This one started quickly, folks. With just over a minute gone in the first period, Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid played catch in transition before the latter drove Oliver Ekman-Larsson wide and tucked home beyond a flailing Darcy Kuemper. A brilliant goal by brilliant players.
But the excitement would soon fade, as Leon Draisaitl turned the puck over at center ice to an anxious Michael Grabner. He crossed the blue line and fired a relatively innocuous shot from above the left circle that eluded Mikko Koskinen to tie it 1-1.
From there, the period played out to a stalemate with both teams generating a few looks each and the best chance going to Clayton Keller, who picked up a loose puck and was flat out robbed by a sliding Koskinen’s glove. At the end of one, the score remained level at 1-1.
The Oilers were the second best side again for the first half of the second period, with Arizona’s influence and lead both growing in the first ten minutes. A few solid shifts in a row before Carl Soderberg found some room on a two-on-one, kept, and beat Koskinen to the glove side. 1-2.
Midway through the period, the Oilers were being outshot 7-3 and Arizona had taken the lead. But the Oilers found a bit of life and drew their first penalty. Nothing would come from the power play, but they did find a bit of momentum, and began to string together a couple of decent shifts in a row shortly after.
Those, too, would yield nothing, but the initiative continued, and the Oilers found themselves with another man advantage to end the period as Connor McDavid was fouled en route to the paint. Edmonton couldn’t do much with the few seconds they had on the power play and the period would end with the score still 1-2 in favor of Arizona.
The Oilers’ first unit of McDavid, Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, James Neal and Oscar Klefbom finally found some success setting up in the OZ on the power play they started the period with, but couldn’t find a breakthrough. Neal would end it early after an extended spell of pressure with a tripping penalty and the Oilers would have to kill a penalty of their own.
They would, remaining perfect on the PK for the game.
The Coyotes seemed a bit less enthusiastic offensively and were on the back foot for the first half of the third. But, despite a healthy 8-1 advantage on the shot clock with about 9:30 remaining, the Oilers were still searching for the equalizer.
With just over 5:00 remaining in the game, the visitors were more than happy to sit back and trap. None of the forwards went lower than the hashmarks and Darnell Nurse was left to ruminate behind his own net while his teammates changed.
Moments later, Gaetan Haas forced a turnover down low and worked the puck to Kris Russell. Russell found Matt Benning, who threw a wrist shot on target that Zack Kassian redirected home past Kuemper to tie it 2-2! The Oilers were fully deserving of a 2-2 scoreline by this time, and once again a team content to sit back rather than press on came to regret it.
Arizona would start to push forward again after conceding, but the Oilers were able to fend them off. Connor McDavid had a great chance to one-time one but couldn’t settle the puck and skied a harmless one on target.
After 60 minutes the score would remain 2-2, and we’d need extra time to settle this one.
An overtime period lacking some of the firepower from Saturday’s, it was still end to end, with both sides manufacturing some chances in the first 90 seconds.
But, with just under 3 minutes remaining, Nick Schmaltz and Derek Stepan came in on a 2-on-1, with the former finding the latter for the first-time winner. 2-3.
The Oilers were average early and poor for the first half of the second period, but found some real life in the second half of the game and were full value for their equalizer. They have done quite well in games they’ve had to chase, but it’s hardly the easiest way to win. They’ve made a habit of turning it on late, but they need to start with the same desperation they finished with tonight.
All in all, however, it can’t be considered a bad night when the Oilers were 5 minutes away from the final whistle down a goal to a trapping Arizona team and still managed to escape with a point. Their rates after a strong third period might even paint them unlucky this evening, but it’s hard to feel too hard done by given how close they were to walking away with nothing.
*All numbers 5v5 and courtesy Natural Stat Trick*
CF%: 41-36 - 53.25%
FF%: 32-27 - 55.17%
SCF%: 24-16 - 60%
HDCF%: 11-6 - 64.17%
Shots: 23-18 - 56.1%
Golazos: 2-2 - 50%
The Oilers (10-4-2) welcome Taylor Hall, P.K. Subban, and the New Jersey Devils (3-5-4) on Friday night for a 7PM start.