GDB 70.0 Wrap Up: Leafs @ Oilers

The Leafs won this tank battle, but the war is far from over. Final Score: 4-1 Oilers

I’m sure the entire NHL was waiting with bated breath for this one. Two of the worst teams in the league with two of the most angry fan bases in the lead – it’s perfect! Frankly, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see some kind of kumbaya break out between the fans of both teams. I pictured a snow globe of falling jerseys filled with different colours and sizes.  The ice would have looked like a mosaic of ineptitude. That being said, I wanted the Oilers to win. McDavid had to wait, losing to the Leafs is offensive to all the senses. 

The plan started well as the Oilers came out like the house on fire that we’ve always expected from a Michael Bay movie. For once it was the Oilers scoring within the first minute of the 1st period as opposed to falling into the ditch that they’ve created. As gross as it is to watch Leaf fans invade our barn, it was sure nice to watch them sit there miserably after overpaying for tickets. In fact, the mass exodus of Leafs fans in the third period might have been the highlight of this season. I’d like to think that Oilers season ticket holders wouldn’t so readily sell their tickets to the scourge of Leafsroaches, but I also appreciate their willingness to blindly overspend. 

Anyway…

Strangely, the first period ended up being the most exciting part of the game. Even though the Oilers had a sizeable lead, I spent the last 40 minutes waiting for the wheels to fall off. Fortunately, the wheels stayed on long enough for the Oilers to coast to victory. Normally, I might have been irritated by a win in the sense that it takes us further away from the precious, but those tank rules don’t apply when it comes to the Leafs. Nothing makes me much happier than watch a majority crowd of Leaf fans walking out of our house dejected and feeling dirty. The sadness? I feel the precious slipping away.

We wrap.

THE BRIGHT SIDE

Kenny

  • The power play is on fire right now. They went 2/2 tonight, and continued the improvement since the Dallas Eakins era ended. 
  • Benoit Pouliot scored his 15th goal of the season on an absolute clapper of a shot. The puck was deflected by Eric Brewer on its way to the net so I guess the “once and Oiler, always an Oiler” applies here. Fast forward 5 minutes and Benoit Pouliot scored a nearly identical goal on a slap shot from the left side. I was pulling for him to finish the hat trick, but unfortunately tonight was not his night. Pouliot is one goal off from his career high of 17.
  • Jordan Eberle continued his hot streak by scoring his 19th goal on the power play on a quick wrister from the right hand side. He also added two assists on the night on the Lander and first Pouliot goal.
  • Speaking of point streaks… Nail Yakupov extended his point streak to 4 games with his assist on Pouliot’s 2nd of the night.
  • I keep pulling for Anton Lander, and it’s nice to see him prove that the patience was worth it. At the ripe old age of 23, Anton Lander seems to be figuring out what it’s going to take to keep him in the NHL. It’s odd to think that he was on waivers earlier in the year.
  • Boyd Gordon was 75% in the faceoff circle tonight. He’s the kind of glue player that keeps the Oilers together. The Oilers could use more guys with the kind of balls that Gordon shows on a nightly basis. 
  • Ben Scrivens was on top of his game. He saw the puck, stopped the shots he was supposed to, and some of the shots he shouldn’t have stopped. This was the Ben Scrivens that we fall in love with. He finished the night with 28 saves and a .966 save%.

THE FACE PALMERS

DeadKenny

  • WAAAAAY TOO MANY LEAFS FANS AT REXALL PLACE! It happens every time they’re here, and I wasn’t surprised, but it still makes me feel ill.
  • I was almost jealous of how impressive the Leafs’ tank game was in the first period. Frankly, it’s impressive.
  • Despite dominating the 1st period the Leafs were able to control the play for big chunks of the 2nd period. Scrivens was able to shut the door, or the Leafs might have been able to get some traction on a comeback. 
  • So many Leafs fans and not one jersey hit the ice. It would have been kind of hilarious. 
  • James Reimer wasn’t nearly as fun as Jonathan Bernier. Bernier finished with a .250 save%. That’s amazing. Reimer was nearly perfect in relief stopping 27 of 28 shots and finishing with a .964 save%
  • Tonight’s win brought the Oilers into a tie with the Arizona Coyotes for 28th place. Bad news for camp McDavid.

SCORING SUMMARY

From TSN.ca

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BEST OF THE TWEETS

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  • Zarny

    As much as the prize for being the biggest looser this year is awesome, I can’t cheer for the Oil to loose any game. Ten years of pure BS is plenty and even though we will more than likely miss out on the big prize this year, I will take the win. Even better, it was against the laughable leafs!

    Go Oil.

  • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

    Wonder if the idea of a draft playoffs has ever been entertained. Have two sets of playoffs. One for the stanley cup, one for the first overall draft. This might force all the teams to try and play better through out the season.

  • Rdubb

    Eberle now has 34 points in his last 32 games, coincidence since Eakins was fired?
    Eberle now has points in what, 20 of 32 games (or something close to that anyway)?
    Yak is playing far better since the coaching change, coincidence?
    RNH is playing far better since the coaching change, coincidence?
    Anton Lander has been a regular in the line-up and producing points and being a staple on the PK since the coaching change, coincidence?
    Edmonton is starting compete, even in it’s losses they are still competing most nights, something which couldn’t be said prior to the coaching change, coincidence?
    Edmonton has the NHL’s BEST PP since the all-star game, which just so happened to be shortly after the coaching change and when Nelson took full control of the bench by himself, coincidence?
    Way too may coincidences'” there isn’t there?
    Perhaps MacT will finally say he made a huge mistake by passing over Nelson and hiring Eakins. Perhaps Eakins would have done better with a more veteran group of players, but…hard to say. All i know is that he did a TERRIBLE job as coach in Edmonton as more players regressed instead of progressing didn’t they?

    • pkam

      When MacT hired Eakins, I was posting a comment here questioning why Nelson was not given an interview for the job, and the people now trashing MacT and Eakins were trashing my comment then.

      Don’t you remember at that time fans were all excited about that hiring? Are you sure you are not one of them?

  • northof51

    Also happy to see the Leafs get crushed – Just a minute into the game, those snide Leaf fans are chanting “Go Lea”… GOAL HORN. Wasn’t that beautiful?!

    What wasn’t beautiful was Scrivens’ puck handling. He would do the team a favour by just staying in his net…

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      i wonder the same thing! Oiler fans were probably shaking their heads collectively at the performance (or lack there of) from Bernier. but hey, it’s only one game and the Leafs played like a true last overall team that they are striving to become. even Buffalo, who i watched before the Oilers game, put in more of an effort than the Leafs did in the 1st period.

  • Just a Fan

    I am pleased at the uptick in the Oilers offense the last 3 games.12 goals in 3 games. RNH and Eberle are on fire. The play MM to go around DP last night was a monster sign to me that Nelson’s influence on his players has outweighed anything else negative that may be said about him. The confidence that players like MM and AL and OK and JS are showing every game,not evry 5th game, is a huge tell in how the players have responded to Nelson’s coaching.

    The PP is at some absurd number since the All Star break. No way is that not related to how Nelson coach’s the PP vs how Eakins coached the PP. The PP under Eakins was an abyss.It was non exsistent. Under Nelson it is flourishing. The net presence has increased and the point has become more of a threat. Eberle down low has become a real threat the likes of which we have not seen in a long time.

    The biggest tell for me is how the team has responded when faced with adversity. They do not fold anymore. They compete till the end.

    All in all there is hope. MacT has worked hard but needs to ensure a more solid goal tending tandem going into next year. A solid defender not named Nikitan. And perhaps resigning Derek Roy.

    The lottery is a crap shoot. I’ll put my faith in the process and from what we have seen from Nelson so far I hope that he is part of it moving forward next season.

      • pkam

        What make you think that the two are related?

        How can Hall hurt the PP? Is he really worse than Fraser/Hamilton?

        I think it depends on how the coach uses him in the PP. If a coach cannot get more from Hall than Fraser/Hamilton, it is on the coach, not the player.

  • freelancer

    I am very interested in seeing what happens when Hall comes back. While Hall has been gone, our top line has been producing and our top PP unit has been absolutely ridiculous. Now by no means is that me saying that Hall was the problem. But when he comes back, how do you break up that combo? I would like to see the Pouliot-RNH-Eberle line stay together, and keep the Klef RNH Eberle Lander Schultz PP combo together. Then have Gordon Hall Yak and I guess Nikitn Ference as a second unit?

    Gordon because we have seen what having a guy like Lander battling in front can do for a PP (battling in front of the net, who knew?) Hall and Yak can both feed it from either side.

    • pkam

      I don’t know about this Klef, RNH, Eberle, Lander, Schultz PP combo.

      Correct me if I am wrong, I think our 1st PP unit now is RNH, Eberle, Purcell, Lander and Schultz. And our 2nd PP unit is Roy, Yak, Pouliot, Klefbom and Hamilton/Fraser.

      • freelancer

        I think you are right… as I was typing it, I was trying to remember if we had started to shy away from the one defenceman PP. In that case I would consider replacing Purcell with Hall and Fraser with Gordon. Still like the idea of a Gordon in front of the net on that unit, move Roy to the wing.

    • Just a Fan

      Hall will take a few games to get up to speed. I see him playing with Yak and Roy. For me a monster Godzilla opportunity awaits Derek Roy with the return of Hall to the lineup.

      As we have seen DR has shown veteran play with his play with Yak. He has pushed the play and has given Yak a sounding board that has 10 years of experience to call upon in the NHL. It has worked well.

      The deal though is that it has been pretty much a 2 man show with DR and NY. Why? because for the most part Purcell has been on that line. He is soooo slow. Add Hall and we may see a line that will light up like fourth of July.

      RNH-Eberle and BP have found a chemistry. I like that balance in that line.

      It will interesting to see how Hall Roy and Yak play together. If that line does what I think it will we’ll be talking less about finding a top 6 forward and more about finding a winger(Slepyshev) for Anton Lander next season on the the 3rd line.

      Listening to Lowetide today and JW’s take on Nelson is that there will be a emphasis on the w/l record when it comes time to determining his future with the Oilers. I am inclined to disagree, and by disagree I mean that win Losses given what Nelson was given in terms of players to work with and not work with has been a massive elephant in the room.

      Given the defence/goaltending/lack of Taylor Hall and a plethora of AHLers in the lineup. Can you not be amazed at how much he has done with so little.I think this home stand will show us what this team can be under Nelson.

      • The Soup Fascist

        It should also be noted that of his losses, 9 of them were one goal games. Playing with the line up he is, even during a loss the team has more compete than ever. Heck even the ones where he lost by more, like the pens game, the Oilers still showed a lot of character, and then very bad goal tending.

        So for me the win loss record does not paint the whole picture for this coach.

        Mac T better do the right thing and resign Derek Roy. Unless they win the lottery, I think Mcdavid is out of the question. And it seems like the team will pass Arizona, so that means forget about Eichle as well. Meaning whatever player we draft, should be seasoned in the minors for a bit before being able to impact the NHL team. I’m still beating the Strome drum, as it would be nice to finally have a pipeline of talented, big, developing centres from which to draw from in years to come. That seems to be the most important position for championship teams, and drafting Strome, along with Drai, Yakimov, and others, would ensure the Oilers could finally follow the Detroit model for at least one of its key positions.

        • The Soup Fascist

          I sit on the Nelson for coach side of the fence. The intangibles that he has brought to this team has has a positive impact on this teams psyche that has resulted in a team that plays more for each other and competes hard each and every game.

          Under Eakins the players he had showed no inclination to play for each other. Yak last week went directly into a scrum to rescue DR who was belted by some guy. Yakupov. You would not have seen that under Eakins.

          The players are engaged. Look or appear to look focused. They appear to look relaxed. They appear to look like they are accepting the coaching they are being given by Nelson and the staff.

          frak the win loss record. Its been a looooong time since I looked at this team and saw a group of players that I think,believe can be the basis for a competitive team going forward. There are areas that need improvement.There are some players on this roster that need to be pruned. But the team itself is closer to being competitive now than they were at the beginning of the season under Eakins.
          believe it or not

  • dougtheslug

    The advanced statistics clearly show that Dallas Eakins was a very bad coach.

    The GM who hired him and stuck with him for far too long should be fired. The man who hired that GM should be fired.

    That is all.

      • dougtheslug

        Actually his record itself showed he was a fraud and a charlatan who didn’t know how to use advanced stats. Eberle’s comments revealed that.

        The Oilers power play is the best in the league since the all-star break. Advanced stats would of course tell us that is unsustainable. But Eakins managed to sustain the worst record in the league over a season and a half. I believe that statistic would have been sustained indefinitely had he been allowed to continue.

        • camdog

          I believe that this powerplay is sustainable as a top powerplay in this league for the next 5-6 years. Sometimes people tend to over analyse the numbers and it backfires.

          Now to the real problem with the team, the penalty kill has been the worst in the league since the ALL-STAR break. I like to link it to the Petry trade, to the downward trend, not coaching however I could be wrong. What is clear is that if the Oilers don’t improve their defence in the off season I expect the penalty kill to be bottom 5 for a couple more seasons.

  • 99CupsofCoffey

    “I was almost jealous of how impressive the Leafs’ tank game was in the first period. Frankly, it’s impressive.”

    LOL! That almost made me spit out my coffee.

      • vetinari

        Sshhhhhh. We told the NHL years ago that losing teams in post regulation time get a mercy point and they bought it. Otherwise, we’d really be boned for points.

    • The Soup Fascist

      It stands for “Sh!tty Ownership”.

      It is Wanye’s heroic act of defiance against the management group that has brought scorn and ridicule to a once great organization. It points to the indifference shown by an owner out of loyalty to a collection of his hockey heroes who could not manage water down a drain. It will henceforth be shown after each game – be it a win or loss. Whether the game end in regulation or not. It will remain as a black mark – a sully, if you will – signifying the betrayal of fans and supporters of a once great team.

      …… or – as pkam stated – someone forgot to delete it after the shootout loss to Columbus.

  • tileguy

    @will.

    same koolaid? Or is the perception and reality the same?

    I for one have been an Oiler fan since 1976. I have seen a lot. and that includes a lot of teams that never played for one another and 6 more than have. 5 Cups were the result.

    A big part of being a successful team is the coaching. Eakins could not connect with these players. Nelson has. Why frak with that chemistry.

    • pkam

      Um, no. I agree with what you’re saying. My first comment was further backing up your point about how the team is playing a more competitive brand of hockey since Nelson took over, and the win loss record, even though it’s better than Eakins, is still not as good as the team is actually playing under Nelson.

      9 one goal game losses, missing top line players, bad goal tending and sketchy defense, and still this team plays like they are not out of it. They are playing like they care, and that’s not something I can say for the team under the last coach.

  • pkam

    For all the Nelson supporters- I believe he should get opportunity to coach Oilers next season. I find it interesting that on Leafs Nation, today there is an article saying the Leafs should go after Nelson as their next coach.

  • Spoils

    Malkin Crosby, Carter Kopitar, Toews Kane… lots of great examples of teams that split their two top forwards. I think the Oilers should keep Pouliot-RNH-Ebs and move Hall to another line.

    And then you remember he drop off at C…

    Hall-Roy-Yakupov?

    Lander? Gordon?

    so maybe not this year.

  • Just a Fan

    Nothing to play for? When your in 28-29th place you don’t think there is something to play for? Like a job with the team next year.

    Ask Rob Klinkhammer what he thinks about that statement. Or Matt Fraser. Or Ryan Hamilton. Or Kieth Aulie.

    The fringe players on this team are busting their collective asses. No guarantees they will get a NHL pay cheque next year. Cripes Ryan Hamilton will earn 3 times what he would make in the AHL by being up here most of the season.

    There is massive incentive for a guy like Derek Roy to bust his ass.

    If I am Martin Marincin I am falling over backwards to leave a positive impression with my coach and GM.

    I am Ben Scrivens I want MacT to know I can carry the mail.Not just be a back up next year.

    So as far as being relaxed because there in nothing to play for. I call BS on that.

  • Just a Fan

    I would love 2 see the Oil win some games down the stretch but what scares me about that is management looking at that thinking we are closer then we really are to contending. Tanking is all we have left unfortunately