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The Oilers nearly blew a two-goal lead but were saved by a six-minute run of power play time

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baggedmilk
29 days ago
After a tough OT loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday, the Oilers were looking to get back in the win column against the visiting Montreal Canadiens. And while it definitely wasn’t the prettiest win you’ll ever see, Edmonton got the job done with a 3-2 OT win.

ADAM HENRIQUE GETS HIS FIRST

At 14:55 of the second period, Adam Henrique took a pass in the crease from Mattias Ekholm and calmly tucked his first goal as an Oiler — his 19th of the season — behind Sam Montembeault. Not only was it Henrique’s first since the trade, but it was also a massive moment for Edmonton to temporarily get some breathing room in a game where the space was limited.
Even though this was only Henrique’s sixth game with his new team — Gregor wrote about what it’s like to be without his family in this morning’s GDB — some folks thought he needed to chip in more than the lone assist he had since coming over from Anaheim. I wasn’t sure where I stood. As much as I wanted to see Henrique score from the jump, I also recognize that the guy’s life was flipped upside down two weeks ago when he got traded.

LETTING THE HABS HANG AROUND

I know it wasn’t the game plan by any means, but the Oilers’ inability to extend their lead beyond being catchable was a big problem for the second straight matchup against the Habs. In the first round of the season series, the Oilers doubled the Canadiens up on the shot clock, but it still took them until overtime to collect the win. Last night, the Oilers got outworked for big chunks of the hockey game.
Even when Edmonton built themselves a 2-0 lead after 40 minutes, it never once looked like Montreal was out of the game. If anything, being down on the scoreboard only seemed to fuel them further. You have to give the Canadiens credit for the way they pushed the pace regardless of the situation, and that tenacity caused the Oilers fits on a night when they didn’t have their A-game. Had it not been for that six-minute run of power play time to close out the game, I’m not so sure we’d be talking about the Oilers’ 41st win of the season.

BLOWING THE THIRD PERIOD LEAD

We’ve all heard about how the Oilers are nails in the third period, but that was not the case at all against the Canadiens. Instead, the boys coughed up their two-goal lead before the frame was even five minutes old. It was almost like they hung up the Mission Accomplished banner in the second intermission, assuming the Habs would be willing to roll over and die.
Instead of closing the game out as you’d expect, the Oilers gave the Canadiens all the runway they needed to work their way back into the game. Edmonton struggled mightily with their puck management, and that inability to string plays together allowed the scrappy Canadiens plenty of free zone time and opportunities. For 40 minutes, Pickard was able to cover up the mistakes, but that wasn’t the case early in the third period even though the Oilers played like he could do it all.

OTHER THINGS WORTH MENTIONING…

The goal Connor McDavid scored to get the Oilers on the board was just filthy. It was one of those goals that probably hurt three or four guys’ feelings, as he made basically everyone on the ice look foolish before finally tucking the puck into an open net. McDavid wasn’t done with the goal, though, as he
-Can I be honest when I say that I wasn’t really feeling the new line from combos Kris Knoblauch? Despite losing to the Avalanche on Saturday, I actually thought that the boys were starting to build some chemistry as trios. Clearly, I don’t know what I’m talking about because Knobby decided to blend up the first and third lines.
-Calvin Pickard was back between the popes for his 15th appearance of the season, and he was very good again, as he’s been all season. Though he wasn’t quite as busy as his counterpart, Pickard was called upon to come up with some massive saves, and it was that foundation that allowed Edmonton to weather ride out a less-than-stellar night. I know Pickard only stopped 23 shots on his way to a .926 save%, but I think this was one of those situations where he was much better than even his strong stats would suggest.
-I just need to say that the four-minute power play in overtime was nearly a disaster, and I feel very fortunate that the Dynamic Duo was able to end the game when they did. The Oilers finished the game at 1-for-5 on the PP, and they were very close to getting swept on the PP in a game when they really could have used some success.
-Knowing that Kaiden Guhle is from Edmonton, I think we all knew that the likelihood that he would score was sky high. It’s one of the unwritten rules of the universe that a local kid will find a way to contribute against the Oilers.
Sam Carrick dropped the gloves with Michael Pazzetta early in the first period, and I’m thrilled to report that the Syrup Man’s second fight as an Oiler went much better than his first.
-I hate that I have to tell everyone this dreadful news, but the Oilers won only 41.2% of the faceoffs. Pain. Sadness. Heartbreak.

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