Oilers 7 – Blue Jackets 2
Hockey is really fun when: a) the Oilers are winning b) Connor McDavid is dominating. Luckily, on this fine Tuesday evening, we were fortunate to have both of those things happen, after a 7-2 drubbing by the Oilers over the Blue Jackets.
The Oilers were coming in frustrated, after having been shut-out by Curtis McElhinney of all people. And that loss wasn’t due to a poor effort by Edmonton, no. Both of their weekend performances were quite impressive actually, meaning that the Oilers would enter Columbus looking to do something that they haven’t arguable done all season: play 3 quality games in a row.
For the sake of the entire Oilers community mental health, thankfully, the Oilers opted to kick it in to throttle from the very first puck drop.
Kassian would be the starting spark for his squad, putting the finishing touch on a beautiful tic-tac play. That was followed up with more than a few key saves from Brossoit late in the first, to put the Oilers up by one to end the first.
That would be the last time that the score was close. From there, the Oilers proceeded to have a grand ol’ evening. Which included all of the following:
- Scoring 4 goals in a period
- Dominated in the special teams department (say what?!)
- 12 players getting on the scorecard
- Beat a team that is atop the Metro Division
- Actually play three good games in a row, resulting in a win
So yeah, you know, pretty simple evening. For the first time all year, the Oilers can say they have effectively strung together multiple (more than 2) impressive performances. All 4 lines are humming, the defence looks a lot more rounded with Davidson’s presence, and Brossoit, despite having shaky moments) is more than holding its own.
What does it mean? Well, it may mean that after 2+ months of speaking about this team needing to reach its full potential, that it has finally occurred. Just as arguable though, is that this may not be real, and may just be another blip for the NHL’s most consistently inconsistent team. It’s hard to tell at this point, but there are some positive signs (talked about below) that inspire a tad bit of hope.
The Oilers now venture home, where the Nashville Predators will meet them on Thursday. The club has been good lately, but this team still has only won 2 games in a row just once this team. The Oilers will have their hands full with a tough Nashville squad, and will have the added challenge of playing at home, where they have struggled mightily this season. They will counter with a lineup that is feeling good about its ability and resembling the same blended identity mixture of speed/skill/nastiness that was oh-so-present last year.
Another win for the Oilers on Thursday, and maybe those playoffs in April don’t look so dim.
Oilers Player of the Game
Is there a contest? On a night when so many Oilers had great games, Connor McDavid shone like the megastar that he is, and lead his team to their 12th win of the year. 1 goal, 3 assists, and brilliance bled all over the ice. Can we safely say he has kicked that flu’s ass?
- Paired right up there with Connor is Jesse Puljujarvi, who is currently playing the best hockey of his young career. He now has 5 points in his last 5 games, and finished tonight with a goal and an assist. He can really be a bear on the ice (as shown on his goal) and yet, he pairs that ruggedness with a skill set that is ridiculously dangerous. We are just getting a taste of it now, but with each passing game, Jesse’s future looks even brighter.
- Milan Lucic continued his great play with a goal this evening off a 2-1 with Connor. Very solid numbers on the season.
- Nugent-Hopkins. 12 goals. He made no mistake on his Power-Play marker tonight, off a beautiful set-up from Cammalleri. A 30 goal season would insane. See, the Oilers have to make the playoffs, because not only would it be a sin to waste a year of 97, but how could this season by Nuge go unrewarded.
- Time to start track McDavid’s point totals compared with the rest of the league again: he is within 3 points of the lead. He sits at 39 points on the year.
- It’s not a massive difference maker, but Kassian playing to the level of Kassian 16/17 version really rounds out that bottom six.
- Speaking of Kassian, he may have really injured Dubinsky tonight. Playing against him seems like a nightmare.
- Darnell Nurse with 2 assists on the evening. A driver all season long so far. That future contract just gets bigger.
- After the Blue Jackets were able to score 2 goals in the 3rd to get within 3 goals, it had looked as though Brossoit may have been ready to post a repeat of his performance in Calgary 2 weeks ago. Thankfully that would not be the case. Despite the 2nd goal, which he certainly should have had, Brossoit actually put together another fine performance. He ends the 3 game road trip with a save percentage in the .930’s and 2 wins. He has definitely had some poor moments, but he has more than held his own in Talbot’s absence, which may be ending shortly.
- Auvitu is fun to watch in the o-zone. Looks like he is always finding a way to get involve, and tonight on more than one occasion he was able to throw a dangerous chance towards the net.
- A fun note to think about is that the Oilers are starting to find their stride despite missing their starting goalie plus Larsson and Sekera. When these 3 find their way back into the line-up, based off of the added competition, the line-up should only get better. Could mean good news for a team that needs as many wins in their last 50 as possible.
- The Oilers didn’t give up a goal on the PK. Boom.