This was the ‘Turtleneck and Blazer’ of hockey games. Final Score: 7-3 Oilers
On Monday night, the Oilers lost the first game of this two-game set because of costly mistakes. At times, they were sloppy with their puck choices, tried to force passes through that weren’t there, and the Flames found ways to cash in on those errors. On three of the four goals against, mistakes wound up in the back of the net, and it was a minor detail that needed to be cleaned up and one that could make a massive difference. Despite the loss, I actually thought the boys played well so I wasn’t really worried about what to expect in the rematch. However, the ideal first step in responding to any loss is a quick start and the Oilers were certainly able to do that with a pair of first period goals to spot themselves with a lead and some insurance, while also forcing the defensive-minded Flames to try and play catchup. It was the kind of period that the Oilers needed and one that really dampened the Flames’ gameplan of trying to score first and then settling into the trap.
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As the game moved through the second period, the Oilers did a good job of keeping their foot on the gas to maintain pressure and limit the Flames’ chances of crawling out of the early hole they dug for themselves. Rather than trading opportunities, Edmonton worked a strong cycle game that often gave them extended periods of zone time in Calgary’s end, and it wasn’t exactly surprising to see them tack on a third goal to their total and extend the lead. Unfortunately, that third goal was quickly erased after a timely response by the Flames, but even when they managed to get on the board, this game never felt like the Oilers were ever at risk of losing control. Heading into the third period with a two-goal lead, Edmonton didn’t have to change much of anything when it came to how they were playing but they did need to make sure they were keeping things simple to avoid unnecessarily turnovers and giving Calgary chances they didn’t deserve. To their credit, they executed that plan and then some.
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In the end, the Oilers were successfully able to lock things down in the third period, added four more goals up on the board, and closed out a win that was rightfully theirs from the get-go.
The wrap.

THE BRIGHT SIDE

  • @Ryan Nugent-Hopkins opened the scoring for the Oilers (1-0) after the puck found him near the side of the crease with an open net to shoot at. The play started when Lucic lost the puck to McDavid in the slot and that’s when the captain found RNH parked and ready to fire. To be honest, this was easily Nuge’s best game in a while and it was almost unfortunate that he wasn’t able to get more than the one goal because he definitely had his share of chances.
  • @Jesse Puljujarvi increased the Oilers’ lead (2-0) with a powerplay goal after settling into his place in front of the net and getting a stick on Tyson Barrie’s point shot. Markstrom wasn’t able to adjust to the change in direction and the puck slide quietly over the line.
  • @Dominik Kahun was back in the lineup for the first time in five games and he made an immediate impact with a goal (3-0) in the second period that came on the back of a face-melting passing play by Draisaitl and Barrie.
  • @Connor McDavid got in on the action with a powerplay goal (4-1) after he pumped one through Markstrom’s legs from his spot on the half boards. Frankly, it was a shot that Markstrom should have stopped but it gave McDavid two points on the night which triggered my bet for over 1.5 points.
  • @Alex Chiasson got the Oilers’ fifth goal (5-1) of the night on the powerplay after parking himself in front of the net and deflecting Nugent-Hopkins’ shot from the slot past Markstrom. Perfect execution by Chiasson and his teammates on this one.
  • @Darnell Nurse continued his hot run with yet another goal (6-1) that came as a result of a well-placed snapshot from the high slot. That has to be his third or fourth goal from that exact location, right? Atta fire it, Darryl!
  • Even if he hadn’t scored on a nifty little backhander as he did (7-1) in the third period, I was happy to see Zack Kassian back in the lineup because I think he brings a flavour of physicality that the team has been missing lately.
  • After a tough loss on Monday night, @Mike Smith was once again back between the pipes and looking for his 10th win of the season and 3rd against his former club. This time around, both Smith and his teammates were locked in and ready to roll and the goaltender was there to provide the foundation needed for a big win. The unfortunate thing for Smith is that he got tagged for two meaningless goals near the end of the game that dinged his stats a little bit. Either way, the veteran netminder finished the night with 30 saves and a .909 save%.
  • How about a casual four-assist night for @Tyson Barrie when he wasn’t even expected to play tonight? Hilarious.
  • Speaking of apple trees, Leon Draisaitl quietly put up a three-assist night and was absolutely sensational every time he had the puck on his stick. That pass he made on Kahun’s goal is the kind of magic we’re going to see on highlight reels for the rest of the year.
  • It was a tough night for Ethan Bear on Monday but I thought he looked much better in the 17:31 he played.
  • After going 1/5 on the powerplay over these two most recent losses, the Oilers needed their powerplay to come through for them and it did with three huge goals on four chances.
  • No need to panic, friends. I wasn’t about to finish off this here Wrap Up without letting you know that the Oilers won 55% of the faceoffs.

THE FACE PALMERS

  • @Elias Lindholm got the Flames on the board (3-1) after Matthew Tkachuk found him alone near the side of the net with a perfect pass that he was able to sink into the wide-open cage. There wasn’t a whole lot Smith could do about the goal because it was on Lindholm’s stick and off before he was able to get across the crease.
  • @Mikael Backlund got the Flames’ second goal of the night (7-2) after William Lagesson made a costly error with the puck behind the goal line. Willy Lags was trying to clear the biscuit but he couldn’t get good wood on it which allowed Mangiapane to steal and find Backlund in the slot. Tough play and result for the Oilers.
  • Only moments after Backlund scored, Johnny Gaudreau added another (7-3) goal on the powerplay with a blast from the hash marks that beat Smith up and over the glove. Honestly, it looked like the Oilers had already decided that the game was over so it was a little bit frustrating to see them give up two quick, meaningless goals near the end of the game.
  • Unfortunately, the PK was unable to replicate Monday’s perfect night as they allowed a PP goal against late in the third period. The Oilers finished the game at 1/3 when down a man.
  • Oilers were outshot 33-30 which was kinda surprising to see given the final score. Score effects? Probably.
  • Those Flames jerseys are so bad that I’m including them in the Face Palmers because we were all forced to look at them for two hours.

SCORING SUMMARY

#GOODCONTENT

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