Splitting the games in Calgary is huge. Final Score: 5-3 Oilers
Before we get this thing started, let me ask everyone a question… Did anyone else spend the day telling themself that there was no possible way that Game 2 would be nearly as loose from an Oilers perspective as it was in Game 1? I kept telling myself that there was no possible way that we would find ourselves down by a field goal in the opening minutes for a second straight game. There was just no way. So when Edmonton started the game on their toes for the first couple of shifts, I was excited we were in store for something different. Instead, the Oilers found themselves down by two in the first six minutes. Improvement? Either way, the good is that the Oilers actually got better as the period wore on, and had it not been for some timely saves by Markstrom and help from Chris Lee, they could have just as easily erased their deficit and maybe even gotten more. Unfortunately, we had to settle for a single goal from Duncan Keith to halve the lead but there is little doubt that the strong finish to the period put the Flames back on their heels.
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Heading into the second period, the biggest concern was that the Oilers would have another snoozer of a start that undid the good things they were building towards the end of the first. They simply could not sleepwalk their way into this. So when the Flames extended their lead just over two minutes in, I could feel the rage bubbling up inside of me as we got yet another example of the Oilers battling their way back into the fight only to take a swift kick to the pills when they got there. Yet, even will with a sizeable challenge ahead of them, the Oilers fought back with passion and willed their way into a tie score despite a second goal being disallowed, this time for goaltender interference. Led by their captain once again, the Oilers clawed and scratched for every opportunity they got, and to see them cash something in at both even strength and on the power play was the exact kind of clutch goal scoring we’ve been looking for. And after battling back from two separate two-goal deficits, the next step was to make sure that it didn’t happen again.
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With the game tied at three pieces with 20 minutes to play, the most important thing that I could think of was that the Oilers not take their foot off the gas. When they briefly tied the game in the third period of Game 1, it almost looked like they were ready to hang the mission accomplished banner behind the bench but that is obviously not how this works. Clearly understanding the assignment, the Oilers were able to maintain their desperation and it paid dividends with chance after chance. Whether it was McDavid doing McDavid things or the newly formed second line chipping with opportunities of their own or Mike Smith coming up with key saves down the stretch, the Oilers looked like they were not going to be denied and that effort was eventually rewarded with a shortie by Hyman to grab a lead that they would not give up. At the end of the day, this was a very gutsy win by a desperate team and I cannot wait to see the mayhem at Rogers Place on Sunday.
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The wrap.

THE BRIGHT SIDE

  • @Duncan Keith cut Calgary’s lead in half (2-1) with a blast from the circle that beat Markstrom on the glove side after McDavid found him streaking in from the point and hit him with a perfect pass despite being one-handed. Keith honestly had a very good night for the Oilers as he ended up with three points on the night to go along with 18:25 in TOI.
  • Only moments after Draisaitl’s goal was disallowed, @Connor McDavid scored a beauty (3-2) right in tight on Markstrom that saw him dangle the goalie once again before outwaiting the tender and sinking the puck into the open cage. Nice give and go with Keith to get himself open on the play as well.
  • @Evan Bouchard tied the game on the power play (3-3) after Keith found him with some time and space that he used to tee off on a clapper that Markstrom barely saw coming. Absolute rocket by Dad.
  • I love the way @Zach Hyman plays hockey. The dude has an engine that never quits and I find myself often amazed by the hustle he puts in regularly on his shifts, so when he scored a shortie to give the Oilers the lead (4-3) I screamed so loud I thought I may pass out.
  • @Leon Draisaitl gave the Oilers some insurance with a breakaway goal (5-3) after Mike Smith rimmed the puck around the boards past the defender and right to the awaiting Sexy German Goal Machine®. I mean, what can you say about the guy after putting up back-to-back three-point nights despite playing on one leg?
  • After getting hooked only six minutes into Game 1, @Mike Smith was back between the pipes and looking to rebound but that wasn’t looking so good early on after he allowed two quick goals once again. From there, however, Smith locked things in quite well and outdueled his counterpart by making the saves he needed to make to get the job done. By no means was it pretty, but Smith made the stops he needed to and he gave his team a chance to win. Smith finished the night with 37 saves and a .925 save%.
  • I thought @Jesse Puljujarvi had a really solid night alongside RNH and Zach Hyman as that trio often found themselves producing quality shifts and chances, making me wonder why it took so long to put this trio together in the first place.
  • Even though news broke today that @Darnell Nurse is battling a core-muscle injury, he played a very gritty 23:21 on a night when his team desperately needed him and I want to give him a shout out for the efforts.
  • @Cody Ceci had another big game for the Oilers on the back end as he played a very steady 22:29.
  • Despite only scoring one goal on six power play chances, the Oilers looked so much better with the man advantage than we saw on Wednesday night. They were giving themselves some pretty good looks all night long and had it not been for Markstrom then we would be talking about a totally different story.

THE FACE PALMERS

  • @Michael Stone opened the scoring (1-0) with a blast from the point after Zach Hyman broke his stick blocking the first attempt, leaving him vulnerable at the point where the goal was ultimately scored from.
  • Only three minutes later, @Brett Ritchie put the Flames up by a pair after our defencemen missed their assignment and Smith couldn’t handle Gudbranson’s point shot, leaving a tap-in available at the goalmouth. Ugly.
  • @Tyler Toffoli restored Calgary’s two-goal lead on the power play (3-1) after Darnell Nurse broke his stick and was left to cash in on the odd-man chance down low. Ideally, someone could have given Nurse a stick since he was basically helpless down low, but that’s not the way things went.
  • Make it two straight games in this series where the Flames were able to get something done on the power play, beating the PK crew on 1-of-5 shorthanded situations.
  • There was no reason for the ref to blow the whistle on the disallowed RNH goal at the end of the first period. Markstrom didn’t have it, the puck was loose, and garbage officiating rules once again. Amazingly, the Oilers had Draisaitl’s goal waved off in the second period after
  • Josh Archibald played only 4:39 tonight and I honestly did not miss him. Give Shore or Holloway those minutes.
  • How did the Oilers win only 33% of the faceoffs? Wild. Absolutely need to be better.
  • Looking into the spreadsheets, the Oilers finished the game with a surprising 39.77 CF% and a 42.5 xGF%.

SCORING SUMMARY

#GOODCONTENT

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