Now, THAT’S more like it. Final Score: 4-1 Oilers
I feel like I need to start tonight’s Wrap Up with a confession. I, Baggedmilk, readily admit that I was nervous about how the Oilers were going to respond after the disappointing loss in Detroit, and the fact that they were going to have to do it on the second half of a back-to-back set didn’t inspire much confidence either. Don’t get me wrong, I’m always hoping for the best and have basically spent the past 24 hours praying to the Hockey Gords that this horrible offensive drought would end and that we can all get back to having fun again. Remember how fantastic life was when the Oilers started the year with a 5-0 record? Of course you do. Is recapturing that level of joy too much to ask? I don’t think so. So when the Oilers came out firing in the first period, I was ecstatic.
Not only were they putting the puck on the net every chance they got which resulted in a pair of early goals, but they also did a nice job of corralling Columbus to the outside of the ice and limiting their ability to maintain zone pressure. Frankly, this was the best start to a game that we’ve seen in a while and all I could hope was that the boys could keep the ball rolling. Much to our collective delight, the Oilers kept their energy up as the game progressed and the hustle seemed to give them confidence in all three zones. For the first time in weeks, they played with a sense of urgency and they didn’t allow for any lulls to creep into their game. From their even strength play to the special teams to puck management, the Oilers won more battles than they lost and those small victories added up into a big road win for a club that desperately needed one.
This was as complete of an effort as we’ve seen, in my opinion, since the road win against the New York Islanders back in the first week of the season and I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we want to watch more of that, please.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- The more James Neal scores the harder I laugh. I truly hope he puts up 30+ this year because it would be the funniest thing on earth. I mean, how hilarious would that be? Flames fans are hanging onto the fact that they get Lucic AND a 3rd round pick as a means of defending the trade, but I can’t think of a funnier price to pay to force them to watch Neal score all of the goals for their provincial rival.
- Leon Draisaitl put the Oilers up by two goals (2-0) after Nugent-Hopkins set him up with a pass that he was able to lean into, beating Korpisalo down low. In the second period, Leon wasn’t done as he added his second goal of the night after being the business end of a perfectly executed 2-on-1 with Zack Kassian. Kassian with the setup, Draisaitl with the finish. It was beautiful. I know I’m starting to come off like a broken record, but I can’t stop talking about how great Leon Draisaitl has been for the Edmonton Oilers. Yeah, we all know that Connor McDavid is the face of this franchise (and the entire league, for that matter) but, in my opinion, Leon has to be in the conversation for the league’s best offensive player.
- Jujhar Khaira has taken a lot of shit around here lately for being unable to produce so it had to feel good for the big man to get his first of the season early in the second period. Khaira got on his horse and charged towards the front of the net, arriving at the perfect time to have Nugent-Hopkins’ rebound bounce in off of him. It may not have been the prettiest goal, but to Khaira, I assume it feels about as good as any.
- Mike Smith was back between the pipes after getting the hook against the Panthers on Sunday and I was very curious to see how he’d rebound. Not only did he have an excellent game, stopping all but one shot, but he was also as involved in the play through his puck skills as we’ve seen him this season. Mike Smith didn’t get an assist on James Neal’s first period goal but he’s the whole reason that play happened. Smith bombed a pass down to the other end of the ice where McDavid, Draisaitl, and Neal finished it off with the opening goal of the hockey game. It was a hell of a play by Smith and an example of his puck work at its best. Smith finished a wonderful rebound effort with 23 saves and a .958 save%.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has had a very nice back-to-back set despite not registering a point last night against Detroit. He had six shots on goal, was solid on the dot, and contributed to more offensive than he gave up. Nuge kept that fine play going against Columbus and quietly put two assists up on the board and he had a couple of good looks on net that I can’t help but feel are going to start going in soon.
- Connor McDavid kept his point streak alive again as he picked up an assist on James Neal’s first period marker. It’s nice when McDavid “only” has one point but the team is still able to put some goals up on the board.
- How about the game Oscar Klefbom had despite this being the second game in a back-to-back set? Klefbom played a team-leading 27:19, had five shots on goal, four blocks, and finished with a +2 beside his name. How good is this guy? So good.
- Joel Persson made his return to the lineup after a couple of weeks on the shelf and I never thought I would miss the guy as much as I apparently did. Having him back adds more balance to the defensive top-six and it was an added bonus that he’s able to move the puck effectively.
- The Oilers’ power play hasn’t been as deadly over the past few games but it did pick up a big goal tonight. Arguably, they should have had more than one considering they had five PP chances, but I’m not going to be an overly aggressive hockey dad about it. They scored and that’s what matters.
- I loved how angry John Tortorella looked in the third period. So much rage. So many suppressed curse words.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Zach Werensky got the Blue Jackets on the board (4-1) on the power play with a blast from the point that made its way through Mike Smith. Not only were the Oilers down a man, but Markus Granlund was also stuck on the ice without a stick, effectively putting the Blue Jackets up by another half-man. (does that math work? Half man?) Personally, I would have preferred that Granlund either get off the ice or get a new stick. It would have put the team down to 5-on-3 for a few seconds but that might have been better than flying around weaponless.
- In the second period, Riley Sheahan took a big hit in the corner from Pierre-Luc Dubois and ended up leaving the game with an upper-body injury. At the moment, we don’t know how hurt he is, just that he was unable to continue.
- If I’m going to nitpick, I thought that the Oilers took too many penalties which gave Columbus some undeserved opportunities to claw their way back (1/3), though, some of those calls were questionable. Like I said, I know that’s a nitpicky thing to say, especially since Columbus took five penalties on the night.
- Oilers got roasted in the faceoff circle, winning only 39% of the draws they took. Yeah, I know I’m one of the only people that cares about faceoffs.
|09:11||Edmonton||PPG – James Neal (11) ASST: Leon Draisaitl (13), Connor McDavid (17)||1-0|
|17:02||Edmonton||Leon Draisaitl (11) ASST: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (7), Alex Chiasson (3)||2-0|
|01:20||Edmonton||Jujhar Khaira (1) ASST: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (8), Sam Gagner (1)||3-0|
|04:56||Edmonton||Leon Draisaitl (12) ASST: Zack Kassian (6)||4-0|
|06:55||Columbus||PPG – Zach Werenski (3) ASST: Cam Atkinson (3)||4-1|
Nuge hasn’t scored a 5on5 goal since getting married. Just saying.
— Big Kiwi (@kiwi_pfitz) October 30, 2019
The math checks out.
— StevenX (@StevenX_DFA) October 31, 2019
See how he's not Lucic? That really helps.
— Travis Dakin (@TravisDakin) October 31, 2019
This tweet aged well, good job https://t.co/EIuQ3ILICJ
— RamboPilot (@rambopilt) October 31, 2019
Leon Draisaitl = 10 Men working
— Woodguy (@Woodguy55) October 31, 2019
Sure is! pic.twitter.com/3JSlebgKLZ
— Mike Bonn (@13Mike31) October 31, 2019
Look at Torts being all grown up and suppressing that rage deep, deep down inside @OilersnationHQ
— Ward (@Ward_Livingston) October 31, 2019
This new shirt is a steal of a deal and you won’t have to trade an overpriced fourth-liner to get one. Click the link here to buy
Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 10/30/2019 – 8:15 pm MT