Thursday, October 22, 2015
While it was far from a perfect performance, the Edmonton Oilers still found a way to beat the Detroit Red Wings in regulation for the first time in a very long time on Wednesday night. On the strength of another solid outing by netminder Cam Talbot and some timely production from the trio of Connor McDavid, Benoit Pouliot and Nail Yakupov, the Oilers managed to sneak past the Wings with a 3-1 win over at Rexall Place.
The victory was not only Edmonton’s third straight but also marked the franchise’s first win regulation over Detroit since December 3, 2009, who had posted a ridiculous 22-1-7 mark in the previous 30 against the Oilers. While the group Jeff Blashill was given to work with in his debut season behind an NHL bench, the fact Todd McLellan’s crew managed to get that monkey off their collective backs cannot go unnoticed.
It is no secret the Wings haven’t been the powerhouse they once were for some time but when it came to playing Edmonton, it was essentially guaranteed win night for Mike Babcock and company. To their credit, Detroit did all they could to try and steal yet another two points with a solid third period showing but unlike previous seasons, the Oilers received that timely stop when it mattered most.
While McDavid may have sent the sold-out crowd into hysterics with a gorgeous finish on what was the eventual game-winner early in period two, it was Talbot’s ability to shut the door that kept this one from spiralling out of control. Yes, the Oilers are playing better but Detroit still had their fair share of chances to cut into a three-goal deficit and make life more than a little uncomfortable for the team wearing Orange and Blue.
Instead, we saw a group of players who are starting to feel good about themselves and did not self-destruct as they had so many times in the past. Edmonton did bend but did not break…a refreshing change indeed. Which makes Mark Letestu’s early power play marker, Teddy Purcell’s first of the season and another multi-point night from Nail Yakupov all the more important. The goals are starting to come and it’s not all on Hall, McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
With the Washington Capitals and Alex Ovechkin set to pay a visit to Edmonton on Friday evening and games against the Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild and Montreal Canadiens next on the schedule, the Oilers will have their work cut out for them. While they surprisingly tend to hold their own against the Caps and Habs it is a completely different story when they face both the Kings and Wild. It won’t be easy but the next week should tell us something about where this group