We back in first baby!
The Edmonton Oilers unleash an explosion of goals as they defeat the Arizona Coyotes by a score of 7-3. The win moves the Oilers into a 3-way tie for 1st place in the Pacific Division with the Calgary Flames and Arizona Coyotes.
The team got a huge boost from player that you might not expect. Outside of Connor McDavid’s two goals, the Oilers also got goals from Josh Archibald, Kailer Yamamoto, Sam Gagner, Joakim Nygard and Riley Sheahan. The best of the bunch was Riley Sheahan as he put up 4 point night (1 goal and 3 assists).
It was a great game to watch if you’re an Oilers fan....if you weren’t able to watch it I got the recap right here:
The afternoon start didn’t seem to phase either team heading into this one. The pace of play was quick early with the Oilers having the early edge in pressure. Things were looking good for the home team. Things were interrupted, however, as Sam Gagner was caught with a slashing call and sent Edmonton to the to an early penalty-kill. It turned out to be anything but an interruption as some hard work along the boards by Kris Russell and Riley Sheahan sent Josh Archibald on a shorthanded break. A nice move was able to open up Raanta’s five-hole where Archibald deposited the game’s first goal. 1-0 Edmonton.
The Coyotes would have a few good chances following the power-play but weren’t able to get one past Mike Smith. Edmonton would then get their first power-play opportunity shortly after, in which an egregious turnover by Mike Smith was the sole highlight. Luckily Oscar Klefbom was in front of the Edmonton net to prevent the goal.
The Oilers weren’t able to get anything going on the PP chance but it wouldn’t matter anyway, as Riley Sheahan picked up the puck behind the Coyote net and find Gagner in front, who was able beat Raanta from a sharp angle. 2-0 Oilers!
From here it looked like Arizona was getting desperate. They started to pour on the pressure late in the period but Mike Smith was able to stand tall in the Edmonton net. Smith’s hard-work paid off big as the Oilers were able to charge up the ice and cause some chaos in front of the Arizona net. Leon Draisaitl was able to get a point blank shot which Raanta was able to save, but the rebound came right to Kailer Yamamoto. Yamamoto’s shot bounced off of Raanta and across the blue paint. In a bid for a desperation save, Raanta dived across the net and knocked it into his own net with his arm. Yamamoto was given credit for his third goal of the season and the Oilers were off to a nice 3-0 lead.
Edmonton would be awarded a late power-play but nothing else would get by either goaltender. The Oilers had the worst lead in hockey after the first 20 minutes.
The Oilers carried the power-play into the start of the 2nd period and they wouldn't wast this one. After a fantastic chance by Leon Draisaitl missed the net the Oilers were able to set-up in the Arizona end. Connor McDavid would hold onto the puck on the left side of the ice and eventually walk in and fire a shot that beat Raanta. Less than a minute into the middle frame the Oilers extended their lead to 4-0.
Edmonton wouldn’t stop there. Nearly 5 minutes after McDavid’s power-play marker the team’s third line would generate some more offence. Riley Sheahan would, once again, pick up the puck behind the Arizona net and feed a pass up the middle of the ice that found Joakim Nygard. Nygard would thread the needle through traffic in front and into the net. An astounding 5-0 lead for the Oilers early in the second period.
The Coyotes wouldn’t stand pat, however, as Taylor Hall would get the vistors on the board shortly after the Nygard goal. The former 2010 1st overall pick would let loose a lightning quick release from the right-side face-off circle that zipped by Smith. A hectic start to the period leads to a 5-1 lead for Edmonton.
Arizona would strike again after Connor McDavid was caught on a rather weak interference call. The initial shot would be stopped but Christian Dvorak would pot the rebound. A comeback? Perhaps, we sat at 5-2 with 10 minutes to go in the period.
The pace started to pick up in a big way here as it became a barn-burner with each team trading chances. The speed would catch up to Arizona as Derek Stepan would hook James Neal giving Edmonton another chance with the man-advantage. The Oilers would get a few dynamite chances including a one-timer from Draisaitl that caught the post but they wouldn’t be able to capitalize.
They would, however, capitalize later in the period as Josh Archibald found Connor McDavid on a 2-on-1, who made no mistake on his second of the game. Oilers restore the 4-goal lead as they led 6-2 after 40 minutes of play.
6 goals against after 40 minutes of play would be the stat-line for Antti Raanta as the Coyotes would go with Adin Hill to start the 3rd period. The Coyotes would strike first as a few quick passes would send Derek Stepan on a breakaway where he would slide it 5-hole on Mike Smith....or would he? The Oilers would challenge the play for offside and it was deemed that Clayton Keller was, indeed, offside so NO GOAL. The score remains 6-2 for Edmonton.
That wouldn’t slow down Arizona’s momentum. They continued to push to get back in the game and it eventually resulted in a slashing penalty to Adam Larsson. This led to a goal that would count after Oliver Ekman-Larsson fired a wrist shot over the glove of Mike Smith. 6-3 Edmonton with 8 minutes left on the board.
Arizona coach, Rick Tocchet, would then pull an unusual move by pulling their goalie with over 4 minutes to play. His team was down by 3 at the time so it a little bit of sense...but it wouldn’t pay off. Riley Sheahan would cap off an excellent game with an empty-netter. That would make it 7-3 for the Edmonton Oilers and that's how we would end things off!
- Connor McDavid made some history with his second goal of the game. It marked McDavid’s 448th point in an Oilers uniform which passes Shawn Horcoff for 9th in Oilers franchise history. Next up is Ales Hemsky at 477....a mark that is certaintly in the realm of possibility this season.
- Oscar Klefbom blocked a shot late in the 2nd period that stung quite a bit. He went directly to the dressing room and the entirety of Oil Country held their breath. Luckily he was back out there for the third and it appears that he will be fine moving forward. At this point in the season a Klefbom injury would be incredibly difficult to overcome.
- Mike Smith got his 5th straight win to improve his 2020 record to 5-0-1! I am a HUGE critic of how Smith plays but you can’t argue with results! Good on him!
- Depth scoring was the story for the Oilers in this one. They got goals from Josh Archibald, Sam Gagner, Kailer Yamamoto and Joakim Nygard in one of the most important games to date. As we head into the stretch it is important that the team gets this kind of support.
- One name I didn’t mention in the depth scoring conversation was Riley Sheahan. He was fantastic against the Coyotes picking up a goal and 3 assists in his first career 4-point game of his career. He had a rough start to the season but has really picked up the pace recently....his presence on the third line has the potential to be VERY important as the team makes a playoff push.
- Taylor Hall scored against the Oilers....cause of course he did.
- The Oilers move into a 3-way tie for first place in the Pacific Division heading into the All-Star break! Things are starting to look up! The Oilers return from the break on January 29th for a highly anticipated rematch with the Calgary Flames! LETS GO OILERS!