The Oilers head to the rink to take on the New Jersey Devils. The Devils are on the second half of a back-to-back after getting smoked by the Flames last night. If all goes well, the Oilers can take advantage of this the way they never seem to in these situations.
Well Cory Schneider is starting. It’s actually incredible how he went from one of the best goalies in the NHL to what he’s been the last few years. Because we’re playing him thugh, there’s a very good chance he reminds us of what he was.
So far a lot of dumping it in and going for a change by both teams in the first three minutes. Leon Draisaitl had a good shot within the first minute, other than that, waiting for the floodgates.
We get a fight in front of Koskinen between Milan Lucic and Curtis Gabriel. A lot of punches going on in this long tilt. Lucic gets Gabiel’s helmet off and gets a few good pops in before the refs eventually break it up. Lucic gets the edge in that one.
The Oilers get a very good shift with the top line out as Leon Draisaitl works the puck along the boards. The shift ends with the Colton White getting called for holding, and putting us on the powerplay.
Extremely sloppy play to start the powerplay as no one is able to complete a pass combined with a lot of players losing their footing. Settles down in the second minute as Alex Chiasson gets a couple good shots on goal from the blue paint. Schneider has that covered.
Second until out there. The AHL boys are the forwards — Cave, Currie, and Gagner.
Just as the powerplay ends, the Devils get out of their zone as Darnell Nurse misreads his pinch. Kenny Agostino ends up getting into the Oilers end, drives to the net and beat Koskinen with a softy. 1-0 Devils.
Just over nine minutes in, Sam Gagner tips a Matt Benning point shot past Cory Schneider, and the game is tied 1-1.
Correction, they are calling it Jujhar Khaira’s goal now. Someone tipped it, anyway.
That line again comes out flying. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins tries to set up Khaira on a rush. Khaira gets tripped in the process, and another Oilers powerplay coming up.
This powerplay looks much better with a lot of good looks at the net. Connor McDavid his a post, and Schneider has to make huge saves on separate sequences. Alex Chiasson hits a post of his own.
After the Oilers keep pummeling Schneider with shots, and working it around extremely well, McDavid hits Chiassson’s stick with a perfect pass, and he redirects the puck into the Devils’ net. That was a great powerplay, and now it’s 2-1 Oilers.
Koskinen has made a couple mistakes coming out to play the puck that have led to New Jersey’s best chances this game. I think he’s going to have to stop doing that.
The Oilers are starting to run away with the control of play right now. They’re out-shooting the Devils 16-4, and not showing any signs of letting up. Schneider’s save percentage doesn’t look amazing right now or anything, but he’s made some huge saves while getting no help.
With less than a minute left, Alex Chiasson gets called for slashing and the Oilers will have to kill the next 51 seconds to keep a lead going into the break,
And they couldn’t to it. Alex Zajac is left all alone at the side of the net, takes a pass from te point and beats Koskinen on the backhand. That one takes some wind out of the sails. 2-2.
Interestingly, to start this period, the Oilers now have less shots on the shot clock than they did to end the last period. I didn’t think that was something that actually got reviewed for accuracy. 13-9 now, apparently.
Also, they’re calling the 1st goal Gagner’s again.
Zero shots for either team four minutes into this frame. There’s a whole lot of dump-and-chase going on. I was really hoping the Oilers would stop playing too simple after that burdened them in the first, but nope.
I also find it funny when sports have unwritten rules about their rules. Like icing where you can dump it in from two feet before the redline, and be assured that you’ll never get called for icing.
Ok a few chances now for the Devils. Koskinen scrambles and had to make a few diving saves. Adam Larsson appears to be the culprit of leaving his guy wide open. Klefbom gets back and grabs Zajac’s stick, called for it, but worth it.
On the Penalty Kill, Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid get the best chance for either team. McDavid almost had a breakaway but couldn’t get his stick out in front of him before taking it behind the net.
It takes a pretty hard 180. Damon Severson takes a shot from the blueline, beats Koskinen, and goes post and in. 3-2 Devils.
The Oilers first line has a decent shift 12 minutes into the frame. There really isn’t much to report at the moment.
And a minute later, John Quenneville bests Koskinen with a slap shot from along the boards. That was a shot you’d really like to see him save. 4-2 Devils.
Koskinen is now being replaced by Stolarz. Hopefully this game turns around here, because it feels like it’s nearing an end.
And with three minutes left, the Devils add another goal just for good measure. Kevin Rooney takes a weak shot from the circle off an entry, and it’s 5-2.
With two minutes left, Darnell Nurse is going to the box for roughing. Good chance the Oilers end this period the way they ended the last one.
Or not, a Devils player takes a penalty, then on the 4-on-4, Matt Benning one-times a McDavid pass past Schneider. 5-3 Devils.
That assist also gives Connor McDavid 100 Points on the season. Three years in a row hitting triple digits.
That’s how the period ends.
Oilers are flying early on, getting a lot of traffic to the net and pinning the Devils. Generally speaking, this is what happens when a team has a lead in the third, but given the Devils’ defense, the Oilers might have a shot at this.
Five minutes in, McDavid gets the best chance going wide on the defencemen and cutting to the net. Just couldn’t beat Schneider.
Another thought I’m having — that I’ll share with you because not much is happening on the ice — keeping track of hits seems strange. The point of a hit is to separate a player from the puck right? It’s funny when you hear reporters and analysts always talking about hits, and asking coaches about it. You don’t hear them asking about pokechecks or stick lifts, and those provide essentially the same function. They also aren’t officially counted. I can’t tell if it’s because hitting is more exciting, or if it would just be too difficult to track the other things.
Half way through the period now, the Oilers haven’t managed to cut the deficit in half yet. They’ve also slowed down a ton since the strong start to the period.
11 minutes in, Will Butcher puts the puck over the glass and the Oilers go to the powerplay. Hopefully it looks like their last one.
It didn’t. Blake Coleman came flying in off the wind and scores a shorthanded goal putting the Devils up by three, and securing the win.
Before the penalty expires, Blake Coleman gets called for cross-checking. The Oilers will have a 5-on-3 powerplay for 6 seconds, and then 5-on-4 for 1:56.
The Oilers didn’t score on that extended powerplay either.
The team looks to have realized that it’s over now, no one is doing much now.
Oilers lose 6-3, and the playoff dream slips even further away than it already was.
Three straight 100 point seasons for McDavid is the only thing important to come of this.