Three Key Things: Darnell Nurse calls game, Alex Lyon nearly steals one, and that Knobby challenge

5 months ago
After an ugly win in Chicago on Tuesday night, the Oilers were looking for a better performance with the same result as their road trip continued in Detroit. And while the result was a 3-2 OT win, the path to get there was about as far away from what we watched two days ago as you could possibly imagine.


Isn’t it amazing how the Hockey Gords can toy with us on a shift-by-shift basis? It’s almost like they enjoy watching us all squirm, and there was no better example than how last night’s game ended. Just when we thought Zach Hyman’s goal was going to clinch the win, the Red Wings evened the score on a play that was so unlucky that it’s difficult to accurately describe how annoying that goal was to end off the third period. But just when we thought the frustration would boil over, the Hockey Gords stepped in with another curveball. Detroit’s tying goal took a lucky bounce off Darnell Nurse’s leg, and then he went out and scored the OT winner. That’s good sports right there.


As much as it was nice to watch the Oilers dominate the shot clock, it was driving me nuts how they couldn’t get anything past Alex Lyon. Frankly, had it not been for him, the Oilers probably would have been up by at least a field goal by the time the game was 20 minutes old, but he kept the Wings in it with big save after big save. I don’t know what it is about the Oilers logo that turns opposing goalies into Vezina candidates, but we nearly got another chapter in that same story last night in Detroit. Lyon finished the night with 44 saves and a .936 save% and was one shot away from goalie-ing his way to win the Red Wings did not deserve in the slightest.


Am I the only one confused about Kris Knoblauch challenging Adam Copp’s third-period goal? I know there was some contact with Pickard’s glove, but the Detroit player did not skate through the crease at all, and that made the decision to challenge the play extremely confusing to me. Maybe it’s because Knobby didn’t challenge the no-goal call on Hyman from Tuesday night that made last night’s decision a bit more confusing, but I personally thought it was a weird challenge based on the replays we saw. Then again, I’m fully aware that I could be alone in my thoughts here, and I would love to hear your opinion in the comments section.


  • Right when the Oilers needed a goal, it was Connor McDavid came through with yet another highlight reel marker to tie the game at one apiece and put his team back in line for the win. If you haven’t see the goal yet, I urge you to stop what you’re doing and go find it because I don’t even know what a goaltender is supposed to when the guy is coming down on you with the puck on his stick.
  • Zach Hyman can not and will not stop scoring goals, and his 26th of the season that came on a one-timer from the high slot was a big one as it (temporarily) gave the Oilers their first lead of the night.
  • I don’t know how I would describe Calvin Pickard’s game against the Red Wings. While the numbers would say that he was pretty mediocre, there were some huge saves mixed in that looked to be sure goals, including on the PK at some pivotal moments of the game. So how do we sum it all up? Pickard finished the night with 15 saves and a .882 save%, but the most important detail of his night was that he closed out his fourth win and gave the Oilers two huge points. Do we call that a win for Pickard? I think we might.
  • I was VERY excited for Evander Kane when I thought he scored with nine seconds left in regulation time only to have the goal called off because of a hand pass by Derek Ryan. The guy could really use a goal at this point, and I was very exciited when we all thought he picked up the game winner right before the final buzzer.
  • How about James Hamblin and Adam Erne playing 4:49 and 4:59 respectively? If the argument is that Sam Gagner can’t get in the lineup because the team is winning then what exactly is going on with the usage on the fourth line?
  • Do I love to see that Edmonton won 53.7% of the faceoffs as much as I do? Probably not, but I’m including the stat anyway.
  • The Oilers simply dominated on the shot clock, outshooting Detroit by a whopping 47-17 margin.
  • Diving into the spreadsheets a little bit, the Oilers ran the show in terms of puck possession as noted by the 60.36 CF% and 79.06 xGF%. Even though it was only a 3-2 final score, the Oilers were miles better than Detroit in that hockey game.
  • Rest in peace, Brownlee. I’m going to miss you.


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