Sunday, February 15, 2015

OT Magic

Despite holding their own against an Eastern Conference powerhouse for a second consecutive outing, it looked as though the Edmonton Oilers were going to have to settle for nothing more than another hard fought loss against the Montreal Canadiens. 

After outplaying the New York Islanders on Tuesday night and coming away with a 3-2 loss for their troubles, last night’s tilt with the Habs must have felt like Groundhog Day for Todd Nelson’s crew. It was an eerily similar story line, as the Oilers tied the game at two apiece late the second and absolutely dominated the third period but were unable to get that next one. 

Ironically enough, Edmonton gave up the go-ahead goal in both games in essentially the same fashion. After pinning the opposition in their own end rink for what truly felt like an eternity and coming up with a number of glorious chances, the Oilers failed to cash in on any one of those chance. 

Unfortunately for them, they managed to shoot themselves in the foot in both instances and it cost them on the scoreboard. While Casey Cizikas made the most of a poor read by Martin Marincin to snap home the eventual game-winner for the Islanders, Max Pacioretty looked to have accomplished the exact same feat after making the most of a mistake by a dead tired Oscar Klefbom at the Canadiens blueline. 

In neither instance was Viktor Fasth able to come up with that big save, while his opposite number was doing just that down at the other end of the rink. It certainly would have been a tough pill to swallow but one that appeared to coming to fruition for a second straight game…that is until Tomas Plekanec decided to give the Oilers life with a brain-cramp of monumental proportions with Fasth off for an extra attacker. 

While Klefbom made one heck of a play in blocking Plekanec’s attempt at an empty net goal, the talented Czech gave it a half-hearted effort and it came back to bite the Canadiens. It was a pretty impressive final minute for the Oilers young Swedish blueliner, who followed up his defensive gem with the primary assist on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ last second equalizer. 

Considering how well Edmonton had played over their last two games, they deserved a far better fate than a pair of one goal losses and Plekanec’s miscue was the bounce this group needed. To their credit, the Oilers used that break to their advantage and completed the comeback as Anton Lander continued to make an impact on the scoresheet, potting the overtime winner off a feed from Klefbom and following a great rush by Nail Yakupov. 

As far as wins go, this team has not had a bigger one this season and it was well deserved. Yes they had the good fortune of not having to face Carey Price, though the Oilers have had their way the potential Hart Trophy winner throughout his career, but Edmonton actually took it to Montreal for much of the night. 

In all honesty, if it were not for some timely saves from Dustin Tokarski and a little help from his goal posts, this one could have been a cake walk for the team that currently resides in the basement of the Western Conference standings. 

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