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Recap: Oilers 4 vs Wild 1

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NHL: Minnesota Wild at Edmonton Oilers Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL season is too long, I think that needs to be stated. In the East, a few teams had unofficially clinched their playoff spot 3 months ago. And out West, the Oilers and Coyotes have been done for just as long. These late games bother me regardless, but the fact that we’re watching for nothing more than scoring races really is something that isn’t necessary. The scoring races are entertaining enough for me to watch, but not so much that I’m enthusiastic. I enjoy seeing Patrik Laine trying to catch Alex Ovechkin. I like that Connor McDavid is going for a 2nd straight 100 point season, but staying up this late to do so? That’s not working for me. With meaningful hockey and playoff spots on the line, the time isn’t an issue. In a season like this, pass.

So yeah, I get it. You didn’t bother watching the game and now you need a recap, there’s no shame in that. If I wasn’t the one writing this, I’d have done the same.

1st Period:

It was bad. I’m really just going to ignore the first frame because not only did the Oilers get out shot, but it was exceptionally boring. Boring is worse than bad. A lot worse, actually. Boring hockey leads to playing around on your phone, scrolling through twitter, reading angry tweet replies, and getting mad by reading the angry comments. It’s a bad situation for everyone. For that reason, I’m going to skip right to the second as the 1st period ended scoreless. At least Cam Talbot didn’t allow a goal on the first shot!

2nd Period:

The Oilers started this period with the newly formed McDavid, Nugent-Hopkins and Lucic line. Unfortunately, they decided to get pinned in their own zone for the first 2 minutes of the frame. They were lucky to get off the ice without being scored against.

The next few minutes was more bore. It was a continuation of the first period. The shot clock kept rising for either team, but there were no notable scoring chances taking place. I didn’t think I’d ever see that from a Bruce Boudreau coached team, but it’s still the Wild.

Luckily, Connor gives us something to celebrate at the half way point.

Connor McDavid gets the puck at the blue line, goes around a defender, drives to the net and takes a shot. Devan Dubnyk makes the initial save, but #97 gets his own rebound and opens the scoring.

Sixty one seconds later, Mikael Granlund holds Drake Cagguila and send the Oilers to the powerplay.

McDavid takes a shot on the powerplay. It’s a snipe — top corner. It’s very rare that McDavid takes shots on the powerplay, but it’s very effective. I definitely hope he can keep that play up his sleeve.

Near the end of the Period Matt Benning goes to the box for tripping up Zach Parise, the Oilers kill the penalty with ease and the period ends 2-0. A two goal lead heading into the third sounds pretty good.

3rd Period:

This period was far better than the other two. The Wild came out strong and the Oilers matched. The play was fairly end-to-end and each team was getting some chances. The Oilers even managed to kill off a few penalties early in the period.

Charlie Coyle got a goal half way through the period. Tyler Ennis makes a nice play by waiting for Kris Russell to lie down, and then easily passes to a wide-open Coyle. 2-1.

Three minutes later, Darnell Nurse gets called for hooking. I think you know where this is going. Actually, you don’t. The Oilers killed it off and avoided giving up the tying goal. Where were these results when the games mattered?

With just over four minutes left, Matt Cullen gets called for tripping Ethan Bear. The Oilers go on the powerplay and Leon Draisaitl seals the deal.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins added an empty netter and 4-1 is your final.

Notes:

  • Ethan Bear looked good. He made a few mistakes when the Wild cycled, he lost his man but recovered very quickly. I’m quite confident that there is an NHL player here. He had a good game. He even got an assist on the Draisatil goal.
  • Connor McDavid was outstanding. 3 point night for him, and he looked the part. There’s not much to be said about him that hasn’t been said before. He’s lived up to his ridiculous draft hype and is the best player in the NHL.
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had an assist on McDavid’s first and added an empty-netter. He was fine tonight. I didn’t see anything all that special explicitly because he and McDavid were together, but it didn’t limit the rest of the roster to do so. I’d like to see at least another game of them on the same line.
  • Cam Talbot was very good tonight. He even made a very important and big save in the 3rd when it was 2-1. He gets an A from me tonight.
  • Andrej Sekera had an assist, but I found that surprising as he was largely invisible. I really hope he can return to form for next year.
  • I prefer Dave Randorf to Drew Remenda. HNIC games are better for that reason alone.
  • Again, the NHL season is too long. I’d say by about 30 games.