The Edmonton Oilers (18-18-3) (6th, Pacific) were on the road to take on the Arizona Coyotes (17-20-2) (7th, Pacific) as they try to break their current six game winless drought. Going into this game, the Oilers’ best players have been their best players. However, the well has run dry in terms of support from the team’s depth though, not that there’s been a lot of it before this losing streak. Edmonton’s laundry list of injuries to capable players continues, with Klefbom, Sekera, Russell, Chiasson and Yamamoto on the shelf before this game.
The lines in practice looked like this:
Oof. Here we go.
Relatively low event start to the game, neither team able to get much going. Lucic looks to be off of the second line already, after only one shift. Replaced by Rieder. Shots are 5-0 Coyotes five minutes into the game, as the Oilers can’t seem to connect on a pass yet.
Rieder and Pujuljarvi almost tuck one in on a 2 on 1 created by their speed, but can’t get the shot off. At least they drew a penalty. Draisatl with a few good chances and RNH bounces one off the post, but the boys can’t find the back of the net. Three shots for the Oilers on that powerplay.
At the end of a long shift for the McDavid line, coverage collapses in the Oilers zone and Nurse is unable to tie up Richardson’s stick in front of the net. Richardson taps in the deflection in front, 1-0 Coyotes.
Hill absolutely ROBS Spooner from a nice play made by Rieder and Nurse. Could have used that one, but it was a great save. Would be nice if Rieder or Spooner could get going one of these days.
Brodziak follows that play up by taking a useless boarding minor – ‘Yotes to the PP. Nothing doing for Arizona in the first minute, and Galchenyuk takes a hooking call. 4 on 4. Oilers can’t get anything through on their short powerplay, and they’re 0 for 2.
In a scarier moment, one of the linesmen goes down after taking a dump in attempt off the back of the neck. He stayed down for a while, but was able to skate off on his own. Hope he’s okay.
First period over. 1-0 Arizona, shots are 16-7. Koskinen holds the Oilers in the game, but Edmonton needs a lot more urgency in their game at this point if they want the winless streak to end.
A few minutes into the second, Leon has ties the game up at 1 after a faceoff win and smart deflection in the high slot. With his 22nd goal, Draisatl now leads the team in goals. McDavid and Larsson with the assists. On the same shift, Kassian and Draisatl almost jam another one in. No luck though. 1-1 still.
Third powerplay of the night for the Oilers coming up after Garland hooks Larsson. The top unit gets one good look from a Draisatl shot after a broken play in the slot, but otherwise the powerplay draws another goose egg.
The Pujuljarvi-RNH-Rieder line gets another good look, but can’t get it to go. Spooner then finds Jones in the low slot, but they can’t connect either.
Draisatl throws a no-look pass up the ice to seemingly no one, then all of a sudden Kassian is there who finds a streaking McDavid and he dangles Hill for the goal. Beauty tuck for the captain. 2-1 Oilers. Great play by the first line, and McDavid collects his 60th point of the season.
End of second. 2-1 Oilers. Shots 26-19 in favour of Arizona.
Not much to report from the first few minutes of this period, both teams trade some not-so-dangerous attempts. Nothing particularly exciting until Galchenyuk misses out on a couple of high-quality scoring chances, but Jones and Koskinen are there to hold the fort.
Side note - is it just me or has there been a lot of icing calls? Woof, boring period.
Coyotes are pressing, but the Oilers aren’t allowing many shots. The “bend don’t break” model of defence seems to be working... so far. Koskinen makes a nice save on Hinostroza, as he’s made a few nice saves throughout this game.
Petrovic crushes Hinostroza later on in the period, the latter of which did not see the big man coming through the scrum.
Calyton Keller, The Coyotes’ All Star, has a dynamite chance with under two minutes, and he just misses the wide open cage as he hits the side of the net. He was trying to end a 14 game goalless drought.
McDavid then gracefully blocks an OEL point shot and streaks in to score on the open net and seal the deal. 3-1 Oilers.
It wasn’t the prettiest of wins, or the most entertaining of games, but they got it done on a relatively complete effort from the team. They ended the Oilers longest losing streak since McDavid’s rookie season. Now they need to go into the next three games of this Pacific road trip and string a few together.
In my opinion, I think Lucic should sit a couple games once Chiasson and Yamamoto come back. He can barely complete a 4 foot pass let alone add anything useful to the Oilers forward group. I’m cheering for him (mostly because we need anything from the guy), but it’s tough to watch.
The Oilers will be back on Saturday in LA, facing the lowly Kings. The points in that game are winnable and needed. See you then.