draisaitl and Nugent-Hopkins. All night long, Foegele was moving his feet and causing chaos, resulting in a multi-point night for a guy that was asked to fill some pretty big shoes. He’s been fantastic lately and you love to see it from a guy that a lot of us were doubting earlier in the year. I’m happy to be wrong right now.
4) Heading into the third period, the biggest question I had was whether or not the Oilers would be able to lock things down after building themselves a three-goal lead. As I’m sure you read this morning in Gregor’s game notes, the Oilers haven’t exactly been the league’s best in terms of locking things down, and I was very intrigued to see how they would handle the opportunity against the Sens. And while I wasn’t overly pumped about the early goal in third that gave the Senators some major life, I did like the way the Oilers managed to finish off strong without allowing Ottawa to get any closer.
5) It was an up-and-down night for the special teams as the Oilers went 1/3 on the power play and 1/5 on the PK. The boys have now given up goals on the PK in five of their last six games.
6) If you’re a fan of the Corskis, you’ll be pleased to learn that the Oilers outshot the Sens by a 32-32 margin, leading them to a 62.16 CF% and a 68.1 xGF%.
7) You’re damned right I’m pumped about the Oilers winning 60% of the faceoffs.
8) The NHL site has the Senators listed with 16 blocked shots but I could have sworn they’d gotten in the way of more pucks than that.
9) My love for Mattias Ekholm grows by the day and I’m not ashamed to admit it. That pass he made to set up Bjugstad’s goal was beautiful and I don’t think any of us knew how good he is at moving the puck.
10) Big thanks to Gene Principe for shouting out Oilersnation Germany who were in attendance for what was a beauty hockey game by both Draisaitl and Stutzle. The squad got to meet Draisaitl after the game and I’m thrilled that Leon gave them a few minutes of his time to sign some autographs.
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