Cult of Hockey game grades: Milan Lucic turns the tide as Oilers grind out another point

Against the odds, the Edmonton Oilers managed to squeeze out another standings point on Friday night against an(other) old nemesis, when they managed to hold Nashville Predators to a 2-2 regulation tie despite being badly outplayed, thanks largely to some outstanding netminding by Cam Talbot. Then it was Pekka Rinne’s turn to take command, as the big stopper turned aside all 8 Oilers’ shots in overtime, then 2 more in the shootout that followed to seal the deal.

Glass half full: the Oilers found a way to battle back twice against the wet-blanket checking of the Preds, mustering the 2-2 goal with under 5 minutes to play on a powerplay first earned, then finished by Milan Lucic who had his best game in weeks. Glass half empty: playing against a club that played in Calgary last night, the more rested Oilers were second best in way too many puck battles as the visitors were all over the puck.

It was pitched warfare out there at times, with every puck contested and no fewer than 21 (!) of them flying over the glass or into the players’ benches to stop play. Those contributed heavily to a fractious game that featured — if that’s the right word — a staggering 88 faceoffs, a significant number of scrums, and took approximately forever to play. Speaking of puck battles won by the Predators, the visitors won 52 of those draws for a 59% success rate.

That’s not all they won. Check out the shots on goal, especially the sub total at the end of 60 minutes:


Hard to argue that the better team didn’t get the two points, despite Edmonton’s intriguing capacity to up the ante in 3v3 overtime. The Oilers will have to make do with the one point they did get, their first defeat in four overtime games during the now-completed six-game homestand (4-1-1).

For Edmonton it was the 13th extended game in their last 23. The good news here is that the Oilers have been battling back, scoring the game-tying goal in 9 of their last 10 three-point games, going on to win 6 of those 10 games in extra time. So consider tonight’s tedious affair another harvested point, and it’s on to Calgary.

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