Why can’t we hit the open net?!?!
The Edmonton Oilers were able to survive a late-game onslaught by the Los Angelas Kings to take home a 2-1 win on Friday night. The win catapults the Oilers past the Arizona Coyotes into first place in the Pacific Division.
Leon Draisaitl was able to take the league lead in points with both a goal and an assist on the night, while Connor McDavid remains just one point behind, picking up one assist. It was a game that was always eventful but was stressful nonetheless. It is also a fantastic response to Wednesday’s 5-2 loss to the lowly Ottawa Senators.
How did all this happen? Glad you asked, lets take a look at the game that was:
Edmonton seemed to get the message from Tippett early on in this one. The team established much of the early pressure and controlled the pace of play for most of the game. They would be rewarded with a power play about 10 minutes in as Mario Kempe was caught holding Kris Russell. The power play wasn’t firing in Wednesday’s game against the Senators (going a dismal 1/7) but it would be a different story tonight.
A frantic power play would eventually result in Leon Draisaitl firing the puck toward the net, bouncing off Drew Doughty’s skate and into the net. The goal was actually meant to be a pass to Chiasson, who was parked in front of the net, but they don’t ask how you get them. 1-0 Edmonton.
The Kings would respond shortly after when Blake Lizotte tucked home a rebound off a shot from Mario Kempe....or did he? The Oilers would challenge the play for offside where it was found that Lizotte was offside when Kempe entered the zone, so no goal!
The stroke of good luck would prove to be critical for the Oilers as they would head to the power play shortly thereafter after Joakim Nygard was hooked down on a 2-on-1. McDavid would send an absolutely beautiful pass to Alex Chiasson who, as always, was parked in front of the King’s net. With nobody around him, Chiasson would easily deflect home Edmonton’s 2nd power-play goal of the night. 2-0 for the good guys.
The Kings would get a chance late in the period with a power play of their own, but Koskinen stood tall to secure the 2-0 lead heading into the second.
The Oilers once again had the early advantage at the beginning of the period. They continued to apply pressure in the LA zone. Josh Archibald would nearly extend Edmonton’s lead on a partial break less than a minute in, but wasn’t able to cash in.
Things would eventually even out as the period went on as the Kings were looking to get on the board. Austin Wagner would have a few great chances at point blank range late in the period but Mikko Koskinen was able to match any challenge that the Kings threw at him.
Connor McDavid would lead few impressive rushes but nothing would come of them. Not a lot of noteworthiness in the middle frame, but that is good news for the Oilers. They would head into the final frame with their 2-0 lead still in tact.
The play continued to be a back-and-forth affair in the third period. The Oilers would get their third chance on the power play early on in the period, but failed to capitalize. LA would then get their chance on the PP soon after, where Koskinen stonewalled Drew Doughty with a fantastic pad save.
Things would get interesting around the 6 minute mark as Michael Amadio would finally solve Mikko Koskinen. It was a broken play in which Koskinen thought he had the puck in his glove when, in reality, it was loose in the crease. A scrum would ensue and it would Amadio who would whack the puck into the back of the net. 2-1 Oilers late in the game.
The Kings would continue to press and Koskinen would have to make a fantastic glove save on the shift after the goal. A few minutes after that, Dustin Brown unleashed a laser of a shot that Koskinen got a blocker on. It was evident that LA was anxious to tie this one up
A very stressful last minute of the game would see all of Patrick Russell, Josh Archibald, and Darnell Nurse miss the empty net and LA pour on the pressure. It was all for naught, however, as Mikko Koskinen stood tall for one last time to get the Oilers the 2-1 win.
- Tonight was not Edmonton’s best performances....but it wasn’t their worse either. You can tell that the team is missing both Zack Kassian and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who are hopefully close to returning. You can’t complain when you still get the win.
- I really liked the battle level from the bottom 6 tonight, especially with Riley Sheahan’s line. They were consistent for most of the night and had a few really good shifts inside the LA zone. Patrick Russell was, as always, an absolute hound on the puck all night long. Love to see that type of stuff.
- I didn’t notice much from Edmonton’s defence, which is a good thing. Adam Larsson in particular was coming off a very tough game against Ottawa this past Wednesday, so it was nice to see him have a rather uneventful night.
- Mikko Koskinen was another player who struggled against the Senators that had a nice bounce-back game. He didn’t face a lot of hard shots for the majority of the night, but came up big when he had too. His play in the last minute was HUGE.
- Special teams came up BIG tonight. Both Oiler goals came on the power-play and they were able to kill off each penalty against. It has been a story all season long and it will play a big role in whether or not they can make a push for the playoffs.
- Some other players that I liked tonight were Joakim Nygard, Jujhar Khaira, and Joel Persson.
- The Oilers get the win and, with that, they once again hold the top spot in the Pacific Division with a record of 18-10-3 and 39pts! The Arizona Coyotes continue to breath down their necks with 38pts. Edmonton will try to create some space between them and the Coyotes this Sunday as they host Jack Eichel and the Buffalo Sabres!