Not the ideal way to win your third straight game, but they did it. Up until the last seven and a half minutes, when they blew a 4-2 lead, they were playing some pretty decent hockey. I don’t totally blame Stuart Skinner for the last two goals, but it makes the save percentage worse than it needed to be. Someone should’ve covered Keegan Kolesar in front of the net to prevent his tip in. That being said, a win is a win in the standings, even in the shootout. Zach Hyman was a late scratch due to an illness, so Mattias Janmark replaced his spot in the top six, and Sam Gagner was a last minute add to the lineup. Both players responded with a goal. Good on them to make good of their opportunities.
Tuesday night was also Hockey Fights Cancer night in Edmonton. We’re all wishing the very best for Oilers alumnus Andy Moog, who recently got diagnosed with cancer. His biggest Oilers highlight was in the 1980/1981 season, where he had to take over in net before the start of the Playoffs. The Montreal Canadiens finished first in the Norris Division and third overall in the league that year. When Oilers goalies Ron Low and Eddie Mio were injured, Moog stepped in and helped lead the second year NHL team to a 3-0 first-round upset against the storied Habs franchise. He was then part of Edmonton’s first three Stanley Cup wins as the backup to Hall Of Famer Grant Fuhr. His video message to fans was all about positivity, so here’s hoping he can beat it and let us work on positivity in our own weekly routines.
After the Carolina game, I wrote that the Oilers could suddenly be four points out of a Wild Card if they won their next three games, and if the teams in front of them didn’t do much themselves. Since that article, they did indeed win those three games. They are now five points out of a Wild Card, with Nashville taking that spot after their win on Tuesday night. They won three in a row, then lost three in a row, and then won three in a row again. If we’re hanging onto the slightest glimmer of hope that Edmonton will still make the Playoffs, they can’t afford anymore prolonged slumps or patterns similar to that one. The most they should lose is just one game, maybe two, with one or both losses in Overtime. A fourth straight win tonight on the road before being off for a week would be good for this team to keep building on. The keys to the game are…
Less Time In The Box: The Oilers got into some bad penalty trouble in the first period against Vegas, and were fortunate that the Golden Knights got a Too Many Men penalty to negate one of their powerplays. Even though Winnipeg’s PP percentage isn’t the greatest, you never want to give your opponent a glaring chance to remedy a weakness.
Score Later More Often: The Sportsnet broadcast showed a stat during the Vegas game, with Edmonton leading the league in first-period goals. It’s nice to have good starts; it really is. I’ve stated the importance of that before. But midway through the third period, when they got a PP, scoring on it would’ve been the best time to put the game away while up by two goals, before the Golden Knights wound up coming back to tie it.
Shut It Down: I’ve already alluded to this throughout my whole rundown today, but the last time the Oilers played the Jets back in October, they also blew a two-goal lead there. The only difference is they lost that one. At least they still got a point in OT, but learn from what went wrong in that game, as well as against Vegas.https://share.transistor.fm/s/53e7c607