I knew it would be that kind of game, but didn’t think these Oilers would win it. The Anaheim Ducks bring their own special brand of hell, kind of like Jack Nicholson in The Shining. You just pray you don’t end up like Scatman Crothers and it would be nice if Jack Torrance doesn’t get out of the hedge maze. The Oilers entered the fray, and won the dance! Music!
ASCOT’S FOR TALBOT!
- Through 20: 1-0 EDM, shots ANA 12-3 and Corsi for 5×5 was 18-8 ANA.
- Second 20: 1-1 tie, shots ANA 12-9 and Corsi for 5×5 was 21-14 ANA.
- Final 20: 0-0 tie, shots 16-11 ANA and Corsi for 5×5 was 24-12 ANA.
- Final: 2-1 EDM, shots 40-23 ANA and Corsi for 5×5 was 63-34 ANA.
The Oilers won this game on guile, Talbot, hard work, positioning and 25 miles of blind luck. Do not look this gift horse in the mouth, and it is safe to say the Anaheim Ducks are going to have a helluva time getting back to even in this series. What a victory!
Zone Exits (total / % Controlled)
Klefbom 9 / 44%
Larsson 9 / 56%
Sekera 10 / 50%
Russell 5 / 80%
Nurse 5 / 60%
Benning 5 / 20%
— WheatNOil (@WheatNOil) April 29, 2017
DEFENSE LAST NIGHT
- Nurse-Benning went 11-17 in 12:07 together, 4-2 with McDavid and 2-7 with Desharnais and Letestu. Nurse went 2-9 against Getzlaf, and tried the Savardian spinarama too close to the boards and against same Getzlaf. He took a lot of heat for the penalty, but that happens. The pairing survived without giving up an even-strength goal, and that kind of experience should help the future. These young men are getting valuable experience.
- Sekera-Russell went 10-19 in 14:34 together, including 4-8 with the McDavid line. Went 3-9 against Rakell-Getzlaf-Eaves, that line is diabolical. The pairing did move the puck up, but struggled for long periods. Bend but don’t break is kind of the motto of this pairing, I find it difficult to endure some of the struggles. Massive goal by Sekera, he also plays defense damn well sans stick.
- Klefbom-Larsson went 10-23 in 15:12 together, they played forever. Went 3-12 with Nuge and 6-11 with McDavid. Went 3-16 against Rakell-Getzlaf-Eaves, that’s getting fed no way around it. Went 3-7 against Perry, not sure what line he was on. For the first time in the playoffs, this pairing had a difficult time calming the waters. Credit the Getzlaf line, as the Swedish duo went 7-7 away from the big line. Larsson made his usual subtle defensive plays, including some nice work on the PK.
- Cam Talbot stopped 39 of 40, .975. There can be no doubt about the most important player in last night’s win. Lordy. He is .934 in the playoffs and I would suggest Edmonton’s current Conn Smythe leader.
- Numbers via NHL.com, HockeyStats.ca and NaturalStatTrick.
- McDavid was flying last night, especially during the first two periods. I thought he might have gotten an assist on the first goal, but it went without one. Definitely recovered from flu, or whatever it was that was impacting performance.
- Leon received a lot of attention and very little air. Had a couple of giveaways and contributed to some good looks on the 5×4, and showed that wild chem with 97 that has done so much for the Oilers this season.
- Maroon scored the winning goal, he is the best forward on the team at getting to the front of the net. He could have cashed a couple of 97 passes to boot!
- The Maroon 5 assault rivaled the Getzlaf mugging as the most ridiculous non-call of the evening, in what was an epic throwback game by the Ducks. I think we were about two degrees away from Ed Whalen showing up to scream “he brings out a foreign object!” on that Maroon play.
- Went 7-9 against Lindholm, who covered him like a blanket (and should have been penalized a time or two) and 8-10 against Cogliano-Kesler-Silfverberg. The Ducks are fortunate Edmonton didn’t score more than once at the 5×5 with McDavid out there.
- Getzlaf not getting a penalty for the blatant interference against McDavid was insane.
- Nuge’s play at the blue line on the GWG was a big play, and he made a lot more. Effective on the PK too. Skated miles, had an effective night despite chasing the play.
- Eberle’s assist on the same goal showed high skill. I mentioned the other day that Eberle needed to find a way to insert himself into the series, and a PP goal that wins it is a very good solution.
- Lucic had a moment of terror late when he turned over the puck at the opposition blue, but Klefbom saved him. Almost scored an EN goal late.
- Line went 4-16 against Rakell-Getzlaf-Eaves, how that line didn’t score is Talbot. Went 1-7 against Lindholm-Manson.
- Letestu-Kassian went 6-13 and Pouliot (3-9) chimed in after the Caggiula (1-3) injury.
- Kassian scored but it was called back because of course it was. There were three options for the zebra’s: goal, no goal and no penalty, and no goal with penalty. I knew before they called it, not based on the play (second option correct call) but based on the established level of criminal activity for both teams.
- Went 6-9 against Shaw-Vermette-Perry, that’s a good result for this line.
- With Caggiula possibly out for Game 3, Pouliot moving up may be the best option. Who draws in on the 4line? Options include Iiro Pakarinen, Matt Hendricks, Anton Lander and Jujhar Khaira.
- Desharnais-Slepyshev went 6-9 and played sparingly after the Caggiula injury.
- Went 2-7 with Nurse-Benning in three minutes, that’s a set Todd McLellan may want to avoid in the coming days.
- Desharnais went 1-8 against Getzlaf and 0-10 against Lindholm.
- Both men performed well in difficult circumstances, which involved sitting for long periods between shifts.
- Pouliot drew a power play with hard work late.
SUNDAY 5PM START
There are times during the week (Tuesday) when the Oilers are not traditionally strong, and Sunday afternoon starts are the Bermuda triangle. This club has surprised me a lot this season, a win in Game 3, in this time slot, will be another mission accomplished.
Ducks have outshot Oilers 76-55 through 2 games. Out-attempted them 157-107.
Shots from slot = 25-25
Inner slot = 16-13 EDM.
Wins = 2-0 EDM
— Mike Kelly (@MikeKellyNHL) April 29, 2017
At this point, I’m not absolutely certain we can point to a mountain this team can’t climb on the way to the SCF. The Oilers have received fantastic goaltending, are (as shown above) getting good results inside the most attractive scoring zones, and are running luck (and that is a big part of winning pennants, too).
Jesse Puljujärvi avautui vaikeasta kaudestaan: ”Kyllä siellä välillä tuli äitiä ikävä” https://t.co/pnKhtKoZeL
— Leijonat.com (@leijonat_com) April 28, 2017
I have been paying attention to JP’s verbal since the end of the season, and Finnish media is cooperating (although Google translate trolls me hard). It sounds like it was a difficult season and a period of transition for him, hockey and culture. Young man will be back in the fall and we will see him next week at the WHC’s.
By the time this Anaheim series is complete (and it isn’t over yet), we’ll have more evidence to use against the Anaheim Ducks. Whatever the line in the sand might be, Anaheim drove past that and kept on going all night long. Guess what? Doesn’t matter. The NHL likes this kind of playoff hockey and is not going to change the rules for you. If Connor McDavid is going to lead this team to the promised land, he is going to have to pay far more than is reasonable in order to do it. I went through the same experience as a kid, watching Bobby Orr take a tremendous beating (and shortening his career). It’s the wild west, on ice, same as it ever was.