Arizona 3 – Oilers 2 (SO)
With McDavid out of the lineup it looked like the Oilers might be in for a game full of doom and gloom. Outside of McDavid, Draisaitl, and Nugent-Hopkins this team has nearly zero offence. Arguably outside of those three forwards all the other forwards fit into two categories, 4th line NHLer or AHL player.
The Oilers started the game well, the Draisaitl line had a chance on the first shift of the game, and though they got outshot in the first period seemed to be playing a good hardworking game.
The second period belonged to the Coyotes the Oilers had only 1 shot on goal through the first half of the period, which isn’t a recipe for success for any team. Coyotes scored the opening goal, also the only goal of the second period. The Oilers were lucky to escape only down by one, their lack of skill up front was showing big time.
Early in the third period the Oilers tied up the game on a nice point shot that found its way in from Adam Larsson for his 3rd goal of the season. that gave the Oilers some life which was all but immediately taken away when Sam Gagner took a tripping penalty right after. About halfway through the 3rd Arizona retook the lead from a Hinostroza goal. The Oilers looked a lot better during the 3rd period but I felt like I was seeing a lot of Colby Cave on the ice. When your team is seeing a lot of Colby Cave in the 3rd period that probably means your team is not very good. That is to mean no offence to Cave personally but he was a waiver wire pick up to expect big things from him would be foolish. The Oilers started to gain momentum in the later hal of the 3rd and with about 2 minutes left the Oilers pulled the goalie and piled on the pressure. The situation was looking very dire for the Oilers but with 14 seconds left Ryan Nugent-Hopkins came to save the day and ticked home his own rebound off of a Draisaitl pass, sending the game to overtime!
In overtime the Oilers still looked dangerous even without McDavid on the ice. The first trio was Draisaitl, Nugent-Hopkins, and Klefbom and they had a few good looks. I think Nuge is underrated in 3-on-3 because he gets overshadowed by McDavid and Draisaitl who are money together in extra time. The second trio was a little worry some to the eye, Cave, Gagner, and Sekera (in his first game of the season). Though this trio may have had the most dangerous chance of anyone in the extra frame. Cave came into the zone and had an awesome chance on net, then circled the net to get his own rebound on the backhand with Keumper out of position but a stick got in the way to deflect it out of harms way. Some poor defence led to a great chance for Galchenyuk but Koskinen turned him aside.
In the shootout, only Draisaitl was able to score for the Oilers, using his patented move of just shooting 5-hole from the slot. He somehow freezes the goalie and it works almost every time. Koskinen was rock solid all game but looked like he could use some practice in the shootout department, where he bit very hard on Galchenyuk’s move throwing him off balance, making it easy to score a goal. Hinostroza also put a nice move on to end the shootout in the 4th round.
Oilers get a point but lose ground on the Coyotes who are ahead of them in the Standings. Moral victories don’t cut it at this point in the season. The Oilers just don’t have enough skill in their lineup to compete. They can try as hard as they can but this lineup will win very few NHL games. It needs improvement but may only get worse as the Oilers become sellers at the deadline.
Oilers 3 Stars
1st Star – Leon Draisaitl
With McDavid out of the lineup he was about the Oilers only hope for offence and he delivered 2 points, and worked hard all game long.
2nd Star – Mikko Koskinen
33 saves and a .943 sv%, Mikko did his best to help his team to a win, though he couldn’t help them overcome their anemic offence.
3rd Star – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
With 14 seconds left in regulation Nuge scored his 19th goal of the season to send the game to overtime and help the Oilers earn a point. He put in work centering a line where the wingers have a combined 1 goal on the season.