One thing that we’ve seen all year this season is that the Oilers have rarely played two bad games in a row and last night the boys in orange, blue, and white showed us why they were challengers for the Pacific division crown and why they are becoming one of the most feared teams in the whole NHL.
I don’t know about you but I was jumping and shouting and feeling mighty good last night. My wife and kids were looking at me like I had an arm growing out of my ear but I didn’t care. Actually, I was getting really worried as Larsson and Lucic took those penalties in the 3rd period but as soon as I seen McDavid gather that puck on the left wall and take off, I had a feeling he was going to sift that one away and that he did. I grabbed my infant son and we jumped for joy. All in the world was good.
Here are a few thoughts on last night’s game:
- Zack Kassian – UNREAL!!! Can you believe the transformation that he has undertaken? I know that we’re going to be discussing this game for year’s to come because of this performance but he HAS to be given a new long-term contract this summer. Todd McLellan compared him to Darren McCarty and I can buy that soup. If you remember, McCarty scored a pretty important goal for the Red Wings back in 1997. If not for Kassian’s ability to change games on a whim with his physicality than for being a player who is that skilled, that fast, with that kind of size. He’s the perfect 3rd line winger in my opinion AND Connor seems to think quite highly of him. #inspiration
Kassian's teammates thrilled for him. McDavid says he looks up to him primarily because of how he's turned his life around.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) April 15, 2017
- Special Teams were “Special” – both teams went 0/10 combined on the power play but the Oilers PK units outshot the Sharks veteran PP lines 6 to 5 plus both Oilers goals were scored whilst killing off infractions. That said, the Oilers have to stop taking penalties after the whistle and the need to be more careful with their sticks. It won’t be long before the Sharks powerplay begins to click if Edmonton keeps giving them this many opportunities every game.
On the 6 San Jose powerplays Oilers outshot the Sharks 6-5 & outscored them 2-0 https://t.co/ygFn2KQ8Fh
— Bruce McCurdy (@BruceMcCurdy) April 15, 2017
- Haley/Thornton to Return? – I can’t imagine that the Sharks are going to stand for getting their asses kicked like this at home. I’m willing to bet that they toss AHL super-pugilist Michael Haley into the lineup for game three. Jumbo Joe took the ice yesterday to practice but was unable to go. I reckon there’s a better than 50% chance he goes for game three but I’ll tell you a secret… It won’t matter.
- Experience – Not one question about the Oilers lack of playoff experience after the game was Todd McLellan asked and for good reason. The Oilers looked like a top NHL team last evening and the Sharks looked old and tired. Add to that beaten up.
- A Team Game – We all loved that Zack Kassian was a terminator last night but he wasn’t the only one. Matt Benning laid a big hit and Leon Draisaitl and a burr in his saddle too. Pat Maroon and Milan Lucic were playing hard as well. We should never have to think back and wonder what this team could’ve done with Hall and Yakupov again because THIS is how a TEAM plays. And frankly, this is how teams win, with a group effort.
- Cam Talbot – Speaking of players with more playoff points that Hall… Talbot not only got a kickass shutout last night but he assisted on Connor McDavid’s goal. I know there were some on Twitter claiming Talbot is better than his mentor in New York but I think Henrik Lundqvist is a bloody good goalie and Dadbot has a pretty tall hill to climb before we can put the two on the same plain. Not to say Talbot can’t get there because I think he can but let’s give him a few more seasons on this team before we start making those claims.
- 16 Shots – The Oilers managed to hold the Sharks to 16 shots in game 2. Six in the first and second periods and 4 in the 3rd. That’s what I call 60 minutes of domination and that’s what we were all hoping for. Edmonton basically did to the Sharks what the Sharks did to them in game 1.
- Match-Ups – The Oilers 2nd line of Lucic/RNH/Eberle were matched hard to the Sharks 1st line and 1st D-pairing and came out on top. I love the way that Nuge and Eberle have picked up their games in the hitting department. They’ve turned the gritensity dial to 11 and I think it’s throwing the Sharks for a loop. They expected the regular season versions of Nuge and Ebs and it ain’t happening.
The reason I bring this up is because I have to wonder how having the last change is going to affect the Oilers in San Jose. Will we see the Oilers game 1 performance or one similar to game 2’s?
RNH's line ate SJS's first line and Burn/Martin for lunch. pic.twitter.com/wiwljksXD7
— Woodguy (@Woodguy55) April 15, 2017
I tell you, I can’t wait for game 3! I wouldn’t make any lineup changes because you don’t fix something that isn’t broken and I don’t expect Kassian to come out flying like he did in game 2 but somebody will and part of the allure of playoff hockey is seeing who will be the hero that game or that series. Until then, I guess I’ll have to settle for watching the Flames lose out to the Ducks and the Caps continue their process of sweeping the Leafs.