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The Day After: Edmonton wins and the Nation parties

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Photo credit:Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
11 months ago
Oh boy, what a Saturday night it was.
With the Edmonton Oilers taking on the Vegas Golden Knights, the Nation got together for the first time in 572 years to party in person.
If you were there last night at Campio Brewing, thank you! It was amazing to see the bar sold out. With a packed house, the vibes were great. Tyler Yaremchuk looked tremendous in his romper, and we even got to see a Bison King outfit. On top of that, Jay showed off his custom Bison King jersey and honestly, it made me a little jealous.
The true star of the show, however, were the Oilers who pulled off a tremendous win on the road. It was so cool to be able to experience a packed bar going absolutely bonkers when the Oilers scored.
It literally felt like time slowed down as we all watched Ryan Nugent-Hopkins break into the offensive zone and rip one offer the shoulder of Robin Lehner. Same thing with Zach Hyman’s beautiful backhander. Admittedly, I wasn’t in the room when Jesse Puljujarvi squeaked one through Lehner on a partial breakaway.
The truth of the matter is that the Oilers underlying numbers last night were… not good. They got dominated in shot attempts and expected goals, but that’s probably a lot due to score effects. Edmonton was up early and Vegas was desperate.
While I didn’t quite see as much of the game as I would’ve liked, it’s safe to say this was a massive road win for the Oilers. They’re now 2-0 against Vegas this year snagging a few massive road wins against a tough club. Vegas is getting healthy, too, and they’re undoubtedly going to push for top spot in the Pacific Division, just like the Oilers are.
Edmonton needed to have a big road game, too. They had coughed up a few weak games and struggled to get off to good starts even in those they won. For Edmonton to walk into Vegas and have a 2-0 lead after the first period? Huge.
This game should serve as a confidence boost to a team that was in dire need of one.

Backhanders…

  • This article is brought to you by Pedialyte. Not an ad.
  • Last night was the first game of the year where Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl were held pointless, but the Oilers still won the game. Goals from Nugent-Hopkins, Hyman and Puljujarvi were huge and it’s nice to see these guys getting off the schneid a little bit. I’m certainly a fan of the way the Oilers’ lines are being constructed here.

What they’re saying…

Knights unable to gain ground in division race, lose to Oilers
The Golden Knights became the first team this season to hold Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid without a point in the same game Saturday.
They kept the Oilers’ vaunted power play from scoring and controlled most of the action at five-on-five.
That made the 3-2 loss in front of an announced crowd of 18,381 at T-Mobile Arena even more difficult to swallow.
“The stretches in the game where we stuck to the plan and did that, I thought we exposed some really good opportunities for ourselves and should’ve had a chance to win,” coach Pete DeBoer said. “We did probably 80 to 85 percent of the things we wanted to do. But in this league against a first-place team, that’s not enough.”
Despite holding the NHL’s two leading scorers in check, the Knights were unable to shut down the Oilers’ transition game and allowed a handful of breakaways and odd-man rushes.
“They’re an opportunistic team and a team that you can’t give that many chances to, so we kind of shot ourselves in the foot with that,” center Chandler Stephenson said. “It just needs to be better.”
Oilers goaltender Mikko Koskinen finished with 36 saves, including a handful of key stops early that prevented the Knights from playing with the lead. His best was a glove save in the first on Jonathan Marchessault, who returned from COVID-19 protocol after missing the past five games.
Reilly Smith scored his team-leading ninth goal early in the third period after Chandler Stephenson scored midway through the second period.
“I think we did a lot of really good things,” Smith said. “Definitely, puck possession time in the O-zone I think was a lot better. I think we just kind of turned a couple of pucks over.” – David Schoen, Las Vegas Review-Journal

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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