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Three Key Things: Oilers win with their D-game, Stuart Skinner shines, and Leon Draisaitl’s heater

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baggedmilk
1 month ago
After cleaning up at home last week, the Edmonton Oilers were back on the road for a rematch against a significantly depleted Chicago Blackhawks team. Seems like an easy win, right? Not so fast. While the Oilers did end up closing out a 2-1 win, they made it as hard as humanly possible for themselves to get there.

OILERS WIN WITH THEIR D-GAME

I don’t know what was going on with the visiting side, but the Oilers played a very sloppy hockey game. And even though I know that sounds vague, you could literally pick any facet of their game, and you’d have a detail that the Oilers were executing poorly. As a result, the Blackhawks’ AHL team was able to hang around for way longer than any of us would have expected, creating an incredibly tense vibe that can only be felt when our favourite team looks like they’re going to blow it. I don’t know what the hell was going on, but the Oilers looked about as disinterested in competing with urgency as we’ve seen in a long while. The fact that they still ended up winning despite giving a D-level effort is genuinely remarkable, and I’m grateful that the Blackhawks are as bad as they are because we’d probably have been talking about a different result if the opponent was a playoff team.

THANK YOU, STU

I don’t know what you can say about last night’s win other than to thank Stuart Skinner for being one of the few Oilers who showed up ready to play. Had it not been for Stu, the Oilers would have unquestionably suffered one of their more embarrassing losses in recent memory after often being outplayed by Chicago’s AHL team. Had it not been for Skinner’s brilliance between the pipes, the Oilers could have easily lost by a handful of goals, and that’s a tough scene when your opponent is sitting in second to last place in the entire league. If the Oilers players don’t all chip in and buy Stu some of his favourite Pogs or at least an edible arrangement for the way he bailed them out last night, then they all need to give their heads a shake. Wowza. Skinner finished the night with 25 saves and a .962 save%.

LEON DRAISAITL IS BACK

What a run for Leon Draisaitl. With his first-period marker that tied the game, the big man now has goals in seven of the last 10 games, and that is horrible news if you’re an opposing goalie. After what was a slow start in the goal-scoring department by his own standards, Draisaitl’s touch has come roaring back over the past few weeks. The guy is scoring from all over the ice, and the varied way these pucks are going in is most impressive to me. Whether it’s a goal from his office in the circle, something from an impossible angle, a beauty off the backhand, or a sneaky one as he got in the first period, Draisaitl is getting the job done in some wild ways lately, and I ,can’t think of a better gift for all of us to have down the stretch.

OTHER THINGS WORTH MENTIONING

  • When Connor McDavid is alone on the opposing goalie, it’s basically automatic that he will make them look foolish. So when Ekholm sent McDavid in all alone behind the Chicago defence, it was no surprise that he left Petr Mrazek looking totally helpless when he pulled off that forehand deke.
  • Zach Hyman got a Connor McDavid goal called off for goalie interference, just for old times sake. I think it was a horrible call by the referees and should have counted, but that’s a story for another day and ultimately ruins my joke. Hyman got a second goal called off in the third period, for old time’s sake, and I’d argue that this Chicago challenge being deemed successful is further proof that the NHL doesn’t understand offside.
  • Why did Kris Knoblauch not challenge the McDavid goal that was disallowed for alleged goalie interference? The Blackhawks challenged what was a way closer goal and had it go their way, so why was Knobby so nervous about trying to make a move there?
  • What an ugly hockey game for the Edmonton Oilers. They honestly looked like they were thinking about the next game before this one had even started. Yikes. Take the points, flush it, and get the hell out of Chicago.
  • You have to give some love to the Oilers’ PK, which has now killed off 13 consecutive shorthanded situations. After years of being a donation bin on the penalty kill, the Oilers have finally turned it into a strength, and nothing would make me happier than to see this continue. The boys went 3-for-3 when down a man, and that ended up being a massive part of the story.
  • As for the power play, the Oilers earned only a single opportunity with the man advantage and the boys couldn’t get anything done with the chance.
  • The Oilers had 15 shots on goal through 60 minutes… against the Chicago Blackhawks. Somehow they mustered only four shots in the second period and three in the third. Awful.
  • The NHL recap had the Oilers listed with five giveaways but I’m pretty sure the boys went over that in the first half of the first period. Who’s counting these things?
  • On the bright side, the Oilers won 64.2% of the draws they took, which ended up being one of the few highlights from the evening.
  • I wanted to thank Tom Kostiuk for hooking me up with these very cool custom Nation coasters over the holidays. If you’re looking for gifts with a homemade feel, getting in touch with Tom is the way to go to make that happen.

THE #NATIONVACATION TO ARIZONA

Oilersnation is headed to the desert! Escape to Arizona on our next Oilersnation Vacation presented by Alberta Blue Cross from Feb 18-20th, 2024! Join the party for just $1,999/person (double occupancy rooms). Your ticket includes roundtrip flights from Edmonton, two-night stay in a popular hotel, transportation to the airport and premium hockey game tickets! Limited spots are available so don’t hesitate to get your ticket now!

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