So long, Habs fans, and thanks for paying the inflated after-market ticket prices. Final Score: 5-3 Oilers
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There is nothing more irritating than turning the Oilers game on and having a ‘Go-Habs-Go’ chant be the first thiwng you hear. Without fail, Habs fans flock to Rogers Place every time they play here and the result is an environment that can be either fantastic or incredibly annoying depending on the result. So when the boys started out with another snoozer start to the period that saw them sitting back instead of attacking in any fashion, I was unsurprisingly concerned that we were in line for a long night. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes, as they say. To make matters worse, it wasn’t even surprising to see Nick Suzuki give the Canadiens the lead with a power play goal because that’s just kinda how things are going right now. As far as starts go, this one was as bad as it gets for the Oilers as they not only found themselves down once again but they could only muster a measly four shots on goal after 20 minutes. It doesn’t get much worse than that.
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Heading into the second period, the Oilers had to improve basically every facet of their game because they looked like nobody cared. I know that sounds harsh, but I don’t know how else to describe this alarming trend of getting next to nothing done early in hockey games. From where I blog, the next goal was critical and the Oilers needed to be the ones to get it. What I didn’t expect is that the Canadiens what provide the home side with an endless parade of power play opportunities that they would use to rattle off three straight goals to wrestle the lead away and give themselves some insurance. Yet, despite looking like they were finally in good shape, the Oilers gave the Habs enough daylight (and penalties) to chip away at their newfound lead until eventually the score was tied once again. In the span of just over three minutes, Oilers fans went from having fun with a two-goal lead to questioning their existence after the defensive zone coverage was an adventure at best and another letdown from the PK gave the Habs all kinds of life. Thankfully, Darnell Nurse restored the lead with a buzzer beater with only five seconds left, but that whole period was a coach’s nightmare and a prime example of the kind of loose play that’s been plaguing us all year.
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Up by a goal with 20 minutes to play, I had no idea what to expect from the Oilers or the Habs as both sides were seemingly scoring at will and unable to offer any kind of reliable defence to prevent it from happening. On our side, the Oilers needed to figure out how to compete at 5v5 because the Canadiens were basically running the show at even strength and I had a feeling that the refs were going to put their whistles away for the finish. As expected, Montreal opened the frame with a big push to try and find the equalizer but the boys did a solid job of keeping them to the outside of the ice while also avoiding giving up any costly extra opportunities. It was probably the strongest display of defence that we saw all night. In fact, weathering that early storm proved to be a crucial piece of work by the Oilers as it gave Connor McDavid the little bit of daylight he needed to grab a second goal and give his team some insurance. With a two-goal lead in hand and the clock winding down, all the Oilers had to do was find a way to hang on. Throwing everything they Edmonton’s way, the Canadiens finished the game with a flurry of activity but they could not beat Skinner for a fourth time and simply ran out of time.
The wrap.

THE BRIGHT SIDE

  • Shout out to everyone that bet the over.
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins tied the game (1-1) with a tap-in goal on the power play after Leon Draisaitl found him charging toward the far post and hit him with a laser of a pass that RNH finished beautifully. Nugent-Hopkins now has five points in his last five games played (2G, 3A) as my dude continues to have a fantastic start to the season.
  • Leon Draisaitl gave the Oilers the lead (2-1) with a power play goal from his office in the circle after Joel Edmunson took a five minute penalty for cross checking, giving Edmonton their second 5-on-3 PP of the period.
  • Connor McDavid extended the lead (3-1) to two goals with a third power play goal on the night after the Habs just could not stay out of the box and kept giving the Oilers extended looks with the man advantage. In this instance, Connor grabbed the puck up high in the zone and buried his sneaky wrister through Allen’s legs before he knew what was happening. McDavid added a second goal (5-3) with a filthy deke in the third period after the Habs got caught on a bad line change and Leon put him in all alone with a perfect pass right on the stick. Once he was in all alone, Jake Allen had no idea what was coming and you almost feel bad for the guy based on how unfair that move was. How about another casual four-point night for McDavid? Ridiculous.
  • After taking a costly penalty that led to Montreal tying the game, Darnell Nurse made up for it with a goal late in the second period (4-3) to restore the lead and atone for his earlier mistake. Hockey Gords taketh, Hockey Gords giveth right back.
  • Zach Hyman may not have scored but he was all over the puck again, and I was happy to see him rewarded with a pair of assists. Even better news was that he wasn’t seriously hurt by Edmunson when he got cross-checked in the head in the second period.
  • While I wouldn’t say that this was a great night for Stuart Skinner, the thing I liked most about this win was that he kept battling even though things weren’t necessarily going his way early on. But when the Oilers needed him to shut the door, that’s exactly what he did and he gave the boys the foundation they needed to close out a win that looked to be in jeopardy at times. Skinner finished the night with 30 saves and a .909 save%.
  • Props to Tyson Barrie for quietly picking up a two-point night.
  • The Oilers power play was deadly in this hockey game and the three goals they scored on five chances with the man advantage are the main reason we’re celebrating a win right now.
  • Shout out to Jake Allen. Thanks, bro.

PRESENTED BY BETWAY

THE FACE PALMERS

  • Nick Suzuki opened the scoring (1-0) with a power play goal on a missile of a shot from the circle that beat Skinner on the short side between the arm and post. After a rough start by the Oilers, having the Habs score first was anything but surprising.
  • Evgenii Dadonov pulled the Habs back to within a single goal (3-2) after Skinner kicked a rebound on Armia’s shot right out in the slot without having anyone in a blue jersey available to knock the puck out of danger.
  • Arber Xhakej tied the game (3-3) with a second power play goal after his shot from the high circle made its way through traffic and past Skinner down low on the blocker side.
  • Another night, another instance of the PK struggling to kill any penalties at all as Montreal was able to score two goals on three opportunities with the man advantage.
  • I’m not sure I agree with the NHL site saying that the Oilers had only 15 giveaways in this hockey game.
  • I really dislike this trend of being outshot every night but it continued against the Habs as they outside the Oilers by a 33-22 margin.
  • To make matters worse, the Oilers got caved in at even strength and they were lucky that the power play was able to lead them to victory because the result could have easily gone the other way.
  • I’m sorry to report that the Oilers won only 40% of the faceoffs.
  • What was the deal with so many fans standing up and turning around just to be on TV? Way more of that than normal, no?

SCORING SUMMARY

1ST PERIODMTLEDM
16:37
Montreal
Nick Suzuki (13) (Power Play)
Assists: Mike Matheson (2), Kirby Dach (14)
1
0
2ND PERIODMTLEDM
1:25
Edmonton
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (11) (Power Play)
Assists: Leon Draisaitl (23), Connor McDavid (25)
1
1
6:27
Edmonton
Leon Draisaitl (17) (Power Play)
Assists: Connor McDavid (26), Tyson Barrie (10)
1
2
9:36
Edmonton
Connor McDavid (20) (Power Play)
Assists: Tyson Barrie (11), Zach Hyman (16)
1
3
13:26
Montreal
Evgenii Dadonov (2)
Assists: Joel Armia (1), Johnathan Kovacevic (3)
2
3
16:38
Montreal
Arber Xhekaj (4) (Power Play)
Assists: Juraj Slafkovsky (3)
3
3
19:55
Edmonton
Darnell Nurse (4)
Assists: Leon Draisaitl (24), Zach Hyman (17)
3
4
3RD PERIODMTLEDM
14:40
Edmonton
Connor McDavid (21)
Assists: Leon Draisaitl (25)
3
5

#GOODCONTENT

Talk to me, Twitter. Hit me up at @jsbmbaggedmilk and Wanye at @Oilersnation and you could find yourself landing in this very spot. 
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