The Day After 81.0: Edmonton Oilers 2-1 OT win over Colorado Avalanche leaves door open for Western Conference title
Photo credit:Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
By Zach Laing7 months ago
The door is open for the Edmonton Oilers to win the Western Conference.
Some things will need to break their way — a Seattle Kraken win over the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday — but we’re saying there’s a chance.
The Oilers made it possible by gutting out a 2-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night. Most of the action in this one came early on in the game. 4:52 into the first period, an own goal put the Oilers behind. While Ben Meyers got credit for it, the puck had been accidentally swept toward the Oilers’ net by Nick Bjugstad and took a bounce off Philip Broberg and in.
But the Avalanche lead didn’t last long as 36 seconds later, a Mattias Ekholm blast tied the game up at one. It would take an Evan Bouchard game-winner in overtime to break the tie.
As a whole, the Oilers came out a bit slow in game 81 of the season. Who can blame them, either? It’s late in the regular season and all that the team is playing for is positioning. But truth be told, they sure woke up as the game went on remembering just how important that positioning is.
While sleepy to start, the Oilers put together rock-solid second and third periods — and overtime — in order to come out on top in this one. Both teams had multiple powerplay chances, but neither could convert. This included a four-minute man advantage the Oilers had in the second period after Avalanche defenceman Devon Toews busted open Zach Hyman’s chops with a high stick.
In overtime, it was Connor McDavid who drew the call leading to the winner. Leon Draisaitl, who had a quiet night, carried the puck through the neutral zone and McDavid broke toward the net with speed. The only problem? Bowen Byram hauled him down. Edmonton got a shot or two away that Alexandar Georgiev swallowed up, but it was off a draw the puck made its way to Evan Bouchard.
He walked into the high slot looking off McDavid busting the ankles of two Avalanche defenders to give himself space. From there, a flick of the wrist and the Oilers won their eighth game in a row.
People around the hockey world are starting to take note of how good this Oilers team is. They’re a legitimate threat to come out of the Western Conference this season and I’ll tell you this much — after Draisaitl and McDavid’s performances last year in the playoffs, coupled with this season — I wouldn’t want to go up against them.
As I mentioned above, the Oilers still have a chance to win not just the Western Conference, but the Pacific Division, too. To win the Pacific and the West, the Oilers will need to beat the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night and have the Seattle Kraken beat the Vegas Golden Knights that same night.
After beating Seattle Tuesday night, Vegas sits with 109 points leading the West and Pacific. So, if the Oilers can beat San Jose that would give them 109 points on the season as well, but the Oilers have the benefit of having the regulation win tiebreak and the head-to-head tiebreak over Vegas.
Let the sweating begin.
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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