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Zach Hyman stays hot, Stuart Skinner battles hard, and Connor McDavid scores the game winner in OT

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Photo credit:Tom Kostiuk
baggedmilk
1 month ago
After a massive win over the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night, the Oilers were looking to get a streak going in their second matchup of the season against the St. Louis Blues. The Blues got the job done at home two weeks ago, and last night at Rogers Place, the Oilers repaid the favour with a thrilling 3-2 overtime finish.

CONNOR McDAVID CALLS GAME

I don’t know how you felt about Connor McDavid’s goalless streak, dear reader, but I thought it was funny how much people were talking about it. Yes, I know it was odd to see him go 10 games without scoring, but it wasn’t like he was completely unproductive over that timeframe either. In his last nine games, Connor McDavid assisted on 22 goals, including two more last night against the Blues. The guy has so many apples that he probably stinks like apple cider at this point.
Even so, I know there was a small chunk of Oilers fan who were worried about his lack of goals, and I hope everyone feels better knowing that McDavid can, indeed, still put the puck in the net. I hope every watched the highlight above at least 12-15x to turn that highlight into a core memory because I’ve got a feel that OT winner is going to be the start of a heater for the captain down the stretch. I mean, would it really be surprising if he rattled off a goal streak now? No. It wouldn’t.
It was always a matter of time before McDavid got back in the goal column on the scoresheet, but I can only imagine how fired up he must be to snap his skid in such dramatic fashion. To have the Oilers come back from being down by two goals so early in the night to winning the game in overtime was the storybook ending I didn’t know I needed, and to have it be McDavid that got the job done was a classic sports moment for the ages. Finishes like that are the reason we love this sport.
The team needed someone to step up and grab the game winner, it was the captain who rose to the challenge and snapped his 10-game goalless skid to beat Binnington and complete the comeback. Toss in the fact that he also picked up a pair of assists for the sixth straight game and you’ve got the makings of a classic McDavid performance that I’ll remember for a long time.

ZACH HYMAN IS A MAN ON FIRE

I know I keep writing about Zach Hyman in all of my wrap-up articles lately, but how could I not when the guy just cannot stop scoring goals? Now, with eight goals in his last six games and 40 overall, Hyman is going to smash his career high, and I honestly cannot wait to see how many he ends up with because the guy is on fire. Remember, before ZMH got to Edmonton, his career-high in points was only 41. He’s only one GOAL away from matching that.
Even though we all hoped Hyman would work out as a free agent signing, my expectation was that he might be a consistent 40-50 point producer. I thought if he could hit those point totals for the first few years of his deal that it would have been pretty decent value, but all he’s done since he’s gotten here is consistently blow those early markers out of the water. He’s like wine, man. The guy just keeps getting better as we go along.
With 25 games left to play in the regular season, Hyman is on pace for well over 5o goals and it truly seems like it will take a cosmic event to stop him from getting there. What he’s doing this year is so special, and I hope everyone is taking at least minute or two to appreciate how unbelievable what he’s doing truly is. The level he’s playing at right now is so high and when you combine that with the work ethic he’s always had, it really seems like the sky is the limit for him in 2023-24.

STUART SKINNER WAS RESILIENT BETWEEN THE PIPES

What can you say about the night Stuart Skinner had against the St. Louis Blues? All I know for sure is how much I loved to see the level of resilience Stu displayed after giving up two goals on the first three shots of the game. Rather than get down on himself and fold his hand, Skinner kept battling and gave his team the chance to battle back. That was testicular fortitude, my friends.
Even though the start of his night was anything but spectacular, you have to love the way Stu shut the door over the last 55 minutes. Obviously, no one wants to see the opposition put two goals on the board before the crowd had even settled into their seats, but I think I might take it every time if that’s the way Skinner is going to respond.
Outside of those first few minutes, Skinner stood tall for his teammates and covered up enough of their mistakes to make me think his teammates should buy him an edible arrangement. There were odd-man rushes, a 2-on-0 breakaway, and plenty of point blank shots from in tight that he handled without fail, and I don’t know that all of us would have seen that coming based on the way the night started.
The good news is that those early impressions didn’t matter in the end as Skinner finished the night with 32 saves and a .941 save%. That makes it two games in a row with a save% over .940 after going six games in a row below .900. From where I blog, that’s a really nice turnaround for Stu at a moment in the season when we need him to be great.

OTHER THINGS WORTH MENTIONING…

-The backcheck by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in the clip above is a masterpiece and everyone needs to know about it. I know I’m the sitting President and CEO of the RNH fanclub, but the guy is just so incredibly underrated for the little things he does on the ice that it’s basically criminal. Oh, and I should also note that he added a pair of assists on the night too, giving him four points (1G, 3A) in his last two games.
-I’m not sure how it’s possible that the Oilers got only two power play chances — the lack of calls in the Oilers’ favour over the last few weeks has been noticeable — but that didn’t stop the boys from picking up a big goal on 1/2 of their opportunities. Sure, we should probably also mention that the second power play attempt nearly resulted in a shorthanded goal against, but I’m choosing to ignore that small detail.
-On the penalty kill, the Oilers surrendered one goal on the three shorthanded situations they faced, making it nine of their last 11 games where they’ve given up at least one. Even though the PK has gotten better over the last few games, the sooner they can break this streak of giving freebies the better off they’ll be.
-I’ve been an Oilers fan my whole life, and there’s nothing quite like the feeling of being in the building when the boys go down by a pair of goals before the game is even five minutes old. Horrific starts don’t happen all that often, but when they do, as it did last night against St. Louis, the stink lingers in the arena like a fart in an elevator. Thankfully, the boys were able to erase that early deficit, but there’s no doubt it wasn’t anywhere close to the start they wanted.
-You know I love faceoffs, and that’s why I must tell you that the Oilers won 52.5% of the draws against St. Louis. Starting with the puck is a good thing, people, and don’t let any spreadsheet tell you otherwise.

BETTER LAIT THAN NEVER

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