The Day After 76.0: Edmonton Oilers record first shutout in 10 months in 2-0 win over LA Kings
Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
By Zach Laing1 month ago
Stuart. Skinner. Shutout.
What a night to be a fan of the local sports team.
The Edmonton Oilers hosted to the LA Kings on Thursday night shutting them out in the process. That’s right. The Oilers finally got a shutout. 2-0, baby.
It’s been a long time coming for this Oilers team. Their last came in game seven against the LA Kings last season. They had four games this season when they allowed just one goal, but the elusive shutout evaded them and truth be told, it couldn’t have come in a bigger game. We’ve seen the OIlers’ play ramp up as of last. They close out the month of March going 12-2-1 with a league-best .833 save percentage.
It’s impressive when you look at the list of teams the Oilers played in that time. In order: Toronto (5-2 W), Winnipeg (6-3 W), @ Winnipeg (7-5 L), @ Buffalo (3-2 W), @ Boston (3-2 W), @ Toronto (7-4 L), Dallas (4-1 W), @ Seattle (6-4 W), San Jose (5-4 OTW), Arizona (4-3 OTW) Vegas (4-3 OTL), @ Arizona (5-4 W), @ Vegas (7-4 W) and then LA last night. It wasn’t exactly a light schedule and it’s not like any of these teams were real pushovers. The Oilers played in some very tight games against some very good teams playing very good hockey at this point in the year.
But last night? That was a different animal.
The Kings themselves aren’t pushovers in any sense of the term right now. In March, they posted a .769 points percentage, the fourth-best rate in the league, and has points in 11 consecutive games. Yet still, last night, they dominated LA. At 5×5, they controlled 53 percent of the shot attempt share, 59.17 percent of the expected goal share and 57.45 percent of the scoring chances. They forced the Kings to the outside and played as tight of a defensive game as they could.
THE DAY AFTER IS PRESENTED BY BETWAY
They played their game and that might be most important. Edmonton looked calm, cool and collected through the game and it paid off for them. They also capitalized when it mattered most.
Like when a spinning backhand pass from Leon Draisaitl landed on Evander Kane’s still with just under a minute in the first allowing the latter to find twine. Or when Connor McDavid found a loose puck on the penalty kill, put on the jets and scored his 61st of the season and 300th of his career 3:53 into the final period. Or when Skinner made stop after stop, save after save to ensure nothing got past him.
The truth is the tempo for this game was set 1:28 into it when Connor McDavid boarded Mikey Anderson and went for a trip to the penalty box. The Oilers forward just went in to finish a check on Anderson, who was to the side of his net near the end boards, but instead smushed the rearguard hard forcing him out of the game. Some may say it’s the Hockey Gods raining down.
Kings fans are upset, but whatever. I don’t recall many being sympathetic to Draisaitl when Anderson hauled him down causing the gruesome high ankle sprain he was forced to play through. He still averaged 19:26 a night scoring five goals and nine points in seven games, but I digress.
Last night was about as perfect of a game as the Oilers could play at this point in the season. They were firing on all cylinders and their play in all three zones was crisp. That’s the kind of hockey that’s going to win you playoff games.
With the win, the Oilers jumped the Kings for sole possession of second in the Pacific Division and two points back of Vegas for first place in not only the division but the Western Conference as a whole.
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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