The Edmonton Oilers dropped an absolute thriller against the Colorado Avalanche on Monday night. The game was a back-and-forth affair that was eventually ended in overtime off the stick of Nathan Mackinnon.
Kailer Yamamoto and Evander Kane had the goals for the Oilers while Mike Smith was solid in-between the pipes.
As close to playoff hockey as you could possibly get without being in the playoffs. Edmonton might have lost but it was good one nonetheless.
The Avalanche didn’t waste much time showing the Oilers why they rank so highly. The first few shifts were almost exclusively played in the Edmonton end as the Avs looked to take an early lead. Mike Smith, however, was able to stand tall to keep them off the board.
The Oilers were able to elevate their play and start pushing back with a few chances of their own. The best of which was Kassian snapping a shot on a 2-on-1 that Kuemper had to come across to get. The hard work resulted in a too many men powerplay chance for the Oil which looked decent but couldn’t convert.
In turn, the Avalanche would get a PP chance soon after on a Jesse Puljujarvi hooking call. They wouldn’t squander it as Mikko Rantanen deposited his own rebound past Smith to get Colorado on the board. 1-0 with under 10 to go in the period.
Darnell Nurse didn’t help the Oilers comeback efforts as he took a late slashing penalty in the period to give Colorado a chance at insurance. They would do everything but score on the chance as the Oilers were able to fight it off to go into the second down 1-0.
The second period started similarly to the first with a very aggressive o-zone shift from the Avs. Yet, like the first, the Oilers were able to survive and push back...and this time the push back resulted in something. On a delayed call McDavid and Draisaitl crisscrossed before #29 found a wide-open Yamamoto who tucked in the equalizer. 1-1 game.
The delayed call was actually a double-minor high-stick so despite the goal the Oilers still had a powerplay. It wouldn’t lead to anything as Yamamoto negated it with a tripping call.
The Avs would retake the lead with the man advantage off a redirected Rantanen shot. An ugly goal for Smith to let up. 2-1 Colorado.
Don’t hold your breath as some fantastic forechecking by Yamamoto resulted in a turnover and it landed on Evander Kane’s stick in front of the net and he made no mistake. 2-2 game again as the Oilers are staying in the battle.
The Oilers actually had a large portion where they were dictating the pace of play. The Avs would get another late chance on the PP but Edmonton held strong to keep the game knotted 2-2 headed into the third period.
Pace of play was absolutely electric to start the final frame as both teams were zooming down the ice. The tension was equally as stressful with both teams not shying away from the physical play. The Oilers were giving the league’s best team all that they could handle.
The game was a brilliant back-and-forth affair all the way up until the last five minutes when Colorado had a golden opportunity on the PP. They cycled the Oilers for the entire two minutes but just couldn’t finesse the go-ahead goal past Mike Smith, who was having himself a nice night. In the words of Jack Michaels, this one was COMING DOWN THE STRETCH!
Luckily for the Oilers, they would survive the last few moments to force overtime and gain a much-needed point.
This one was a bit of a mess. Kane missed the puck, Nurse lost his helmet, and Nate Mackinnon had a wide-open look to pick a corner. Unfortunate result but the Oilers steal away a crucial point against a really good team.
3-2 Colorado is the final.
- Kailer Yamamoto had an amazing game tonight. He was all over the ice, netted a goal, set another up, and got under the skin of the Avs. He has woken up over the past few weeks and boy am I loving how he looks out there
- Credit is given where it’s due to Mike Smith. I have been among his most fervent critics but he had a pretty decent night against a very good Colorado team. The second Rantanen goal was not ideal but he made up for it.
- The Oilers are such a wildly different team 5-on-5 with Jay Woodcroft. The transition, forecheck and defensive positioning are all so much better. I think it’s fairly safe to say he’s shed his interim label.
- Evander Kane looks like found money for the club as well. Haven’t had a pure scorer of his ilk with McDavid in some time. I am never going to ignore his off-ice issues as I think it is very important to keep those in mind when talking extension.
- Oilers penalty-kill wasn’t fantastic by any means, giving up two, but it was timely. It kept the Avs off the board at the most important times.
- Jesse Puljujarvi is still getting up to speed after missing some time with an injury. I’m not worried about him...he’ll regain his step sooner rather than later.
- The OT period was a bit of a mess with guys missing the puck and losing helmets but it was a good effort against a good team. Can’t be too upset about the result. The point brings them to 75 on the season, just one behind LA and three ahead of Vegas. They’ll look to get back in the win column tomorrow night against the Dallas Stars.