The Edmonton Oilers (12-10-0), fresh off their second last-minute-comeback-win in as many games, were in Chicago on Wednesday night to take on a languishing Chicago Hockey Club (6-11-4) that has lost their last 7. Stuart Skinner (5-5-0, 0.919) was in net for the visitors, with Arvid Soderblom (2-4-2, 0.910) his opposite in the Chicago goal.
The Oilers had to kill a penalty after the second shift thanks to a Jesse Puljujarvi hook on Connor Murphy. They were able to, successfully and without much in the way of incident, but then found themselves doing a bit of defending on the next couple of shifts. Stuart Skinner was sharp early, with a save on a wide open slap shot from Jack Johnson standing out.
Truthfully, it was a bit boring, until I said as much on Twitter, and then the top line went nuts and hit 3 posts in about 45 seconds.
Shortly after that, the Oilers drew their first penalty thanks to some overzealousness from Jake McCabe on the forecheck.
The Oilers made Chicago pay within the first minute of the PP through a Zach Hyman one-timer, but the goal was eventually challenged for goaltender interference and was wiped after a quick review. Hyman shoved Seth Jones into his own net just prior to getting open for the shot. 0-0. LFG?
The power play continued, but the first unit couldn’t cash with the rest of their time, and the second unit couldn’t either. Chicago dodged it, but by the end of the penalty the Oilers were in full control of proceedings. They couldn’t restore their 1-0 advantage, but went into the break after a comfortable, if frustrating, first 20 minutes. 0-0 on the scoreboard, 14-6 on the SOG clock.
It took the Oilers a minute to score the game’s first goal for the second time. Darnell Nurse, playing in his 500th NHL game, found Leon Draisaitl in his familiar corner office with an absolute beauty of a feed for Draisaitl to tap home from in close. 1-0. LFG.
it doesn't take long for the oilers to get on the board in the second. leon draisaitl makes it 1-0. pic.twitter.com/fgoKfzroLj— zach (@zjlaing) December 1, 2022
From there, the Oilers kept pressing and eventually were rewarded with their second PP of the game. Once again, however, they couldn’t find a goal, and Chicago seemed to gain a bit of a foothold in the game after their successful kill.
Unfortunately, Jesse Puljujarvi and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins didn’t care, and conspired to put the Oilers in front by a couple. A wonderful backhand pass from the former and a tidy finish from the latter and that was it. 2-0. LFG.
what a feed from puljujarvi and what a finish by nuge. 2-0 oilers. pic.twitter.com/gJcwgmA0C3— zach (@zjlaing) December 1, 2022
Edmonton, kind of, slumped after their second goal, as the hosts were able to find a bit of life and generate a bit of offence themselves. Eventually, they found some life. A seeing-eye Jack Johnson shot somehow went between Boris Katchouk and Evan Bouchard and beyond Skinner. 2-1.
a chicago shot gets deflected and they make it a 2-1 game. pic.twitter.com/njVIzXH8ag— zach (@zjlaing) December 1, 2022
The Oilers took the initiative once again, and drew a penalty through Seth Jones. 3 seconds — yes, three seconds — into the PP, Nugent-Hopkins took a penalty. 1:57 of 4v4 yielded nothing, but 20 seconds — yes, twenty seconds — after coming out of the box, Nugent-Hopkins went right back in. Edmonton was able to get into the break without conceding, but they’d have to kill the rest to start the third period. 2-1 after 40 minutes, and a healthy 25-13 lead on the SOG clock.
The Oilers killed the last few seconds of the Nugent-Hopkins penalty and then, about a minute later, Connor McDavid did this to Jack Johnson:
connor mcdavid's playing on rookie mode. 3-1 oilers. pic.twitter.com/i5sp2zz37X— zach (@zjlaing) December 1, 2022
Not a day goes by where it doesn’t bother me that the team with that guy and like the next best guy isn’t 70-12 every year. 3-1. LFG.
A couple of shifts later, the Oilers found themselves back on the power play as Connor Murphy took exception to Zach Hyman’s helmet and decided to separate him from it. That’s been one of those points of emphasis this year. Edmonton generated a couple of half chances but couldn’t find a PPG.
Chicago generated a few decent looks, but Skinner was sharp as necessary. And, really, the sting was taken out of the game after McDavid’s marker. Combine that with Chicago’s current languishing, there didn’t seem to be much belief from the home side or their fans.
Edmonton weathered a very minor storm — like a shift’s worth — and then found another goal. Because they could. This time through Mattias Janmark after a nice feed from Nugent-Hopkins. 4-1. LFG.
janmark has his first with his oilers. 4-1. pic.twitter.com/Ap1FcPS2W8— zach (@zjlaing) December 1, 2022
On the next shift, Evan Bouchard took a penalty for something. Two minutes for ‘we need this game to be at least somewhat entertaining for the next half an hour’. Max Domi gave Chicago a bit of life with an unassisted PPG. 4-2.
Or, maybe a lot of life? On the very next shift, 19 seconds later in fact, MacKenzie Entwhistle — whom?! — took advantage of a broken play and brought Chicago to within one. 4-3. Ruh roh.
uh oh. two quick ones from the blackhawks and they're back in this game. pic.twitter.com/mI4yP0Gw9w— zach (@zjlaing) December 1, 2022
One thing worth keeping in mind whenever the Oilers are playing a hockey game is that they have Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl and the other team doesn’t:
connor mcdavid and leon draisaitl on a 2-on-1. you know what happens next. 5-3 oilers. pic.twitter.com/eGCPUrrMXO— zach (@zjlaing) December 1, 2022
The elation/relief didn’t last too long, as Nugent-Hopkins took his third (and fourth) minor of the contest thanks to a blood-drawing high stick with 4:35 remaining. The Oilers killed the first, and were less than a minute away from killing the second before Chicago pulled their goalie and Max Domi struck again. This time he had help via a great pass from Patrick Kane, but still. 5-4. WTF.
Honestly every time McDavid does that it drives a big part of me insane that his team isn't like 70-12 every single year.— Copper & Blue (@CopperandBlue) December 1, 2022
What a travesty.
The Oilers will shower that one off before ripping to Minnesota for a game tomorrow night. Puck drop slated for a shade after 6PM MST.