The Edmonton Oilers dropped a razor-thin 2-1 shootout decision to the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night. Warren Foegele got the Oilers on the board first in the third period but Nathan Mackinnon fought back with the equalizer and the shootout winner.
Mikko Koskinen was the story of the game, however, putting on an absolute clinic all night long and stopping 33 of the 34 shots he faced.
A disappointing result but a fun one nonetheless. Let’s see how we got to that result...
Oilers came out sleepy against a very good Colorado team. Missed passes and unforced errors helped the visitors get off to a dangerous start. Mikko Koskinen had to be sharp to keep the game scoreless in the opening minutes.
Edmonton’s first shot came almost five minutes in on a sneaky tip by Leon Draisaitl that was snagged by Darcy Kuemper.
Cale Makar came close to opening the scoring at the midway point as he rang iron on a wrister from the slot. A scrum ensued on the rebound as the puck rattled loose but Koskinen would eventually find it to keep the Avs off the board.
Jesse Puljujarvi had Edmonton’s best chance on a 2-on-1 one-timer with Connor McDavid. It was labelled for the top shelf by Kuemper was able to squeeze his arm tight to deny him. The chance seemed to spark the team, getting more time in the Colorado end.
Leon Draisaitl had a clear cut breakaway that missed the net. He was tripped on the play by Cale Makar and slammed his shoulder into the boards. It looked scary but he remained in the game.
The Avalanche came back with a flurry of their own chances. They struck iron two times on one shift, the second of which forced Koskinen in making a sprawling save on the rebound. The tempo was ramping WAY UP in the dying minutes. Draisaitl in particular seemed amped up laying down a couple of big hits.
Both teams had their chances but none found twine. Scoreless after 20 minutes.
Just as Colorado came out with some energy in the first, the Oilers responded by doing just that in the second. They tilted the ice for the first 10 minutes outshooting the Avs by a 10-0 margin at one point.
That isn’t to say Colorado went the whole period without chances. Nico Sturm was absolutely stonewalled by the right pad of Koskinen on a breakaway following up an impressive glove save the shift prior. This one had the makings of a goaltending battle at the halfway point.
Edmonton was awarded the game’s first powerplay with just over eight minutes to go in the second. Valeri Nichushkin ended up having the best chance shorthanded; getting denied by Koskinen on a breakaway. The play ended with Evan Bouchard getting caught with a slash, giving the Avalanche a powerplay of their own. Luckily, the puck luck was on Edmonton’s side and they were able to handily kill it off.
Both teams would go back and forth but, yet again, neither team could get on the board. Two high-scoring teams but a 0-0 game headed into the third.
The tiebreaker would come about five minutes into the final frame off a Darnell Nurse point shot that was tipped into the net by Warren Foegele. His second in as many games gave the Oilers the ever important 1-0 lead. A HUGE goal for the Oilers!
Puljujarvi had a glorious chance to extend that lead with yet another one-timer on a 2-on-1 with McDavid. We were seeing deju-vu however as Kuemper once again got an arm on it to deny the big Finn.
Speaking of big Finns, Koskinen was having himself quite a game. Despite getting run over in his crease he was able to recover and glove down a decent chance by Nichushkin. By far Edmonton’s best player up to this point.
The shutout was eventually broken with just over five left in regulation. Nathan Mackinnon potted a rebound to knot things up. 1-1.
Things started to get dicey for the Oilers in the final minutes. An interference call on Evan Bouchsard gave the Avs a chance to get a late lead. And try did they ever as they unleashed a barrage of chances onto the Oilers net. Koskinen put on an absolute clinic to help the Oilers secure a point and head to overtime.
Edmonton grabbed first possession in the OT and McDavid nearly banked in the winner on a wrap around chance but Kuemper squeezed the pads to deny it.
Just as Colorado had a PP in a critical moment, so would the Oilers in the OT period. Nathan Mackinnon slashed the stick out of McDavid’s hand and put Edmonton on the powerplay. Draisaitl unleashed his patented one-timer but Kuemper saw it coming and gloved it down.
Edmonton let loose a flurry of chances onto the Colorado net but just as Koskinen did, Kuemper was coming up huge. A nail-biter in every sense of the word!
OT didn’t solve anything (somehow) so this one headed to a shootout.
Oilers — Connor McDavid — Save
Avalanche — Nathan Mackinnon — Goal
Oilers — Leon Draisaitl — Save
Avalanche — Mikko Rantannen — Save
Oilers — Ryan Nugent-Hopkins — Save
Colorado gets the only goal and wins it 2-1 in the shootout.
- Mikko Koskinen had an absolutely amazing game. He was the reason the game went to OT and the reason why Edmonton walked out with a point. Absolutely stellar game from Koski.
- I don’t think I’ve ever seen a player play so good and get as many chances without a goal as Puljujarvi. He’s playing really good and this is by no means a criticism...just really wish he could pot some.
- Evan Bouchard continued his strong play as well. There were a few troublesome moments but overall he displayed his elite vision with a few great passes and shots that lead to chances for.
- Two goals in two games for Warren Foegele and you love to see it. He’s had some trouble putting goals away but seems to ramping things up ahead of the playoffs. That would be huge.
- Holding the Avs to just a single goal is not an easy feat. Credit to Edmonton’s defensive group for pulling things together against a VERY GOOD offensive team. You hope it gives them more confidence heading into the playoffs.
- I honestly can’t be too beaten up about that loss. I thought Edmonton played a pretty complete game and looked good most of the night. A shootout loss is tough but getting a point against the Avs this season should be seen as a pretty damn good consolation prize.
- 3-on-3...or 4-on-3 in this case will be the reason why I never see my thirties. My lord was that a stessful period.
- The Oilers pick up a point pushing their total to 90 on the year. That gives them a four-point cushion on the LA Kings and a comfy six point lead on the Vegas Golden Knights. Their record falls to 42-25-6....one in which they will look to improve upon when the Minnesota Wild come to town on Tuesday!