Well, before the game we saw some trade speculation.
Oilers organization is on a full court press to find help at forward. Scouts and staff deployed en masse.— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) January 14, 2019
Cap situation could make it tough, but first round pick, a goaltender, maybe a young developing forward likely all in play.
.@FriedgeHNIC just said on NHL Network that Jesse Puljujarvi is available in Edmonton. They’re all in on making playoffs this year. #Oilers #Sabres #HockeyTwitter— The Charging Buffalo (@TheChargingBUF) January 14, 2019
It’s caused a lot of worry among Oilers fandom because anything you can come up with in relation to this, sounds like a very bad idea. Personally, I’ll hold my outrage until something actually happens, there are enough things that already have for me to be mad about with this team, for me to start being concerned with things that haven’t happened. I’m not saying you can’t get mad yet, of course. But personally I’m keeping the bullet in the chamber until the stupidity does come to fruition. Anyway, onto the game.
Mikko Koskinen gets the start after Cam Talbot had the last two, hopefully he can make some saves, we’re going to need them.
Exactly one minute in, Conor Sheary throws a harmless looking shot on net after taking the pass from Rasmus Dahlin entering the zone, it beats Koskinen and just like that, it’s 1-0 Sabres. First shot of the game, as is tradition.
Two and a half minutes into the game, the Oilers get a weak one on Carter Hutton to equalize. Kyle Brodziak gives it to Zack Kassian as he enters the zone, Kassian takes a long wrist shot and after it appears to hit Zach Bogosian’s stick, it’s 1-1.
Pucks on net, good things happen! #LetsGoOilers pic.twitter.com/PSrWhkMRPm— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) January 15, 2019
Ok, less than a minute after that, another, weird, fluky goal for the Oilers. A pedestrian Caleb Jones wrist shot from the blueline is deflected first by Milan Lucic, and then by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to make it 2-1 Oilers. I don’t think the goalies are having a good time so far.
Nuuuuuuuuge with the redirect! #LetsGoOilers pic.twitter.com/tyqoOnLZya— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) January 15, 2019
Ok, Zack Kassian scored about 30 seconds after the last. The line came out flying, Tobias Rieder sends the puck from the wall on the back door play and Zack Kassian taps it into the wide-open cage. 3-1 Oilers. Shots are 5-3 Edmonton so far.
Zack is back & he's on the attack! #LetsGoOilers pic.twitter.com/F17NfLGKim— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) January 15, 2019
Buffalo rings one off the cross bar a few seconds after that. This really could be a high-scoring affair.
Connor McDavid might still be feeling the illness that kept him out of the Oilers Skills Competition, he just had two bad giveaways on the same play leading to high quality Sabres chances. Luckily Buffalo isn’t any better than us, so they didn’t score.
Nine minutes in, Evan Rodrigues ends up with the puck in front of the Oilers net, he quickly snaps a shot off the post, and past Koskinen. 3-2 Oilers. One of these teams has to wonder if they shoulf just pull the goalies. 5 goals and a post on a combined 13 shots.
A minute later, Matt Benning get’s beat to the inside by Sheary, Benning gets his stick where it doesn’t belong, and the Oilers are going to the Penalty Kill.
Oilers kill the penalty, and Koskinen only needed to make one major save there.
Seven minutes left and Rasmus Dahlin gets a really good chance. He takes the pass as he moves into the slot, wrists is looking glove-side, but Koskinen flashes the leather and shows that he actually is interested in playing today. Brandon Manning on the other hand, well, he sure doesn’t look like someone who was heavily scouted on that play. Just ignore the first few minutes.
After a good burst in the first half of the period, the Oilers are starting to show their true colors, Buffalo is getting a lot of good looks at the net, and firing at will. Koskinen is making the saves, but he sure is looking around a lot after making one.
Period ends 3-2 Oilers. I really don’t want to complain about taking a lead into the break, but we were out shot 16-9, and those three goals were not exactly high quality shots.
Less than 30 seconds in, Connor McDavid strips Risolainen of the puck at the Oilers blueline and goes in alone on a breakaway. He stumbles a few times, definitely still sick, but has so much of a head start that he’s able to settle the puck down, and scores five-hole. Beauty. Also kind of neat that this is the Oilers fourth goal of the game, and McDavid’s first point. 4-2 Oilers.
Connor's feeling 2️⃣2️⃣ #LetsGoOilers pic.twitter.com/OXS7Sq8FJd— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) January 15, 2019
Four minutes into the frame, McDavid again shows off his illness, and his skill. He gets in alone again, this time trips himself up before getting to the net, but hold on to the puck long enugh to find Chaisson, who sets up Jones, but Hutton stops him with the glove.
Wow there’s a lot of action here. Milan Lucic gets on the board, that’s unusual. Gets the puck in the shot, and takes a hard wrist shot to beat Hutton. His 3rd of the year.
Picks the pass & the top corner! #LetsGoOilers pic.twitter.com/fdvbXUScKU— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) January 15, 2019
Hutton gets pulled now, that’s going to happen when
Lucic scores on you you let in five goals on 12 shots. Linus Ullmark is now the Sabres goalie.
This game is back to a real fast pace. It’s about time, the past few games have been exceptionally boring with a ton of standing around. Today, the fans are getting a show.
Just over half the game over, and Buffalo sure doesn’t look like they’re quitting. They’re all playing hard and keeping the Oilers on their heels. They make a lot of mistakes but the effort is certainly there, you have to respect that being down by three. It doesn’t seem to work that way when it’s the Oilers in that position. I also must point out that Brandon Manning is remarkable — I make a remark every time he’s on the ice.
Tage Thompson gets himself a breakaway from the blueline, Caleb Jones does the best he can to try and angle him up, but can’t get there on time. Luckily, Mikko Koskinen is now on his game, and he loves showing off the glove.
That glove snag, though. That glove snag is real nice. pic.twitter.com/x4jxWhU0eC— NHL (@NHL) January 15, 2019
Matt Benning gets the Oilers first shot it what seems like a fortnight. Not a high danger chance or anything, just takes the pass from Leon Draisaitl and one-times it from the blueline.
And with three minutes left, the Oilers are going to be killing a penalty. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for tripping. Time for the Sabres to pad their shot total.
They killed the penalty quite well on that one, kept the Sabres to the outside when they had it, and made them chase the puck back to their own end a lot.
Period ends 5-2 Oilers, Sabres still killing it in the shot department 28-17.
20 seconds in and Draisaitl already has two dangerous shots this period. One coming in tight, and one from the high slot. Ullmark turns each away.
Ok, four minutes in and you’re really not going to believe what just happened — Milan Lucic scored his second of the game. He comes in two-on-one with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, opts to keep the puck and puts a hard wrist shot through Ullmark. Who had Lucic getting two in one game? How about three in a week? Strange times, but don’t complain.
Milan just MUSCLES it home! #LetsGoOilers pic.twitter.com/i4WtVXQzwz— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) January 15, 2019
Rasmus Dahlin flips the puck out of play from his own end, and the Oilers are going to the powerplay with 15 left. Maybe the Oilers can turn this into a blowout.
Yep, didn’t take long, COnnor McDavid comes flying in, Ullmark makes the save, and Draisaitl comes and cleans up the mess. 7-2 Oilers.
#NHLAllStar ➡️ #NHLAllStar #LetsGoOilers pic.twitter.com/CwwRbujlZP— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) January 15, 2019
Oilers play a good game of keep-away for about two minutes there. Benning, Manning, Puljujarvi, Draisaitl, and McDavid dance around the Sabres zone killing a whole lot of clock. No shots came of it, ut it’s a nice think to say.
Next, Jujhar Khaira decides that the Oilers need some more practice on the Penalty Kill, so he holds up Sam Reinhart — Griffin’s brother — and will have to go take a seat in the box.
Oilers killed it off, but less than five seconds later, Matt Benning cross-checks the brother of Griffin, and again we’re on the PK. I bet Chiarelli saw both of those penalties and wishes he had a Reinhart.
Yep, killed that one too.
Connor McDavid did his daily impression of Peter Forsberg with four minutes remaining. Did some tight turns, lost his check, faked a pass and rang one off the post. That would have been a nice goal to have, but we do have a five-goal lead.
And Oilers win 7-2.
- First things first, we do not complain about 5 goal wins, nor being tied for the final wild card spot around here. That was a much needed win.
- On the other hand, we were out-shot 42-25, and I don’t think it was just score-effects. It’s ok though, it’s a win.
- Remember when Milan Lucic said that maybe 2018 just wasn’t his year, and intimated that he’d be better in 2019. I roled my eyes pretty hard, but he does have more goals this year than he did in all of 2018 now... I still don’t think it continues, but if it does, that’s going to go down as a legendary statement.
- We really needed that win. I am exhausted with all the stuff fans do when losing takes place. The speculating, the outrage, the infighting, etc. I have nothing against it, but it’s nice to get a break from it on occasion. Winning a game won’t make it go away, but it might temper it until the next game.
- Secondary scoring took place. Kassian and Lucic with two a piece. Is it fair to call Lucic goals secondary scoring? In reality it is, but he was signed to be part of the primary scoring.
- Darnell Nurse has 17 points in his last 19 now. It sounds good, but I’m still not loving his game. Still, that’s a win.
- Mikko Koskinen started a bit shaky, but he turned it around and made some save. Both quantity, and quality. He was great.
- Brandon Manning is terrible. Whoever was involved in that alleged heavy scouting should be issues a mandatory drug test.
- A sick Connor McDavid is still better than not having a Connor McDavid.