Wild West Shootout – Oilers Top Ducks 6-5

Oil win v ANA

They couldn’t make it easy this weekend, could they? The Edmonton Oilers arrived in Southern California on Friday, and leave tonight with four points in their back pocket. That said, the Oilers made it a grueling affair tonight, surrendering the lead three times, including a two goal lead in the final 30 seconds of regulation.

When it was all said and done, Al Montoya made two saves in the shootout while Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid each beat Ryan Miller to give the Oil their third win in a row and fourth in five games. All in all, it was a nice trip to So Cal for the Oil, who now move on to San Jose on Tuesday night.

Of course, there’s a little thing called the trade deadline to deal with tomorrow afternoon. After being slated to play all day, Patrick Maroon was a late scratch after warmup, likely to keep him healthy in preparation for a trade tomorrow at some point.

Back to tonight, Edmonton opened the scoring 13 seconds in on Leon Draisaitl’s 20th of the year, a nifty backhand shot past Ryan Miller. The Ducks would tie it on the their third shot of the night, as Rickard Rakell banged home his 23rd of the season. Edmonton would regain the lead at 12:55, as Anton Slepyshev took a feed from Connor McDavid and tucked it behind the Anaheim netminder.

Once again, the Ducks would respond, this time on the powerplay. Adam Henrique would rifle his 19th of the season past Al Montoya just 1:22 into the middle frame, tying us at two. For a second time, the Oilers would retake the lead, this time via Ryan Strome at 8:02.

Strome would score his second of the night 2:31 into the third period, giving Edmonton their first two goal lead of the night. Strome polished off a really pretty passing play that saw McDavid and Jesse Puljujarvi pick up helpers. Ryan Getzlaf and Iiro Pakarinen would trade goals, setting us up for a final minute for the ages.

Rakell would put home a rebound at 19:39 to make it a one-goal game, giving Oiler fans flashbacks to game five last spring. The Ducks nearly tied the game on the next sequence, but Ryan Getzlaf was denied by Montoya. Anaheim would breakthrough however, as Rakell scored his third of the game at 19:53 to force OT.

Edmonton, as mentioned above, took the shootout by a 2-1 tally and the game 6-5.

The Good: 

Really liked Mike Cammalleri’s game again tonight. The veteran winger had two points and continues a stretch of solid play. Odds are Cammy is dealt by the deadline tomorrow, but I wouldn’t mind the Oilers keeping him around and bringing him back on a cheap one-year contract next season. The club will need value contracts.

Ryan Strome, who scored twice, continues a nice stretch of play as well. Strome looks comfortable at center and the offense is starting to catch up to his two-way game a bit. After a slow start to the season, I’ve liked Strome’s overall game over the last two months.

Nice to see Anton Slepyshev doing something with his opportunity right now. Slepy scored again tonight, and was one of Edmonton’s best forwards on the weekend. Todd McLellan gave him a look with McDavid and in overtime in this contest, and Slepy did not disappoint. More of that, please.

I thought Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Adam Larsson, Andrej Sekera and Matt Benning all had quality nights.

The Bad:

A lot of chaos in Yohann Auvitu’s game, and I thought he struggled quite a bit. Usually, the chaos is offset by some offensive chops, but I didn’t see that from Auvitu in this game. Too bad, because more often than not he’s been a nice depth piece to have.

Edmonton’s powerplay was poor in this game, going 0-for-2 and not really getting much in the way of looks. This unit has been mostly bad all season long, and tonight was no exception. Interesting to see that Ty Rattie, in his first game as an Oiler, saw 1:51 of powerplay time on ice. Something to watch in the stretch drive.

The Ugly:

First thing is first, credit to Al Montoya for making two saves in the shootout, a couple of beauties in the overtime frame, and 41 total stops on the night. That being said, this was the third straight poor start for Edmonton’s new backup. He’s yet to give up less than four goals in a start for Edmonton, and his rebound control is a major issue.

Montoya is under contract for next season, but I’m a little worried about him. From what I have seen with the Oilers, I don’t think he’s the guy. Now, these three starts are a massively small sample size, but it still hasn’t been ideal for the veteran journeyman to start. We shall see where this goes.

Next Up:

It’s a date with the Sharks in San Jose on Tuesday night before a return trip home to battle the Nashville Predators on Thursday.

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