The Edmonton Oilers were back in action just 25 hours after the start of their last game, a 6-5 OT loss in New Jersey, against the underwhelming New York Islanders. Mike Smith picked up a knock in the loss, so Mikko Koskinen returned to the crease for Edmonton with Ilya Konovalov dressing for his first NHL game as the backup. Ilya Sorokin was in goal for the host Islanders. Happy New Year, everyone.
Devin Shore started this game (I know) alongside Leon Draisaitl and Kailer Yamamoto (I know) after Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was moved to the IR just before puck drop. Predictably, it did not yield results. In fact, the Oilers didn’t yield much of anything, offensively, managing just six shots on goal in the opening frame.
Granted, Edmonton had to do all of the penalty killing in the first thanks to penalties to Connor McDavid for “hooking” and Darnell Nurse for “not being worth $9.25MM in perpetuity” — and Barry Trotz outfits are typically very stingy, and the Oilers played a literal day ago — but they really didn’t offer much going forward. Tyler Benson did have a pretty good look after a sweet pass across but he banged it against the outside of the post. That was about it.
Mikko Koskinen let one goal past him on the PK for Nurse’s foul, but I wouldn’t put it on him. The whole unit stunk, and Duncan Keith and Cody Ceci had floor seats for Anders Lee’s relatively uncontested tap-in from in close.
All in all — and despite the Oilers actually looking pretty good by the underlying numbers by the end of the period thanks to a late push after conceding — it was another disappointing start for the 2021-22 Edmonton Oilers, who have seen their opponents score first in 22 of their 32 games this season.
Leon Draisaitl got the Oilers back in the game just 33 seconds into the... second. He attacked from Sorokin’s right side and tried to find Kailer Yamamoto in front, but his pass deflected off Matt Martin and in to tie the game 1-1. Good enough.
Edmonton kept their momentum up for the better part of the period before weathering a brief pushback from the hosts and then regaining the initiative. Before the end of the period, they were rewarded once more for their efforts, after Darnell Nurse was in the right spot to cash in on a loose puck amid some chaos in front of the Islanders net. His knuckler somehow found its way through Sorokin to put the Oilers in front for the first time, 2-1.
The remainder of the period was fairly uneventful but, for the second time in two days, Edmonton fully erased an early deficit to hold a lead at some point. Hopefully it sticks this time.
Narrator: it didn’t.
It took the Islanders less than 3 minutes to tie it. Slater Koekkoek was turned over on the forecheck and the puck found Anthony Beauvillier in front for a gimmie. 2-2.
Otherwise, it took Edmonton almost 15 full minutes to register their first shot on goal of the period. So, I think that paints a picture better than a paragraph from me ever could.
The game wound up going to overtime, but only because Mikko Koskinen got a pair of huge nuts for Christmas and kept the languishing Oilers in the game. Maybe this time they’ll get the extra point.
Narrator: they didn’t.
The OT was real back and forth stuff that culminated with Noah Dobson walking over the blue line — because Darnell Nurse allowed him to — and beating Koskinen clean on the blocker side. 2-3.
Fire everyone or we riot.
Who cares? Until Nicholson, Holland, and Tippett are fired this isn’t materially changing in any sort of good way.