Game one wrap up…

ConnorMcDavid

The Connor McDavid era unofficially began tonight in Penticton, and he was involved in the action early. The first two periods were very entertaining, before the Oilers erupted for four goals in the third period and dominated the Vancouver Young Stars 8-2.

Here is a summary of the events of the evening….

Moroz-McDavid-Chase
Slepyshev-Draisaitl-Winquist
Rankin-Platzer-Sanford
Christoffer-Loiseau-Bukarts

Nurse-Laleggia
Betker-Bear
Waltz-Leveille

Laurikainen

Canucks…

Shinkaruk-Cassels-Virtanen
Gaunce-McCann-Fox
Labate-Zhukenov-Zalewski
Stewart-Pettit-Abois

Brisebois-Hutton
Sautner-Subban
Cederholm-Neill

Witt

FIRST PERIOD…

McDavid’s line started and he had a good chance on his first shift.

Braden Christoffer
scores a nifty goal to give the Oilers the lead less than three minutes into the period. He signed an AHL deal with Bakersfield,
and makes an early impression. 

On his second shift McDavid got rocked along the boards by Jake
Virtanen, sixth overall pick 2014. McDavid, no surprise, bounced right
back up. He is going to get hit. Contact is part of the game, and while many
are concerned players will take runs at him, I don’t see players trying to go
out their way to cheap shot him. They will want to hit him — body checking is legal — but unless there is a rash of cheap shots, I don’t see it as a major
concern

McDavid isn’t a porcelain doll. He can handle a hit
or two. In regular season, you can’t react to every hit, but in a rookie game,
I had no issue with Mitch Moroz and Darnell Nurse getting in
Virtanen’s face in the next few shifts. I know Moroz took an unsportsmanlike
penalty, weak call by ref IMO, but the outcome of this game means nothing. I
won’t critique a retaliatory penalty, especially when the Oilers haven’t responded
for years. They need to create a culture
where they stand up for themselves and each other.

Great energy in the
first ten minutes.

Slepyshev’s second shift was very good. Created a turnover
by moving his feet quickly along boards to strip a puck. Looks like he has
quick feet for a big man.

Labate crushes Rankin when he is searching for the puck in
his feet. Labate gets an interference penalty and Oilers go on PP…

McDavid’s line with Slepyshev and Nurse Don’t get a great
chance.

Second unit: Draisaitl, Rankin, Sanford, Bear and
Laleggia. Bear has an absolute cannon of a shot. They are unable to set up, but
watch for his shot in this tournament.

Laurikainen with his best save, eighth of the game and
really the first time he’s tested, as he stops Abols on a breakaway. He
tracks the puck very well. He anticipated/read the play very well all period. Was never
in trouble in goal, and had very controlled movements.

Players on both teams are amped up. Lots of big, healthy
runs at players on both sides. First game of the year for these players, and
they look excited.

Christoffer almost gets his second point of the period, but
Loiseau can’t finish the nice cross-crease pass.

Edmonton had six players on the ice for five seconds, but refs
missed it with under two minutes remaining in the frame.

Period ends 1-0 Edmonton.

Entertaining period. Shots 12-10 in favour of Vancouver, but
outside of the breakaway none of the Canucks shots were dangerous. Oilers had a
few chances, but Witt made solid saves on Loiseau and McDavid.

2nd PERIOD

Winquist scores 1:35
into the second. Draisaitl’s pass deflects off a skate right to Winquist and
he buries into wide open net.

Laleggia with a bad giveaway. Doesn’t lead to scoring
chance, but he tried forcing a pass through the middle of the ice.

Virtanen with a big hit on Nurse in the corner. Nurse went
back for puck, braced himself, saw Virtanen coming but still went into boards
heavily. Virtanen is having a hell of a game thus far. He shows up wherever the
puck is and seems to have a hit every shift. 

I’ve noticed many shifts longer than you’d usually see.
First game in a many months for these players and I wonder if at times they are
just over-excited.

Laleggia with another bad clearing attempt. He has fought
puck a few times tonight, but he’s also made a few great outlet passes. He is a solid puck mover, and I think turnovers are due to being his first game in many months.

Canucks with best chance of the night and they rip it off
the post.

MacKenzie Stewart goes after Mitch Moroz, they push, but
Stewart drops and starts throwing. Moroz responds with a hard right, after
eating a few. Very interesting how Stewart didn’t wait for Moroz, he just
dropped the gloves and started throwing. He got an instigator and a ten-minute
misconduct. Different approach from Canucks to Oilers when it comes to going
after a player, but also shows not every situation is the same.

Some wondered why Moroz didn’t just go after Virtanen on the next shift after the McDavid hit. The issue with that is Moroz is a tough guy and Virtanen is Vancouver’s top pick. If he jumps him, it could lead to Stewart jumping McDavid. I didn’t see what Moroz did to annoy Stewart, but Stewart throws early because he knows Moroz is a physical player.

Oilers change goalies change at the midway point of the second
period. Bouchard comes in with nine minutes remaining.  Laurikainen stops all 16 shots he faced.

Oilers get a
two-on-one a minute later…Draisaitl and Christoffer…Draisaitl’s pass goes
of Vancouver D-man’s (Hutton) stick and beats Witt five-hole. 3-0 Edmonton

I notice Slepyshev again with a strong play along the boards
in the D-zone. Also had a solid body check. He isn’t afraid to use his size.

Fox takes a cross checking penalty and Oilers go on PP with
3:22 remaining.

McDavid, Chase, Moroz, Slepyshev and Nurse….

Edmonton controls off
the faceoff, after Van can’t clear. They move puck around, eventually putting
it on net, McDavid fishes it out of a maze, retreats to right boards. He passes
it across to Nurse at the left point and his point shot beats a screened Witt.
4-0.

Brendan Gaunce puts Canucks on the board with a nice snap
shot and he skates down the right side and rips it off the far post. 4-1.

Period ends. Shots are now 24-18 Edmonton.

3rd Period…

For the third straight period the Oilers score early. Connor Rankin slides across the
slot and rips one far post to beat Witt. 5-1

Moments later Hutton replies for Canucks…Beats Bouchard
short side. Gaunce gets the assist.

On the next shift Virtanen races in, but Bouchard follows
him nicely across the crease and makes a solid pad save. Abols keep hammering
away at the puck, and Chase and Waltz take exception. A little scrum ensues.
Virtanen and Chase get roughing penalties, while Moroz gets a cross checking
penalty. Canucks go on the PP.

Christoffer, Loiseau, Betker and Leveille start on PK.
Christoffer does great job in offensive zone killing time with the puck along the
boards. Canucks 1st PP unit never gets set up.

Platzer, Winquist, Nurse and Bear kill off the remaining
time. Canucks get no shots on PP.

Right after the PK, Oilers control the puck off the faceoff. Laleggia comes racing in the zone down the
right side, sees Slepyshev in the slot and he snaps home a quick shot. Winquist
gets the other assist. Slepyshev wasted no time getting the shot away. Great
release.

Less than a minute later, McDavid makes is 7-2. Chase and Moroz with the assists. McDavid shot knuckled
over Witt and bounced across the line before Moroz touches it.

Christoffer with another solid rush up the ice, has a give
and go with Loiseau and just misses finishing it off, but slides it side of the
goal.

Oilers go on PP again. Draisaitl line starts…don’t get much
going.

Chase, Moroz, Christoffer, Leveille and Laleggia come out…but
forwards only stay on for 30 seconds. Platzer line gets final 15 seconds of PP,
but Oilers don’t register a shot. Oilers are up 7-2 and no McDavid on PP. No
need to run up score.

Not as much sip and energy in this period. Blowouts tend to
suck life out of game, but still a few solid hits.

Oilers offence keeps coming. Sanford creates a turnover, gets it to Platzer in the slot and he rips home a quick snap shot. 8-2.

McDavid hasn’t had a shift since he scored. No injury, just resting.

The Oilers win 8-2, and final shots are 36-35 for Vancouver. I didn’t notice Shinkaruk or McCann for the Canucks, they were virtually invisible.

THREE STARS

1. Braden Christoffer. He was buzzing all night.
2. Anton Slepyshev. Not a flashy night, but solid.
3. Eetu Laurikainen. He stopped all 16 shots he face and was very poised.

Who did you like?

 

  • srelio

    Slepy’s one timer reminded me of Yak.
    Laurikainen looked composed.
    Christoffer looked like he was worth more than just an Ahl contract.
    MCD played solid, didnt perform any miracles tonight.

    No point reading into this game too much.

    Obvious post game prediction: For the next couple days every hockey reporter will mention Virtanen’s hit on MCD then spend the next 5 minutes explaining to us why it really wasnt a big deal. The 5 minutes after that will be spent over analyzing the oilers response to that hit

  • Johnnydapunk

    Canucks fan here. Fun game to watch on both sides.

    Mcdavid sure is fast. Beat defenders on the outside multiple times. Outside of that though we didn’t get much of a chance too see what he can do.

    Outside of subban and maybe Hutton canucks dmen need some work. Either miscommunication or simply boggling the puck led directly to a few oilers goals. Subban has some slick puckhandling.

    I’d say two or three goals were on Witt entirely but the rest were just bad bounces or being left out to dry by his dmen.

    Nurse has a blaster of a shot. Nice to see oiler players stick up for each other, makes for a more entertaining game. That said, I wonder what’s going to happen when mcdavid is in the nhl? Moroz is a tough guy but is hall/eberle/(Purcell?) Going to do when someone takes a run at mcdavid?

    Christoffer went through the whole canucks team a few times.

    Very happy with virtanen and gaunce. If the future canucks play the same way as them I won’t mind a blowout or two as long they keep the emotion high.

    • bradleypi

      First game of season for all of them , so didn’t expect a lot other than indicators of what they bring to respective clubs down the line . Some bought more than expected while others did not . Fun game to watch with a lot of rust and mistakes being made on both sides .

    • M22

      I hate Virtanen already – which is to say, I’d love him if he were an Oiler. Lots of gumption, a lot of starch in his game. I could see him being a thorn in our side for some time. Prick.

    • Johnnydapunk

      Fair play to that, it was closer than the score indicated. Virtanen is a beast and the Finn in me is happy to see that, but annoyed he is not an Oiler :-p

      Is Witt considered a proper prospect or just to make numbers up (serious question) The Nucks have Bachman now which will be an improvement as he is a very good number 3, shame you got rid of Lack as I, and many others I think liked him as a player, he seemed like the perfect player to have in the dressing room as his attitiude is fantastic.

      Time will tell how your prospects will turn out but hopefully they do come good as it’s always nice to see Canadian teams doing well (as long as you beat the Flames and not the Oil, I’m pleased )

      • Johnnydapunk

        Witt’s going to be in the ECHL. Bachman’s the starter for the Comet’s and Cannata will be backing him up. If/when there’s a goalie injury Bachman’s first man up to the NHL and Witt will back-up Cannata. So most likely if he has a good showing he’ll be an AHL starter at some point.

        The Canucks are guilty of not responding to rough play as well. It was just that it used to be strategy due to our powerplay. Now… well there’s a reason prust and dorsett have been picked up. We don’t have many high skill players in the pipeline so the team’s being built to grind opponents down.

        I’m not super familiar with the oilers roster as it stands. So is there any players who are skilled enough to hold a shift but tough enough to draw attention away from the skilled guys? Frankly, I wouldn’t want Hall doing that for the same reason people don’t want Mcdavid to fight. He’s too valuable to risk the injuries.

        One reason I think Virtanen and power forwards are valuable is the attention they draw. You know when he’s on the ice and it changes your game.

  • B_Oliver

    Hall will stick up for McDavid, So will ebs, Yakupov, whoever is on his line. Just because none of those guys fight doesn’t mean they won’t grab a body and at least wrestle until the refs break things up. I’m sure if someone takes a run at Hall, McDavid will be right up in there sticking up for his teammate. Whether us Oil fans like it or not.

    The culture of the room changed when Eakins left, things are for sure different now. Its now all-for-one one-for-all. the 20 muskateers all pulling in the same direction trying to achieve one goal. This is what Todd Nelson started and Todd MacLellan will finish.

    • M22

      Eakins was same , but personnel rarely responded in a nuclear fashion . Will they under McLellan ? Not like Hall , Ebs and Hopkins do not get run themselves frequently , with little response in the past . Will McDavid be part of nuclear response for them as well ? We will see . Not like it is the fortay of our top forwards . I expect more , but of what quality or effect it will have is questionable being the players they have been so far in their careers .

  • Johnnydapunk

    QUESTION FOR POLLING :

    If fighting were back in the game and no instigator additional penalty , would you require to have a nuclear response to people running your stars ? As it is now a new breed has taken over that does run stars , as they face little threat from those fighters . Some of these runners can also fight , but many do not , and do so with ill intentions and intimidation .

    Vote cheers for yes and bring back the fighters , and Trash for no .

  • B_Oliver

    Some one told me mcdavid got hurt. What’s going on here? This guy in Japan just texted me saying mcdavid got hit. Is he ok? What’s this game coming to.

  • Dino

    What a night . Eskimos defeat Stamps and Oilers defeat the Flames . City of Champions . Nurse puts on a stellar performance, even a fight . Draisaitl turns the game with his penalty shot . Oilers first period was reminisent of old Oilers , they were losing to many puck battles . They changed that over last two periods and took over control of the game .