There’s plenty to be concerned about with the Oilers right now. They’re without their number one defenceman for some time, and a new face was on the blue line for his first regular season contest. The entire defence is a juggling act in motion right now. The wings are practically the same as when the season began. Plus, the Oilers were coming off an OTL in Winnipeg the night prior. Philadelphia’s no screaming hell, but this game had plenty of lingering doubt before the start.
Yeah, none of that happened.
The Oilers took care of the Philadelphia Flyers by a 4-1 score last night. Mikko Koskinen was nearly perfect for his eleventh win of the season, Connor McDavid had a three point night, and most everything worked out for the better. The Oilers are alone in third place in the Pacific Division. Life’s not bad.
The Alex Chiasson thing is getting out of hand. He just keeps scoring goals, numbers be damned. I want everyone to marvel at this, because I can’t think of a heater this good in recent memory. Chiasson’s a freak of nature right now. This goal puts Edmonton up 1-0 midway through the first, it’s Alex Chiasson’s fourteenth goal of the year in just his 27th game. Remember how Ty Rattie was in the lineup at the beginning of the year, but Alex Chiasson had to sit for the first handful of games? Chiasson’s played in a half dozen less games than everyone else on the club. Chiasson’s shooting percentage is 30.4. It’s kind of loony. To put that into perspective, Connor McDavid’s shooting percentage is 16.8. Everything that Chiasson is tossing on net seems to find twine. It’s a good thing, so long as it lasts.
The Oilers took a 1-0 lead to the dressing room after 20 minutes.
Connor McDavid does it all on the club’s second goal. Not only does he pick Shayne Gostisbehere’s pocket behind his own club’s goal line. Leon Draisaitl gets it back to McDavid, and McDavid banks the puck off Alex Stolarz into the net. This goal reminds me of one McDavid scored a year or two ago against a shell-shocked Semyon Varlamov. I ran out of superlatives for Connor McDavid at the end of the 2016-17 season. We’re used to this sort of thing by now, but it’s other-worldly. Oilers are up 2-0 after this goal with seven minutes to go in the period.
Things get really out of hand when Adam Larsson scores just ninety seconds later to make it 3-0. You can go on and kick your socks off now.
Adam Larsson’s scoring goals, and things are going really well for the Oilers. This goal makes it 3-0 for the Oilers, they’d end the period at this score.
Midway through the third period, Jakub Voracek would strike for the Flyers to make it 3-1. It would be Philadelphia’s only tally of the day. They’d pull their goaltender for an extra attacker late in the third, when Connor McDavid would drop it into a yawning net. 4-1! The Oilers are victorious on the tail end of a back-to-back!
- Things are good right now. I mean, they’re as good as they can be when your number one defenceman is out for weeks. Four goals versus Philadelphia, a win. Four goals versus Winnipeg, an overtime loss. Six goals versus Colorado, a win. A 1-0 shutout against Calgary, a win. Seven goals over Minnesota, a win. That’s nine points out of their last possible ten. Give me that all day.
- I had some serious doubts about Mikko Koskinen before this season. His preseason looked wobbly as heck, and I saw absolutely no reason why he would be a lock at 1 MM, let alone 2.5MM. So far, he’s proven me wrong. Last night, he turned aside 31 of 32 shots for his eleventh win of the season. He’s holding down a .930 SV%, which is high. With Cam Talbot having a bit of resurgence as of late, it’s good to see two goaltenders who are holding it down.
- I’ve extolled the virtues of one Alex Chiasson already, but three more points for Connor McDavid puts him at 48 on the year (19-29-48). He’s tired for second place with Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon, five behind Colorado’s Mikko Rantanen.
- Caleb Jones had 11:59 in ice time in his regular season debut, and he wasn’t on the ice for any goals against (it was Adam Larsson who had his pocket picked on the Voracek goal). For as long as Oscar Klefbom and (to a much lesser extent) Kris Russell are out with injuries, the blue line is going to be a giant blender. Teamed with Kevin Gravel, Jones didn’t appear out of place in his regular season debut.
- Darnell Nurse and Adam Larsson are going to be just eating minutes during this time. Nurse had just about twenty-eight minutes, Larsson had just over twenty-five. Jason Garrison pulled in over sixteen minutes of ice last night, and I’d be willing to bet that is a season high for Garrison. When you yield one goal ad score four, you tend not to worry about that.
- Wanna see something pretty cool?
- The Oilers have peeled off a 9-2-2 run since Ken Hitchcock has assumed coaching duties. Not coincidentally, the Oilers have reached third place of the Pacific Division on December 14th, 2018. They’ve only got four more months to hold that spot. They can keep on holding on with a win in Vancouver on Sunday night.