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Game Recap 37.0: Edmonton Oilers at St. Louis Blues – Oilers Nation

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Some free lessons there to say the least. Final Score: 2-1 Blues

After picking up a big win in Dallas and quieting the nerves of Oilers fans everywhere, the boys were back at it against another tough opponent in the St. Louis Blues. Obviously, going up against the defending champs is never an easy task, something we saw on full display here tonight, but I also felt like the Oilers had a chance to close out a win provided that they played the way they can. When they’re crossing their ‘T’s and dotting their ‘I’s the Oilers are a tough team to handle, but as we all know, the problem comes with doing it consistently. Over the course of their four-game losing streak, Edmonton gave up far too many goals and seemed generally disjointed in their own end, often shooting themselves in the foot and ruining their chances at a win just as we saw with the wasted comebacks against Buffalo, Carolina, and Minnesota, something that simply could not happen again against the Blues. I believed in a win and I believed in our boys!

The last time these two teams played, Jake Allen stole the show for the Blues and I was really hoping for another quick start for the Oilers that could put the netminder back on his heels a little bit. Unfortunately, it was the visitors that were back on their heels early on as defensive lapses gave the Blues all kinds of extra opportunities to maintain the zone and fire pucks on net. Thankfully, Koskinen was rock solid in net, but it would have been nice if his teammates had been smarter with their puck choices as to not lean on him so much. To put it another way, this thing would have been ugly without him. Moving into the second period, things didn’t get much better as the Blues continued to dominate on the shot clock while the Oilers hung on for dear life and hoped for the best, seemingly unable to throw any kind of counterpunch whatsoever. Frankly, the fact that they were only down by a single goal heading into the third period was a testament to Koskinen’s game rather than a tip of the cap to the team in front of him. This game was lopsided as hell, but with their goaltender playing lights out the Oilers still somehow had a chance at points they didn’t deserve.

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Down by a goal with 20 minutes to play, the Oilers were going to need to be either way better than they had been for the first two periods or hope for some kind of miracle because this game was not as close as the score might indicate. And while the Oilers inched their way closer in the dying moments, there was no comeback to be had on this night as the Blues were simply too strong defensively and did an excellent job of capitalizing on their opportunities. From start to finish, the Blues made better choices with the puck, supported each other well in all three zones, and showed the Oilers exactly how a contender looks when they play defence.

The wrap.

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Photo: BlueMan.com
  • James Neal scored late in the third period to bring the Oilers back to within a single goal after finding a loose puck in the scramble and sinking in behind Allen when he slid way out of the net.
  • Mikko Koskinen was back between the pipes for his third straight start and looking to build upon the strong performance he put in against the Stars on Monday night. And while he didn’t get the win that he probably deserved considering the performance he put in, it is very easy and obvious to say that he was the best Edmonton Oiler tonight by a substantial margin. Full stop. Case closed. To put it lightly, had it not been for Koskinen, who knows what the score might have been and the fact that the game ended as close as it did was because he stood on his head and kept the team in it. Koskinen finished the night with 42 saves and a .955 save%.
  • Adam Larsson was easily the Oilers best defenceman in my mind and played tough minutes in all situations. He was even forced to moonlight as a goaltender for a moment in the second period after he made a huge kick save that stopped a sure goal for the Blues.
  • Big ups to Zack Kassian on his 500th game, which is even more incredible to think about when you consider his pre-Oilers history. Congrats on the milestone, sir!
  • The Oilers were great on the PK, killing off all five penalties they took. A lot of the credit can go to Koskinen for those kills, but it’s only fair to admit that the team was very good when down a man.
  • I thought Caleb Jones was steady on the third pairing tonight and he made some nice reads with the puck that should be acknowledged.
Photo: BlueMan.com
  • Brayden Schenn opened the scoring for the Blues with a breakaway goal after sneaking his way behind the Oilers’ defence and snapping a shot past Koskinen after the visitors were unable to gain entry to the offensive zone and gave the puck up at the blue line.
  • All night long, Edmonton had a real knack for giving the puck up at the opposing blue line and that’s exactly what happened on MacKenzie MacEachern’s third period goal. As we saw with the first one, the Oilers simply could not gain entry into the offensive zone and gave the puck away near the line. From there, the Blues were able to turn the play around and bury one at the other end, punishing the Oilers with a pair of avoidable goals.
  • The Oilers were way too loose defensively throughout this game and it gave the Blues all kinds of undeserved offensive opportunities that were completely needless. As has been the trend of late, the boys were flying the zone too early and the defencemen were then forced into plays they shouldn’t have been making.
  • Edmonton desperately needed their power play to come through with a goal tonight but they just couldn’t get one in any of their four chances with the man advantage. That said, I know a few of their power plays were abbreviated but I didn’t necessarily feel like they were getting much done with the time they did have either.
  • For the second game in a row, I have NOT been a fan of the Khaira-Nuge-Chiasson line as they got absolutely dominated at even strength. I don’t know what Tippett sees in that trio but clearly he and I are not on the same page on this one.
  • There were a bunch of free lessons for Ethan Bear tonight as he had a hard time dealing with St. Louis’ relentless pressure in the defensive end. And while that may seem like a negative thing to say, these are the games he’ll have to work through as he continues to build his young NHL resume. He’ll get through them and I feel like going through games like this will only make him better in the long run.
  • I’m going to go ahead and ask that Ken Holland make a move soon because watching the Oilers get caved in at 5-on-5 has been really tough to watch.

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1ST PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
No Scoring

2ND PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
08:04 St. Louis Brayden Schenn (15) ASST: Vince Dunn (5), Jaden Schwartz (16) 0-1

3RD PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
06:23 St. Louis MacKenzie MacEachern (6) ASST: Ryan O’Reilly (26), David Perron (19) 0-2
18:10 Edmonton James Neal (16) ASST: Zack Kassian (12), Leon Draisaitl (37) 1-2

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Raptors outmuscle, out-hustle, and outplay Boston Celtics in dominant victory – Raptors Republic

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Reaction Podcast | Rap Up | Quick Reaction | Nothin’ But Positives

Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson famously said, “everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Last night, the Toronto Raptors threw haymakers at the Boston Celtics in a runaway 115-83 win.

The Raptors had carte blanche in their season opener. After a year in Tampa Bay, they were finally back home, and the fans and players were just happy to be in Scotiabank Arena.

This game painted a picture of what Toronto hopes to be this season: a physical team that uses its size and length to control games defensively and on the glass. The Raptors forced 25 turnovers and outrebounded Boston 60-42.

21 of those 60 boards came on the offensive end, resulting in 18 extra shot attempts for the Raptors. On a night where the team shot worst from the floor than in their opening game (42 percent versus 44.4 percent on Wednesday), their ability to set the tone with their physicality went a long way toward securing their first win of the season.

Five Raptors recorded five or more rebounds. The attack on the glass was spearheaded by two newcomers: Precious Achiuwa (15 rebounds) and Scottie Barnes (13 rebounds).

When asked after the game how a team without a traditional center can outrebound their opponent, specifically on the offensive glass, Raptors head coach, Nick Nurse, said it was because his team was able to “miss a lot of shots.”

Nurse has allowed Achiuwa to operate similarly to how he played during his lone season at Memphis. Then, after James Wiseman was suspended, the Nigerian was used as a small-ball center who was allowed to make plays with the ball in his hands and attack in transition.

Celtics center, Robert Williams III (nine points and six rebounds in 28 minutes), had a lot of preseason buzz about potentially making a leap this year; Achiuwa (15 points and 15 rebounds in 25 minutes) thoroughly outplayed him tonight.

However, the biggest takeaway from this game has to be the play of Barnes. After Dalano Banton stole the show in the first game, it was Barnes’ turn to be the rookie in the spotlight.

There was no hiding on defense as he was routinely matched up against one of Boston’s all-star wings. Between him, OG Anunoby, and timely help from others, the Raptors forced Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum to shoot 11-25 combined.

On paper, Tatum’s 8-14 shooting numbers look fine, but Tatum did most of his damage in the second quarter. Speaking to the media postgame, Barnes said of the team limiting Tatum in the second half, specifically the third quarter, “he’s a really good player, so we just want to keep showing our length in gaps to try and influence him not to get in [the lane]. And when he gets real low, we just bring a bunch of guys and try to swarm him and don’t let him get easy looks.”

While the Raptors’ defense and rebounding were present throughout the game, Barnes’ play led the way for the team in the first half. Toronto only held a four-point advantage at halftime, and the fourth overall pick powered the team with 15 points and seven rebounds.

Offensively, he did a little bit of everything. He made an off-the-dribble three, he connected on catch-and-shoot midrange jumpers, he pushed the pace, he finished at the rim, and he made plays for his teammates.

After the game, Barnes attributed his performance to “playing hard throughout the game.” Barnes said, “it just matters about time and the situation. If we miss a couple, we’ve got to get the ball moving, then try to find the right shot, what’s best for us,” and he finished off with “If they leave me open, I’m gonna shoot it, no hesitation.”

It’s only game two, but this game showed a glimpse of what this franchise hopes peak Barnes will look like and why Masai Ujiri and Bobby Webster were elated when he was still on the board when Toronto was on the clock in the 2021 NBA Draft.

“What I liked the most was he was at the front of the rim a lot tonight. Putbacks and cuts and drives, and that’s what we like to see–be able to use some of that size and length,” said Nurse after the game.

The Gary Trent Jr. rollercoaster was ascending upward tonight as he pitched in 20 points and helped Toronto extend their lead in the third quarter where they outscored Boston 34-17.

Trent Jr. got the start tonight and it seems like he will remain in the starting lineup going forward. Nurse said starting, “made Gary more comfortable” and that he was able to “feed off the other [starters].”

The big takeaway from yesterday’s performance is that this group is not a pushover. Their shots weren’t falling once again, but they dug deeper defensively and used their effort to create extra opportunities that ultimately led to them producing a double-digit victory.

The shooting struggles remain a concern–particularly from Anunoby who had looked on the way to taking his game to another level during the preseason–and the half-court offense leaves a lot to be desired. Nurse mentioned after the game that the team needs to “clean up spacing issues,” however, the NBA doesn’t award style points, so a win is a win.

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Astros shut out Red Sox, advance to World Series for third time in five years – Sportsnet.ca

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HOUSTON — Rookie Luis Garcia showed the poise of an October ace, Yordan Alvarez stayed hot at the plate and the Houston Astros earned yet another trip to the World Series, beating the Boston Red Sox 5-0 Friday night in Game 6 of the AL Championship Series.

The Astros advanced to the World Series for the fourth time overall and the second time in three seasons. They won the championship in 2017, a crown tainted by the team’s sign-stealing scandal, before losing to the Washington Nationals in seven games in 2019.

Manager Dusty Baker’s team will open the World Series on Tuesday night, either at Dodger Stadium or home against Atlanta. The Braves lead Los Angeles 3-2 in the NL Championship Series going into Game 6 Saturday night.

Garcia pitched no-hit ball into the sixth inning, leaving to a huge ovation with two outs after a triple by Kike Hernandez. It was an impressive bounce-back performance for the 24-year-old, who started Game 2 and gave up a grand slam in the first inning before leaving with no outs in the second because of discomfort in his right knee.

Alvarez continued his scorching streak, a year after watching at home after surgery to both knees as the Astros came one game shy of reaching the World Series. The slugging designated hitter had four hits, including a triple and two doubles. He led a Game 5 win with three hits and three RBIs.

Catcher Martin Maldonado made the defensive play of the game on a strikeout-throwout double play to end the seventh with Houston ahead 2-0.

It will be the 72-year-old Baker’s second trip to the Fall Classic as a manager and first since leading the San Francisco Giants to the NL pennant in 2002. As a player, he made three trips with the Dodgers, winning it all in 1981.

Boston’s best shot to score came in the seventh. They had runners at first and third with one out in after a single by Alex Verdugo. But Kendall Graveman struck out pinch-hitter Travis Shaw and Maldonado made a perfect throw to Carlos Correa, who was covering second, to beat Verdugo there and end the inning.

Maldonado beat his chest with glee as Graveman and Correa both pumped their fists in celebration to roars from the crowd of 42,718.

Kyle Tucker broke it open with a three-run homer with two outs in the eighth. Television cameras flashed to Houston’s Hall of Fame duo of Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell, who stood together and cheered as Tucker rounded the bases.

Ryan Pressly closed it out in the ninth. The Red Sox, who looked so formidable at the plate at the start of the season, were held to two hits in their final game.

Alex Bregman singled with two outs in the first before the double by Alvarez put the Astros up 1-0. Hernandez was in position to make the catch, but it hit off his arm below his glove and dropped in for the hit.

Consecutive romps by Boston and its bashers made it appear that the Red Sox were in complete control of the series after Game 3, but as the long fly by Alvarez proved, they didn’t have a firm grip on things.

The Astros, buoyed by their young pitchers and rediscovered offense, won the next two games by a combined 18-3 to return home a win away from a World Series. Then their rising 24-year-old stars, Garcia and Alvarez, did the rest.

Houston had a chance to add to the lead in the fourth when Bregman singled and another double by Alvarez left him at third with no outs. But they came up empty after Nathan Eovaldi worked out of the jam.

Alvarez tripled with no outs in the sixth to chase Josh Taylor and Tanner Houck plunked Correa. Tucker then smacked a grounder right at first baseman Kyle Schwarber who tagged Correa for the unassisted double play as Alvarez slid safely into home to make it 2-0.

Eovaldi got the win in a solid Game 2 start but was charged with the loss in Game 4 after giving up the go-ahead runs after coming in with the game tied in the ninth.

On Friday, he permitted five hits and one run as the Red Sox lost a playoff game where he started for the first time after entering the game 5-0 in his starts.

Garcia is the first pitcher to take a no-hitter into sixth of a potential playoff clincher since the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard got two outs in sixth against the Giants in 2016 NL wild-card game.

Garcia allowed Schwarber to reach on a wild pitch after a strikeout to open the game and walked Verdugo with one out in the second. He settled in after that, sitting down the next 13 with five strikeouts, before Hernandez got Boston’s first hit on a triple with two outs in the sixth. Garcia finished with seven strikeouts.

Phil Maton took over and retired Rafael Devers to end the inning.

SIGN OF THE TIMES

Boston manager Alex Cora has heard the speculation that the Astros are relaying signs from the bases and said the Red Sox protect themselves against that.

“It’s not about technology or other stuff,” Cora said. “There’s stuff that happens on the field that you have to be guarded. The same way that teams play defense against us, we play defense against other teams. Not only them we did it against the Yankees, we did it against the Rays. It’s the nature of the game. We’re prepared for that.”

Cora knows better than most about Houston’s sign-stealing history having been the team’s bench coach during the 2017 season when they were found to have violated rules by using a television camera to steal catchers’ signs.

UP NEXT

Game 1 of the World Series is Tuesday night where the Astros will host if the Braves advance or Houston will travel to LA if the Dodgers win the NL pennant.

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Bruins lines vs. Buffalo: Blidh, Moore draw in – Stanley Cup of Chowder

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You’d expect a few lineup changes after a 6-3 loss, and the Bruins confirmed today that tonight’s lineup will look a little different.

The main updates:

  • Nick Foligno won’t play. Anton Blidh will draw into the lineup on the fourth line, with Tomas Nosek moving up to the third.
  • Connor Clifton will be a healthy scratch, with John Moore taking his place.

So basically, you have Blidh in for Foligno, Moore in for Clifton.

Here’s what to expect on your streaming service tonight:

Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak

Taylor Hall – Charlie Coyle – Craig Smith

Jake DeBrusk – Erik Haula – Tomas Nosek

Anton Blidh – Trent Frederic – Karson Kuhlman

Matt Grzelcyk – Charlie McAvoy

Mike Reilly – Brandon Carlo

Derek Forbort – John Moore

As mentioned in the preview, former Sabre Linus Ullmark will get the start in net.

For Buffalo, Craig Anderson will be in net.

Also, the Sabres will be wearing their white jerseys at home tonight as part of a White Hot Friday promotion — don’t get confused.

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