The Oilers had a tall task going into Colorado on Tuesday night. They emerged victorious, though it came at a heavy price. A six goal outburst was overshadowed by the loss of Oscar Klefbom, who will likely be out for several weeks with a hand injury after blocking a shot.
I’ll take the win. You can keep your multi-week hand injury.
A four goal second period helped push Edmonton over the fourth best offence in the NHL as the Oilers emerged victorious by a 6-4 margin. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had a pair of goals, Connor McDavid had one, Leon had another, and so did Darnell Nurse.
Kyle Brodziak kicked it off.
Brodziak’s goal would be the only goal that either team would score in the first period. Darnell Nurse comes around Colorado’s net to fire one in front of the goalie. Brodziak is there to pick up the rest of the groceries, and a bewildered Semyon Varlamov can’t come up with it. This goal was Kyle Brodziak’s third goal of the season, and the Oilers carry a 1-0 lead into the end of the first period. It didn’t stop there.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had himself a night. This goal comes on the power play midway through the second period. This was Nugent-Hopkins’ first of two goals on a three point night (2-1-3), and it was the first of Edmonton’s two power play goals on the night. Oilers have had a frustrating power play this season, it’s finally nice to see them get rewarded with a couple of goals against a powerful opponent.
The Oilers would close out the second period with a 5-1 lead over the Avalanche after Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid added goals. By this time, the Oilers were cruising, though the loss of Oscar Klefbom was like a kick in gut.
The Avalanche would score three goals in the third period, but the Oilers were able to seal the deal with a Darnell Nurse PPG. They’ll take a 6-4 victory before heading to Winnipeg, but the cost was enormous.
UPDATE: #Oilers' head coach Ken Hitchcock says D Oscar Klefbom will be out "weeks, not days" with a hand injury suffered on Tuesday night in Colorado. Klefbom is flying back to Edmonton for further evaluation. #NHL https://t.co/4xY9s7Vn3g pic.twitter.com/wed4w7kDHj— SportsCentre (@SportsCentre) December 12, 2018
That’s quite an old picture of Oscar in the 84 sweater.
- It cannot be stressed how important Oscar Klefbom is to the Edmonton Oilers. Losing him for weeks is going to shake up an already suspect defence, and not for the better. Darnell Nurse will likely be vaulted to the top line in Klefbom’s absence, while Hitchcock is going to have to get creative in deploying Kris Russell. Does Russell move back over to the left for Matt Benning to move up? Does Kevin Gravel get a promotion, and does Jason Garrison become a regular in Klefbom’s absence? None of these are appetizing options. The short term ramifications of an Oscar Klefbom injury are likely very large. You can’t take a 25+ minute guy off the roster and expect nothing to happen.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins killed it last night with a three point effort. He’s having quite the season, now with 29 points (10-19-29) in 31 games.
- Mikko Koskinen picks up his tenth win of the season after turning aside 39 of 43 shots. He’s picked up wins in Edmonton’s last two games, Cam Talbot was victorious in the two before that. The club’s got that going for them.
- Happy Primary Assist to Milan Lucic. No, really, that was a nice assist to set up Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on Edmonton’s third goal.
- With Klefbom off the ice, the Oilers surrendered three goals to the Avalanche in the third period. League leaders Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon each had three points in the third, Gabriel Landeskog also picked up three points. Edmonton having six total goals in this game kept it from being a catastrophe.
- Some credit to the power play, who went 2-for-3 on the night.
- The Oilers are in Winnipeg tomorrow, there’s a chance they’ll get both Tobias Rieder and Drake Caggiula for that contest. Rieder has been out with a facial injury for most of the last month, while Caggiula was on IR after suffering a hand injury in practice last week. Can any of those guys play defence?
Oilers had a great showing this game. The best-case scenario for Klefbom is probably a Christmas return. Do you believe in miracles?