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Three Key Things: Connor McDavid is ridiculous, Evan Bouchard’s heater, and Marc-Andre Fleury

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Photo credit:Tom Kostiuk
baggedmilk
2 months ago
Despite the five-game winning streak, the Oilers still have a mountain’s worth of work ahead of them to get back into the playoffs race, and the only way to tackle the task was to keep the points coming. And while it wasn’t a perfect outing by any stretch, the most important part of the story is that the boys found a way to grind out an important win and keep their heater alive. Final score: 4-3 Oilers

CONNOR McDAVID REMAINS RIDICULOUS

What can you say about the goal Connor McDavid scored to tie the game at two apiece in the opening moments of the second period. After taking a crispy cross-ice pass from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, McDavid finished off the play with an excellent display of spatial awareness, skill, and the patience to wait out a future Hall of Famer between the pipes. It was the kind of goal we’ll be seeing on ‘Best Of’ countdowns for the rest of the year, and the kind that prompts yet another reminder that we’re so incredibly lucky to watch that kind of brilliance on a nightly basis. With the goal and assist he registered, McDavid extended his personal point streak to eight games where he’s amassed an incredible 21 points (5G, 16A).

EVAN BOUCHARD IS ON FIRE

Do you remember the old Nintendo game NBA Jam? Right now, Evan Bouchard is NBA Jam style on fire. After struggling a bit on the defensive side of his game for the first handful of games, Evan Bouchard’s two-way game has improved significantly over the last dozen games or so and his offensive side is on fire. With two goals and an assist against the Wild, Bouchard has 15 points in his last 10 games and moved himself into a tie for third place in scoring among defencemen. I know there are times when Dad can be frustrating on the defensive side of the puck, but there is zero doubt about what he provides at the other end. I mean, what else can you say about a guy that’s putting points up at a 92-point pace? It’s outrageous.

MARC-ANDRE FLEURY, ANNOYING FOR DECADES

Marc-Andre Fleury has been one of the best goalies in the NHL for nearly two decades at this point, and last night’s game was another chapter in the story of him being annoying to play against. Despite the team in front of him getting dominated for most of the night, Fleury held Minnesota in the game with a throwback performance to his old Stanley Cup days. Whether it was picking up second and third saves on rebound or stoning guys straight up on a grade-A chance, Fleury was dialled in and almost goalie’d his way into earning points for his team that they didn’t deserve. I know his .900 save percentage isn’t normally what you’d think of when it comes to lights out goaltending, but in this particular case, I think MAF was one of the only reasons the game ended as close as it did.

OTHER THINGS WORTH MENTIONING

  • For the first time all season, the Edmonton Oilers won a hockey game when they fired 40+ shots on net. Not only did they hit the 40-shot mark once again, but they limited the wild to only 20 shots through the full 60 minutes.
  • Toss another trio of primary assists and one secondary helper on the pile for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins as he finished the game with a touch on all four goals. My dude needs a few more goals to say the least, but he’s growing an apple tree over the last week or so.
  • I will never tire of watching Leon Draisaitl score goals from his office (read: impossible angles) on the power play.
  • It was no surprised that Stuart Skinner got the start given the way he’s play through this win streak, but last night’s W certainly didn’t come easy. Despite seeing only half the rubber as his counterpart, Skinner had a tough night as he needed to stay focused and battle through what was almost unlikely adversity. Even though the stats are ugly, I don’t know that they tell the full story about how the game went or how many key saves he had to make, especially down the stretch. Skinner finished the night with 17 saves and a .850 save%.
  • The special teams dominated once again as the Oilers were able to pump two power play goals in on four chances while also killing off all three of the shorthanded situations they faced.
  • How bad was the officiating in last night’s game? It was almost like they decided to use the prison justice rulebook, which basically allows any kind of infraction apart from shanking someone.
  • The NHL site had the giveaways listed at 12 for the Oilers and seven for the Wild, but that’s only because our side had the puck the whole time.
  • Diving into the spreadsheets, the Oilers dominated the possession game as evident by the 55.56 CF% and 64.38 xGF%.
  • Admit that you love knowing that the Oilers won 51.9% of the faceoffs. Admit it!
  • It’s way less fun when the other team scores two goals in a span of only 41 seconds.

BRING ON THE TEAM SPIRIT!

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