The Oilers picked up a giant two points in the standings on the back of Mike Smith. In doing so, they dealt a serious blow to the playoff chances of the Vegas Golden Knights.
Smith is perfect now in back-to-back contests, this one’s a 39-save effort as the Oilers are very close to clinching a playoff berth.
Edmonton picked up goals from Kris Russell, Cody Ceci, Warren Foegele and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who cashed on a shorthanded goal late in the third. You know, all the usual suspects.
Here’s how they scored ‘em:
I don’t know exactly what was going through Zack Kassian’s mind here, but he thought better of trying to lift the puck over Knights goaltender Logan Thompson. Kris Russell is there, scoring his first goal of the season. It’s also his first goal since 2019, which...it’s been a minute. This is one of those “happy with the goal, not necessarily the process” goals. They all count, and it’s 1-0 Oilers.
The second period came and went without any goals. Towards the end of the period, Evan Bouchard took a slap shot that ricocheted off of Kailer Yamamoto’s left knee in front of the net. Yamamoto would hop to the bench, but he’d be back out shortly after. He went down the tunnel again, which sent the intermission panel into a heavy discussion about Zack Kassian being able to bring the noise like he did in games 2 and 3 of the 2017 NHL Playoffs.
Yamamoto emerged to begin the third period.
The third period began with the Oilers up 1-0, they would double that when Cody Ceci scored his fifth goal of the season. It’s Jesse Puljujärvi tipping Brayden McNabb’s stick which allows Ceci to score Edmonton’s second goal of the game, the Oilers are up 2-0 and things finally start cooking on the scoresheet.
Five minutes later, it’s Warren Foegele coming to the rescue. This time, he cashes a breakaway goal to make it 3-0. The bottles are almost ready to pop. Logan Thompson doesn’t have a chance as Foegele takes it to his backhand.
The title says Evander Kane, but it’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins who gets credit for stuffing this one just barely by Logan Thompson for Edmonton’s fourth goal of the game. With less than five minutes remaining, you can put this one in the books.
The Oilers are victorious by a 4-0 margin in their second consecutive game. Just like everyone had it drawn up.
- Mike Smith is playing bananas right now. I had written him off earlier in the season, he’s played two nearly perfect games in a row. Smith’s 39 saves earned him first star of the game, and it’s well deserved. I’m not sure how many more of those he’s got left in the tank, but if he could keep it up for the next couple of months, that’dt be great. Another game or two would be a good start.
- Secondary scoring was the theme of today’s win. Cody Ceci, Kris Russell, and Warren Foegele all having goals today was great for Edmonton, as the big guns were held off the scoresheet today.
- Oilers pick up a W over a Knights goalie that’s been pretty good over the last five games. Prior to today, Thompson was 5-0 in his last five, including a 35 save performance against Calgary on Thursday.
- Today’s win brings the Oilers to 94 points in 76 games played, a full six points ahead of the Kings. The Kings are one point ahead of the Golden Knights, who are sitting on the outside looking in right now. Any combination of three points between now and the end of the season ought to get the Oilers to the second season. They’ll have a chance to get the lion’s share of it when they host the Dallas Stars, but that’s not until Wednesday. As for the Golden Knights, they’ll likely need to win at least 4 of 6 to have any serious chance at a postseason berth.