The Oilers looked gassed and the Flames played with desperation. Final Score: 3-1 Flames
Even though the Oilers were coming into tonight’s game on the second half of a back-to-back set, all I could think about was how a win would not only do our boys some good in solidifying their spot in the standings but would also be like throwing an anchor at the Flames’ sinking ship. Considering the Oilers are the ones moving on to the postseason, there would be no better way to sharpen their skills and gather some positive team juju as we wind things down than by flexing a killer instinct over a team that’s on their way to the golf course. That job became notably more difficult, though, when the Flames opened the scoring on the back of an ugly turnover in the Oilers’ zone that gave their opponent the window they needed to score. The good news is that the good guys were able to respond with a goal of their own shortly after, knotting the game at one apiece before breaking off for the intermission. It wasn’t the perfect start, but things certainly could have been worse. Either way, the Oilers needed to crank things up if they wanted to execute our dreams of BOA victories.
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As the game wore on, the Flames really cranked up the pressure as they were playing with more energy and certainly more desperation, and it all started to happen after a weird series of back-and-forth calls by the refs. I’m not making up excuses or getting into alien/Bettman conspiracies here, but that strange run of penalties in the opening half of the period seemed to be exactly what the Flames needed to gain some life because the ice really started tilting their way in the minutes that followed. Alright, so maybe the Oilers were tired and sloppy but I’m trying here, alright? If we’re being honest with ourselves, the Oilers were lucky to end the frame only down by a single goal because things could have been worse based on how the period went. With 20 minutes left to play and a deficit to erase, Edmonton needed to bear down and find some energy because they were playing flat up until that point. And while the boys were able to turn things up a little bit in the third and manufacture a few chances for themselves, it was just not meant to be as they were stymied by a hot Markstrom and that meant they were unable to outrun their mistakes on a night when there were many.
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We’ll see you guys back here on Saturday.
The wrap.

THE BRIGHT SIDE

  • @James Neal hasn’t played a whole lot this year which is why I found it extra hilarious that he scored against the Flames (1-1) with a quick snap shot that beat Markstrom through the arm and body. The play came together after Kris Russell gained entry into the zone and made a drop pass to Neal who was waiting along the boards with an open lane and plenty of time available to rip a shot through the goaltender.
  • After a rare night off, @Mike Smith was back to work and looking to pick up where he left off against the Winnipeg Jets and he was solid yet again. From start to finish, Mike Smith battled in the crease and was a huge reason that the Oilers were able to keep the score as close as it was. Smith finished the night with 27 saves and a .900 save%.
  • @Ryan McLeod has the kind of wheels that could give him a long career in this league provided that he can keep working on his positional play and, with a little luck, start feeling some of the offensive flow he had going in the AHL.
  • The penalty kill was perfect tonight and handled all of the PK fragments the Flames were able to get.
  • At least the Corsi Gords could be happy because the Oilers outshot the Flames by a 31-30 margin. So, so, so many missed shots by the Oilers too.

THE FACE PALMERS

  • @Elias Lindholm opened the scoring (1-0) after the Oilers (Russell specifically) bungled their breakout to the point of gifting the Flames with a clear look on net. By my count, there were at least three errors on the play before Lindholm was eventually able to rip a shot past Smith. Lindholm added a second goal (2-1) midway through the second period by being in the right spot at the right time as the point shot from Rasmus Andersson bounced in off his shinpad.
  • @Dillon Dube extended the leaf (3-1) after he found a loose puck lying near the crease after a Lucic shot and was able to feed it over the line before Smith could find it.
  • The Oilers were very flat in the second period and I thought they were lucky to finish the frame only down by one goal. Full credit also goes to Mike Smith for making some ridiculous saves to keep his team in it because the hole could have been a whole lot deeper had it not been for him.
  • I will not complain about the refs… I will not complain about the refs…I will not complain about the refs…I will not complain about the refs…I will not complain about the refs…I will not complain about the refs… AHHHHH WHY ARE THEY SO BAD?!
  • The powerplay really needed to come through with a goal tonight but the Oilers were unable to get anything done with the man advantage on three chances.
  • This wasn’t a great night for @Kris Russell after making his way back into the lineup in favour of @Caleb Jones. I know he got an assist on James Neal’s goal but the giveaways in his own end were almost enough to trigger a heart attack.
  • I wonder what was going on with @Jesse Puljujarvi as he barely played at all in the third period (2:47 in TOI). I don’t know if you guys noticed something that I missed, but it was clear that Tippett had him riding the pine on a night when the team really needed a goal.
  • I’m sorry to break everyone’s heart but I must let you know that the Oilers won only 48% of the faceoffs? It hurts but I must report the facts.

SCORING SUMMARY

#GOODCONTENT

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