One-hundred-fifty-seven days after the Oilers won the lottery,
fans were finally able to see Connor McDavid in an Oilers jersey against
another NHL organization. The anticipation has been building in Oilersnation
for months, and while the energy, pace and execution of the first preseason
game is far from what we will see in the regular season, fans were pumped to
get the 2015/2016 season started.
In case you missed it tonight’s rosters were…
Talbot and Brossoit
Ramo and MacDonald
- Lander/Ford on PK, then Hall/Purcell. Hall will not be a
top-four regular PK guy, but McLellan mentioned he wants his skill guys to be
able to play there. Nugent-Hopkins has for the past few seasons, and I wonder
if we see Hall in spot duty as the sixth or seventh guy.
- Have already seen a few shots from sharp angles along the
ice. McLellan was urging this on the first day of camp. Shoot at the feet of
the goalies and put them in uncomfortable positions.
- It looks like the first preseason game. Not many
tape-to-tape passes, especially on the rush. Players have to knock the rust
off, which is expected.
- Andrew Miller scores a soft goal that somehow goes right
A few minutes later, Oliver Kylington scores a soft one of
his own, as he shoots a weak wrister from the slot that goes off Talbot’s
blocker and in. The goal scorers are both wearing #58, which doesn’t happen very
- Oilers first PP sees McDavid line with Sekera and Oesterle.
No real chances, and it also re-affirms this is a preseason game. We can expect
four forwards and a D-man on the PP in the regular season.
Draisaitl’s line with Nikitin and Davidson get the last half of the PP. They generate
a few shots, and Lander almost tips one home. I expect Lander to get a long
look as the net front presence on the second unit PP in the regular
- Period ends tied 1-1 and shots are 9-7 in favour of the
Oilers. Not much pace, flow or continued
pressure for either team.
- McDavid goes 5-0 in the faceoff circle, Draisaitl 2-0 and
Hall 1-0. As a team they went 9-3. I am just reporting this because there wasn’t
much going on in the first period, I wouldn’t expect the Oilers to win 75% of
faceoffs in most periods. #hottake
I forgot to mention this earlier, but Octane will no longer
be dancing at games. They will still have a presence at community events,
charitable events and be on the concourse at games, but they will not be
dancing during breaks or intermission.
- I notice Tyler Pitlick and wonder if he is ever going to
make the team. My first instinct says no. He has NHL speed, but he never
seems to do anything that stands out. You have to make the coaches notice you,
and he hasn’t done that often enough the past few seasons.
- Draisaitl’s skating is not an issue. It is his willingness to
play with pace, which needs to improve, but I don’t see his footspeed as a
concern. He will never look quick because of his size and stride length, but he
is not slow.
- When the Oilers are pinned in their own zone, the wingers
funnel down to the slot, rather than spread out and cover the points. This
is another difference I’ve noticed in what McLellan wants when the team is
- Goalies change with 9:21 remaining in the period. Brossoit slides between the pipes for the Oilers.
- Oilers on PP again. Draisaitl, Lander, Yakupov, Nikitin and
Davidson start. They don’t register a shot and neither does McDavid’s line with Sekera and
Oesterle. McDavid gets a decent look from as he walks off the left boards, but
Russell blocks his shot.
- Thirty seconds later the Flames score shorthanded. Sekera forces a pass, but it is turned over
just outside the Oilers blueline, and Granland walks in one-on-one against
Oesterle. He then cuts to the middle and snipes a shot high blocker over
Brossoit. 2-1 Flames.
- Great part about technology: I’m live at Rexall watching Oilers/Flames
and notice on Twitter Darnell Nurse had a great tilt vs. 6’7”Hunter Smith in
Calgary, so we pull up the feed and aren’t disappointed. I think Smith’s visor
is what cut him. Nurse landed some shots on the visor that pushed into his nose.
Outside of being a skilled, great skater, he is mean and tough. He will be a
vital part of their team moving forward.
- Oilers get a later PP, but don’t get much going and will start the third with the man advantage.
- Edmonton trails 2-1, but lead 21-17 on shot clock. Draisaitl is now 7-0 in faceoffs, while McDavid is 8-3.
- MacDonald in goal for the Flames.
- Oilers start on PP with Purcell, Yakupov, Lander, Fayne and Sekera. They create very little. Draisaitl takes ES shift with McDavid and Hall. On their next ES shift Purcell stays with Lander and Yakupov. Draisaitl will play RW with McDavid and Hall.
- Yakupov with a subtle, dirty play pushing Wideman into post. Wideman comes back with a crosscheck to Yakupov’s back and Oilers back on the PP. I like the sneaky, cheap play by Yakupov. Adds some emotion to a lacklustre game.
- McDavid, Hall, Draisaitl start PP with Oesterle and Sekera. They get possession in the zone on the right boards. Draisaitl feathers a cross-ice pass to a driving Sekera and he one-touches it on goal, but MacDonald makes the stop.
- I’m trying hard to pay attention, but this game is screaming preseason. No flow, no energy and very few chances. I never expect precision passing, but usually there is some rookie trying to make a name for himself. I haven’t noticed any player stand out for either team.
- With 12:58 remaining the in-house announcer informs the fans their is some issue with the 50/50 so they won’t announce the winning ticket in the rink. Fans need to go to Oilers website tomorrow to see ticket. Understandably the fans boo. The 50/50 started with a carryover of $49,000 from the final regular season game, and it was over $140,000 tonight. Nice.
- Now Hamilton is on a line with Lander and Yakupov, and Purcell is on Miller’s line. McLellan trying to get some jump going. Please don’t yell and scream about juggling lines. It is the first preseason game and the Oilers have had nothing going.
- Oilers back on the PP with McDavid line and Sekera/Oesterle. Oilers win the draw and both Draisaitl and McDavid go to the same spot on the side wall, but McDavid eventually slides down to the corner. It illustrates it is preseason and they have yet to work extensively on the PP. This is why they have preseason games.
- Hall and McDavid create a glorious chance on their next shift as McDavid finds Hall in the low slot, but his shot hits the D-man’s stick.
- Hathaway hits Hall with a late hit. Hall gets up, skates to the bench, takes off helmet and walks to dressing room. Hathaway gets a penalty and 15 seconds later Draisaitl scores on PP from McDavid and Yakupov. Hall’s status will be the hot topic after the game. He didn’t look wobbly when he left the ice. 2-2.
- Ference takes hooking penalty. Early in PK, Lander creates turnover in his own zone, skates down the right wing into the Flames zone and beats MacDonald for a shorthanded goal. Oilers lead 3-2.
- Yakupov scores empty net goal with 1:01 remaining. McDavid with his second assist. Oilers win it 4-2.
It was a typical first preseason game — not crisp, but that’s expected. The Oilers’ skilled players looked better in the third and scored three goals.
***Hall has a cut on his nose and McLellan says it is minor. He instructs us that moving forward the Oilers will not discuss minor bumps and bruises. If a serious injury occurs, GM Peter Chiarelli will address it..***
1. Anton Lander. Big SH goal and solid work away from puck.
2. Connor McDavid. A quiet, but effective two points. I was impressed with his play away from puck in and his awareness in the defensive zone.
3. Andrew Miller. He had four shots and a goal.
Leon Draisaitl should have been one of my stars. He was very solid, and showed his versatility. He took 12 faceoffs, and won nine of them. He took draws in the offensive zone and Lander took them in the D-zone. He also played LW when Lander was in the middle, and when he played with Hall and McDavid in the third period he played on the RW. His versatility and ability to move positions and switch lines makes him very valuable.
OUT OF TOWN SCOREBOARD
The Oilers just wrapped up their second split squad game with a win by beating the Flames 3-1 down in Calgary. Letestu, Pouliot and Schultz scored for the Oilers.