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Three Key Things: Florida capitalizes on their chances, Calvin Pickard got the start, and Zach Hyman

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Photo credit:@bofokaram / instagram
baggedmilk
2 months ago
The last time the Oilers and Panthers squared off, our boys took an early two-goal lead in the first period before coughing it up spectacularly, ultimately falling by a 5-3 score. As it turns out, the first round was better somehow. In last night’s rematch, the Oilers still gave up five goals but could score only one. Not ideal. Final score: 5-1 Panthers.

THE PANTHERS TOOK ADVANTAGE OF THEIR CHANCES

One of the biggest things I noticed last night at Rogers Place was how the Florida Panthers were able to capitalize on their chances while the Oilers simply could not. Despite getting a handful of grade-A chances — the Oilers had breakaways, a penalty shot, and second looks from in tight —the boys were only able to cash in one goal, whereas the Panthers seemed to find success on every quality look they got. There was no better example of what I’m talking about than the last 1:02 of the first period when Florida popped a pair of goals after the Oilers got sloppy and gave them a clean look on net. At the other end, the Oilers had their share of opportunities but couldn’t get anything past Bobrovsky until Zach Hyman broke the shutout with a nifty goal in the second period.

CALVIN PICKARD GETS THE START

After the way he played last weekend against the New Jersey Devils, how long it would be for Calvin Pickard to get another start? Last time around, I was admittedly nervous about how Pickard would handle the high-flying Devils offence, but he came through with flying colours and undoubtedly earned another start. So when he got the nod for last night’s rematch with the Florida Panthers, I was nervous but ultimately intrigued to see if he could offer up a repeat performance and get the Oilers back in the win column. Unfortunately, last night was not Pickard’s night. That’s not to say that I hang the loss on Pickard — I’m not saying he was great either, btw — but I don’t think anyone will be celebrating the .872 save% he wrapped up the night with after stopping 34 of 39 shots. I don’t think Calvin Pickard was the problem, but he wasn’t necessarily the answer either.

ZACH HYMAN KEEPS ON GIVING

I can’t end off the article with nothing but bad vibes, so I want to give Zach Hyman a shout out for his continued contributions on the scoresheet. Hyman scored the Oilers’ only goal of the night as the business end of a beautiful passing play between all three forwards on the first line. Through 28 games, Zachary Martin Hyman has already scored 18 goals, which puts him on pace for a 52-goal campaign over 82 games. I know he will slow down at some point, but I’m loving every minute of this heater while it’s happening. Seeing Hyman succeed the way he has reminds me of the reaction out of Toronto when he signed the seven-year contract in Edmonton as a free agent. Now in year three of that deal, Zach Hyman seems to be getting better, and I couldn’t think of a better UFA signing for this team in recent memory.

OTHER THINGS WORTH MENTIONING

  • We’re back under .500 again, and it hurts.
  • Connor McDavid extended his point streak to 12 games with an assist on Hyman’s goal, giving him 28 points (7G, 21) over this run. He is the danger.
  • Held off the board for the first time since November 13th against the Islanders, Evan Bouchard’s point streak ended at 13 games. That incredible run saw him amass 20 points (5G, 15A).
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins extended his point streak to six games. Over that stretch, RNH has two goals and 11 points.
  • I still hate Sam Bennett years after leaving Calgary, and I think a big part of the reason I dislike him as much as I do is because I’m jealous of how he plays. Frankly, I’d love to have Sam Bennett on the Oilers and seeing him have success against us was endlessly annoying.
  • I don’t want to pick on the guy — I promise I don’t — but Connor Brown may never score again. In 14:42 of TOI, Brown picked up two shots on goal. That’s it. Zeroes across the board.
  • The special teams have been very strong for the Oilers over the last three weeks, and last night did not follow that trend after the boys wrapped things up at 0-for-2 on the power play while the PK killed off two of three shorthanded situations.
  • The NHL site has the giveaways listed at 14 for the Oilers, but based on what my eyeballs told me from my seat at the game, that number seems very low to me.
  • Want to know how the boys did in the faceoff circle? Of course you do. Thankfully, I’m here to tell you that the Oilers won 64.5% of the faceoffs.
  • Wading through the spreadsheet lagoon, I see that the Oilers led the possession game as shown by the 50.0 CF% and 52.74 xGF%.
  • The final shot count ended up at evens as both clubs fired 39 shots on goal.

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