Monday, May 23, 2022

On stage of the Battle of Alberta, a beleaguered Koskinen shines for the Oilers

Edmonton — Like the Grinch that stole Christmas, somewhere between the first and second periods on Saturday night, the Edmonton Oilers’ hearts tripled in size.

A late game, like many others, did not end the way for the Oilers, with the Calgary Flames leading 2-0 after 20 minutes, the last seven – or 13 of the last 15 – for the Oilers.

Elsewhere, poor goalkeepers, terrible power plays and unproductive superstars wrote different endings to their stories, and the Oilers broke a seven-game losing streak with a dramatic 5–3 victory over the Flames.

“When you’re losing, you feel like you have that cloud or that pressure on your shoulders. You hold your stick a little too tight,” said Leon Drisette, whose four-point night to play Included was the game-winner with 5:31 and an empty netter as the final horn sounded.” It was a big night for a lot of people. You reduce the pressure a bit and may not hold your stick as tightly. That swagger is a big part of confidence. Tonight was a big night for us.”

Undoubtedly, the best story of the entire evening was goalkeeper Mikko Kokinen, who has faced more criticism over the past few weeks than any single person in the NHL.

Troubled’ Tandy turned the noise down and delivered an epic play, highlighted by a third period save on Calgary’s Dillon Dube, who Koskinen would later call “my top save in the NHL”.

It was only one game, but Koskinen hammered it down the collective pie hole of every pundit—yours really included—who said the Oilers couldn’t win with him, or that his teammates lost faith in his game. Is.

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“Sometimes it’s hard,” Vantaa, a Finland product, said of the criticism. “You open the internet and it’s in your face. It’s hard not to see it, but usually I try to block everything. It’s not my business, not my opinion. I think the boys are behind me.” If so, that’s all that matters.”

Koskinen saved it with a long wrist shot to level the score at 3-3 with 44 seconds left in the middle period. But he didn’t break through in the pivotal third period, putting on a show on national television that opened a window into his pride and self-esteem.

“He’s under a lot of pressure right now, and he stepped up,” head coach Dave Tippett said. “You know, it’s Saturday night, against your biggest opponent on Hockey Night in Canada, and you’re on a losing streak. He’s under a lot of pressure and he played really well.”

In a game that pits a healthy Flames lineup against an Oilers team with five regulars missing—Zack Hyman, Tyson Barry, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Zack Cassian and goalkeeper Mike Smith—Calgary defeated the Edmonton 47- Passed 31. Koskinen was, in the end, better than the other end (Jacob Markstrom), a statement we haven’t made in a long time while covering this team.

“I have to thank my teammates for standing by me,” said the soft-spoken Finn. “People who are saying we are not a good team and calling us bad or anything, they are not in our room. So it doesn’t matter. We have to believe in our room and ourselves. Today we proved that we can do it.”

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This triggered the power play of the Oilers, a unit that had long been setting NHL records but had cooled as of late Winnipeg winters. With Barry injured, young Ivan Bouchard took his chance at the top and scored twice, the first time in nine games that the Oilers’ power play made a pair.

Bouchard’s calling card is equal parts big bomb from point, and his uncanny ability to deliver shots from his wrists to the net. Those two skills combined to make Bouchard the mermaid song of Oilers fans, who demanded that he play a power play from when Oscar Klefbaum was still working.

One night and you can bet he’ll be back at work in Vancouver on Tuesday. There, Edmonton would try to get themselves out of this mess, where somehow they became the worst team in the NHL after a 16–5 start when they were the best team in the league.

It’s funny how hockey works sometimes, isn’t it?

“Last game we had an amazing period and dominated the best team in the league (Florida), and you look at the score sheet and it’s 6-0 at the end of the night,” Dreitel said. “That’s the way hockey goes. I guess the gods of hockey, they keep it fair. Every team goes through ups and downs. We are not a team that loses seven in a row, we are not that bad. I think everybody knows this and we know that, which is most important.

“Tonight felt really good, but we have to keep going and keep getting better.”

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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