Photo credit:Tom Kostiuk
Three Key Things: Connor McDavid is BACK, Zach Hyman stays hot, and Connor Brown’s first point
By baggedmilk2 months ago
It’s one thing to play your best game of the year and beat the Washington Capitals by a 5-0 final score, but it’s another thing entirely to pull that trick off more than once. And with the Ducks in town riding a five-game losing streak, the Oilers had the opportunity to kick a struggling team while they’re down while also making up some ground in the standings. Thankfully, the boys came through with a clutch win at home to kick off the homestand in style, beating the Ducks by a 8-2 final score.
CONNOR McDAVID IS SO BACK
Connor McDavid has 12 points in his last four games. Do you need a moment to let that soak in? It’s funny to think that McDavid was “struggling” by his own standards to start off the season because he looks like he’s firing on all cylinders now. Starting with a three-point first period — the 23rd three-point period of his career — McDavid was electric versus the Ducks, and he was a pleasure to watch any time he was on the ice. McDavid was so good that the Ducks would have been just as effective in defending him if they laid down and cried as they were when using their sticks and skates. Any time he was on the ice was a chance for the Oilers to score, and I honestly believe that with a little bit of luck, Connor could have finished with way more points than the five he put up.
ZACH HYMAN’S CLUTCH CONSISTENCY
I wrote about Zach Hyman being hot in this afternoon’s GDB, and the heater continued with a pair of goals that came in very different fashions. One on the side of the net, the other on a breakaway when he had all the time in the world. Regardless of how they went in, Hyman’s team-leading 11th and 12th goals of the season were as beautiful as they were valuable, and his remarkable consistency has been a breath of fresh air over the last couple of weeks. Hyman has now amassed 12 points (8G, 4A) in his last eight games, metaphorically spitting in the face of every Leafs fan that said he’d be finished by year three of his deal. If nothing else, this is a small paragraph to show my appreciation for a guy that will always give you his all, and I couldn’t be happier to see him getting rewarded for the efforts.
CONNOR BROWN’S FIRST POINT AS AN OILER
We waited 14 games to get here, but we finally got the first point of the season for Connor Brown. When Ken Holland signed him on July 1st, the expectation was that he’d be able to chip in with some points from somewhere in the top six. Up until last night, Brown hadn’t been able to contribute any offence outside of the play he apparently helped draw up for power play. Fortunately, the drought is over. In his fifth game back from injury. Brown picked up the primary assist on Evander Kane’s first period marker and collected what we hope will be the first of many points over the final 62 games. I don’t know that he’ll ever get close enough to the $4 million price tag the Oil will end up paying for him, but I’m hopeful that the first point was what he needed to get the ball rolling.
OTHER THINGS WORTH MENTIONING
- Evander Kane is NBA Jam style on fire as he picked up his seventh goal in as many games to tie the game at one apiece. Without hesitation, Kane slapped home his 10th goal of the year on a cross-ice pass from Brown that left Dostal vulnerable down low.
- Make it goals in back-to-back games for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins after making no mistake on his first period break away against Lukas Dostal. The goal gives RNH seven points (2G, 5A) in his last five games.
- James Hamblin picked up his second-career goal just past the five minute mark of the second period after picking the puck up in flight, having his initial shot blocked, picking up the rebound, and rifling the puck past a scrambling Dostal. I know he only has two NHL goals, but it seems like the only thing he can do is score beauties.
- How about a tidy little three-point night for Darnell Nurse, including the dart of a pass he put up ice to send Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in all alone on the goaltender. In 25:10 of TOI, Nurse added three shots on goal, one hit, and a +3 rating to go along with the trio of assists.
- Make it three goals in the last two games for Leon Draisaitl, and I could not have been happier to see him score a power play goal from his office for the first time in what feels like forever.
- Evan Bouchard’s assist on Leon Draisaitl’s power play goal put him on a six-game point streak and in the top-5 for points by a defenceman.
- When I think of Stuart Skinner’s night between the pipes, the word that comes to mind is “adventure.” The game started off like a rollercoaster for Stu as he allowed stoppable pucks through on two of the first four shots on net. From there, however, Skinner was able to settle down and give his teammates the kind of goaltending you’d expect from him. Thankfully, those two early goals against didn’t come back to bite Stu thanks to an outburst of goals from the skaters in front of him, but he also deserves some love for shutting the door the way he did. Skinner finished the game with 21 saves and a .913 save%.
- How about the first multi-point night of Vinny Desharnais’ career? The big man picked up a pair of assists, which actually gives him three points in his last two games.
- Cody Ceci left the game in the first period after taking a puck to the face near the benches, and it was a healthy minute or two before he was able to return. Ceci has been having a strong season to this point, and losing him would have put a major hole on what is already a shallow depth chart for RHD.
- Looking at the special teams, the Oilers cleaned house once again as they popped two goals on six power play chances while also killing off all three shorthanded situations they faced.
- You know how much I adore faceoff wins, and that’s why I’m slightly disappointed to say that the Oilers won 49.1% of the draws. Not horrible, but could be better.
- Want me to check in on the spreadsheets? No problem. The Oil finished today’s game with a 40.54 CF% and an 66.63% xGF%.
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