That’s how you do it, baby! Final Score: 4-0 Oilers.
After dropping their last two games, the pressure was on the Oilers to get back in the win column and I was hoping that a matchup with the Nashville Predators was exactly what the doctor ordered. The last time the boys were there, Leon put on a four-goal clinic and there would be no better time to rekindle a bit of that magic than when you’re back in the same barn and chasing down a playoff spot with eight games left on the schedule. So when Draisaitl opened the scoring with a power play goal to punctuate what was a dominant period by the Oilers that saw them do basically everything right. Had it not been for Saros, the Predators would have been down by a field goal or more and that was the exact kind of start that we needed after getting dummied in Minnesota on Tuesday. If the boys could find a way to keep this drubbing going in the second period then maybe, just maybe it would be the start of the #NationVacation crew having something to celebrate for once.
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Standing in the way of our good time was a Nashville Predators team that was undoubtedly going to be better in the second period than they were in the first because they were absolutely terrible, and that meant the Oilers needed to keep their foot on the gas instead of letting up even for a minute or two. As expected, the Predators were much better throughout the middle frame but the Oilers did a fine job of managing the pushback without allowing too many grade-A chances. At the other end of the ice, the boys were still throwing everything they could on net just like they were in the first with the obvious difference being that they were able to solve the goaltender with a pair of key goals. Instead of allowing the Predators to get back in the mix, the Oilers kept battling for offence without sacrificing their defensive responsibilities, and the work paid off to the tune of a three-goal lead. As it turned out, Saros was only able to bail the Preds out for so long.
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Up by three goals with a period to play, there wasn’t much that the Oilers needed to do apart from keeping the hustle going for 20 more minutes. Outside of trying to get Mike Smith the shutout, the biggest thing the boys needed to do was finish off strong and avoid sitting back and trying to ride the clock out. Even though they had a sizeable lead, we all know how quickly teams can put three goals on the board if you’re not fighting back. Well… either keep fighting or have Jeremy Coupal as your video review coach or whatever miracle magic they have him doing. As for the rest of the game, the Oilers wouldn’t allow anything else past the goaltender and even capped the night off with a hat trick by Draisaitl that allowed some of the fans in attendance to chuck their hats on the ice. Outside of the one goal that was eventually called back, this was basically a perfect road game for the Oilers and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Two. Huge. Points.
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The wrap.

THE BRIGHT SIDE

  • @Leon Draisaitl opened the scoring (1-0) with a power play goal from his favourite spot on the left-hand side after Nugent-Hopkins found him with a beautiful one-touch pass to his wheelhouse. Saros had no chance on the play and Leon picked up his 52nd goal of the year. Draisaitl added another goal (2-0) in the second period after he snapped a wrister from the slot that made its way through traffic, beating Saros before he even knew what happened. Draisaitl completed the hat trick in the third period with a second power play goal (4-0) to not only ice the game but also to pull himself to within four goals of Auston Matthews. Dare to dream?
  • @Darnell Nurse gave the Oilers some insurance (3-0) with a shorthanded goal after he jumped up in the rush, took a centering pass from Kane in the slot, and snapped a quick wrister past Saros for his ninth goal of the year.
  • @Mike Smith was back in the crease for his 24th appearance of the year and looking to build upon what has been a very strong stretch of hockey for the 40-year-old veteran, and I don’t think you can do any better than a shutout. From start to finish, Smith was rock solid for the Oilers whenever he was called upon, and thanks to a little help from Jeremy Coupal, he was able to lock down his first bagel of the season and a huge win for his team. Smith finished the night with 30 saves to complete his 43rd career shutout.
  • You’ve gotta love that the power play came through again, scoring two goals on four chances with the man advantage. Needless to say, having the PP going again as we draw nearer to the post-season would be ideal, even though we know nothing gets called in the playoffs anyway.
  • Not to be outdone, the PK was perfect again on two shorthanded situations and even chipped in with a shorthanded goal. That’s a special teams sweep, friends.
  • How about a casual two-point night for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins as he continues to prove that he is The Answer on special teams.
  • The Oilers won the Corskis big tyme, outshooting the Predators by a 32-30 margin.
  • Word from the spreadsheets was basically a chef’s kiss as the Oilers finished with a  50.62 CF% and a 48.28 xGF%
  • You’ve finally arrived at the special place in the Wrap Up where I bless you with the knowledge that the Oilers won 51% of the faceoffs.
  • How about another classic Jeremy Coupal offside review?
  • Matt Benning didn’t score. Great success!
  • The magic number is now 10.

THE FACE PALMERS

  • I’m at home and not in Nashville celebrating with the rest of the #NationVacation crew.

SCORING SUMMARY

#GOODCONTENT

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Talk to me, Twitter. Tweet at @Oilersnation and @jsbmbaggedmilk for your chance to land in the Best of the Tweets.

BETTER LAIT THAN NEVER

The Oilers had an up-and-down week since my last podcast, and I walked through it all. From the heartbreaking loss to Colorado to getting dummied by Minnesota to defending Jesse Puljujarvi, I was all over the map on the latest episode of Better Lait Than Never. Subscribe on SpotifyApple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts.