Holy wow. How about that OT, huh? Nugent-Hopkins with 6 trillion chances in one of his most dominant shifts, maybe ever. Follow that up with the most dominant duo in the game, McDavid & Draisaitl, who for the 2nd straight game worked some magic and secured the Oilers a win. Check your pulses ladies & gentleman, and take note. God, I love 3 on 3 overtime.
Most importantly, however, is the fact that the Oilers have won 2 games in a row for the first time this season! No, we sure as hell didn’t expect to be uttering that for the first time in mid November, but hey, we’ll take it. Tonight’s game, although not the prettiest or most perfect of efforts, will go into the books as a fine road game for the Oilers, with some bright spots that (hopefully) will carry over going forward.
The Oilers entered tonight’s tilt with only 5 wins in the bank, but a win against New York just two nights before. The game against the Islanders was a positive step, but for it to mean anything, the Oilers had to follow it up with a win, and show even a semblance of consistency from game to game.
It certainly didn’t look like consistency was on its way to start the affairs this evening. 10 minutes into the game, the Oilers had failed to register a shot on net and were being thoroughly outplayed. It was beginning to resemble the 4-0 losing effort against Detroit on Sunday, a game that was fresh off the heels of giant victory. When Brian Boyle scored with 5 minutes remaining in the first, that feeling only grew bigger.
(*Note: Even though it was a goal against, it was really awesome to see Brian Boyle score his first goal since being diagnosed with leukaemia just a few months ago. What a warrior.)
The Oilers would find a way to rally a bit in the 2nd, however, resembling a much more involved team. That momentum would lead to Anton Slepyshev’s 1st of the season on a sneaky wrister that beat Corey Schneider up high. That play would be started by none other than Ryan Nugent-Hopkins who worked his damnedest to leave every ounce of effort he had on the ice tonight.
The Oilers would work through multiple penalties in the 2nd to keep the score tied in what was a rather encouraging effort (even if it was self-inflicted by mostly dumb penalties). And even though New Jersey scored late in the 2nd to pull ahead by 1 (where have we seen that before), Edmonton opted to not let that moment be the deciding game story.
With their improved effort finding its way carried over into the final frame, Nugent-Hopkins (surprise!) on a gorgeous rush, would find Milan Lucic who was able to scoot another wrister past Schneider. It was a sight that hasn’t been seen this year; the Oilers actually fighting back to tie the game in the 3rd. It was a glorious.
And finally, once this baby went to OT, the script was all but written. The only thing truly shocking, was that in the flurry of chances that Nuge had in the extra frame, not even one of em could find the mesh. Oh well, at least I will never forget the surge of adrenaline from watching that sequence, likely because my heart will never be the same.
In the end, the Oilers are able to walk away with their first winning streak (can we call 2 games a streak? I am calling two games a streak) of the season. Ultimately, the 2 wins against the Islanders and Devils may prove incredibly valuable, considering that the Rangers and Capitals are on the horizon. Get a win against one of them though, and this road trip can be considered a big success.
Player of the Game
Nugent-Hopkins ended up with 2 assists tonight, 6 shots on net, and 22 minutes of ice time. A dominant game. and a terrific season so far. He is ridiculously good.
- Slepyshev scored the tying marker, but unfortunately, it looks like he may have agitated his injury. Tonight was his first game back after 2 off, and it would suck to lose him again. He has a sneaky-good shot, and is valuable in the top 6. Hopefully this health issue can get sorted soon.
- Milan Lucic had arguably his best game of the season tonight, this coming after having what may have been his other best game against the same opponent last Friday. The big man was involved tonight with a goal, an assist, and 17 minutes of ice time. Him and Nuge have something going here.
- Props to Kris Russell who was able to make a sound defensive play on a Devils rush in OT< and send the play forward for McDavid & Draisaitl to win it. A small moment in the game that made a big difference, and deserved some recognition.
- Larsson and Nurse continue to impress… I’ll continue to write it as long as it continues to happen. Nurse is having a great year, and it can’t get overlooked.Sure, some more offense would be nice, but being able to play top minutes against the opposition’s best and not look out of line is massive.
- Cam talbot with another superb game between the pipes. 32 saves, .941 save %, and a pair of BIG stops in OT to help get his team the victory. Him turning around his slow start is insanely significant in terms of this team getting back into contention.
Up next: New York Rangers
The dreaded afternoon game strikes again! For this reason alone, I would say don’t expect much, but who knows, maybe the Oilers are primed and ready to go on an actual streak and register a 3rd (!) straight win. Saturday afternoon against the Rangers. We shall see.