7th Heaven Baby!
The Edmonton Oilers squeezed out a tight 2-1 win against the Detroit Red Wings on a cool Friday night at Rogers Place. The team got excellent performances from their top guns and goaltender to improve to 7-1-0 on the season.
It was a quiet start to the game. Both teams had some jump at the start of the 1st but nobody was able to find the net. Edmonton did have a power play but James Neal struck iron to keep the game scoreless. Koskinen picked up right where he left off on Wednesday, turning away all 13 shots that the Red Wings sent his way in the opening period. 0-0 after the first 20.
The second period is where all the action happened. Edmonton put the pressure on Detroit and outplayed them for most of the middle frame. James Neal continued his torrid scoring pace by firing his 9th of the year through Jonathan Bernier’s 5-hole. Alex Chiasson got his first point of the season with an assist on the play; Darnell Nurse picked up his 5th assist. 1-0 Oilers.
The home-team didn't wait too long to add to their lead. A good play to protect the puck by Leon Draisaitl in the corner led to an Ethan Bear goal just over 4 minutes after Neal scored. Bear was able to fake a slapshot at the point, shuffle to the right, and wire a sneaky wrist shot through traffic and past Bernier. A very impressive play by the young rearguard to get Edmonton up 2-0 in the second.
Detroit wouldn’t lie back. Mike Green would find some open space late in the frame and send a shot off, Edmonton’s, Tomas Jurco and past Mikko Koskinen. It was a 2-1 game after 40 minutes.
The third period saw the Oilers come out with some jump but slowly falter as the game grew older. The top line of Draisaitl-McDavid-Kassian would be the best players for Edmonton but fatigue from the other lines allowed Detroit to press. Mikko Koskinen stood his ground and the team bent, but didn’t break. They pick up their a 7th win of the season, improve to 4-0-0 at home, and continue to rank among the top of the NHL. WHOO!
- I feel like a broken record, but the Edmonton Oilers got great goaltending once again by Mikko Koskinen. He weathered the storm late in the game and had a fantastic game all around. I noticed that he was knocking puck down behind the net more than usual as well...perhaps Mike Smith has been doing some coaching recently.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins hasn’t been talked about all that much this season so far, but he had a great game as well. He commanded the play when he had the puck on his stick and was buzzing around the net all night long. He had an excellent toe-drag move in the second that ALMOST resulted in a James Neal goal. Good to see from #93.
- Ethan Bear continues to impress me night in and night out. The young defender is noticeably better than the last time we saw him in the NHL and that is great to see. He played well in the defensive zone all night and showed off a few nifty plays with the puck when he was under pressure. His second period goal showed an enormous amount of patience and poise with the puck that you would not expect from a young defenceman. Bear certainly has the chance to become a special player for Edmonton in the long-term.
- The team responded to Dave Tippett’s harsh comments made after Wednesday’s 6-3 win over Philadelphia. While the Oilers did get the win, they allowed the Flyers to send a whopping 52 shots toward Koskinen. They cleaned that up tonight as they held Detroit to 26 shots. In turn, Edmonton fired a season-high 37 shots at Jonathan Bernier. Good response.
- I am absolutely in love with the third-line this season. Khaira-Sheahan-P.Russell have been fantastic in the offensive zone so far this season. They are strong on the puck and cycle the puck better than any other line, save for the top line. They haven’t put up any goals yet...but I’ll be damned if they don’t soon.
- The Oilers were not able to capitalize on the two power plays they had tonight, but they were close. The stacked top unit created a flurry of chances in the first period and were denied by the post. They didn’t score but they looked very dangerous.
- I hate to end on a bad note but I still don’t understand why Brandon Manning is getting ice time. He fought the puck for most of the night and was Edmonton’s weakest player by far. William Lagesson was just recently called up and I think he should get the nod over Manning on Sunday.
- What am I saying! I can’t end on a bad note! The Oilers won! We are on top of the Western conference with 14pts! How about we all hit up Whyte Ave and have a great weekend celebrating! See ya’ll Sunday!