The Edmonton Oilers played host to the Calgary Flames last night (yes, sorry) for the second time in three days — and final time this season — looking to rebound after a couple of tough losses in a row. Mike Smith, who has been nothing short of great this year, it must be acknowledged, was in goal for Edmonton while Jacob Markstrom went for Calgary.
The Oilers came out flying in this one, owning the flow of play for the first few minutes and drawing the game’s first penalty, a Jusso Valimaki hook on a bulldozing Jesse Puljujarvi less than five minutes in.
About a minute later, Connor McDavid put the Oilers in front. A wonderful solo effort that saw him start the sequence deep in his own zone before briefly trading it with Leon Draisaitl in the neutral zone. He got it back in time for a controlled zone entry, took on two Flames defenders and applauded one past Markstrom’s left ear to open the scoring. 1-0.
Edmonton kept coming, too, and strung together a couple more good shifts in a row before finding a second. Again, it was McDavid, buzzing in the Flames zone after a nice spell for the
top Super Line. Ethan Bear gathered at the right point before sliding it down for Draisaitl along the half wall and darting forward for the return feed. It didn’t come, as the puck went to McDavid further down the wall instead, but Bear stayed alert and drifted into soft ice near the bottom of the far faceoff circle. McDavid wheeled back up high and found Bear with a crispy pass, and Bear pounded a one-timer past Markstrom. 2-0.
Now, I don’t know whether it was purely a desperate Calgary side deciding to wake their asses up after the second goal, or if it was a Dave Tippett side content to ease off and ride out the game in a low-event sort of way, but Edmonton’s dominance ended after the Bear goal and they never hit those same heights again in the game. That they had to kill two consecutive penalties probably didn’t help, Bear for interference and Nurse for boarding, but they were on the back foot from then on.
The rest of the first wasn’t so severe, but you’ll see when you check out the Game Flow later that the Oilers were comfortably second-best after finding some insurance. Still though, they were able to see out the first and maintain their two-goal advantage. 2-0 after twenty minutes.
It was basically all Calgary from here on out, and Edmonton had to weather a decent Flames flurry to start the second. The Oilers drew a penalty after bending a little bit, but couldn’t nick one to put the game to bed.
Instead, Calgary was able to kill it off and then score almost immediately after. A stretch pass got the better of Caleb Jones, who tried to make a play and step in front of it when he got wise to the situation, and sent Matthew Tkachuk on a partial breakaway with Johnny Gaudreau trailing and Ethan Bear playing catch up. He fired a low one for a rebound that fell kindly to Gaudreau, and Gaudreau slid it past a still-recovering Mike Smith. 2-1.
Calgary kept pushing after sensing a bit of blood in the water and were able to capitalize and draw another penalty a couple shifts later (a bench minor for too many men, served by Kailer Yamamoto). Again, though, Edmonton was able to kill it.
But the Flames continued to push for the rest of the period, with Edmonton being out-attempted 10-0 (!!!) at 5v5 after killing it off. Mike Smith had his Schmidddyyyyy hat on , though, and turned away all comers. 2-1 after two periods.
A bit better from the hosts. Edmonton did just enough to saw the period off for about 18 minutes, trading attempts with Calgary on some occasions but also killing the game completely at others, with neither side generating an attempt at 5v5 for a few shifts in a row at one point.
Eventually, the visitors pulled Markstrom with a shade under two minutes to play, and the Oilers’ empty-net merchant, Josh Archibald, capitalized. 3-1.
McDavid collected his third point of the evening on that one, in case you’ve reason to count his totals and/or pace right now.
And they weren’t done, either. Calgary kept their net empty and Darnell Nurse got into the act, finishing off a Josh Archibald pass to seal it with seconds left. 4-1.
*nhl team absolutely dominates the game from the jump and goes up 2-0*— punished wilde (@keyantonyo) May 2, 2021
nhl coaching staffs: well folks, the best thing we can do here is turtle for 53 minutes straight and try to win 2-1
Attempts were 11-2 for Edmonton at the time of the second goal. They were 16-41 for the rest of the game.
What does Dave Tippett actually do here, exactly?!
That’s how many points Connor McDavid Needs to get to 100 for the 56-game, 2021 NHL season.
That’s the LOWEST xGF% from last night among the new second line of Jesse Pulujarvi, Ryan McLeod and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. That’s, something.
That’s the xGF% offered by each of James Neal, Devin Shore, and Alex Chiasson last night. That’s nothing. Two of them are the first two net-front options on the FIRST FUCKING POWERPLAY UNIT and the other plays ahead of Tyler Ennis, who is still the Oilers’ most productive winger — not counting Draisaitl, anyway — at 5v5 this year with 1.64 points per 60 minutes.
Seven games between now and May 15th. Five of them against Vancouver. The first of which goes tomorrow night at 8PM MST. Nothing like an 8PM start on Monday. Good job, Gare’.