The Oilers were due south on the QE2 for the second Battle of Alberta in as many Saturdays. Though the score might lead you to believe otherwise, the Flames were there too, proving once and for all that you really can’t put lipstick on a pig. But – and I really can’t stress this enough - nobody cares about the Calgary Flames. The Oilers got on the scoreboard early and often, and rode a solid performance from Laurent Brossoit the rest of the way to victory.
The Oilers started this game with more jump than you might expect for a team that played last night. Some decent work early led to an offensive zone faceoff, which Drake Caggiula won cleanly to Anton Slepyshev, who wired a wrist shot past the Flames’ goalie. 1-0 good guys.
At the other end, Brossoit was playing well, and made a few key saves early to keep the Oilers’ lead intact. After Milan Lucic turned the puck over just inside the Oilers’ blueline, Matt Benning intervened with a big hit. The puck fell to who obviously didn’t get the message one normally does from a visit to the press box, and he couldn’t poke home from close range.
The Oilers responded almost immediately. Zach Kassian found the puck in the corner after some good work on the cycle by his line, and fed a seeing-eye pass through the crease to a waiting Letestu, who fired the one-timer past a hapless Johnson. 2-0 for the good guys.
36 seconds later, at 5:58 in the third period…The Oilers scored again. Benoit Pouliot picked out Jordan Eberle flying down the right wing, and snapped home after a fake I assume he learned from his shooting coach. 3. Buzz. Whoa.
All of a sudden, we’re in dreamland, folks.
I’ll be honest – I had intentions of writing a full-blown, real, honest-to-goodness, I-really-tried-hard-doing-this type recap for my first article back after a long break. I really, really did.
But then, the Oilers scored. Early.
And then, the Oilers scored like, two minutes later.
Normally, there's no and then. Just ask that dude who couldn't find his car that time.
And then, the Oilers scored 36 seconds after that. More honesty. At this point, my hand-written game notes turned into a Superbadian drawing of a huge erection without me even realizing it. Wonderful stuff. Small-sample-size opium. Pure joy. Now I get, wholeheartedly, why people are obsessed with Kris Russell. You really can – pretty easily - ignore a lot of shitty stuff when there is some other good stuff nearby that makes you feel like you could punch the actual sun in its face.
So, long story short: like this hockey game, this post-game report was basically over after the first period.
Here’s a super quick recap:
The Oilers were up 3-0 after 20 minutes, despite being outshot quite a bit, out-DFF%’d even more, and were even outchanced a little bit. That said, Chad Johnson got the hook before the first TV timeout, and the tone was set. Slepyshev, Letestu, and Eberle with the goals for our protagonists.
The Oilers got two more in the second frame through a piece of magic between Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid,and a second from Eberle before the Flames finally clued in that human beings pay to watch them. Some guy scored, somehow. Then the Oilers responded on the man advantage a minute later, with Oscar Klefbom hammering home after a deflection. The Flames continued to carry the balance of play though, but were punished by their insistence to dress guys like Michael Ferland and Sam Bennett.
The Flames scored two more in the third period, but like who even cares? By then, Todd McLellan was already getting a silky sweet discount on Big Macs with two-can-dine coupons at the nearest McDonald's.
Other Things That Happened
Milan Lucic fought for the second time in two nights. I wonder if someone just told him to ‘play every shift like you just gave the puck away’ in today’s morning skate?
I’m really not giving Laurent Brossoit enough credit here. He played great, stopping a number of quality scoring chances and keeping the Oilers with a lead that even they couldn’t blow. He was full marks for his first career win in the NHL. The Flames had almost 80 attempts tonight. The Oilers did not. But they hung around and took their chances. I'll take a win over the Flames every way I can get it. Suck it, Neil.
There’s nothing better than hearing LETS GO OILERS drowning out the sounds of Calgarians booking lunch meetings on Outlook or whatever it is they actually do.
The Oilers beat the Flames in four straight games for the first time in 31 years. If that stat’s wrong, blame HNIC.