Oilers roll on Tampa to move to third in Pacific Division

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“We see ourselves as a team that should be competing at the top of the league. I know we are not there now. We’re fighting for our lives in the playoffs’

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As the Edmonton Oilers battle their way to the playoffs over the next anxious six weeks, they clearly want to get to Easy Street and bypass the old Broken Dreams Boulevard on their way to the playoffs.

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But ahead of next week’s games against Detroit, Buffalo and New Jersey, the NHL’s version of the loose gravel, seeing Tampa Bay on Saturday had all the makings of a great Hazard Ahead panel. But there was no caution from the determined Oilers against the two-time Stanley Cup champions, who were back at Rogers Place for the first time since winning the Cup here for a dance party during of the bubble final against Dallas on September 28. 2020.

The Oilers burst the Lightning bubble in a solid 4-1 victory that was only tight on the scoreboard because their backup goaltender, Brian Elliott, made 46 saves. The only guys to solve it were the usual suspects – Connor McDavid with two and Leon Draisaitl, who worked overtime at a two-man disadvantage for 1:20 and then scored on a breakaway on Elliott. Kailer Yamamoto added the last in the empty net.
McDavid had seven shots, two goals and a 10-5 record in the face-off circle in 22 minutes.

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“Connor is determined to win, determined to lead this team forward and continually push the needle to get the team where it needs to go,” said Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft, now 9-5- 1 since replacing Dave Tippett as coach. “He set the example tonight. He was extremely dangerous with the puck on his stick, he scored the first two goals on different plays, two fantastic goals.

Draisaitl won 28 matchups, winning 57% of them. With the Oilers holding their breath with Brad Malone and Cody Ceci in the box, was the lone forward along with Darnell Nurse and Duncan Keith on Tampa’s two-man advantage. “In addition to Connor, I would also like to point out that Leon Draisaitl had a very good game. Leon assisted on the penalty 5v3 and his efforts on the third goal (breakaway) were phenomenal. Both of those point guards were terrific on offense,” Woodcroft said.

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While Edmonton played with urgency, the Lightning looked like a team in funk, losing for the third straight game on their trip to Western Canada – Winnipeg, Calgary and now the Oilers, outscored 15-6.

Elliott was overworked and excellent, while Mikko Koskinen had a shutout until 10 minutes remained when defender Zach Bogosian slipped in unmolested to beat the goalkeeper.

Koskinen’s victory propelled him past acrobat Curtis Joseph to seventh with 77 goalie wins.

While Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said before the game, “We’re going through a little bump, we’re going to fix it, there’s nothing to panic about,” the Oilers made the champions look quite ordinary and took third place in the standings. Department of the Pacific. They are tied on points with Vegas at 68, but have played one game less than the Golden Knights.

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The Oilers lost 5-3 in Tampa a few weeks ago, but deserved better. They clearly outplayed the Lightning in the rematch.
“Tonight was a total team win, contributions up and down the lineup,” said Woodcroft, who also got great work from Josh Archibald in his first game since last May and of Zack Kassian, who had several big hits in his second game back. after breaking his orbital bone.

Across the two games against Tampa, we allowed 55 shots against the Stanley Cup champions. We did a good job defensively in both games,” Woodcroft said.

“We see ourselves as a team that should be competing at the top of the league. I know we are not there now. We are fighting for our lives in the playoffs but if you want to go far you have to go through teams like Tampa. Good measuring stick for us,” said Oilers defenseman Tyson Barrie, who assisted on both of McDavid’s goals after missing three games with an upper body problem.

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After his magnificent first-period goal, McDavid gave the Oilers some respite with his second at the last minute of the middle period on the Oilers’ fifth power play of the night. He took a pass from Barrie and fired a 20-foot shot past Elliott’s stick side, their 32nd shot of the opening 40 minutes.

Elliott likely felt he was in a dunk tank in the top 20 as the Oilers fired. After dumping 20 shots in the first 20 minutes on Wednesday against Washington goaltender Ilya Samsonov, they had 19 against Elliott in the first period. Although they had three powerplays, they only led 1-0 as McDavid did like McDavid in midair as the Oilers scored first for the 18th time in 59 games. They are now 18-0, the only team in the NHL with an unblemished record when that happens.

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McDavid collected the puck in the neutral zone and caught the game’s best two-way defenseman, Victor Hedman, flat-footed as he swept and fired a shot over the slumped Elliott for his 31st of the season.

McDavid, who was on the ice for a 2:46 shift and Draisaitl 2:30 with the powerplay streak in the first, however, couldn’t get another one on the Lightning backup.

This and that : Jesse Puljujarvi, out since Feb. 17 with a leg injury, skated with the team on Saturday morning. He missed 11 games. “Nice to see him there,” Woodcroft said. Maybe he can play a game next week. … Oilers forward Derek Ryan played his 400th NHL game, a feat considering he was 30 when he first graced the NHL ice after his years in Europe … While the Oilers sent Colton Sceviour back to the farm, he has to sit out his two-game American Hockey League suspension incurred for a hit on Abbotsford’s Jack Rathbone before being recalled to the Oilers…Vasiliveskiiy was watching TV from the locker room rather than from the end of the bench. With his two Cup rings and the best big game goaltender in the world, he has incredibly won only one Vezina Trophy. General managers vote for this award, not the hockey media. He was second once and third twice. He appeared in 45 of Tampa’s 58 games to earn a break… Tampa’s Mathieu Joseph looked like he was shooting a Statue of Liberty football game as he gloved and carried the puck for three seconds for a penalty rarely called hand on the puck. in the first half… Kassian downed Pierre-Edouard Bellemare in the first half, then hit Jan Rutta hard in the same shift.

Email: [email protected]

On Twitter: @jimmathesonnhl

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