The Oilers played the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night. Those who watched the game may have thought that they were watching the 1974-75 expansion Capitals, who managed a mere 21 points in 80 games. However, that was not the case. The team the Oilers played on Wednesday night came into the game with a 3-1-1 record, and are the defending President's Trophy winners from the 2015-16 season.
"Whatever" , anyone with half a brain should have thought to themselves. This year's Oilers team does not lose games, it wins them, except for every now and then, when the players decide to lose to a joke of an opponent, just to keep the fans on their toes.
Here's a recap for anyone who isn't piss drunk at a Stanley Cup parade planning party right now:
The Oilers decided to not start scoring for the first 27 minutes of the game. During that time, they continued to let Cam Talbot show off his newly obtained double-dad strength, by turning away every shot he faced. This was particularly helpful early in the second period, when the Oilers decided not to take a single shot, so as to not distract anyone from how obviously superior Talbot is to Holtby.
At one point in the second period, Benoit Pouliot and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins decided that there wasn't enough scoring happening, so Nuge banked a shot in off Pouliot's leg, then pouliot banked a shot in off Holtby's back, in an obvious homage to Pouliot's new coworker Wayne Gretzky.
Then, nine seconds into the third period, Alex Ovechkin, who is one of the few people on earth capable of scoring on dad-strength Cam Talbot, pulled the Caps to within a goal. Some may have thought that the lead wasn't safe at that point. Wrong. Connor McDavid started to do Connor McDavid-type things in the third period. He walked past John Carlson as if he was standing still, on his way to setting up the Oilers' third goal, by Pat 'Big Rig' Maroon. Then he fed Andrej Sekera for a slapshot that was tipped in by Milan Lucic for the Oilers' fourth goal.
When it was all said and done, the Oilers had a three-point lead on second place in the western conference, and I had forgotten that the last ten years ever happened.
I used to write a 'silver lining' section in my game recaps after losses. Since those will barely ever happen anymore, I've decided to re-purpose this section for general observations. In tonight's edition, my thoughts turn to the Hall trade, which I finally understand. Given how dominant the likes of McDavid, Eberle, Lucic, Draisaitl, Pouliot and Nugent-Hopkins can be, when they're on their game, the prospect of keeping Hall meant one thing: Being banned from the NHL for being too dominant. We see this all the time in beer-league hockey. If a team wins too many games, by too many goals, they must either be broken up, or moved up a division. Seeing as how there is no division above the NHL, the only move was to preemptively break up that murderers row of offensive talent. You can't win the cup if they won't let you play in the league. That is the silver lining to the Hall trade.
Stats Central/ Corey's Game Puck
In slightly less than 14 even-strength minutes played, Connor McDavid was on the ice for 1.22 expected goals for and 0.15 expected goals against, per corsica.hockey. He is good. Jordan Eberle and Milan Lucic led the way with 0.72 and 0.67 individual expected goals at all strengths. I know this article was littered with hyperbole, but that line is looking as dangerous as any line in hockey, for real. If the Oilers are going to break their postseason drought, it will likely be on their backs. Connor gets my game puck.