Can’t stop, won’t stop. Final Score: 5-2 Oilers
Oh, hello there, Nashville Predators. I remember you. Do you remember us? The last time we saw each other, our boy Leon Draisaitl was making a mockery of your organization with four goals in an 8-3 drubbing, and I was very hopeful we’d be getting a repeat performance here at Rogers Place. It’s only fair, after all. It’s not fair that your fans were able to witness our boys at their best while we were forced to watch from our couches. After nearly two years between matches, it was our turn for some in-person fun. It was a simple dream but it was a good one, in my opinion. And the good news is that the Oilers started the game with some jump and energy, pushing the Preds with waves of pressure that eventually led to a power play chance and subsequent goal. Unfortunately, the lead didn’t last very long as Nashville was able to respond with the tying goal only seconds after our boys got themselves on the board. As much as I thought the Oilers played alright, the Preds were able to consistently counter in what was a very even period.
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Moving into the second period, I was for the Oilers to keep doing what they were doing but with the added element of trying to get more traffic to the front of the net. While they were certainly able to manufacture their fair share of chances, Connor Ingram seemed to have horseshoes going between the pipes and it seemed like we needed extra bodies in his kitchen if we were going to reclaim the lead and run away with it. While that didn’t happen as much as I would have liked — it was just another evenly played frame is all — the boys were able to get a timely goal from Kailer Yamamoto to put themselves back on top and set the table for a third straight win. With a one-goal lead in place and 20 minutes to play, the Oilers didn’t have to make a whole lot of adjustments provided they would keep the hammer down and push for more instead of sitting back on their lead and coasting to the finish. Thankfully, the drifting towards the finish line wasn’t in the plans today and the boys were able to tack on a trio of third period markers to not only give themselves some insurance but to punctuate the win with a few more nails in the coffin.
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From where I blog, this was a huge win by the Oilers over a team that was finishing up a back-to-back set and missing some key pieces, which is exactly what the best teams in this league do consistently. Two more huge points on the board, everybody.
The wrap.

THE BRIGHT SIDE

  • Leon Draisaitl opened the scoring for the Oilers (1-0) with a power play goal after he was the business end of a beautiful passing play that saw McDavid find Nugent-Hopkins in the high slot who then teed #29 up for one of his patented one-timers from his office. Even though Drai didn’t get everything he would have wanted on his shot, the knuckler beat Ingram up and over the shoulder. Draisaitl added a second goal early in the third period (3-1) after picking up an assist from Connor McDavid and ripping a wrister past Ingram that he simply had no answer for.
  • Kailer Yamamoto scored in a second straight game (2-1) after Ryan Nugent-Hopkins shot (pass?) from the point took a friendly bounce right to his stick with plenty of time to bury the puck in the open net.
  • Only 1:18 after Draisaitl gave the Oilers a two-goal lead, Devin Shore extended the lead (4-1) with his first goal of the season on a one-timer from the slot after Warren Foegele found him with a perfect pass.
  • Jesse Puljujarvi added an empty netter (5-2) late in the third period to nail the coffin shut and give the Oilers their third straight win. We’re streakin’, baby!
  • Mikko Koskinen got his sixth straight start as we await Mike Smith’s return, and once again, the big man was dialled in and ready to play as he provided the Oilers with the caliber of goaltending you’d expect from your starter. All night long, Kostco was steady between the pipes and while we may nitpick on Nashville’s first period goal, the reality is that Koskinen was rock solid when we needed him which is exactly what we need from him. All in all, that was another fine start for #19 as he finished with 30 saves and a .938 save%.
  • I’ve got a working theory that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins may actually be Santa Claus because he’s giving out gifts in the form of beautiful assists like they’re going out of style. With 13 helpers on the year, RNH leads the league in assists and I find that especially hilarious since he doesn’t have a goal yet but that it also fits within his good guy personality. Either way, RNH extended his point streak to eight games.
  • Tyson Barrie picked up another assist tonight and I’ve gotta give the guy some love for putting up points while he continues to work on his overall game. I don’t know when/if he’ll get off the third pairing any time soon, it is nice to have Tie Son Barry doing what he does best, which is obviously contributing points on the scoresheet.
  • I’m just going to call the Oilers power play magic and leave it. At this point, these dudes look like wizards and it wasn’t surprising that they scored one goal on two chances with the man advantage. To punctuate how good they’ve been, the Oilers have tied a franchise record by scoring a power play goal in nine straight games to begin a season. Keep taking penalties, people, we love it.
  • As much as the power play gets all of the love around here, I’m asking Cupid to fire another arrow at the penalty killers that were very good once again as they were able to handle 3/4 shorthanded situations.
  • Evan Bouchard appreciation post! Tack on another assist for dad.
  • Matt Benning didn’t score! Great success. I miss him, but keeping him off the board is still a win in my books.
  • Were you worried that you read as much of the Wrap Up as you did without me telling you that the Oilers won 50% of the faceoffs? The wait is over, friends.

THE FACE PALMERS

  • Only seconds after Draisaitl opened the scoring, Matt Duchene evened things up (1-1) on an odd-man rush when he was able bury a wrister up and over the blocker. Ceci’s clearing pass hit the linesman and then bounced off Kassian, creating the 2-on-1 that led to Nashville’s equalizer.
  • Ryan Johanson pulled the Preds back to within a pair of goals (4-2) with his third period goal that meant little to nothing in the overall scheme of things. I know I would generally describe the goal with greater detail here but I really didn’t care much about it as I thought this game was already wrapped up with a bow.
  • Who’s manning the spreadsheets over at the NHL site? The league’s recap had the giveaways at only six for the Predators, but there were moments when the visitors looked more like a Christmas raffle than a team that was keeping it tight with the puck.
  • I don’t know why Connor Ingram hates Zach Hyman as much as he apparently does, but he was 2000% unwilling to let our new friend get a goal despite some 10-star chances.

SCORING SUMMARY

#GOODCONTENT

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