Sweeeeeeeeep! Final Score: 3-1 Oilers
Has anyone else noticed how fun some of these Oilers wins have been over the last couple of weeks? I don’t know if it’s the pressure cranking up or the fact that the boys have played a pair of potential playoff opponents, but these last four games have been enjoyably intense and I was looking forward to another one in the rematch against the Jets. On Monday night, the Oilers ran away with the win and as much as we all wanted a repeat performance, I was expecting the Jets to come into the rematch with a chip on their shoulder and offer up a much better overall effort. I mean, it seemed pretty likely that getting blown out at home would piss them off enough to want to play their asses off, no? Yet, despite Winnipeg’s probable prayers to the Hockey Gords and best intentions, it was the Oilers that were once again able to carry the bulk of the early play until they eventually scored first, completing another tidy road period that saw them head into the intermission with a lead in tow. As far as starts go, this was another strong one for our boys.
With only one goal separating good from evil, the Oilers needed to do what they could to add some insurance up on the board while the Jets were doing what they could to prevent being down by a pair. And while the home side was able to knot the score up temporarily, that was as close as they would get as Edmonton’s powerplay got back to work and restored the lead within a couple of minutes. Needless to say, round two of this mini-series was a whole lot tighter than the opener, but the Oilers were still doing plenty of good things that put them in a good spot to pick up the sweep. Up by a goal with 20 minutes to play, I was looking for Edmonton to keep pushing forward to try and extend the lead rather than sitting back and trying to ride the clock out. And as predicted, the Jets threw everything they could towards the Oilers’ net but the boys did a fine job of weathering the storms as they came and clearing the puck to safety. Even so, that didn’t make the last few minutes any less stressful until the final buzzer sounded.
Quite frankly, these meaningful games are making me feel like I’m going to have a heart attack, and I don’t know how I’ll be able to handle the playoffs. Either way, this was a massive win for our boys as they prepare for the second half of a back-to-back set.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Tyson Barrie opened the scoring (1-0) on the powerplay with a huge blast from the point that made its way through traffic and up over Hellebuyck’s blocker. Quite frankly, I don’t know how you’d expect anyone to stop that puck because Barrie absolutely got a hold of that thing after McDavid set him up on a tee.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins restored the lead (2-1) with another powerplay goal after Barrie fed him the puck to his spot along the sideboards and he ripped a quick wrister past Hellebuyck low on the glove side. With two points on the night, RNH now finds himself with four points in the three games he’s played since coming back from his injury. Quite frankly, it would be a massive add for the Oilers if Nuge can get back to playing and producing at the same rate as we saw from him over the past couple of seasons.
- Leon Draisaitl added an empty-net goal to seal the deal (3-1) and I couldn’t help but laugh at how he basically skated the puck right into the net. I loved it.
- How about another casual three-point night for Connor McDavid? The guy is an absolute freak and I cannot stress enough how lucky we are to watch him on a nightly basis. Not only that, but McDavid owns the Jets to the point where I think their fans should start shouting him out during the anthem.
- Despite thinking that Smith would get the start for most of the day, Mikko Koskinen was back between the pipes for the first time in three weeks and looking for his 11th win of the season. And even though it’s been a while since he last played, Koskinen was excellent for the Oilers all night long and provided his teammates with the foundation they needed to close out the win. Koskinen finished the night with 29 saves and a .967 save%.
- I wanted to give Adam Larsson another shout-out because I thought he had a very nice game defensively. Larsson finished the night with 19:08 in TOI to go along with one shot and five hits.
- Ryan McLeod is going to keep getting love from me in the wrap ups if he can keep making smart plays more often than not when he’s on the ice, which is exactly what he did in game two of his young career.
- Ethan Bear is so smooth with the puck and it made me think about how I hope he eventually works his way into more powerplay minutes. I know the second unit never sees the ice but I think there could be something there with him if he ever gets the chance to show it.
- The Oilers got two goals on three powerplay chances which was an excellent result and especially nice to see after the boys were shut out with the man advantage on Monday.
- While the boys only had one penalty kill to handle, they were able to take care of the task with relative ease. All-in-all, that was a very nice special teams night.
- When you have the two best players on the planet, the only option is to make a t-shirt that reflects their brilliance. Shine bright, boys. Pick up the Dynamic Duo tee here.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Blake Wheeler tied the game (1-1) early in the second period after Kulikov gave up the puck in the corner and Andrew Copp found him in the slot with enough time and space to pick his spot. I don’t know whether the boys got their wires crossed a little bit or what was going on there, but I was surprised to see how much space Wheeler had when they showed a few different angles on the replay.
- The Oilers gave up a handful of Grade-A chances from right near the crease and were very lucky to get bailed out by Koskinen on most of them.
- If I’m going to nitpick a little bit, I thought the Oilers passed up too many chances to shoot the puck while playing at even strength. It seems like they’re always looking for an extra pass when the simpler play of firing the puck at the net could create a little bit of luck or chaos.
- I’m sorry to break everyone’s heart but I must let you know that the Oilers won only 46% of the faceoffs? It hurts but I must report the facts.
- Unfortunately, the Corsi Gords will be upset with us yet again as the Oilers were outshot by a 30-27 margin.
The Oiler D forgot how to play the puck in their own end cuz Smith does it for them all the time.
— TheIsolationBoy (@TheTowelBoy) April 29, 2021
Watching my first game in my new glasses and yeah no that's definitely not Andrew Ference
— Ryan (@IAmByks) April 29, 2021
— Wendo (@WendolynLamchop) April 29, 2021
My heart skipped a beat there
— Zakk Goertzen (@GoertzenZakk) April 29, 2021
I picture him having a tremendous collection of pastel polos and puka shell necklaces
— Jason Adams (@AdamsOnHockey) April 29, 2021
Nail A lost
— Josh Park (@JoshTPark) April 29, 2021
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