If you like a good old-fashioned goaltending clinic, last night’s game gave you that and a little bit more.
Stuart Skinner was the star of the show for the Oilers. The native Edmontonian was absolutely the biggest reason the Oilers had a fighting chance in last night’s game. Skinner stopped all but one shot last night, a Nikolaj Ehlers blast with six minutes remaining in regulation.
The Oilers were no doubt looking for some revenge after getting their show run in Winnipeg by a 5-2 margin. Tippett’s response was to move Colton Sceviour over to centre, put Tyler Benson back in the lineup, and to give Stuart Skinner the start after an iffy outing from Mikko Koskinen.
I was hoping to see the top two lines establish a comfortable lead by the end of the first period, but this one belonged to the goaltenders. Stuart Skinner turned aside 17 shots in the first period alone, while Connor Hellebuyck was perfect at his end. It was a complete goaltending duel from puck drop until the 14th minute of the third period, and things didn’t even get wild then.
Nikolaj Ehlers took a pass from Mark Scheifele and blasted one behind Skinner with six minutes remaining in the third. It was a real deflating feeling, but Skinner had been perfect up to that point. The Oilers also had that pesky zero goals thing working for them at that point, and it’s terribly difficult to win any games with zero goals. Though Skinner had put on a clinic throughout the game, it felt like the Oilers had the air let out from their tires once Ehlers put it home.
How do you respond? The Oilers hadn’t scored a 5 on 5 goal in nearly two whole games up until this point. The Oilers had a couple of power play opportunities already, but nothing gave. How are the Oilers going to find the ab-oh, yeah.
Oh, yeah. That.
Seems like every week we’re seeing another goal that just defies logic. This week’s goal is sponsored by Adam Lowry hesitating for a tenth of a second, causing McDavid to see a ripple in the system. McDavid doesn’t miss and it’s 1-all less than 30 seconds after the Ehlers goal.
Connor McDavid would be called for a four minute high sticking penalty with less than a minute in regulation. Skinner and the Oilers were able to push it to overtime, where the Jets couldn’t figure out how to fire off a one-timer without the puck rolling off their blades. The Jets still put up eight shots in overtime. Skinner took care of them.
Connor McDavid and Kyle Turris scored for the Oilers in the shootout. Skinner stopped Kyle Connor and Mark Scheifele.
The Oilers win.
The Oilers win.
- Stuart Skinner stopped everything that came his way. A human vacuum. You don’t ever want to test your goaltender for 47 shots, but Skinner was there on 46 of them. It’s a hell of way to pick up your first NHL win of the season, and Stuart Skinner turned some heads in this game. He was named the first star, it’s a game he won’t soon forget.
- Slater Koekkoek left the game after he crashed awkwardly into the boards in the second period. Edmonton ran with five defencemen after that, and we got to see the Nurse-Ceci experience for a minute too. Tippett says he’s day-to-day with a lower body injury, which would lead me to believe that William Lagesson’s phone might be going off soon.
- Kyle Turris was Edmonton’s third shooter in the shootout, and he shut the door by putting one behind Connor Hellebuyck. I’ve been critical of Turris’ performance this season, but it’s easy to like when he buries goals in the shootout.
- Tyler Benson took back-to-back penalties in a 0-0 game, which might not exactly win the adulation of a coach. Tippett said he liked his energy last night, but was a bit too aggressive. (For what it’s worth, the second penalty was taken almost immediately after he exited the box for slashing on Dylan DeMelo. Both calls were iffy at best.)
- The fourth line doesn’t get any ice time, and I think we all know why. Benson had 4:26, Kyle Turris had just over five minutes, and Sceviour led the charge with 8 minutes, he’s providing some value on PK with 3 minutes last night.
The Oilers host the Blackhawks on Saturday night. Who starts in goal for the Oilers?