Post Game Recaps

Oilers Postgame: The Knockout Punch

Photo Courtesy of the Edmonton Oilers

Final Score: Oilers 2 – Kings 0

Last year, on this very date, the Edmonton Oilers were statistically eliminated from the playoffs. Just one year later, and following a convincing win against the Los Angeles Kings, and the Oilers have all but guaranteed themselves a trip to the postseason.

A true knockout punch.

From days of the past where the Oilers were whipping boys come late March, to the vigour of the present where it is the Oilers delivering the crunching hits, the back breaking goals, the stellar saves, and in the process, clawing their way to deserved victories. Our eyes have been put to the extreme test over the past decade, but ladies and gentlemen, if this year’s success hasn’t provided you with nectar for the eyes, I am not sure what will.

What specifically did tonight showcase that was worthy of such praise? Well for starters, the Oilers delivered a much better performance than they did on Saturday night. After spending 60 minutes playing down to their opponent on Hockey Night in Canada, and in the process, striking the worrying matches of a few folks in Edmonton, the Oilers jumped into action immediately.

It was only a minute in when Patrick Maroon scored, but it would be the goal that stood tall through the final 59 and secured the victory. The Oilers didn’t wait to get going, nor did they spot the Kings a lead only to fight their way back. Instead, they went out, got that goal, and took care of business down the stretch.

And that goal was able to stand as the winner thanks to some splendid performances across the board. How about Cam Talbot, who with 31 saves secured his second straight shutout? Or how about the defence, who with their willingness to sacrifice the body, combined for a total of 16 hits and 28 blocked shots. The Kings tried, but ultimately failed to penetrate the wall of those 7 men. It wasn’t always pretty, but there wasn’t one man, goaltender or defencemen, who wasn’t completely committed to securing the win tonight. That is lovely.

Adam Larsson, in 20:48 of ice time, provided 7 hits and 6 blocked shots alone, emulating a wrecking ball of a presence on the backend.

But it wasn’t just the boys behind the blue who made an impact on the evening. Another game, another two points for Draisaitl and McDavid, who at this point mark up the scoresheet with the consistency and persistence of champion dart players.

The heavy wingers, Milan Lucic and Patrick Maroon, made their mark as well, being the only 2 goal scorers on the night. In addition to Maroon’s game winner, he found himself in a spirited tilt against the veteran Iginla, and chipped in with a total of 5 shots on net, and 2 hits. He was a force. Lucic matched Maroon with 5 shots of his own and 2 hits to boot.

Benoit Pouliot, if nothing else, was notable for his willingness to hop on his horse and dig down to provide defensive support to his team at every opportunity to do so. Busting his ass on the back check, taking bodies in the zone, and winning puck battles added to his pair of shots and hits, in what was a very positive evening.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins led all forwards in ice time with 23 minutes of ice time. He is leading a trio that is consistently finding their way to be one of the best aspects of the team every night.

Overall, all that is left to say is that spring time in Edmonton will once more feature more than just excitement towards the melting snow. You gotta love it.

P.S. – I still think this lineup is better with Slepyshev int he bottom 6. What do you say?

Oilers Player of the Game

I would feel guilty if I didn’t give this to Cam. 2 straight shutouts, approximately 140 minutes without giving up a goal, and his 37th win of the season.

He is now only 3 wins away from tying Grant Fuhr for most Oilers wins in a season. I hope he gets at least a little Vezina love come awards time, he is more than worthy.

10 Takeaways

1. In a game as important as this one (in terms of punching out the Kings), it was a tremendously encouraging sign to see the Oilers be as urgent as they were to start the game. The game winner was scored just a minute in, showing that good starts to games do matter.

2. I’m not entirely sure if Lucic’s new found power play production has come as a result of McDavid, or whether there is some other factor in play, but either way, his contributions at 5 on 4 have been fantastic. It has really helped to make up for the less than stellar even strength numbers.

3. McDavid turnstyling Drew Doughty was be-a-uuuutiful. Wow, what a player.

4. Back to Lucic, remember early in the season when there were more than a few defensive struggles? He has been much improved on the back check lately, and saved a goal in the 2nd period by taking a body in front of the net.

5. 25 goals on the season for Patrick Maroon now. When the stories are written of the season upon its completion-and there will be many stories- Patrick Maroon and his good guy tale will hit the print early and often. A terrific campaign for the Big Rig.

6. I had noted a few times now that it seemed the Oilers were putting more of an emphasis into finishing every one of their forechecks. A new noticeable trend has been their commitment and hustle on the back check. It seems as though these boys understand what is close and are willing to sacrifice to get there.

7. 30+ blocked shots on the night should be a pretty big testament to that as well.

8. With their win, the Oilers are now 14-4-3 against Pacific Division opponents. Chiarelli wante a team that could compete in the West, Chiarelli built a team that can compete in the West.

9. Oilers were 2 for 2 on the penalty kill again tonight… please, please, please be a sign of a more permanent fix to this portion of the special teams. A successful PK will be vital in the playoffs AND SPEAKING OF PLAYOFFS….

10.  The Oilers magic number is now only 9 points! Get your drinking flasks ready, celebration is coming soon!

 

Oilers Highlights

Up Next: Big Showdown with the Ducks

The Oilers have concluded their home stand and will now travel to Anaheim for a big game against the Ducks. 2nd place in the Pacific would be a beautiful accomplishment, and a win on Wednesday will go a long way towards helping the oilers get there.

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