Undefeated in 2021-22, baby! Final Score: 5-1 Oilers
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For years and years, the Arizona Coyotes were one of those teams that the Oilers just couldn’t beat no matter what was going on. Even if the Oilers had more skill in their lineup, the Coyotes still found ways to close out wins and steal our lunch money in a way that was both annoying and incredible at the same time, and no matter what the Oilers seemed to do they couldn’t get over the hump. Then, in 2017, the tides began to turn and our boys were finally able to grind out wins and earn the points from a team that they should be beating regularly anyway. At this stage of the Infinibuild, if we can’t be beating the Coyotes more often than not then we’ve got a real problem on our hands and, for me, that meant two points was the only acceptable outcome from this contest. But in the early going, it was the Coyotes that played with some bounce in their step and it gave the Oilers fits as they struggled to settle into their game. Had it not been for Koskinen’s strong play and Warren Foegele’s showstopper of a goal near the end of the period, we may have been talking about trying to come back rather than working with a lead and I’m grateful that we got out of that one.
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Moving into the second period, the Oilers needed to stop passing up chances to shoot in favour of looking for a prettier play. Many of their giveaways in the first period happened because they were trying to work one more pass in before firing the puck on net, and I thought they needed to be a little bit more selfish in their approach to creating offence. I mean, it’s great to share and all but it was getting ridiculous. Thankfully, Dave Tippett must have said something about it during the intermission because the boys came out firing in the second period, increasing their lead by a pair of goals and throwing sand in the Coyotes’ eyes in the process. Frankly, Arizona almost seemed to lose their spirit after Hyman scored his shortie midway through the frame, and it honestly set the boys up to start nailing the coffin shut. With a three-goal lead heading into the third period, the Oilers were in about as good of a spot to cash in two points as they could hope to be and the only thing they really needed to do to make it happen was to not screw things up. And while they weren’t able to lock in the shutout as a cherry on top of their win sundae — it should be noted that Arizona’s goal was completely avoidable — they were able to get the job done and lock down the win which is what really matters, and for that reason I salute them.
The wrap.

THE BRIGHT SIDE

  • Warren Foegele got the Oilers on the board (1-0) with a goal that we’ll probably be seeing for a while because it was a beauty. After picking up a pass with speed, Foegele successfully pulled off a little shimmy shake before firing a shot while falling that somehow beat the goaltender under the arm for his first goal as an Oiler. Warren Foegele, we salute you.
  • Zach Hyman increased the Oilers’ lead (2-0) with a shorthanded snipe after RNH sent him in on a 2-on-1 and the new guy wasted no time in burying a shot to the far side. Hyman added a second goal (4-1) on the power play in the third period after the boys were moving the puck around with ease, leaving the former Leaf for an easy tap-in from the crease. I’ve said this a bunch of times at this point but I cannot get enough of this guy and we’re only four games into his Oilers career.
  • Connor McDavid got in on the action with a ridiculous goal (3-0) that saw him cut through the Coyotes’ defensive zone coverage like a hot knife through butter. Old man metaphors aside, I don’t know how anyone can stop McDavid when he’s wheeling in the offensive zone as he did on this goal because he was dangling in a phonebooth before ripping a laser to the far side. McDavid added a second goal (5-1) on the power play after RNH found him with a perfect cross-ice pass that left the captain with an open cage to shoot at. McDavid now has 52 points in his last 21 games going back to last season, which is another example of him being a total freak of nature.
  • Mikko Koskinen got the start for the injured Mike Smith, and I was looking for Kostco to pick right back up where he left off in the pre-season and he did not disappoint. From start to finish, Koskinen gave the Oilers the goaltending they needed to settle in and close things out, which is about as good of a season debut as you could hope to have from him. Koskinen finished the night with 26 saves and a .963 save%.
  • Jesse Puljujarvi has seven points in four games. Let that soak in for a minute. Beautiful, isn’t it?
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins quietly finds himself on a three-game point streak, collecting three more helpers to give him six on the year.
  • Evan Bouchard with another dad-like assist!
  • Are you surprised that the Oilers’ power play scored two goals on two chances with the man advantage? You’re not, are you?
  • Not to be outdone, the Oilers were also very good on the penalty kill again, easily handling all four of Arizona’s chances.
  • If you love shots on goal you’ll love knowing the Oilers outshot the Coyotes by a 31-26 margin.
  • You’ve finally reached the portion of the Wrap Up where I tell you that the Oilers won 56% of the faceoffs?

THE FACE PALMERS

  • Dysin Mayo got the Coyotes on the board (3-1) with his first NHL goal(!!!) after the Tyson Barrie flubbed a pass near the Oilers’ blue line, allowing Arizona to reestablish their cycle until they eventually got something past Koskinen. To me, this goal was insanely frustrating because it was completely avoidable and shouldn’t have happened in the first place.
  • I need to stick with Tyson Barrie for a second. What is going on with this dude right now because he has been a trash buffet in his own zone so far this season, and was directly to blame for the Mayo goal happening at all. He needs to pick it up, and I know that may sound weird considering he had a pair of assists tonight.
  • The Oilers were an adventure in their own zone early in this hockey game and had it not been for Mikko Koskinen, they would have been down by at least a goal or two before the opening frame had even finished. Not a great start for the boys, and I think we were a little bit lucky that things turned out the way they did.
  • I love Kailer Yamamoto but he doesn’t look much like the guy that was rolling at nearly a point-per-game clip on the second line a couple of years ago. I don’t know whether he’s banged up or simply lacking some confidence in his ability to finish, but we need the guy to get going if he’s going to stick in the top six.
  • What was going on with the cameras on the broadcast? Is Sportsnet filming with Blackberry Curves down in Arizona or what?

SCORING SUMMARY

#GOODCONTENT

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