What the hell did we just watch? Final Score: 6-5 Oilers
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When I think of the 2022-23 version of the Edmonton Oilers, I picture a team that handles their business on a nightly basis and it doesn’t matter who the opponent happens to be. In my head, the boys are able to beat anyone on any day, but when it comes to teams that are expected to be awful, like the Blackhawks, the expectation should be that Edmonton wins the game more often than not. Full stop. I know there will be times when you get goalied like they did against the Sabres, but you get the point I’m trying to make. When you’re up against a team a lot of people expect to be in lottery contention when all is said and done, you have to take advantage of the opportunity. So when Zach Hyman opened the scoring on a beautiful passing play that saw the Oilers snap the puck around before burying it behind Stalock, I was feeling pretty good about the start and our chances. But as we’ve seen many times before, nothing ever goes that smoothly. Gone in a flash, the Oilers went from leading to trailing after some costly errors gave the Blackhawks the free chances needed to wrestle the lead away.
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Heading into the second, the boys really didn’t need to change a whole lot in terms of their effort, but they absolutely had to simplify what they were doing on both sides of the puck. Like turnovers at a free bake sale, the Oilers were handing out goodies in all three zones because they were trying to get too cute with the puck, and I felt that if they could eliminate even half of those mistakes then we’d be okay in the end. Basically what I’m trying to say here is that the boys needed to bring back a few of last night’s attention to detail, ya know? The good news is that you can’t get a better start to a period than the Oilers got after Connor McDavid tied the game only 18 seconds in on the back of a beautiful snipe by the captain. The bad news is that the Blackhawks were able to restore their lead a couple of separate times after the Oilers fought their way back only to collapse under the weight of bad penalties. Over and above the chaos that comes with a couple of lead changes, the real story here was the garbage fire reffing we got after neither guy seemed to have any handle on either the rules or the game. I’m not here to make excuses, but I find it impossible to believe that there wasn’t some clownery going on.
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Potential conspiracy theories aside, I don’t have to tell anyone reading this why taking eight (!!!) penalties in a single period is a bad idea, so if the Oilers had any chance of winning this thing then the first step had to be staying out of the box. I don’t care if we think that the refs were horrible, you cannot win if you spend *checks notes* an entire period shorthanded. As it turns out, the refs felt like the third period was the Blackhawks’ turn to take a bunch of penalties because Chicago ended up with three straight infractions which were more than enough runway for the Oilers to cash in on a pair of goals and take their third lead of the night. But as we saw three times before, Chicago found a way to knot up the score with a timely goal from Patrick Kane and it looked like this crazy town game was headed for overtime. Then, with just over 37 seconds left on the clock, Leon Draisaitl gave the Oilers a lead that the Blackhawks could not erase, closing out what can only be described as one of the weirdest wins of all time. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen anything like that before and I’m honestly stunned that the Oilers were still able to pick up two points.
The wrap.

THE BRIGHT SIDE

  • Zach Hyman opened the scoring (1-0) on the back of a beautiful passing play that saw the puck move around the Chicago zone on Connor McDavid’s stick like a knife through butter. The puck moved from Kane to McDavid to Hyman and in the back of the net in a flash, and I’m not even sure how you’re supposed to defend that.
  • Connor McDavid tied the game (2-2) only 18 seconds into the second period after picking up the puck with speed near centre ice, flying into the neutral zone, and ripping a shot past Stalock. McDavid added a second goal (3-3) later in the period on a 4-on-3 power play that saw McDraiNuge move the puck around with precision before Connor eventually banked the puck in off of Stalock’s head. McDavid finished off the hat trick (5-4) midway through the third period with a filthy dangle that left the Blackhawks defender looking like a pylon and Stalock having no idea what happened next. To say that McDavid put on a clinic in this hockey game would be the understatement of a lifetime, but he also does it so often that we almost come to expect nights like this one.
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins tied the game early in the third period (4-4) with a power play goal from the side of the net after Leon Draisaitl found him with a beautiful backhanded pass right onto his stick. With his three points, Nugent-Hopkins now has 11 points (5G, 6A) in his last six games. My king is on fire. #KeepNugeForever
  • With just over 37 seconds left in the game, Leon Draisaitl gave the Oilers their fourth lead of the night from his office in the circle after Evander Kane found him with a perfect cross-ice pass to his wheelhouse. Happy birthday, Leon! You’re as talented as you are handsome.
  • He didn’t get credit for the goal he scored, but Evander Kane still finished with two assists on a night when he can only be described as pure chaos. What a ride.
  • I’m not going to say that this was a game that Jack Campbell would add to his own personal highlight reel, but I am absolutely saying that this was another instance of him trying to make lemonade out of a giant pile of lemons. He made some spectacular saves, and he allowed a goal or two that he’d probably want back, but Soup was ultimately able to outduel his counterpart and that’s what we need him to do. Campbell finished the night with 31 saves and a .861 save%.
  • The power play came through on 3-of-7 chances with the man advantage, and it’s been nice to see the Oilers get back to punishing teams for cheating.
  • I was happy to see Dylan Holloway back in the lineup, but I will admit that I wouldn’t mind him spending a little more time in the minors. Being a bigger fish in a small pond isn’t always a bad thing, ya know?
  • Oilers outshot the Blackhawks by a 38-36 margin, but given the number of penalties handed out on both sides, it’s almost surprising there weren’t more than 74 total shots.

PRESENTED BY BETWAY

THE FACE PALMERS

  • Andreas Athanasiou (OF COURSE!) tied the game (1-1) on a breakaway after a tough pinch by Nurse opened up a lane the other way and the dude is just way too fast to be given that much time and space.
  • Reese Johnson hasn’t scored since November of 2021 and so it makes perfect sense that he would give Chicago the lead (2-1) after putting a rebound past Jack Campbell.
  • Jonathan Toews restored Chicago’s lead (3-2) with a power play goal after parking himself right in front of the net with his stick on the ice and deflecting Max Domi’s perfect centering pass into the open cage.
  • Max Domi gave the Blackhawks back their lead (4-3) with yet another power play goal after the Oilers took a pair of bench minors for a missed challenge and unsportsmanlike conduct. Actually, the whole sequence leading up to this goal was a complete trainwreck.
  • Patrick Kane tied the game once again (5-5) after McCabe’s rebound kicked right out to the slot where the former MVP was arriving at the exact right time to fire the puck home.
  • Make it eight straight games where the Oilers have given up a power play goal. The boys were 2/10 on the night, and that’s not near good enough. Then again, I’m not sure that we’ll ever see the Oilers take eight minor penalties in a single period again or 10 overall, but hey.
  • Evander Kane gets thrown into the net, Evander Kane gets up off the goalie, Evander Kane scores goal… Somehow the goal that was called as a good one by one ref was overturned by the other. Then, to make matters worse, the Oilers challenged the garbage goal-reversal call and then get penalized because the refs are incompetent. That said, Chicago also got a truckload of penalties so maybe I’m just confused about what just happened.
  • Oilers won only 45% of the faceoffs and you know that makes me a sad panda.

SCORING SUMMARY

#GOODCONTENT

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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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