Well, would you look at that. The Oilers took their presumably assless chaps, rode south into Calgary and beat the brakes off of a completely outclassed Flames team. Yep, you read that right. The Oilers completely outclassed another NHL team. Said NHL team just so happens to be the Oilers most hated rival, and said rival was utter shit in their own building. What a great night. Apologies in advance if this article is crap, as I'm completely ill-equipped to write about the Oilers when I'm in a good mood.
The Oilers started the game on the front foot. Passes were at least within spitting distance of their intended targets, and the Oilers were carrying the bulk of the play for the first few minutes. This positivity would be rewarded just over halfway through the first, with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in the right place at the right time to snipe home from the slot. 1-0 for the good guys.
The Oilers managed to keep the pressure up for another minute or two before reverting to a style of play we've all become too familiar with. Passes began disguising themselves as nipple-high wrist shots at teammates, and the Oilers attack stalled as a result. The Oilers began to piss away possession like Tambellini did Taylor Hall's early career, and the Flames started to assert themselves accordingly. This would unfortunately continue until the break, but Cam Talbot continued his solid play to start the year, and the Oilers' slim lead held up until intermission.
The second period started like the first period finished. The Flames were the more adventurous side, the Oilers were there too, and both teams were being watched by a bunch of Brad Paisley fans wearing the same horrible red shirt. Talk about bad luck.
The Flames took advantage of their momentum and scored a goal five minutes into the period.
This goal, bizarrely, woke the Oilers up from their ice cream sandwich coma (I'm assuming) and the road team began to take over. The Oilers had directed 17 pucks towards the Flames' net when the Flames tied the game, and wound up finishing the period with 45 whole corsi events. Pretty good.
With just under four minutes to go in the period, Connor McDavid took an exit pass from Nail Yakupov - with his stick, not his ribs, in a weird break from recent tradition - and flew up the right wing. Whoever was trying to square him up couldn't, and McDavid fired a wrist shot through whoever the Flames decided to start tonight, capping a pants-tightening rush that was so good those Paisley-loving Flames fans were browsing hip-hop playlists on Spotify. It was magic.
From there, the Oilers had no trouble closing out the period and holding on to their lead. 2-1 for our protagonists heading into the third.
The third period, wonderfully, started exactly like the second period ended. The Oilers continued to prove that their milkshakes do indeed bring more boys to the yard, and Calgary had no answer for the speed of the Oilers' young superstars. Less than thirty seconds into the final frame, Edmonton's resident cannonball put the visitors in front by two with an excellent display of determination and general goodness.
Two and a half minutes later, Benoit Pouliot found Nail Yakupov in the slot for a quick one-timer to extend the Oilers' lead to three. Given the atrociousness of the Flames on this night, the game was as good as over.
I'm pretty sure it was around this time where Connor McDavid decided to demonstrate just how much better he is than every other hockey player on Earth. I say pretty sure because, quite honestly, the second half of this game was a joyous blur filled with Twitter swearing and loud noises. McDavid stole the puck from some scrub in red and then proceeded to titillate 18,000 humans all by himself with a highlight reel solo effort. The Flames netminder made a career save to keep the goal out, proving once and for all that Connor McDavid does indeed make everyone better. It was pretty incredible. Easily one of the nicest non-goals you'll ever see. Hyperbole? Maybe, but certainly no more so than anyone saying Brian Burke's haircut looks good on him.
Calgary also scored. 4-2 good guys. This goal is only notable in that it happened, and that it was the first goal surrendered by a surprisingly stalwart Oilers penalty kill this year.
Immediately after the Flames goal, the Oilers regrouped and continue to bring the heat to their hosts. Their good work in the offensive zone led to another powerplay, and the Oilers finally got a goal with the man advantage. To be fair, the powerplay looked good most of the night and was finally rewarded. Sekera made two nice plays in the buildup, keeping the puck in the zone and winning a puck battle down low later in the sequence. Nugent-Hopkins helped Sekera on the wall and the puck found Taylor Hall in the corner, who then slid a saucy little number across the crease to resident heartthrob Connor McDavid for his second of the night. 5-2 for our heroes. What a goal, what a night.
The Flames had to keep playing for three more minutes, but nobody cares about them or those three minutes, as the game had been over since the Oilers' third goal.
With the win, the Oilers snapped a seven-game losing streak in the Battle of Alberta. That this was a comprehensive thrashing of a team that has ties to Atlanta is probably only funny for me, but this was an entertaining game from start to finish. The Oilers are a different animal when the puck actually gets to their forwards in the neutral zone, and we can only hope that the progress we saw tonight in that regard continues tomorrow in Vancouver. Look for Anders Nilsson to get the start in the back-to-back and the Oilers to play a better hockey team than they did tonight. In the meantime, enjoy this one. It was good.