Koskinen should get Vezina consideration for that performance alone.
The Edmonton Oilers came out victorious after a tense 2-1 overtime win against the Dallas Stars. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had the lone Oilers goal in regulation while Mikko Koskinen was incredible, saving 42 of the 43 shots he faced. The eventual game-winning goal came off the stick of Alex Chiasson as Edmonton capitalized on a rare OT power-play.
The Oilers probably shouldn’t have won this one, but who cares cause they did! I got the lowdown on everything that happened in this one...
The Oilers started the game exactly how you would think a team who played the day before would start a game. The Stars pounced on the Oilers and outplayed them for the majority of the period.
Denis Gurianov would have a few great chances, none better than an in close shot that walked the goal line but eventually missed the target. He was the best player on either side as he created chance after chance with his speed.
That isn’t to say the Oilers were without their chances. James Neal, in his first game back from injury, made a few nice plays at the offensive blue line and was able to hit a streaking Darnell Nurse who nearly beat Khudobin five-hole, but the Russian netminder was able to fight it off.
The Stars weren’t able to convert on their two power-play advantages while the Oilers were shut out on their once chance with the man advantage. Shots read 16-6 in favour of Dallas and it showed on the ice. Stars dominate but Koskinen keeps Edmonton in it. Scoreless after 20 minutes.
The Dallas Stars kept the pressure on in the early stages of the second period. A couple of grade-A chances were met with a few ten-bell saves by Koskinen who was proving to be the difference maker in this one.
Things would get dialled up a level when Leon Draisaitl was caught with a slash, sending Dallas to their third power-play of the night. The Dallas Stars turned into the shooting stars on this man-advantage as they plastered shot after shot onto Koskinen but could not find twine.
The momentum would then (finally) swing to Edmonton’s favour as Kassian demolished Stephen Johns behind the Dallas net and Chiasson would draw a cross-checking call after nearly missing on a chance in close. This would send the Oilers to their second power-play of the night with a huge opportunity to take the lead.
The hero would eventually be Ryan Nugent-Hopkins as he took a pass from Darnell Nurse and walked in to let loose a pattered RNH snapshot through the wickets of Khudobin. Nuge gets his 20th and the Oilers get on the board first. 1-0 Oilers.
At this point the shots were starting to get fairly lopsided in favour of Dallas. In the immediate minutes following Edmonton’s goals the shot clock read 25-9 for the Stars. Koskinen was given everything he could handle and handle it he did as the Oilers held a 1-0 lead heading into the final frame.
The third period started the same way the first 2 started. The Dallas Stars once again went to work to try to knot things up. The intensity was bumped up yet again by the Stars and this eventually led to Athanasiou taking his second penalty of the game.
Dallas failed to score on their first four power-plays but they wouldn’t make that mistake with their fifth. John Klingberg would unleash a killer one-timer that would finally beat Koskinen to tie things up at 1-1.
Dallas would keep on pushing but Mikko Koskinen was an absolute rock star tonight and held on for the rest of the period, despite a ticky-tack call against the Oilers late in the period. Despite the Stars outplaying Edmonton for almost the entire night we were heading to overtime.
The Dallas Stars had initial possession off the face-off in overtime, but some good defence by Darnell Nurse handed it back to Edmonton. Nugent-Hopkins would lead the first rush for the Oilers, make a good move around a defender at the blue line, toe drag in the slot and draw a tripping penalty. The Oilers were going on a rare 4-on-3 OT PP.
The Oilers failed to convert on a 5-on-3 earlier in the game but they would redeem themselves with this one. After Johns fumbled the puck deep in the Dallas zone, Chiasson picked it up and walked right in front of the net to beat Khudobin glove side!
OILERS TAKE THE 2-1 WIN IN OVERTIIIIIIIIIME!
- Mikko Koskinen was (as Leon Draisaitl once put it) f***ing phenomenal tonight. He was the sole reason why the Oilers weren’t blown out tonight and single-handily brought Edmonton to overtime. This is one of those games you look at and wonder where this team would be without the goaltending they’ve had all year.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins netted his 20th goal of the year in the 2nd period. This marks the third straight season that the Nuge has reached the 20 goal threshold and the 4th time in the past 6 years. He is invaluable to this team and is finally getting recognized as such.
- Andreas Athanasiou took two penalties tonight in a game that was pretty meh from his part. I still believe he should be getting more of an opportunity on the top line but he didn’t help himself with those penalties. Here’s hoping he can figure it out sooner rather than later.
- Defensive group looked tired today. It was the team’s 3rd game in 4 nights but you can’t lay back as much as they did tonight. They let up an egregious 43 shots on net and leaned on Koskinen a lot more than you would like to see.
- Chiasson getting the game-winner was great! I was screaming for a pass but the guy proved me wrong! He had a few chances throughout the game that he failed to convert on but this was a better night for him.
- James Neal looked pumped up and had a little pep in his step. He was relegated to the 4th line tonight due to other passing him on the depth chart since he went down with injury but he looked pretty alright.
- The win was a HUGE one as the Oilers now find themselves tied for 1st in the Pacific with the Vegas Golden Knights (depending on how their game with NJ goes tonight. Oilers improve their record to 36-23-6 which is good enough for 80pts. They open up a 5pt lead on the Calgary Flames and a 6pt lead on the Vancouver Canucks.
- The fight for the division continues on Thursday as the Edmonton Oilers will visit the Windy City to take on the Blackhawks. Lets Go Oilers!