Perfection was once again on the line as the Edmonton Oilers were in Ottawa this afternoon — yes, I know, I will never stop making mention of the most bizarrely scheduled hockey game I’ve ever encountered in my life — to take on the Senators for the eighth time this season. Mikko Koskinen (9-11-0, 0.902%) returned to the Oilers’ crease today, opposite Marcus Hogberg (2-5-0, 0.859%) who was back in goal for Ottawa.
The Oilers came out fairly strongly in this one, generating the game’s first five attempts on goal before Ottawa managed their first. From there it was more back and forth, with neither side able to generate a ton of shots at net.
The trio of Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Jesse Puljujarvi were able to establish themselves in Ottawa territory on a few occasions. The Corsis didn’t necessarily match the drapes come period’s end, but they still finished the frame on the right side of the xGF% battle.
The second line of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Kailer Yamamoto, and Dominik Kahun had maybe their best period together. Jujhar Khaira’s line with Devin Shore and Josh Archibald appeared to play a fair bit in front of Ethan Bear and Caleb Jones, and that unit dominated the first period. Khaira rang one off the crossbar that fooled Jack Michaels and had a couple of good shifts in the OZ. Ottawa didn’t attempt a shot on Edmonton’s net with Bear or Jones out.
Ottawa started to settle in and pose the Oilers are few more questions around the halfway mark, but their momentum was threatened by an interference penalty to Artem Zub.
Sure enough, the Oilers made them pay. 2021 Vintage. Tyson Barrie passed it eight feet to Connor McDavid, who took a few strides before lasering a pass through the seam to Leon Draisaitl to step through. He did. 1-0.
Ottawa kept coming, though, and continued to push the pace they had begun to establish before the penalty. They were rewarded with a power play of their own, but didn’t really threaten the Oilers with their man advantage.
Shortly after the penalty kill, Edmonton drew another penalty through McDavid, but they couldn’t capitalize and find an insurance marker before the end of the period.
Still, a nice performance in the opening frame and a deserving 1-0 lead after outshooting the Senators 17-7.
The second period was all kinds of rough. First off, less than a minute in, Ottawa tied it. Thomas Chabot walked down from the left point and fired one from near the left circle that Koskinen had to fight off. The rebound went below the goal line, and Chabot was first to it. He walked behind the net and flicked it back in front for Josh Norris — who gained position on Darnell Nurse — to get on the end of. 1-1.
Edmonton drew another penalty after a wild fracas — in which they probably shouldn’t have had the power play, if we’re being fair — that began with a questionable hit by Jesse Puljujarvi on Ryan Dzingel:
oh boy! jesse puljujarvi with a big hit on ryan dzingel and some rough stuff ensues. pic.twitter.com/7HzTQ7vf1h— zach laing (@zjlaing) April 7, 2021
Ottawa killed the penalty off, however, and turned the kill into a bit of momentum. The Senators took over for the next few minutes, peppering Edmonton with shot attempts and generating a few looks that put Koskinen to task. Fortunately he was equal to all of them, and the game stayed level.
At the tail end of all that pressure Ottawa earned a power play via a Josh Archibald trip, but they couldn’t find the go-ahead goal.
Immediately following the penalty, Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid hopped back on and made Ottawa pay for failing to capitalize. Draisaitl deferred to McDavid just inside the blue line before peeling to the corner to Hogberg’s left. McDavid stopped, move centrally to draw attention from Draisaitl, and then dished one to him just behind the goal line. Draisaitl absolutely pounded it with only the blade of his stick above the line, and somehow put it past Hogberg. 2-1.
No damage either way for the remainder despite the Oilers’ rallying some after the goal, and once again Edmonton carried a one-goal lead into the intermission.
Ottawa again found the equalizer almost immediately. A relatively harmless transition made more harmful by Edmonton’s mishandling of it turned into Connor Brown firing one, unbothered, from the top of the circles and past Koskinen. 2-2.
Edmonton shook off the inconvenience and started to push back, controlling the next five or so minutes before Ottawa settled once again for a shift or two.
But that didn’t last long, as the Oilers’ top line — who, apart from the points, were on the wrong end of the fancies for most of the night — spent a smooth two minutes in Ottawa’s zone before Connor McDavid did this:
What do you even do, if you’re others?! What do you do there?! Disgusting. Keen observers might notice that play being entirely Tyson Barrie.
From there, Ottawa mounted a bit of a push as time wound down, but Edmonton was stout enough and Koskinen especially made a few nice stops to seal the win. At the literal buzzer, Draisaitl found his fourth career hat-trick thanks to an empty-netter. 4-2.
We take those ones. Edmonton led throughout, which always tends to depress the underlying numbers some, but you’d really love to see a bit more of a dominant performance against a team that can be dominated. Still, you love to see the two regulation points either way. These have been get right games all year, and tonight was no different. Hopefully they keep it rolling into tomorrow night and that the good times continue when they play actual NHL teams again.
That’s how many points McDavid and Draisaitl had tonight. Tyson Barrie collected two assists as well, making about 15’ worth of passes combined on both of them. Pretty impressive stuff.
These two teams mix it up again tomorrow evening at 5PM MST.