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Oilers Clinch Playoff Spot in 5-3 Victory

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Connor McDavid leads the way as the Oilers trample the Canucks

Edmonton Oilers v Vancouver Canucks Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

The Edmonton Oilers defeated the Vancouver Canucks by a score of 5-3 to punch their ticket to the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs on Monday night. Connor McDavid continued his war path to 100 points, adding four more to get his total to 91 on the season. Jesse Puljujarvi booked in his 13th goal of the year while Mikko Koskinen finally has a winning record!

It was a memorable night for a lot of reasons, lets take a look at how we got there!

First Period:

The Oilers had a bit more fight in them at the start of this period. The Canucks had the early edge in shots but they came back with a nice shift of their own. One thing that was evident early on was the third line's speed with the injection of Tyler Ennis. McLeod and Ennis seemed to play off each other wonderfully and it resulted in some offensive zone-time.

It would be the top-line that got things going as a beautiful passing play by McDavid and Draisaitl ended in a Jesse Puljujarvi slapping his 13th of the year into the net! 88 points for McDavid and the Oilers get the 1-0 lead.

Mikko Koskinen was sharp in the Oiler net. He fought off a few nice chances by the Canucks in the opening minute and allowed Edmonton to gain the lead. It wouldn’t be enough to keep the lead, however, as Nate Schmidt capped off a dominant shift in the Edmonton end with a shot through a screen that beat Mikko short-side. 1-1 game halfway through the first.

Vancouver would have an edge in play as the period wound down but it wouldn’t cause any damage. We had a 1-1 game after 20 minutes.

Second Period:

It didn’t take too long for the Oilers to regain the lead. A scramble off an offensive faceoff led to Puljujarvi poking the poke toward a pinching Tyson Barrie who snuck it past Holtby. McDavid gets his 89th point with a secondary assist! 2-1 EDM a mere 18 seconds into the period.

Edmonton definitely picked up the pace after a pretty so-so opening frame. The RNH line was especially good as it seemed like they pinned the Canuck’s in their own end on every shift. But, once again, it was the top-line getting Edmonton on the board.

Connor McDavid broke in on a rush and did what he does best. He beats Holtby for his 30th goal and 90th(!) point! 3-1 Edmonton late in the period. It wasn’t game over quite yet, as J.T Miller responded seconds later with a breakaway goal for the Canucks. 3-2 EDM.

By no means were we over, either. Kahun deposited a sweet feed from Kulikov for his seventh of the year to restore Edmonton’s two-goal buffer. The Oilers were 20 minutes away from clinching as they entered the third with 4-2 lead.

Third Period:

Edmonton had the quick start tet again. This time it was RNH with room in front of Holtby, but his shot would go wide. Nugent-Hopkins was having himself a game, he had an assist already but he was pushing for a goal as well.

From here on out it was a matter of closing things. Edmonton went into a defensive mode as they clung to their two-goal lead. The strategy worked pretty well for most of the period, but it wouldn’t be enough to stop the Canucks from making it interesting.

Brock Boeser labeled a shot from the top of the circles through a screen to cut the score to 4-3 with less than five minutes on the clock. Vancouver wasn’t going to allow Edmonton to coast their way to a playoff berth quite yet.

It wouldn’t matter though as Connor McDavid would seal it with an empty-netter. 91 points on the year as McDavid records four more points tonight. 5-3 game.

After two pretty blah games against the Calgary Flames, they turned in a real solid effort to clinch a playoff spot! The final score read 5-3 for the good guys!

Takeaways:

  • Stop me if you heard this one: Connor McDavid is so amazingly good at hockey! His four points tonight moved him to 91pts on year through 50 games. He becomes just the THIRD player in league history to record 30 goals and 60 assists in 50 or fewer games. The other guys are Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky. Insanity by The Captain.
  • I thought Edmonton’s top-9 was really good tonight. RNH had his best game of the year as looked dangerous all night long. His linemates were also impressive. You hope that can continue into the playoffs.
  • Tyler Ennis should be a regular on this roster. He brings so much speed and skill to that third line and I thought he complimented McLeod perfectly. This is the closest we got to three scoring lines all year long.
  • Speaking of which, I thought McLeod looked good tonight yet again. He did make a mistake on the J.T Miller goal but there will always be some bumps and bruises for young NHL players. He looked confident with the puck and had a few good sequences in the offensive end. He is definitely Edmonton’s best option at 3C.
  • Jesse Puljujarvi is another guy I liked a lot tonight. He did what he has been doing all season long in creating time and space for McDavid and he got rewarded with a goal and an assist. All hail the great Pool Party.
  • Mikko Koskinen was fine tonight. I don’t think he was at his sharpest but he got the win so you can’t complain too much. Hopefully, he gets some more games down the stretch so he is more prepared for potential playoff games.
  • Merry Clinch-mas everybody! The Edmonton Oilers clinch a playoff spot for the second time in 14 seasons (good god)! Celebrate accordingly! Let's Go Oilers!