This is one of those games that I was not looking forward to at all. It’s against one of the worst teams in the history of the NHL, with a goal differential that’s about the equivalent to the temperature in Edmonton. It had all the makings of a game that would make me even more angry than I already am, given the climate.
I even started thinking about worst case scenarios. What if Patrick Maroon has a season ending injury? He doesn’t have a contract and he’s one of the few players who could get a good asset back at the deadline. That would be a total disaster. So going into this game, I assumed that Maroon was getting injured and that the Oilers would be embarrassed by the lowly Coyotes. Luckily, my cynicism wasn’t accurate, this is what happened.
Two Minutes into the game, Jakob Chychrun hits the cross bar with a weak point shot off the faceoff and Brad Richardson opens the scoring. 1-0 Coyotes. Cam Talbot really needed to track that puck better.
Shortly after that, it’s 2-0. It really has the feeling of one of those games. Talbot gets the hook, Al Montoya gets one step closer to turning that 5th round pick into a 4th, and I am just about ready to turn the game off and start the recap.
On the plus side, most of the crowd appears to be Oilers fans. There’s orange everywhere and the chants are taking over the arena. I am very jealous of those people. Even watching a team lose can be really fun. Factor in the price of tickets down there and there really isn’t a downside to watching McDavid play. Oh, also it’s about 50 degrees warmer there than here.
Three minutes after the Coyotes last goal, Jesse Puljujarvi makes a really good play, stealing the puck while back-checking. He makes a quick pass to Ryan Strome setting up a two on one with Jujhar Khaira. Strome makes the pass across but Khaira misses the net. Luckily Adam Larsson takes gets the puck off the boards, passes it to Darnell Nurse and he blasts it past Antti Raanta. It was a great shot.
Also, because of this game’s results, I get to use Gifs!!
Helloooooo, Nurse! #LetsGoOilers pic.twitter.com/UbHjrRf4dR— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) January 13, 2018
It’s really been quite a while since I’ve had the opportunity to use gifs. I miss this.
With less than a minute left in the period, McDavid gives the fans what they paid to see. I could tell you about what he did prior to passing it to Oscar Klefbom, but it wouldn’t do it justice. Just watch.
Seriously, those McDangles. #LetsGoOilers pic.twitter.com/DU9LE8XnUP— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) January 13, 2018
2-2 Oilers to end the period. This is acceptable.
The Coyotes iced the puck a bunch of times and the Oilers didn’t get any good chances. The teams each had 5 shots in this frame. It was an extremely boring and uneventful 20 minutes.
I think someone should get these teams a few pregnancy tests after missing a period like that.
McDavid starts this one the way he’s meant to. He gets the puck off the draw, circles back through the neutral zone to pick up speed, drives through the Coyotes’ zone hard but can’t get a good shot on Raanta. After the puck leaves the zone, he gets it again and creates a two on one with Maroon. Can’t complete the pass, but man, McDavid is easily the best player in hockey.
McDavid passes to Leon as he’s entering the zone and #29 has a partial break. He turns around — away from the net — and just as I’m yelling at him to shoot that puck, he finds Nurse. Nurse blasts it past Raanta again. You know, maybe Leon actually knows more about what he was doing than I do... Maybe.
A little Darnell déjà vu. #LetsGoOilers pic.twitter.com/H0hFjHR7N4— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) January 13, 2018
The crowd is back in it. Let’s go Oilers!!
Al Montoya gets a bit of action. He has to sprawl to make a series of good save on the Richardson line. It’s nice to see. Maybe a 4th round pick is ok.
With 3:49 left in the game, Milan Lucic gets called for tripping. I am very uncomfortable with the L-Formation protecting a one-goal lead in the final minute. No matter how bad the Coyotes are, our PK is worse.
Killed the penalty, nice. To top it off, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins puts the game away. Nice win.
- Darnell Nurse had his first 2 goal game. He’s been fantastic this year and I never want that to stop.
- Adam Larsson looked better this game than he has in the past dozen.
- Jesse Puljujarvi’s steal was really impressive, he deserves an assist for his effort. Still needs to work on his turning. He’s kinda like a ‘78 Eldorado out there.
- I would be cool with a 41-game season. It’s hard to keep getting excited to watch these games when you’re this far out with so much left to go. I’m definitely ready for the bye-week.
- Connor McDavid turns 21 tomorrow, the bye-week starts after the game and they’re in Las Vegas. For the love of god, do not let him get hurt, arrested or deported. We just can’t overcome something like that.