As I sat down to watch another Oilers game tonight, I turned to my partner and I said to her, I said, "It’s going to be a bloodbath."
I couldn’t have been more wrong, as what ensued was a low-scoring, (mostly) well-executed effort by the Edmonton Oilers.
2:00 Oscar Klefbom takes a puck up high early in the first. He stays on the bench, no worse for wear.
4:30 Oilers with a nice shift and a few shots attempts from the top line. The Fayne-Klefbom pairing does a good job at the blueline.
5:00 The Yakupov-Draisaitl-Eberle line looks strong following up, with another period of sustained pressure and a shot attempt.
5:50 Nugent-Hopkins drives the net and gets a shot at the top of the crease. Good awareness from him to recognize the gap and take that puck to the net.
7:00 Petry breaks up a Hertl shot inside the blueline. Hopefully the rest of the Oilers defence will take note and continue to play their own line aggressively.
11:40 Perron comes out from behind the net and tries to tuck it past Stalock. No dice as the puck sits loose in the crease for a beat after the initial attempt.
13:02 Wingels lays out Pitlick behind the Oiler net. The kid is okay.
14:42 Mueller heads off for delay of game. Opportunity here for the Oilers to make good on a strong period and take the lead.
18:00 After an unsuccessful powerplay, momentum appears to shift into San Jose’s favour.
2:30 The Oilers start the second off the right way, controlling the play in the Sharks’ zone.
3:30 Mark Arcobello has the best chance of the period, and possibly the game, as he one-times a feed from behind the net over the crossbar.
6:00 Pinizzotto and Gazdic are off on an unlikely 2-on-1. The bruisers can’t connect on the play as Steve opts to shoot and misses the net.
6:18 Aulie and Sheppard put the hockey game on hold for a little face punching.
7:36 Dillon is heading off for holding. Oilers to the PP.
7:45 Braun falls backwards onto his own goaltender. Eberle quickly finds Yakupov alone in front and the Oilers go up 1-0.
8:10 Ben Scrivens absolutely robs Marleau twice to keep the Oilers in front.
9:51 Marleau makes a sublime passing play on the negated icing call to find McGinn coming in unchecked. Justin Schultz and Leon Draisaitl fail to pick up the trailer on the play. They both need to take a look, though I feel that’s mostly on the German as he was inside to Schultz’ right, closest to McGinn.
10:40 RNH finds Hall from behind the net but he can’t get it passed Stalock. Trying to take that lead again.
13:30 Klefbom makes a nice play to break up a cross ice feed to Marleau on the rush.
15:00 Scrivens plays the puck around the boards right to Tomas Hertl.
0:21 Right off the face-off, the Oilers are going to have to kill a penalty as Gordon highsticks Couture.
2:25 Great penalty kill by the Oilers. Really needed to negate that opportunity.
4:15 Schultz has a decent chance after getting the puck back off a busted pass on the rush.
5:30 Pinizzotto is the only one heading off after a scrum around Stalock. Oilers to the PK again. Oilers playing with fire here giving SJ PP opportunities in the third.
9:00 Hertl sets up Thornton on the rush, but Scrivens makes the save.
10:26 The Gordon line applies some pressure in the Sharks’ zone and it pays off as Perron banks a shot off Dillon and past Stalock to give the Oilers the lead. Can they hold on?
18:20 The Sharks pull Stalock to try and even things up. Scrivens has looked on point since Perron gave the team the lead.
The Oilers played an impressive first period against a San Jose team on the second night of a back-to-back. Despite one glaring defensive hiccup in the second, they still looked like a team motivated and willing to win. But nothing worries this blogger more than to see this team go into the third period after a strong forty minutes with the game still tied.
The Oilers proved me wrong—proved everyone wrong—by taking a third period lead and holding on for the win. Tonight they snap an eleven game losing streak that, looking at the early-December schedule, threatened to be the worst in franchise history.
With another game against the Sharks on Tuesday, followed by a home-and-home against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, things aren’t getting any easier for Edmonton in the immediate future. They’ll have to take this effort and run with it full bore into the beautiful, balmy California Coast.