Monday, May 23, 2022

Edmonton Oilers stop bleeding with monster comeback win against Calgary Flames

On a seven-game losing streak, with his coach in the hot seat, his goals being redeemed at stake and the season slipping through his fingers, a center stage Alberta battle was a fork in a long and bumpy downhill road.

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There are some games in a hockey team season that mean more than two points. They are watershed moments that tell us who they are and where they are headed.

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Saturday night against the Calgary Flames was one of those games for the Edmonton Oilers.

On a seven-game losing streak, with his coach in the hot seat, his goals being redeemed at stake and the season slipping through his fingers, a center stage Alberta battle was a fork in a long and bumpy downhill road. ,

In the end, the Oilers took the road of less travel – one that actually won.

They went down 2–0 and scored two goals from Ivan Bouchard, an excellent night from Miko Kokinen and a third-period winner and a blank-netter from Leon Driestel to seal a 5–3 victory.

“It looks great,” said Driestal, who also made two assists for the four-point night. “Losing is terrible. It sucks. It’s not a joke. It feels like there’s always a cloud around you. We’re just not where we want to be, but it’s a start and you’ll have to start at some point.” Gotta do it. (Koskinen) was amazing. It was a whole team effort, a good game for us.”

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For reasons unexplained, the Sportsnet crew only saw it appropriate to name Koskinen the third star, but his 44-save performance was the premise that made everything else possible.

“He saved the game for us,” Draistal said. “He was our best player, not even close to tonight. It’s great for him. We love him in the dressing room and we love playing for him. He was amazing.”

The Oilers, who came in with six points for their last 15 game (2-11-2) performance, needed this game more than they needed a regular season game in the long run.

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Maybe they just corrected their season at the expense of Calgary making it sweet.

“It makes it extra special,” Dreisel said. “It is always fun to beat your biggest rival in the league. But to be honest, it doesn’t really matter at the moment when you’re in such a deep slump.

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“You just want to get that first win out of the way, no matter who it is against. But it definitely makes it a little extra special.”

Not that the flames were tearing things up at all. They lost nine of their last 10 games (the only win coming over Lower Seattle) and went out 43-22 before their 5-1 win over Florida this week. So he himself was at a crossroads.

But when the flag dropped, Calgary was the first to hit the gas.

It was a pitiful start for the Oilers, who were losing the puck fight and leaving the guys in their nets wide open for a 2-0 deficit after 20 minutes. It scored 13 goals against Ottawa in the previous five periods for the collapse of a five-goal third period.

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Things were looking pretty bad at this time.

It turned into second, however, starting with a pair of point shots on Bouchard’s power play.

“I thought we had a good second period,” said Conor McDavid, who ended his three-game drought with a pair of assists. “We really set the pace of the period, delivered some penalties and our power play was able to capitalize on it.

“Power play is the big part of the game and we were able to get ourselves back in it, just scratch and claw and find a way to win.”

Brendan Perlini and Noah Hannafin scored before the second half and it was 3-3 after 40.

All the Oilers had to do was win the final period. It was no gimmick after dropping nine goals in the third period of their last two games, but the game was still on hold.

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The Flames pushed first in the first 11 minutes to beat Edmonton 8-2, but Koskinen kept it up 3-3, with some crucial stops, none better than Dylan Dube diving for the ages.

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“I think it’s my top save in the NHL,” he said. “When you think about the situation and where we are, we really needed a win and we got it so we have to be happy for that.”

This set the stage for the winner of Drasitel with a scintillating crowd at 14:29.

“We were down 2-0 after the first, but we kept talking that we were confident and we were going to come back and that’s what happened,” Koskinen said. “It was a complete team effort. I was really proud of the team.”

sideline news

In what seemed like a never-ending drip of injuries and illnesses, Oilers Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (legs), Zach Hyman (Protocol) and defenseman Tyson Barry (upper and lower body were without injuries, but the middle was said to be fine) is) ) Zac Cassian even put it out there with a non-COVID illness.

Stuart Skinner emerged from the COVID protocol just in time for the game, but they kept him on the bench as a backup because he hadn’t been on the ice in six days.

Twitter.com/rob_tychkowski
rtychkowski@postmedia.com

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