After a tough loss where the Oilers carried the play for the most part, but made too many mistakes, and couldn’t get a save on Monday against the Jets. The two teams squared off once again on Wednesday night, but this time the Oilers got the better of the Jets, leapfrogging the Jets in the standing in the process (though the Jets do have 2 games in hand).
The Oilers got off to a strong start, with early first period goals by Puljujarvi, and then Draisaitl, shortly thereafter, both off the rush. However, on what turned out to be an erroneous high-sticking call on Darnell Nurse, the Jets were able to answer back and cut the Oilers’ lead to one by the end of the opening frame.
McDavid recorded his 500th career point with a primary assist on the game’s first tally, which was a fantastic shot by Jesse Puljujarvi. McDavid was the quickest to reach this milestone since Sidney Crosby, who, also recorded his 500th career point is his 369th career game.
Leon Draisaitl scored the lone goal of the second period in the dying seconds of a late penalty. His second of the night, on a beautifully placed shot, would be the eventual game winner.
Neal Pionk narrowed the Oilers’ lead to one in the third period, on a slapshot which caused Mike Smith to fall while flailing, as if he had been shot by a camouflaged snipper in the stands of an otherwise empty Rogers Place.
Still, Smith made 33 saves, and had an overall solid game. He helped the Oilers win a 3-2 game, which is huge for them.
Despite Winnipeg outshooting Edmonton 35-30, the expected goal models say that this game played out pretty close to how it should have. Moneypuck.com had the expected goals in all situations at 3.15 to 2.15, in favour of the Oilers.
Edmonton’s horses led the way by tilting the ice in their favour while they were out there at even strength. Connor McDavid had a game high +1.99 on-ice expected goal differential at 5 on 5, followed by his linemate Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (+1.45), and Leon Draisaitl (+1.39). (All courtesy of Money Puck)
Those same three players led the way via game score as well. McDavid had a game high 2.71, Draisaitl’s two goals contributed to a game score of 2.39, and Nugent-Hopkins also produced a game score above the 90th percentile with 2.26. (All courtesy of hockeystatscards.com).
Up next for the Oilers are back-to-back Battles of Alberta. The first of which will be a meeting in Calgary on Friday night, followed by a rematch in Edmonton on Saturday. The Flames will be coming off a drubbing to the Vancouver Canucks (they lost 5-1 on Wednesday night). So, the Oilers have the opportunity to deliver a devastating blow to their biggest rival’s season this weekend. Sounds like fun.
Of course, the flames could do the same to the Oilers, but I’m not even going to think about that.