Edmonton Oilers Shut Out Canucks 2-0

It’s encouraging to see the Edmonton Oilers win back-to-back games in entirely different ways, with key performances from different players in each. That’s an early sign of a young, developing team beginning to mature. And with the Oilers record what it is, at this point in the schedule, it’s one of the best results that you can really hope for, aside from the 2-0 victory.

9 Things:

9. Taylor Hall had 0 give-away’s tonight. All of you Hallsy haters mustn’t have had anything to bitch about. What did you do with yourselves?

8. Mark Fayne is at his best when you barely notice him. He played a very low-event game this evening, posting decent possession numbers, in 17:26 of work, and was 2nd on the club with 5 blocked shots. As a veteran RHS D-man, they could do worse, the way Fayne is playing.

7. I’m not getting tired of typing the name Jordan Oesterle in these summaries. He played 21:31, including on both special teams, earned an assist, had 3 blocked shots and skated miles. Only once tonight did he try to force the puck through traffic, and was tagged with a give-away at the red line. He didn’t do it again the rest of the night. Smart young player.

6. It was a relatively quiet night for Connor McDavid, but like all players of his quality, he can play an “average” game and still manage to be a difference maker. This evening, it was entering the zone with speed, dishing off smartly to Jordan Eberle, and then driving the net. Jacob Markstrom may have glanced at #97 just long enough to give Jordan Eberle that gap, 5-Hole.

5. The shots were 40-23 Vancouver, but that was amplified by shot effects, in the 3rd Period in particular. And when you graph where the Vancouver shots came from, it becomes clear that the Edmonton Oilers did a pretty good job of keeping the attackers on the perimeter most of the night. One of the big reasons why that was, tonight, is coming up…

4. It is great to see a warrior like Matt Hendricks rewarded for doing the right things, as he may lead the team in that category if such a stat were kept. Tonight, the clinching goal was a direct result of going to the hard places (the crease) and getting results because of it. Tied for the team lead (Zack Kassian) with 6 hits. Named the game’s 2nd Star.

3. The Edmonton Oilers ultimately lost the possession game Friday night. Leon Draisaitl was the one player on the home side that consistently drove play all night, even though he did not hit the score sheet. His Corsi of 47% led the team, and he was a terrific 90% at the face-off dot, by far and away the best Oiler in that category. He finished the night on the Wing with Nugent-Hopkins and Hall. I honestly thought he was better prior to that.

2. Griffin Reinhart played his best game as an NHL’r tonight. He was a tower of strength in 23:37 TOI. Surely this is the version of Griffin Reinhart that Peter Chiarelli was trading for. For the 3rd consecutive game, he was assertive…effective against a difficult Canucks cycle, and made one calm first-pass after another. Was named the game’s 3rd Star…and surely silenced some critics, both for him and for the man who stuck his neck out to acquire him.

1. Cam Talbot was quite rightly named the game’s 1st Star, as any goaltender who earns a 40-save shutout likely should. But while he made a number of key stops, he probably won’t end up being featured on SportsCenter tonight. Most of his saves were ones that many NHL goalies make. The difference was his excellent rebound control. Talbot gave the Canucks so few second opportunities, in a league where that’s how a lot of goals are scored. It’ll be hard to NOT start him again on Sunday, but you have a kid on the bench who could be your #2 next year, and Laurent Brossoit needs to play. And since the game means little in the standings, I expect the kid to face Colorado.

Friday night was the last evening my entire family will watch an Edmonton Oilers game at Rexall Place. The Kid & I still have a couple more. But it was bitter-sweet, the 3 of us, leaving the old barn this evening. Our family has spent a lot of together time at Northlands over the last decade, and while we’re excited about Roger’s Place…Rexall is where Cathie & I watched our little boy grow up. So it’s special to us, always will be, and we’ll miss it.

Dammit, there’s dust in my eye.