With a mere standings point separating the San Jose Sharks and Edmonton Oilers – at least if you ignore San Jose’s games in hand – this is a fairly significant game between the two Pacific teams.
The Oilers are showing that, if it comes down to effort, they’re likely to stand a better chance than, oh, the last decade-or-so of Edmonton squads.
Two plays really make that stand out.
First, we have a reminder that Connor McDavid‘s blazing speed doesn’t just translate to points. It can also help the Oilers clean up messes in their own zone … and then turn ice upside down as he burns by everyone in transition:
On the other end of the spectrum, you have oft-criticized Kris Russell. However you feel about his overall presence (whether he’s a net-positive or something of an anchor), there’s little denying that he’s adept at blocking shots. That becomes clearer when a blueliner blurs the line between “blocked shot” and “save.”
Does any of this mean that the Oilers will beat the Sharks tonight? Nope, but they’re two fun examples of this team going all-out.