The Oilers had a picture-perfect open to tonight’s game. It didn’t quite end that way.
The Oilers would score three goals in the first three and a half minutes of the first period to chase Wings goaltender Thomas Greiss from the crease after just six shots. Devin Shore would get the party started early in the first, Connor McDavid and Zach Hyman would make it 3-0 just a bit after the lights went up. A power play goal late in the first by Kailer Yamamoto would put the Oilers up 4-1, and that should have been the end of it.
The Wings punched back. Sam Gagner would score a bad angle goal to pull the Wings back to 4-2 at the end of 40. A third period would see the Wings score two goals in 35 seconds to tie it up.
Edmonton would make it 5-4 when Evander Kane scored his ninth goal of the season early in the third. A miscommunication behind the Oiler net between Duncan Keith and Mikko Koskinen would get the Wings back to 5-5 when Lucas Raymond would score his 19th on the year.
Warren Foegele would score the game winner with just over five minutes in the third period, Evander Kane would score an insurance tally with a minute left. Oilers win, 7-5.
This game was wild. It should have been over after five minutes, but the Wings made it way more interesting than it should have been. The Oilers hung on long enough and got a much needed goal from Warren Foegele, who had just one point in his previous eleven contents prior to tonight’s game winner.
Mikko Koskinen would pick up his 22nd victory with a 29 save performance. It wasn’t a pretty victory, but it’s two big points for the Oilers. The Oilers now have 70 points on the year, and they’re up two points over the Vegas Golden Knights (who got clobbered by the Jets 7-3.)
THEY SAID IT
Not a Picasso, by any stretch, but what I liked was even though it wasn’t a perfect night, our team found a way to grind it out when things weren’t going our way in the third period, but we found a way to make a difference and get the two points.
That’s Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft on his club’s 7-5 win.
There’s plenty to love - you scored seven goals. Devin Shore scored a goal. Kailer Yamamoto scored a power play goal. McDavid had one. Foegele scored for the first time in seventeen years. That’s all really good stuff. The Oilers don’t score seven goals per game on the regular, and you’re going to win when you do. Clean up the play in your own zone (two goals in 35 seconds is a killer), you’d like to clean up the goal where Koskinen and Duncan Keith were in each other’s way, and you’ve got no complaints.
REWRITING THE BOOK?
One thing I noticed during this game was that the usual heavy sighs that come following a goal with Koskinen in net didn’t happen today. I don’t want to go so far as to suggest that there’s a shift in how we’re hearing about Koskinen, but I did notice that after Koskinen laid the 1980s style poke check in the second period, it’s almost as if a light bulb went on and the big hats started to see Koskinen “play the game the right way” for the first time in his Oilers tenure. Seconds after his poke check, Koskinen had a big ol’ glove save on Sam Gagner and the broadcast booth seemed to eat it up. Granted, it was a five goal night for Koskinen, but it was a seven goal night for the Oilers. I heard “battling” in reference to Koskinen’s play on the broadcast tonight. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a shift in tone from what we’re used to hearing.
Ugly game? Yeah.
Two points? You bet.
Separation from Vegas in the standings? All of that.
Buffalo on Thursday? That too.