Three Key Things: Connor McDavid’s heater, the spark called Sam Gagner, and Evander Kane stays hot
By baggedmilk2 months ago
When you’re looking to climb back into playoff contention, there’s no better step in the process than a regulation win over a team you’re chasing in the standings. Unfortunately, we didn’t quite get the regulation win we wanted, and Gord knows it wasn’t the prettiest finish anyway, but I’m sure as hell pumped that the Oilers closed out the 4-3 shootout win over the Vegas Golden Knights. It may not have been the sexiest win you’ll ever watch, but it was beautiful to me.
WE HAVE TO TALK ABOUT CONNOR MCDAVID AGAIN
Connor McDavid’s heater continued with another multi-point night as he continues to fly up the NHL leaderboard. With yet another three-point night — it was also his third game in a row where he put up three points in a single period — Connor McDavid has vaulted himself into the top 10 of league scoring after being in 100s only a few days ago. It’s funny to think of the people who wondered if McDavid was washed up or something because he was “only” a point-per-game player earlier in the season. Would anyone be surprised if Connor McDavid led the NHL in points by the end of December? I wouldn’t.
NOT THE BATTLE I EXPECTED
The last time the Vegas Golden Knights were at Rogers Place, they were knocking the Edmonton Oilers out of the playoffs. And yet, I wasn’t expecting nearly the same fireworks because of where both teams are at 20 games into the season. Vegas started off like a house on fire, roaring up into first place from basically day one. Here in Edmonton, we know how the story has gone for the Oilers. But for this first meeting of the season, the Oilers were looking to keep building on the last few games while the Golden Knights were looking to stop the bleeding. Needless to say, those two wildly different story arcs from the first quarter left the first game of the season series a whole lot less spicy than I maybe anticipated.
SAM GAGNER IS ALWAYS THE SPARK WE NEED
Just when you might have been worried that Zach Hyman wasn’t playing, Sam Gagner steps in as a last-minute addition and scores a big goal to give the Oilers an early lead. Even though he’s only played nine games, Gagner has already given us three goals and an assist, which is pretty great value for a guy making next to nothing. If only the rest of the bottom six had three goals. And while I absolutely understand that Sam probably isn’t an everyday player for the Oilers at this stage, it’s hard to argue with the production he’s given the team when he’s in the lineup. Regardless of how much he plays, I will love Sam Gagner forever.
OTHER THINGS WORTH MENTIONING
- I knew the Mattias Janmark revenge game was coming. Elevated in the lineup due to Zach Hyman’s illness, Mattias Janmark gave the Oilers their second lead of the game with a greasy goal that off his chest after a few lucky bounces turned a rebound into offence.
- Since talking to Scott Oake about his ice time against the Jets early in the season, Evander Kane has elevated his game in a big way, and it’s been a lot of fun to watch. Not only is he banging and crashing, but Kane also picked up his 11th goal of the season, which puts him on pace for a 43-goal campaign.
- It was a weird night for Stuart Skinner. For most of the game, Stu was calm and composed until things started to go sideways in the third period where he allowed two goals on only three shots. Yet, despite the rollercoaster, Skinner managed to outduel his opponent and secure the win even if it took a little longer than it should have. Skinner finished the game with 23 saves and a .852 save%.
- Ryan McLeod may never score again and I feel for him. Make it 37 games without a goal.
- Mattias Ekholm is really starting to settle in after missing training camp and the entire pre-season. In 21:42 of TOI, Ekholm finished with an assist, two shots on goal, and two hits.
- I know he won’t ever get much love around these parts, but I thought last night was Adam Erne’s best game as an Oiler. In 6:10 of TOI, Erne chipped in with two shots on goal, four hits, and two PIMs. He may not be a big points producer on that fourth line, but he certainly plays the game like a wrecking ball that’s fun to have in the toolkit.
- The fans clearly haven’t forgotten how dirty Alex Pietrangelo was in the playoffs, as the Rogers Place faithful let him hear it every time he touched the puck.
- I really don’t want to complain about the refs, but had they actually done their job and called the rulebook, the fourth Vegas goal would never have happened. It’s ridiculous.
- Make it 18 penalty kills in a row for the Edmonton Oilers. A fantastic stat to be proud of as the club killed off 5-of-5 against Vegas. At the other end of the rink, the Oilers picked up one goal on three chances with the man advantage.
- Did you really think you’d get through a recap article of mine without finding out that the Oilers won 52.2% of the faceoffs? Beautiful.
- Looking at the shots on goal, Edmonton outshot Vegas by a 34-27 margin, missing the 61.5 total shot over by only one shot. Pain.
- Loved to see Sportsnet give a little love to Andy Moog who is currently battling cancer with a very good attitude about the whole thing, as we saw in the clip posted above.
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