The Edmonton Oilers (20-17-2), fresh off of arguably their most disappointing loss of the season against the Seattle Kraken last time out, were back at it on Thursday night against the visiting New York Islanders (22-15-2). The Oilers switched their lines up in advance of this one, with Klim Koston getting his first look alongside the best player on earth just one of a number of changes to the forward group. Jack Campbell (8-7-1, 0.877) returned to the Oilers crease after a short hiatus, with Ilya Sorokin (14-12-1, 0.926) his opposite in the Islanders goal.
The Oilers were good from the jump here. The broadcast was convinced that the Islanders first shift was good, but they didn’t really generate anything from it outside of a bit of OZ zone time. From there, however, it was all Edmonton. Entirely. In fact, I don’t think it’s ever been more Edmonton than it was in the first period. The Oilers were sitting at a >99% 5v5 xGF% before the Islanders drew their first penalty with just over 2 minutes remaining in the period. To recap:
- Edmonton drew the game’s first penalty at the 3:13 mark, via a Parker Wotherspoon — no idea — tripping penalty on either Dylan Holloway, as the replay suggested, or Kailer Yamamoto, per the NHL’s website. Regardless, Edmonton didn’t score on the PP.
- The Oilers kept their foot on the gas for the next few shifts and drew the game’s second penalty, too. This time, Anders Lee took down Yamamoto near the Islanders net. This time, the Oilers were able to capitalize thanks to Leon Draisaitl from his corner office:
here is leon draisaitl's goal that made it a 1-0 game. pic.twitter.com/jZTYMNcH9J— zach (@zjlaing) January 6, 2023
- Edmonton continued to roll, keeping the Islanders out of their zone entirely for over 10 minutes. In fact, the Islanders finished the period with 4 shot attempts.
- Near the end of the period, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins took a hooking penalty against Hudson Fasching — again, absolutely no clue — in the Oilers zone. On the ensuing PK, Kailer Yamamoto continued his impressive first period:
the wee yam makes it 2-0 with a short-handed goal. pic.twitter.com/X6AGfMnCqP— zach (@zjlaing) January 6, 2023
- Connor McDavid recorded his 500th assist on Yamamoto’s shorthanded goal. This was his 527th NHL game. (He’s also scored 272 goals).
- By the period’s end, the Oilers boasted a 95.6% xGF% at 5v5. It was, arguably, their best period in literal years. They out-attempted the Islanders 24-4*. They outshot them 10-2*, and out-chanced them 18-2 (10-2 high danger)*. It was borderline optimistic.
*- at 5v5
So much for all those good vibes! Edmonton got pumped from the opening whistle in the second period before the Islanders found some life within the first five minutes:
mat barzal goes bar down to cut the oilers' lead to one. pic.twitter.com/LkQ6ksmKEY— zach (@zjlaing) January 6, 2023
But you know who loves good vibes? Dylan Holloway. You might not know it because he gets about 4 minutes a game to make an impression, oftentimes flanked by the likes of Devin Shore and the like, but it’s true. He and Ryan McLeod both absolutely love good vibes:
one helluva shot from dylan holloway gives the oilers a 3-1 lead. pic.twitter.com/2otON1xwxo— zach (@zjlaing) January 6, 2023
Shortly after that, Zach Hyman gave the Oilers some insurance — and more importantly, some more good vibes — after getting on the end of Draisaitl’s 400th assist:
zach hyman capitalizes on a breakaway and makes it a 4-1 game. pic.twitter.com/MrTVJCkaz6— zach (@zjlaing) January 6, 2023
On the very next shift, Darnell Nurse took a cross-checking penalty with just under 4 minutes to go in the period. Edmonton did manage to kill it off, but New York scored shortly after Nurse returned to play anyway:
Nothing super notable happened after the 4-2 goal, and Edmonton carried their 2-goal lead into the second intermission.
A nice start to the third period for the Oilers was threatened by an early penalty to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Edmonton was able to kill it without incident and kept their 2-goal advantage.
After the penalty expired, the two teams traded the initiative for the next couple of shifts, with neither side gaining much of an advantage. This pattern was interrupted by an Aatu Raty penalty for playing the puck with his hands off the draw, or something like it. Edmonton’s PP didn’t cash in anyway. McLeod had a really nice look from the slot as the penalty expired but he was turned aside by Sorokin.
New York pulled Sorokin with over 3 minutes remaining, and while Edmonton had a couple of decent looks at an ENG — Yamamoto and Draisaitl, specifically — neither of them could put the game to bed.
Ultimately, it didn’t matter, as the Islanders took another penalty near the death and, this time, the PP was able to see out the game without issue.
Still a great day to fire Ken Holland and arrest Bob Nicholson, IMO.
The homestand continues on Saturday night. Colorado. Late window.