Air pipes

Skinner shines between the posts, Oilers begin road trip with 3-1 win over Blues

GDB 7.0 recap: Skinner shines between pipes, Oilers start road trip with 3-1 win over Blues

Stuart Skinner, we speak your name! Final score: 3-1 Oilers.

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Did anyone else groan audibly when you saw the St. Louis Blues on the program just four days after annoying everyone at Rogers Place? Sure, the Blues won and all, but if everyone fell asleep before the game was over, did the loss really happen? But while I complain about the way the Blues are playing, the reality is their defensive stopping style can’t come out if they don’t have the lead. On Saturday, St. Louis notched a first power-play goal and fell back into its defensive defense, which made it incredibly difficult for the Oilers to gain traction. If the plan was for Edmonton to respond with a road win, grabbing first base was going to be hugely important. So when Jesse Puljujarvi’s deflection got the boys to the board early after what was arguably their best start to the season, I could almost hear Oilers fans pumping their fists and sighing in relief at the same time.

After posting their best first half of the season so far, the Oilers battled to get a head start and I was eager to see if they would be able to continue. As we know all too well, it’s one thing for this team to put in one or two solid periods, but another story for the good times to play out for 60 minutes. Not to mention we knew the Blues were going to push back hard to try and even things out, and weathering this early storm was going to be a challenge. Slipping punches and countering effectively, the Oilers did a pretty good job of navigating St. Louis’ first push while creating opportunities on the other end. Yet despite the flurry of chances on either side, both goalkeepers played as if they had no interest in letting another goal get past them. If it hadn’t been for O’Reilly sneaking one just before the buzzer, this game would have looked like we might be in line for another one-goal finish (yeah, yeah, empty net).

In a draw against a former champion like the Blues, the Oilers had to do everything humanly possible to avoid allowing another goal. Even though being trailed by one isn’t the end of the world, I needed the boys to avoid giving St. Louis the chance to trap and lock things down, not just for the standings points but also for our collective mental health. Until O’Reilly tied the game, the Oilers looked about as solid as we could hope for them to be in a road game against a legitimate threat, and hopefully they would keep the pedal on the ground and finish what they started. But as expected, the Blues had other plans. From the first tie until the final buzzer, St. Louis was all over the Oilers in the offensive zone, but Stuart Skinner had none of their nonsense. Instead of spitting out a game-breaking goal, Skinner closed the door for good, and it gave the Oilers just enough daylight for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to clinch the winner with a fat goal near the crease. All in all, it was a fantastic win for the boys as they embarked on their first road trip and hopefully they’ll take a bunch of lessons from this one as we continue on to Chicago. Two huge points.

The envelope.

  • Jesse Puljujarvi opened the scoring (1-0) after getting his stick on Darnell Nurse’s shot from the high slot, deflecting the puck perfectly through a few Blues defensemen before blasting his way past Binnington. Today on Better Milk Than Never, I talked about Puljujarvi needing to get on the board so he can gain some confidence, and hopefully that goal will be the start of a productive run. for the big guy.
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins stayed hot with his fourth goal (2-1) in his last five games after finding a puck near the side of the net and chipping it while throwing a fallen Jordan Binnington. Nuge’s 200th NHL goal was the kind of fat goal I was looking for and I couldn’t be happier to see my boy on fire NBA Jam style.
  • Zach Hyman finished the game with an empty net (3-1) after Leon Draisaitl found him with a stretch pass that left him alone with the empty net.
  • With the Oilers heading for a straight set, I thought it was an interesting decision to have Stuart Skinner kick off one night against St. Louis. It’s not that I didn’t trust him with this task, but rather that I almost got used to the substitute keeper getting the “easier” game over the past decade. That was not the case tonight. Instead, Skinner was hit with shots from all angles and rose to the challenge like he’d been in the league for years, and I couldn’t be more optimistic about his future between the posts. Skinner finished the night with 37 saves and 0.974% save. BTW, I’ll be watching news stories about his mustache any day of the week.
  • Connor McDavid is so much fun to watch and tonight was another one of those nights he could easily have ended with a multipoint night if it weren’t for Binnington.
  • Brett Kulak really looks like he’s starting to settle in after what’s been a bumpy first few games in the second pair. In TOI’s 18:26, Kulak finished with a hit, four blocks, a takeaway and a +1 rating.
  • Foegele, McLeod and Puljujarvi are the best Edmonton third line I can remember. Full stop.
  • The Oilers have won 57% of faceoffs and I couldn’t be happier.
  • Tyler Pitlick did not score! Big success.


  • With less than five seconds left in the second period (come on!), Ryan O’Reilly tied the game (1-1) after hitting a loose puck in the air and passing Stuart Skinner. It was one of those rooms where a stampede broke out and
  • For the seventh game in a row, the Edmonton Oilers allowed a goal on the power play. I don’t know what happens when the boys are down with a man, but they have to find a way to close the door.
  • To make matters worse, the Oilers didn’t do anything on the power play in either of their two power-play opportunities.
  • I noticed McDavid wasn’t really taking draws today and wonder if there are any lingering effects since he hit the post on Monday night?
  • For the second game in a row, the Blues blocked a ton of shots (21 according to the NHL) and the Oilers struggled to get their secondary shots past Binnington.
  • Speaking of shots, the Blues outshot the Oilers by a 38-28 margin, which certainly isn’t ideal but also a product of all those blocked shots.
  • I don’t know what kind of curse is afflicting Warren Foegele right now, but my guy is going to think about some of the chances he missed all night.