The Edmonton Oilers (19-15-2) were in Washington state on Friday night to reprise their role as Average Western Conference Team against their most recent antagonists, the Seattle Kraken (18-11-4). Edmonton won last time out, largely thanks to Stuart Skinner (11-9-1, 0.916) and his huge nuts as he turned aside a smooth 46 shots (from 47) to squeak out a narrow 2-1 win against their geographical rivals in Calgary. The Kraken lost to those same Calgary Flames by a similarly narrow score of 3-2 in their last game, and have been headed the wrong way over their last 10 overall.
Edmonton drew the game’s first penalty just after the 2-minute mark, thanks to the newly minted trio of Ryan McLeod, Kailer Yamamoto, and Warren Foegele. McLeod was shifted into Leon Draisaitl’s spot on L2 after the big German was absent for warm up and kept out of tonight’s game.
It was Yamamoto who slid into Draisaitl’s ice on the league’s best power play, but it was Zach Hyman who benefited from Connor McDavid’s absolute magicianry via a gimmie from inside the crease:
On seemingly the very next shift, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins found Mattias Janmark on the entry. He tried to fire one on net, but fanned on it, and the fanned shot turned into a perfectly weighted off-speed pass to a wide-open Klim Kostin in front. He gathered and tucked it upstairs:
Klim Kostin with the silky finish pic.twitter.com/9d10FCCdDa— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) December 31, 2022
On seemingly the very next shift after that the Oilers got their third. This time via Darnell Nurse beating Grubauer clean from the high slot off a Connor McDavid feed:
By this point — some 3:56 into the first period — Dave Hakstol had seen enough, and opted to pull Grubauer in favor of Martin Jones. Seattle seemed to stabilize over the next few shifts, but it wasn’t enough to stop Jesse Puljujarvi from scoring again — or Connor McDavid from getting his third assist in the first 10 minutes:
Jesse Puljujarvi wanted one too pic.twitter.com/2Z1kClFm2F— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) December 31, 2022
Kostin took the Oilers’ first penalty of the evening via a cross-check along the near wall. He didn’t agree with it, but his opinion of it didn’t make any difference. Seattle had only scored once in their last 25 power plays (powers play?) coming into tonight, and that horrible slump continued through their first man advantage of the evening.
Edmonton got through it and saw out the rest of the period with similar aplomb. Nurse should have had his second of the night with... seconds... remaining but he flubbed on a gift as the trailer of a Foegele-Yamamoto 2 on 1.
All told, the Oilers put 4 on the board in 20 minutes, and Seattle looked like they were going through the motions by the end of the first. Edmonton was up 4-0 and outshot Seattle 15-7 after 1.
Early on in the second, Dylan Holloway decided to have his first NHL fight with Vince Dunn. Dunn won by decision and Seattle found some life in the shift immediately following, which lead to Daniel Sprong beating Skinner near his left shoulder on a 2 on 1:
4-1— Alison (@AlisonL) December 31, 2022
Sprong gets #SeaKraken on the board.
Soucy with a standup presence on the blue line and Edmonton turns the puck over. Donato gets play going north, Geekie with the primary helper to Sprong. pic.twitter.com/B6Qm3IR2To
A couple of shifts later, Edmonton restored their 4-goal lead. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins did well to gain possession after an Oilers shot and worked the puck back to Nurse. Nurse walked the line before sneaking a wrist shot through traffic. Kostin got a stick on it en route and fooled a committing Jones:
Manifesting a Klim Kostin hat-trick pic.twitter.com/XH68LuxQtw— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) December 31, 2022
On the next shift, or thereabouts, Alex Wennberg took a penalty on Klim Kostin along the far wall. The Oilers PP hopped over the boards and wasted no time:
NHL Video Highlight - Zach Hyman scores a power-play goal against the Seattle Kraken to make it 6-1. pic.twitter.com/kAHiuXOnuf— Seattle Kraken Gamebot (@KrakenGameBot) December 31, 2022
Seattle did start to push back a little bit — for arguably the first time all night — and were rewarded for their efforts. Brandon Tanev ultimately got the final touch after a bit of a scramble in the Oilers zone:
Seattle pushed a little bit more after scoring their second and earned their second power play of the game via a questionable roughing call on Nurse. Edmonton was able to kill it off, with McDavid getting the best chance after stealing it and racing off to a breakaway, but he couldn’t beat Jones. The broadcast suggested that was the first time he’d been denied on a breakaway all year.
Seattle continued to press as the intermission loomed, but they couldn’t find a third goal before the buzzer went. Oilers led by 4 after 40 mins, and still enjoyed a slim 25-24 lead on the shot clock despite allowing Seattle to dictate most of the 5v5 play in the period.
The second period was more of the same from both sides, with Seattle getting the better of it at 5v5 and Edmonton perfectly content to let them as long as nobody got hurt.
Then, with about 8 minutes gone in the the period, Kostin got into a bit of a fracas with Tanev and Penny Oleksiak’s brother. When the dust settled, Kostin got 2 — penalties, not minutes — and Oleksiak got one, meaning the Kraken got another power play.
Again, however, their streak of futility continued, and Edmonton dodged it without incident.
And, almost exactly right on cue, Connor McDavid made them pay for it:
connor mcdavid decides a four assist night isn't quite good enough, so he scores to make it 7-2. pic.twitter.com/qqSM5XzInJ— zach (@zjlaing) December 31, 2022
The rest of the game happened. I stopped taking notes. Let’s just enjoy a quiet conclusion to another Connor McDavid masterclass. The Oilers stopped trying after 20 minutes. Still. 5 points at a canter. 32 goals in 37 GP just because he decided. What a player.
$5MM is a lot of money for a backup goaltender.
Back home tomorrow night for a game against the Winnipeg Jets. 8PM MST.