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"Good hockey game, big point," Avs still control playoff destiny despite loss to Edmonton Oilers

Meghan Angley Avatar
April 12, 2023

A hot Edmonton Oilers team on a seven-game winning streak came to town. They would be fairly well rested after last playing Saturday in their dominant 6-1 win over the San Jose Sharks. With them would be three 100-point players of their own who have been feasting on Edmonton’s powerplay all year.

In a true test against a playoff-caliber team, Colorado would have to shake off any tired legs following their seven-day road trip – a trip in which they collected eight of eight possible points.

Even though they wrapped the trip on a back-to-back, Mikko Rantanen scraped and clawed his way to his own milestones first with his 50th goal scored after Nathan MacKinnon hit 100 points the game before. Then, Rantanen joined Nathan MacKinnon at 100 points after MacKinnon unlocked the achievement earlier on the trip against San Jose.

The Avs hoped a supercharged MacKinnon and Rantanen would help to pave the way against Edmonton, and they’d have the boost of Bowen Byram who would make his return after missing the last two games.

Alexandar Georgiev earned his 60th start of the year.

First Period

Colorado had more jump than their last two starts. Early into the frame, Ben Meyers skated the puck along the perimeter of Edmonton’s end. He used Sam Girard to help reset their looks up high, and received the puck back and began the process of driving to the net with speed. Oilers’ Nick Bjugstad stick-checked Meyers and tried to sweep the puck away from him but instead sent the puck into the net.

Meyers was credited with his fourth goal of the season.

Less than a minute later, Colorado had just cleared the puck from their own end, but a quick transition in the neutral zone. Mattias Ekholm fired a slap shot from the top of the left circle and beat Georgiev.

The period unfolded how you might expect: two good, competitive teams. It was close back-and-forth, but Colorado looked comfortable.

Second Period

The Avs earned the first powerplay chance of the game, but it was not their best work. They didn’t create many chances and couldn’t get a shot on net.

At 5:16, Bo Byram went to the box for slashing and Colorado had to respond with a kill. They staved off Edmonton and didn’t allow much.

Through the first half of this period, the Oilers edged ahead in the shots battle slightly and spent a touch more time in the Avs’ end.

With five minutes left, Devon Toes went to the box for high-sticking. It would be a double-minor, so the Avs would spend most of the final minutes defending against the man advantage. Logan O’Connor was smarting after blocking a shot but stayed on the ice through the end of his shift. 

They ultimately killed it, but it wasn’t an easy feat. It was a gutsy effort. The Oilers rattled off seven attempts and four made it on net.

It was still a very close game, but the Oilers reasonably gained their footing.

Third Period

Early into the final period, Colorado earned another powerplay chance. They were unable to capitalize on it.

As the period unfolded, Edmonton took another step forward and controlled possession for much of the time. Eventually, the Oilers doubled up in shots against in this frame 10-5.

With five minutes remaining, Evander Kane high-sticked Sam Girard, and the Avs received another powerplay. Colorado generated four shots on net even with a close-call near its end on a rush attempt the other way. Devon Toews had the defensive play needed to break it up.

Even an ill-timed icing couldn’t sway this game. It would be decided in overtime. With one point secured, Colorado effectively secured home ice through the first round.


Lars Eller was out for the opening draw in overtime. Leon Draisaitl won possession and Connor McDavid had the first shot attempt, but Georgiev made the save.

Shortly after, Byram had a chance of his own, but it went wide.

Trying to defend against Edmonton’s next attempt coming back, Byram looked like he was inside a fast McDavid, but the intensity of the play was whistled for hooking and Byram went off.

At four-on-three, the Oilers had a clear advantage. Georgiev had the save for Evan Bouchard’s initial slap shot, but on the next play Bouchard wristed in the game-winner. 

Colorado fell 2-1 in overtime and walked away with one point.


Newhook-Eller-Meyers line: In the recent Anaheim game, Jared Bednar debuted a third line with a slightly different look: Lars Eller was now joined by Alex Newhook and Ben Meyers who each found the back of the net in the previous Los Angeles game.

The line appeared to be sorting some things out in Anaheim, but their cohesion tonight was observable. The lone goal scored in this contest is born through the hard work from it. Even though it was an odd goal, Meyers drove to the net and controlled possession along the perimeter and Lars Eller provided a threatening net-front presence which applied pressure and forced Edmonton to panic and make a mistake.

Though deployed less than the top two lines and sheltered in their match-ups, the third line had the best Corsi for percentage of all in part thanks to their ability to hound for pucks.

In fairness, the top-six and top pairs had the difficult task of shutting down Edmonton’s offensive weapons and did a great job to keep this low event.

“I thought that line was really good tonight again,’ said Bednar. [On Lars Eller] “Tonight was the quickest I’ve seen him play since probably Toronto/Detroit. He’s got it in him – a little bit of added speed to his game. He’s strong on pucks and he can win battles. You got two guys that are hounding pucks a lot with their legs in Meyers and Newhook. They played with good speed. You want to see them chip in and, tonight in one of the biggest games, they do. They’ve found a way here to chip in recently. I’m liking what I’m seeing out of that line right now.”

Jared Bednar on the game as a whole: “I liked our game. I thought we were engaged right away and played hard, a pretty tight-checking game for the most part. I think the high-danger chances were low. I didn’t think we created enough to take control of the game, but we did a good job on the checking side of it. It was a pretty good hockey game. We get a chance on the powerplay late in the game too – that was a really nice powerplay. I liked a couple of the looks we got, didn’t bang any home. Then we have a chance in overtime. We just hesitated a little bit on that reload and you can’t hesitate on a guy like McDavid with his speed. He gets the chance and their powerplay is lethal – you put them on four-on-three, and there’s even more room to work with for those guys. Good hockey game, big point. Good effort from our team.”

Following the loss in OT, Logan O’Connor is not looking too far ahead at future match-ups just yet: “It’s obviously disappointing. We set ourselves up with getting that point, I think Georgiev kept us in the game at a lot of moments there. So I think to come away with a point, a point’s definitely huge. It would have been obviously nice to get two.”

Alexandar Georgiev on shutting down Edmonton on a four-minute powerplay: “That was huge. Our guys did a great job. Like I said, clearing the park a lot and helping me out with the seams and stuff. That was huge for us.”


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