There was almost a chance. Final Score: 4-2 Stars
For a team that’s done so much losing in recent memory you would almost think that Oilers fans would be used to it. I’m not saying that losing games is acceptable, but the vitriol that is spewing out of some of you is alarming to say the least. The thing that was most concerning to me, going into tonight, was that the ghosts of Oilers past didn’t come back to haunt us once again in the form of Ales Hemsky.
As it turns out, it wasn’t just Hemsky we had to worry about. The Oilers just weren’t ready to play tonight. They were grossly outplayed in the first half of the game, and if not for a mostly solid performance from Anders Nilsson they would have been out of the game before it had even truly begun. Mostly solid, of course, because it’s not that Nilsson let in many goals but when he did they were mostly awful.
At the end of the night, the Oilers were outplayed. They were badly outshot and spent long periods scrambling in the defensive zone. Nilsson gave the Oilers a chance to win, and I thought they might do that when Nail Yakupov broke in alone with five minutes to go. Those hopes were dashed quickly as Lehtonen stopped the breakaway chance and Jason Spezza potted the winner immediately after.
In many ways this was a movie we’ve seen twice before. The Oilers were able to hang around on the back of their goaltender only to have their chance at points vanquished late in the third period. The Oilers need to find a way of converting “hanging around” in the third period into two points in the standings.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- CONNOR MCDAVID SCORED HIS FIRST NHL GOAL! It wasn’t an end to end rush or anything like that, but it was a nice deflection off a point shot. Mostly I’m happy for him to have the weight off his back. I’m also happy for the fact that the media won’t be able to keep whining about his lack of production.
- I’ll never get tired of watching him play and I’m already worried about the heartache I’m going to feel when he retires. I LOVE YOU, CONNOR! Seeing him absolutely crush Johnny Oduya in the first period was both hilarious (slightly dirty) and beautiful.
- Speaking of Connor McDavid, I am a huge fan of playing McDavid with Nail Yakupov. Connor needs to have the puck on his stick whereas Yak just needs to shoot it. This could be a great duo for a long time if they can continue to produce chances and points like they did tonight.
- Yakupov had a really nice night tonight. He was taking care of his own zone when he had to and producing chances at the other end of the ice all night long. He finished with an assist and what seemed like 4000 shots on goal. I feel bad for how the game ended for Yakupov. He had the game on his stick only to have the goalie stop it and then lose his man on the back check. He had a better night than that play showed, but it was a tough defensive lapse for Yak.
- Klefbom unleashed a rocket from the point to score his first goal of the season. It was a nice bit of pressure from the McDavid/Yak/Pouliot line to get the puck back to him at the point.
- The penalty kill was really good again tonight. Letestu and Hendricks were warlords with the man disadvantage. The Oilers finished off killing all four of the Stars chances.
- Anders Nilsson played well for the Oilers tonight except for the first two Stars goals. Those were not goals that should be allowed at the NHL level. Both turds of monumental proportions. This loss is not on him though. Nilsson gave the Oilers a chance to win that they didn’t deserve. He finished the night with 48 saves and a .941 save%.
- It’s not even new news but it’s still odd seeing Ales Hemsky in another jersey. This is Hemsky’s second season with the Stars and every time I see him touch the puck I feel like he should still be giving up at OUR blue line. The memories live on, I guess. Hemsky was buzzing all night long and finished the night with an assist on the game winner by Jason Spezza.
- Taylor Hall has got to lose that toe drag. He tried to pull it out again tonight with the exact same result as every other time he tries it. STAHP IT!
- In the Wrap Up I wrote about how Benoit Pouliot needs to stop taking dumb penalties. Well, he took a tripping penalty in the offensive zone again tonight. He was lucky again in that the Stars were unable to score with the man advantage, but he’s playing with fire and he should know that by now.
- There is not really much point in having Connor McDavid and Nuge on the same power play unit. Both are quarterbacks out there and there’s only one puck. To me splitting them up would mean two very good passers on two separate lines rather than having them battle for touches.
- Brandon Davidson had a rough start to this game. He struggled with the puck and sometimes turned easy outs into minute long adventures in the defensive zone. He settled in a bit as the night went on, but he’ll have to be much better than that if he wants to stick in the lineup.
- Slepyshev was a non-factor again tonight aside from the missed breakaway chance. I’m not sure if there is someone on the Condors better suited for the role he’s filling right now, but I wonder if the Oilers make a change with him soon. At best he’s been unnoticeable.
- Justin Schultz didn’t have a great night defensively. Too often he was soft on the puck and couldn’t make the easy exits needed to generate offense. Schultz has played much better to start the season but tonight was not a good night.
- The third pairing was a mess as a whole. Gryba looked slow and Davidson looked overmatched.
- The power play struggled again tonight, though, to be fair, they only had one chance.
- Jason Spezza had a big night for the Stars. He scored the winning goal with five minutes left as he slipped into a hole in coverage and finished off the hat trick into the empty net shortly after.
|17:48||DAL||Jason Spezza (1) Wrist shot – ASST: Mattias Janmark (1), John Klingberg (2)||1 – 0 DAL|
|02:42||DAL||Jamie Benn (2) Wrap-around – ASST: Jyrki Jokipakka (1), Tyler Seguin (2)||2 – 0 DAL|
|10:55||EDM||Oscar Klefbom (1) Slapshot – ASST: Benoit Pouliot (1), Nail Yakupov (1)||2 – 1 DAL|
|12:18||EDM||Connor McDavid (1) Tip-in – ASST: Andrej Sekera (1)||2 – 2 Tie|
|15:30||DAL||Jason Spezza (2) Wrist shot – ASST: Antoine Roussel (2), Ales Hemsky (3)||3 – 2 DAL|
|19:03||DAL||EN – Jason Spezza (3) Wrist shot – ASST: Kari Lehtonen (1)||4 – 2 DAL|
BEST OF THE TWEETS
@OilersNation Boooooo BaggedMilk
— Kjell Iverson (@KjellIverson) October 14, 2015
— Ryan McByks (@IAmByks) October 14, 2015
That period was so 2014-2015
— Matt Henderson (@Archaeologuy) October 14, 2015
— Jordan Greenling (@greenlingj) October 14, 2015
To answer the question everyone will be asking me, I was eating rice while standing in my kitchen when McDavid got his1st Goal @OilersNation
— Noel May (@Noel_May) October 14, 2015
LOLOL DID THEY ALREADY DELETE THAT “Did Connor McDavid Score” TWITTER ACCOUNT???
— Jeanshorts (@JSBMjeanshorts) October 14, 2015
@JSBMjeanshorts typical teenager. His first time scoring and all he can manage is just getting the tip in.
— David Did The Ziggy (@IDidTheIggy) October 14, 2015
— Noel May (@Noel_May) October 14, 2015
— Cole Chmilar (@ColeChmilar) October 14, 2015
SEASON OPENER TEES ARE ON SALE
Want a season opener party shirt but couldn’t make it to the party? You’re in luck. We’ve counted, sorted, and organized everything we have left and thrown them up for sale on the NationGear store. Be warned, once these are gone they are never coming back so don’t wait to buy one if you want one. As always, a portion of the proceeds will go straight to Earth Group in an effort to help provide life essentials for needy folks around the world.