The Edmonton Oilers were able to get back into the win column with a 4-2 win against the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday night. Connor McDavid led the way with 2 goals to extend his point streak to 9 games, while Leon Draisaitl picked up 3 assists to give him a league leading 47pts on the year.
It was one of the more exciting matchups this season as both teams traded chances all night long, with Mike Smith turning away 25 shots of the 27 that he faced. In the end it was the tenacity of McDavid and Draisaitl that led Edmonton to their 15th win on the season.
How did we get here? Glad you asked, let's take a look.
The Edmonton Oilers had the early jump out the gate in this one. It seemed as though they were working hard to forget about Thursday night’s 5-1 loss in Los Angelas. It would reward them less than 6 minutes into the game as Conner McDavid outlasted Marc-Andre Fleury in front of the net to get the Oilers the early lead. The goal was the result of some great work in the Vegas corner by both Zack Kassian and Leon Draisaitl. An absolute stunner that we should be seeing on the highlight reel for a few weeks.
The Oilers would strike again at the 4 minute mark of the period, as Leon Draisaitl found Ethan Bear in the slot, who would fire home his 4th of the year. The shot was an absolute laser that fooled Fleury all the way through; a very impressive showing from the young Bear.
Not to be outdone, the Golden Knights would find their way onto the board in the last minute. A Nick Holden slapshot from the point would bounce off Max Pacioretty into a scramble in front of the Edmonton net, where Cody Eakin would bat it over the shoulder of Mike Smith.
Jonathan Marchessault had a fantastic chance to tie things a few seconds later, but the Oilers would hang onto the one goal lead after 20.
Both teams would come out swinging in the middle frame. Vegas would have a few good chances on Smith, but it would all be overshadowed by a magnificent save by Marc-Andre Fleury on Josh Archibald early on in the period.
Fleury’s heroics wouldn’t keep Edmonton off the board however, as Markus Granlund would tuck home his 2nd of the year later on to give Edmonton a 2 goal lead. That insurance would come in handy 2 minutes later, as Shea Theodore would score an absolute beauty to make the score 3-2.
A lot of hitting and a few grade A chances by each side kept both teams on alert for the rest of the period, but nothing else would find the back of the net.
Oilers had a 3-2 lead after 40.
The Oilers entered the 3rd period trying to win their 10th game of the year when leading after the first 40 minutes. They failed to do so a few nights ago against Dallas, blowing a 4-2 lead en route to a 5-4 OT loss.
The culprit in that loss against the Stars was a lack of urgency, something that Edmonton stayed away from tonight. This would be helped by a power-play goal by Connor McDavid, his second of the night. The Oilers held their third 2-goal lead of the night.
From then on it would be a fantastic display of defensive hockey for the Edmonton Oilers. The Golden Knights would have a few good chances, but nothing else would fool Mike Smith.
The Oilers improve to 15-7-4 on the year and continue to hold the top spot in the Pacific Division.
- Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl? Freakishly good, next question.
- Wasn't the biggest fan of putting Mike Smith back in the net after Thursday night’s dismal performance against the Kings, but it worked out in the end. He had a few very good saves, notably on Marchessault in the dying seconds of the 1st period, that helped Edmonton stay ahead all night long. Koskinen will get the call tomorrow in Arizona.
- Josh Archibald continues to impress me recently. He is relentless on the forecheck and would’ve had his first goal of the season if not for a fantastic save by Fleury.
- Ryan Reaves was doing his thing against the Edmonton Oilers tonight, but crossed the line on play in particular. He cross-checked Oscar Klefbom directly in the numbers in what could have been a scary play. Did he get a penalty? of course not....Klefbom was able to skate it off.
- Another great night by both Ethan Bear and Caleb Jones. Bear has already cemented himself a permanent spot on the roster.....can Jones do the same over the next few weeks?
- Staying on the blue line, I like the battle level of Adam Larsson tonight. He struggled in periods tonight, but that is expected coming off an injury of his kind.
- The Oilers are hoping to string together a few wins this weekend and it is off to a great start! They’ll be in Glendale, Arizona tomorrow night to take on the Arizona Coyotes at 6pm MTN. Th Coyotes are breathing down the Oilers necks in the Pacific Division so it will be a battle.