JAMES THE REAL DEAL NEAL.
The Edmonton Oilers smack the New York Islanders 5-2 on the back of James Neal’s 4 goal performance. This marks the first win for the Oilers in Nassau Coliseum since 1999. Oh, and the Oilers sit alone at the top of the Pacific Division with 3 wins, 0 losses and 6 points.
As soon as the puck dropped to start the game it was evident that we were going to be in for a great game. Both teams were buzzing and the energy was high. The Islanders were the first to get on the board, as Anthony Beauvillier capitalized on an Oilers blunder and potted home a shorthanded goal. 1-0 Islanders.
This was short-lived, however, as James Neal ripped home a snapshot from the top of the circle to knot things at one goal apiece later on in the first. The Real Deal wasn’t quite done in the first period though, and he gave the Oilers the lead on an in-tight shot on the power play late in the frame. 2-1 Oilers at the end of one.
The second period saw The Real Deal continue his scoring dominance as he was perfectly positioned to tip home his third of the game to extend Edmonton’s lead to 3-1. Zack Kassian wanted to get in on the action as well and tapped in one of his own to make it 4-1 Oilers after the first 40.
The third period showed off James Neal’s charitable side, as he sent someone home with 100 thousand dollars by scoring his 4th of the game on a sharp angle shot....oh baby it is 5-1 OilTown! The Islanders would get one back, as Noah Dobson picked up his first NHL point with an assist on a cross-crease Matt Martin goal. 5-2 would be the final score and the Oilers.....HAVE GONE STREAKING.
- James Neal was the best Oiler on the ice tonight (duh). His 4 goals put his season total up to 6, which is good for 1st in the league. It also puts him 1 goal short of his overall total from the 2018/19 season (where he only scored 7 in 63 games). Thanks Calgary!
- The entire third line of Khaira-Sheahan-P.Russell were fantastic tonight. Who knew a 3rd line could have such an impact on a game! They were strong on the puck and ran a magnificent cycle game for the entire 60 minutes. Patrick Russell is really making a name for himself and could earn himself a permanent spot on the club....sorry Alex Chiasson.
- Mikko Koskinen did exactly what the Oilers needed him to do, stay steady. He wasn’t tested to harshly tonight but he gave the team saves when they needed it and was able to be a calming presence when Edmonton got hemmed up. A solid start for the big Finn.
- The Oilers power-play had another good showing tonight. The team showed plenty of structure and, apart from that one shorthanded goal against, were dangerous for the majority of their time on the ice. They were rewarded with 2 PPG.
- The penalty-kill was also pretty impressive tonight as well. Sheahan added some needed stability and experience and helped bring the big 3’s time on ice down a hair. They went a perfect 2/2 on the night.
- Tomas Jurco played a good game alongside RNH and Neal. He was strong on the puck and was fairly good down low in the offensive zone. I think we could see him cement a spot soon if he keeps it up.
- The imports had another good game as well, especially Joakim Nygard. Nygard showed off his impressive speed on a rush that nearly ended in his second goal of the year. Haas was less noticeable but, in all honesty, that is probably a good thing.
- Draisaitl had 2 assists while McDavid had 3 assists. #97 now leads the team in scoring with 8pts through the first 3 games of the season.
- The Oilers are in first place, Neal leads the league in goals, and Connor McDavid sits tied for first in overall scoring and It feels good to be an Oilers fan for the first time in a long time. Let’s hope my optimism isn’t dashed too soon.