The Day After: Team game leads to shutout

Photo credit:Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
1 year ago
Now that’s how you win a road game.
An all-around impressive performance from the Edmonton Oilers landed them a win and two points against the Philadelphia Flyers 3-0.
The two teams had met earlier in the year in what was a 5-3 routing by the Flyers. They came out hot and heavy scoring two goals in the first 10 minutes of the game building a lead the Oilers couldn’t come back from.
This time around? The exact opposite. Leon Draisaitl kicked the low-scoring night off with a powerplay late in the first frame, while Kailer Yamamoto drove a loose puck beyond Flyers netminder Carter Hart in the second.
“I thought it was a strong hockey game. We scored goals in different fashions,” said Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft after the game. “The powerplay came up big at the end of the first period after we had a great 5-on-3 penalty kill.
“Found a way to score a real May, June type goal at the end of the second period there that bodes well for us as we move forward. I thought we played a really mature third period. There’s some areas we got to continue to clean up, but there’s a lot to like and a lot to build on.”
But in their own zone, the Oilers tightened things right up winning the high-danger chances battle — something the Oilers have struggled with all year long.
In net, the Oilers got another tremendous performance from Mikko Koskinen. He helped the Oilers shut the door in a massive win Saturday over the Florida Panthers where he posted a .935 save percentage. Last night? Much of the same. He was key for the Oilers in stopping some of the few big chances the Flyers had.
“I thought (the Flyers) ended up with a lot of shots on net, but in terms of quality of chance, we did a lot of good things,” said Woodcroft. “The biggest chances they had either came off faceoff wins, or off our stick either us trying to pass through people or maybe a turnover in the offensive zone.
“Those are the things I think we can continue to improve at. But when you win a game 3-0 on the road in a tough building I think it’s a total team effort. Our players should be proud everyone contributed to a full sixty minutes.”
The Oilers have a chance to continue to get some points on this five-game road trip with a Thursday night matchup against the Chicago Blackhawks. Much like a game against the Flyers earlier this year, Edmonton got bullied by the Blackhawks in what was Dave Tippett’s last game behind the Oilers bench.
Edmonton was up for last night’s game against Philadelphia and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least for the Oilers to be the same against Chicago. Does Woodcroft go with Mike Smith Thursday knowing the tough game he had in early February? Or does he go back to Koskinen after such a strong performance?


What they’re saying…

Leon Draisaitl and the Edmonton Oilers beat the Flyers, 3-0
Undoubtedly, putting the third-ranked Edmonton Oilers power play on five man-advantage opportunities wasn’t part of the game plan for interim coach Mike Yeo and the Flyers. However, a slew of four tripping penalties and one for high-sticking sent the Flyers to the kill in the first and second periods alone.
While the Flyers only conceded a single power-play goal in their 3-0 loss to the Oilers on Tuesday at the Wells Fargo Center, spending 10 minutes shorthanded didn’t help them get on the attack quickly and keep their opponent from getting to their game.
The first line of Claude Giroux, Cam Atkinson, and Joel Farabee created several scoring chances for the Flyers and spent the most time in the Oilers’ zone, generating 21 shot attempts to the opponents’ five when they were on the ice together, per Natural Stat Trick. Nonetheless, Oilers goalie Mikko Koskinen denied all 39 of the Flyers’ shots on goal, mostly from the outside, to earn his sixth career shutout.
“There were some opportunities that we had looks that we could have been crisper, been able to take advantage of those opportunities,” Yeo said. “But I do think that a lot of what we had was from the perimeter, a lot of what we had was from the outside tonight.”

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 zach@oilersnation.com.

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