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Oilers Shoot Down Stars

Mike Smith stays hot while McDavid retakes the NHL scoring lead

The Edmonton Oilers defeated the Dallas Stars to the tune of a 5-3 score on Wednesday night. Evander Kane, Derek Ryan, Jesse Puljujarvi, Zach Hyman, and Connor McDavid had the goals for the Oilers. Mike Smith was sublime in the Edmonton net stopping 34 of the 36 shots he faced.

Oilers had some periods of complete and utter DOMINANCE tonight which is what you like to see this time of year...let’s take a look at how it all shook out.

First Period:

The Oilers had a chance to all but punch their playoff ticket and they didn’t waste any time getting to work in this one. Evander Kane opened up the scoring just over three minutes in, depositing a beautiful centring pass courtesy of Connor McDavid. 1-0 Edmonton early on.

After pouncing on a loose puck and firing it past Scott Wedgewood, Derek Ryan made it a 2-0 lead just a few minutes later. Edmonton up to an early lead as they were all over the Starts in the offensive end.

That hot start wouldn’t last forever. The Oilers got caught on too many men call at the midway point of the period that would cost them. Jason Robertson ended Mike Smith’s shutout streak as he slapped home a shot that deflected off Brett Kulak’s stick and into the top end of the net. 2-1 Edmonton.

Edmonton came right back with some very long shifts on the Stars’ end. Both the Draisaitl and McDavid lines hemmed up Dallas in the offensive end but couldn’t get a lot of good looks on net. Complete domination by the home team, but they failed to convert.

Oilers sent 19 shots toward Wedgewood and took a 2-1 lead going into the second.

Second Period:

Dallas started a push of their own in the middle frame. They disrupted Edmonton’s rush and started to generate chances of their own. One of which was a successful one. Smith had seemingly covered up a puck after a scuffle on one side of the net only for it to wind up loose for Roope Hintz to poke home. Oilers' lead evaporates as the Stars tie things up 2-2.

This didn’t stop Edmonton from regaining their dominant first-period form. Yet again, the team had three extended shifts in the offensive end that eventually ended in Zach Hyman scoring on a rebound to give the lead back to the Oilers. 3-2 Edmonton.

Hyman nearly added another late in the period on a partial break but Wedgewood denied him with the right pad.

It wouldn’t stay that way, a few shifts later Evan Bouchard sent a point shot that deflected off Jesse Puljujarvi’s leg and into the net. Puljujarvi needed to get a lucky break and he got it giving the Oilers some insurance with a 4-2 lead heading into the third.

Third Period:

Edmonton continued their high pace of play in the third. Zach Hyman and Zack Kassian had a few very good looks on the net in the first 10 minutes but weren’t able to convert. At the other end of the ice, Mike Smith was sharp on the few chances that Dallas had.

Darnell Nurse had the highlight of the period with a crushing hit on Jaimie Benn that sent him head over heels into the Oilers bench. The crowd might have been louder for the hit than any of Edmonton’s four goals to this point.

Dallas had a chance to cut into the lead after Hyman went to the box on a hook, but Edmonton kept them off the board. 4-2 lead remains intact as the game enters the final five minutes.

McDavid added an empty-netter to make this one a 5-3 Oilers victory!

Takeaways:

  • I didn’t like the second goal against...but Mike Smith was really good again tonight. He made a few very good stops tonight that helped the team pull out a crucial victory. It would have been awesome to see him get that open netter goal. I say all this as a staunch Mike Smith critic...good stuff from 41.
  • This was a full 60-minute performance for the Oilers tonight. They had long periods of play one each period where they absolutely dominated the Stars in the offensive end. The 49 shots that they sent Wedgewood’s play told the story tonight. Fantastic effort.
  • You knew it was going to have be a weird one for Jesse Puljujarvi to get out of his goal-scoring drought but man am I happy to see it finally happy for the big Finn! Hopefully, this helps kickstart him in time for the playoffs.
  • I am also a huge critic of Evander Kane’s off-ice behaviour. I am still not 100% sold on him as a person but from a pure hockey standpoint, he had been as advertised. A perfect compliment to McDavid who can put the puck in the net...he now has 17 goals in 38 games this season.
  • Zach Hyman had a really strong game tonight as well. I thought he could have easily had 2 or 3 goals.
  • I’ll never complain about Jaimie Benn being rocked. Great hit by Nurse to satisfy my caveman brain.
  • I can’t believe the Oilers scratched Derek Ryan earlier this season. He has been among Edmonton’s most important depth players of late. Great to see him break out of a scoring slump as well.
  • Connor McDavid came roaring back to retake the scoring lead with two more points tonight. Just business as usual for the captain as he is up to 113 points, two up on Jonathan Huberdeau.
  • The Oilers record moves to 45-26-6 and 96 points on the year! One more win will clinch a playoff spot for the Oilers...either that or a pair of regulation losses from Vegas and Vancouver! Edmonton will be back in action this Friday against the Colorado Avalanche.