The Oilers came into tonight’s game playing the second of a back to back and it sure looked like it. They came out flat and unenergized against the 31st place team in the league. That’s not really the effort you want to see against the last place team after a game where you were completely embarrassed on National TV.
The Oilers came out flat and Koskinen had to make a few big saves including a breakaway stop to keep the game knotted at zero. However, Koskinen’s great play wan’t enough to battle against the Oilers lack of energy. A little over halfway through the first period Chris Tierney scored to put the Senators up 1-0. The Oilers sawed things off for the rest of the period and went into the intermission only down 1.
In the second period the Oilers managed to tie up the game thanks to McDavid and his silky mitts in front of the net. He deked out Anderson in tight and tied things up 1-1. That goal however, does not happen with out a good dump in deep by Matt Benning who went in and retrieved his own dump in. It was a good honest hard work by Benning that helped set up the goal. It was McDavid’s 33rd goal of the season and the lone assist went to Josh Currie for his first career assist. What a story Josh Currie is, I’ll never tire of players working their way up from the East Coast League and contribute to an NHL team. With the Oilers out of the playoff picture, stories like this are something to find joy in, such a wonderful story. With only a couple minutes left in the second, Sam Gagner buried a goal off of a beautiful one-timer pass from Ty Rattie. Matt Benning also contributed on that play putting a nice low shot towards the net, when you do that, good things happen. The Puck bounced off a few legs in front dribbled over to Rattie at the side of the goal and rather than try to stuff it through Anderson found Gagner alone in front who tucked it into the wide open net. The Oilers proceeded to take their 2-1 advantage into the second intermission as they prepped to take the game home in the final 20 minutes.
Two minutes into the third period, after missing a breakaway chance earlier in the game, Colby Cave got the puck in close to the net and made a nifty little move to score his first career goal as an Oiler, his 2nd of the season to put the Oilers up 3-1. If Cave keeps progressing like he seems to have in the last few games, he could be worth keeping around in a 4th line role next year. The last few games I’ve found myself saying “I’ve seen to much Colby Cave in this game”, more as a critique of the Oilers roster than anything he’s done, but he’s had some dangerous looks the last couple games and finally converted. He has a cheap salary and if he can play with this much compete all the time, I’d love to keep him as a 4th line player. He has grown on me immensely in the last week and half. Also, this goal was assisted by none other than Josh Currie for his 2nd point of the game! He now 3 points in 6 games, he’s looked good in all his games as well. Currie does not seem to be out of place, if he can manage to keep up some offence throughout the remainder of the season, I could also see him challenging for a cheap 4th line spot in the fall. The trio of Lucic – Cave – Currie seem to have some chemistry going and have looked dangerous (as dangerous as an Oilers third line can look), hopefully coach Hitchcock will run them together for a while in the name of consistency.
With a little more than half the time remaining in the 3rd, Borowiecki scored his first goal of the season to make it a one goal game again, 3-2. then only a few minutes later, there was a controversial high stick call against the Ottawa Senators that resulted in a goal being called back. As much as Oilers fans like to complain that calls never go their way the Oilers got a big break here, the goal probably should have counted. When you’re the winner of these calls though you tend to take your money and run, leave it in the past and forget about it. Late in the game the Senators pulled the goalie but it backfired as Zack Kassian potted his 9th goal of the season to seal the game for the Oilers as they skated away from the basement dwelling Senators with a 4-2 win.
Oilers 3 Stars
1st Star – Mikko Koskinen – Held the Oilers in it at the start of the game, made some key stops, finished the game stopping 35 of 37 shots for a .946sv%.
2nd star – Josh Currie – His first career two point night, both primary assists. He has impressed and now has as many points as Ryan Spooner did in his time with the Oilers.
3rd Star – Connor McDavid – He was his typical self, usually that can warrant a first star performance. Tonight he scored a dandy of a goal and played nearly 25 minutes. Let’s hope he is never suspended again.