The Oilers are currently on a four game losing streak, including a completely disaster effort in the third period against the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday. Will this continue? I’m not sure. I don’t know what the record is for consecutive blown third period leads, but the Oilers are currently at three. That has to be close. Time to find out if they have another one up their sleeve, or if they can steal two points and, shockingly, remain in the playoff hunt. The West is really, really bad this year.
Just over two minutes into the game, the first shot goes in. Only this time, it’s in favor of the Oilers. Darnell Nurse takes a feed from Connor McDavid at the blue line, and one-times a slap shot past Devan Dubnyk.
Twenty seconds after that goal, Ryan Suter gets Ty Rattie with a high stick, and the Oilers are going to the powerplay. If they can get a goal here, it will be a very interesting lead to try and blow in the third.
Looks like a puck hit Ken Hitchcock as the Wild cleared their zone, he’s down the tunnel. What a season.
The Oilers powerplay wasn’t great, not bad, but not great. Managed only a single shot on net, and no goals.
The showed a clip of what happened to Hitchcock. He took a puck to the head, got him behind the ear, and he was helped by some doctors. He’d not on the bench yet, and Gulutzan is taking over head coaching duties. Not good.
Seven minutes into the game and the WIld don’t have a shot on net yet. This is very good defensive work so far. Although the Wild aren’t a terribly high-scoring team, it’s very important to keep the first shot against from happening early, as Oilers goalies seem to have really bad luck with that one.
Ken Hitchcock is back.
Half way through the first, and the Wild finally get their first shot on net. It was a weak wrist shot from along the wall, and Cam Tablot handles it easily.
After the Oilers were controlling most of the play this period, the Wild turn it on with a really good shift against the top line. They just tripled their shots, and looked dangerous. Luckily Talbot was able to make up for it.
The Wild have really adjusted now, they’re skating fast and pinning the Oilers. I hope it isn’t the strategy to turtle like this after getting a lead. It doesn’t work out very well to do that. On the plus side, the Wild miss the net, a lot.
Now we’re back to the neutral zone play with about five minutes remaining. It’s kind of funny, this is really boring hockey, with only 10 shots total so far, but I do not mind one bit when the Oilers are winning.
A major gaffe averted as Cam Talbot leaves the puck behind the net for his defenseman without noticing that Eric Staal was a lot closer. Staal grabs the puck and tries to tuck it in, but Talbot managed to get back on time. Gotta be more aware than that.
And that’s the end of the period, Oilers take the 1-0 lead into the dressing room, and lead the shots 9-6.
The first minute contained a lot of movement. The Oilers top line that now consists of Leon Draisaitl, Connor McDavid, and Ty Rattie got an early chance, before the Wild take it the other way. No serious scoring chances, but fast.
Matt Benning made a brutal giveaway to Charlie Coyle trying to make the outlet pass, it ends up being a three on one, but as Coyle tries to get the pass across for a Zach Parise one-timer, Benning is able to intercept the pass to make up for that error. It’s also worth noting, that he probably shouldn’t have been the only one in the zone when that happened.
And just over four minutes in Ryan Nugent-Hopkins leads a two on one with Ty Rattie. Gets the pass through an Rattie buries it.
2-0 Oilers, and RNH has 50 points on the year.
And now we’re back to more neutral zone stuff. Again, it doesn’t bother me as long as we’re winning.
Half way through the period and there is a scramble in front of the Oilers net. The Wild get a few good cracks at the puck while Talbot is sprawling. They don’t score, but Matt Benning is going to the box after cross-checking Luke Kunin. I really hope the Oiler can kill this. On the plus side, it took half the game to be short-handed.
The penalty kill was spent almost entirely in the Oilers zone, although, not in a bad way. The Oilers did a really good job keeping the play along the wall, getting into shooting lanes, and keeping the Wild from getting any sort of chance. They didn’t even get a shot. Well done, boys!
On the negative side, the Wild have taken the lead in shots, 17-12. That being said, they are taking a lot from areas that aren’t very dangerous. I’d prefer to see less, but containing the quality ones is important.
Still doing the neutral zone thing, but the Wild have added another four shots to the Oilers one. As long as Talbot can keep holding off the easy ones, we should be ok. Should be.
The McDavid line had a three on two just as the period comes to a close, McDavid from the left, to Draisaitl in the circle, to Rattie on the back-door feed, but Rattie missed the puck, and the period ends. Oilers take a 2-0 lead into the break.
Three minutes into the period, and Erikson Ek ends up alone in the slot with no one covering him, takes a pass from Jason Zucker out of the corner and beats Cam Talbot. There was some serious blown coverage there. I’ll give it a three way tie between Adam Larsson, McDavid, and Draisaitl. That’s one of those plays that happens. Move on, finish strong.
Kris Russell gets driven into the boards, and a scrum ensues. He’s struggling to get up, and cowboys his way to the bench, and down the tunnel. I hope he’s ok, we just got Oscar Klefbom back, we don’t need to be losing more defensemen. I can not believe that I am worried about losing Kris Russell, but here we are. And the Oilers are getting a powerplay out of it.
It took twenty seconds on the powerplay for Leon Draisaitl to bury a great feed from Alex Chiasson in the slot. 3-1 Oilers, despite being outshot 24-15.
Ok, Kris Russell is back, I guess we’re ok. Unfortunately, the Oilers are getting called for Cross-checking. Darnell Nurse doesn’t like it, but he’ll sit for two. We really need another kill here.
We killed it!
Immediately after that, Connor McDavid almost catches Dubnyk way out of his net, loses it, then, Draisaitl ends up with the puck, gets tripped by Mikhail Granlund, and the Oilers are back on the powerplay.
The powerplay looked alright with quick passes and actual player movement. Only got it to the front once, though. No goals, and only two shots. Still, that’s two more minutes off the clock.
Eight minutes left and Talbot is starting to be forced into his best. The Oilers are in full turtle mode now.
More board work and neutral zone play now, the Oilers aren’t turtling with Oscar Klefbom and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on the ice.
Milan Lucic doing some good forechecking on Suter. Gets the puck from him, send it to Rattie in the circle, and Rattie makes Dubnyk work for the save.
A minute after, Ty Rattie gets a breakaway, again, Dubnyk bests him. There might not be a player in the league who gets more chances than Ty Rattie, with so few goals.
Wild are pulling the goalie now, two minutes remaining.
Cam Talbot makes a big save on Granlund.
And Zach Kassian finishes it off with the empty-netter. Beauty.
- Oscar Klefbom was fantastic. Him preventing opposing players from entering the zone was so sorely missed the past few weeks, and I hope he continues play like that.
- Ty Rattie had maybe the best game I’ve seen from him. He still struggles defensively, but he’s getting the chances.
- Keep Nuge forever.
- Cam Talbot looked as good as he’s ever been. Turns out starting him was a good idea.
- I don’t think Ken Hitchcock went through concussion protocol, I hope he’s alright.
- Oilers did not blow the lead.
- THere were some flaws in this game, but no, I am not going to complain about a win. It’s so much more fun than losing.