I'm both sorry and not sorry that the post-game for last night's game two at Rogers Place didn't go up until this morning. Sorry because normally there is an expected turnaround time for these things. Not sorry because I damn sure enjoyed seeing the Oilers beat the brakes off the San Jose Sharks in one of their most complete games of the year, and reveling in those feelings for a couple hours after the game. Blame the NHL for the 8:30 start. If this was a noon game it would have been up before midnight - almost certainly.
But what a game though, right?!
The Oilers were looking to bounce back after one of their worst performances of the season in game one, against a San Jose Sharks team still without Joe Thornton. It felt like a must-win game, but it's been so long since I've seen the Oilers in one of those that I'm not sure if I'd know one to see one. But, it still felt that way. Especially given how badly they caved in the second and third periods of game one.
Needless to say. Oilers fans were restless. Tonight couldn't have come soon enough, and now I kind of wish it would last forever. I mean, other than that bullshit country remix of the Star Spangled Banner. Leave it to the Oilers to do something stupid, and then think it's a good idea, and then do it again. But I digress. Country is bad. And you're bad if you like it.
Tonight, the Oilers were entirely competent throughout the lineup, in one of their most assured performances of this season.
Zack Kassian played his best game as an Oiler, and probably as a human, and was easily the game's first star.
Connor McDavid - sorry, The Young Pope - proved once again that he can break a game from any zone, at any time, with his pants-tightening end-to-end rush on the PK. What a moment. That one will live long in CBC montages for decades to come. Before that moment, the Oilers top line had created a few chances, specifically for Patrick Maroon, but they couldn't find a breakthrough. Leave it to The Young Pope to bless us all with a magnificent solo effort to put the game to bed.
Unfortunately, at the same time, Oscar Klefbom was in agony after a shot clipped his left ankle-ish, so I think a lot of Oilers fans were excited and terrified in equal measure. Apparently, the injury doesn't appear to be serious. Which is good, because the Oilers without Klefbom are not as good at hockey probably.
I mean, it wasn't a perfect performance. Once again the Oilers found themselves having to kill a few stupid penalties, but both the PK and Cam Talbot were resilient tonight. I saw Kris Russell not terrible in a key game, and I'm content enough that I don't need to check the numbers to prove myself wrong. I'm not even sure they would tonight. But probably. He's normally not good. But tonight he was. They all were!
Outside of a pretty dicey breakdown leading to a chance in-tight for Melker Karlsson (I think? - I also don't care) and a wide open shot for Brent Burns in the high slot, the Oilers didn't give the Sharks much.
They exited the zone with far more purpose tonight, and did a much better job of managing what the generous might call a push back from San Jose. The Sharks did not appear to have the same bite they did in game one, but I believe the Oilers deserve full credit for forcing their will on their opponents in a critical game. It was a nice little statement and I imagine the Oilers will be feeling pretty good about themselves heading into San Jose.
Otherwise, quite honestly, I don't really know what else to do with my hands. If the Flames lose today, and the Oilers win tomorrow, it might just be the best long weekend of all time. I don't care about your wedding. Or like, that you camp sometimes. Let's Go Oilers.