The Edmonton Oilers were in Tampa Bay to take on the Lightning this evening, and they have not won in this arena since 2009. Ironically, Mike Smith was the starter of the Lightning in that game and he started for the Oilers this evening. The matchup also featured the last five Art Ross Trophy winners.
This was the start of a five-game road trip and three-game stretch versus the East’s top three teams in the coming days, and all of these points matter.
No soap operas, just hockey.— NHLonTNT (@NHL_On_TNT) February 24, 2022
Tonight we have another installment of: The Edmonton Oilers pic.twitter.com/Qf3yz0LjvL
Edmonton was coming off their first loss of the Jay Woodcroft era, after they were dismantled by the Wild on Sunday night. Tampa Bay was coming off a victory, albeit eight days ago, versus New Jersey.
Here’s what the Oilers rolled out:
McLeod - McDavid - Hyman
Kane - Draisaitl - Yamamoto
Foegele - Nugent-Hopkins - Ryan
Shore - Benson
Nurse - Bouchard
Lagesson - Ceci
Broberg - Barrie
Special note: Ryan (Nuggy) Nugent-Hopkins played in his 700th career game with the Edmonton Oilers tonight, joining an impressive list.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will skate in his 700th game tonight and will be 9th player to play 700 games with the #Oilers:— Jason Gregor (@JasonGregor) February 23, 2022
Kevin Lowe 1,037
Ryan Smyth 971
Mark Messier 851
Glenn Anderson 845
Shawn Horcoff 796
Kelly Buchberger 795
Jari Kurri 754
Craig MacTavish 701
After a tight-checking, uneventful start to the game, Tampa Bay breaks through. Another mishap, another one goal deficit for the Oilers. Mike Smith kicks out a juicy rebound which bounces off Devin Shore’s skate and finds its way in the net. It’s a fluke goal, but Edmonton sure seems to give up a lot of those. Pat Maroon’s 9th goal of the year comes on the fourth shot of the game. 1-0 TBL.
A bounce goes the Bolts' way and they take the 1-0 lead pic.twitter.com/wmbJyJRyr0— NHLonTNT (@NHL_On_TNT) February 24, 2022
Oilers forward depth looked to take another hit, as Warren Foegele took a big hit and was down for a while. Should have been an easy boarding call for officials.
UPDATE: Foegele returned in the second period.
Steven Stamkos took the first penalty of the game, getting caught for interference on Connor McDavid. Fans thought it should have been a hold on McDavid. And captain Connor pots his a goal in his sixth straight road game. 1-1 game on the PPG from 97.
McDavid makes no mistake on the powerplay and ties the game for the Oilers pic.twitter.com/zo6WvGr7Jt— NHLonTNT (@NHL_On_TNT) February 24, 2022
With 14 seconds to go, Steven Stamkos makes up for his earlier penalty by bouncing one off the shoulder of Mike Smith, who was caught sleeping. 2-1 TBL going into the break, Oilers outshooting the Lightning 9-4.
18-8 in 5v5 shot attempts, 12-4 in 5v5 scoring chances for the Oilers in the first period. Another tough start for Smith though, who has allowed six goals on the last 11 shots faced, and the Oilers best goalie is stuck in the minors. In seven of Smith’s last 10 games, he has given up two goals on the first six shots. Not good enough now or ever.
On a delayed penalty against Connor McDavid, Brayden Point pokes in his 19th of the year after Mike Smith fails to cover a loose puck. 3-1 Lightning lead on 8 shots for TBL.
Things going from bad to worse, as RNH is off to the box for holding. The parade to the box continues with Draisaitl off for tripping, and this time Tampa Bay makes them pay. Corey Perry tips home a point shot and its 4-1. The first goal of the night that isn’t on Mike Smith.
Towards the end of the period, Leon Draisaitl finds Zach Hyman all alone and he buries it. Hyman with goals in five straight games, and its 4-2 going into the final frame.
Early on, Ryan McLeod is held up by Hedman while killing a penalty. The parade continues as well, as Evander Kane is sent off for tripping as well. Neither team can add anything to their totals despite the penalties.
Woodcroft has deferred to the oft-used Draisaitl-McDavid combination and it pays early dividends for the Oilers. Halfway through the third period, Connor McDavid rips a beautiful wrister past Vasilevskiy to make it 4-3, assists from Leon and Hyman.
Despite some late game heroics, including Darnell Nurse undressing Victor Hedman and a Leon Draisaitl shot off the post, the Oilers are unable to pull even. This is a game that they deserved to win, and they controlled play for the majority of the game, but they could not overcome the poor goaltending early from Mike Smith.
Back Saturday @ Florida.