GDB 17.0 Wrap Up: Oilers @ Coyotes

“I told you Nilsson would suck tonight. Math boner!” vs “NEEEEEEEEERD.” There could be only one. Final Score: 4-1 Coyotes

The big story coming into tonight’s game was in regards to Todd McLellan’s decision to play Anders Nilsson on back to back nights. The fancy stats community will tell you that playing a goalie two nights in a row is generally a bad idea. Todd McLellan clearly did not care as he went back to Nilsson believing he would play as well he he did last night in Anaheim. Part of me just wanted to see what would happen to watch the pro versus anti stats communities collide in the time tested art of Twitter trolling. 

Despite playing games on back to back nights the Oilers were able to find their legs early. It’s strange to feel surprised when a team doesn’t suck early. Their breakout was successful, Nilsson was solid, and the Oilers delivered a solid road period. The Oilers were engaged (which is a miracle in itself) and the quick start paid off early when Taylor Hall put home a backhander off of a sweet little feed by Leon Draisaitl. The Oilers maintained the lead throughout most of the first period until a quick mistake in the defensive zone ended up in the back of the net.

It was looking good for the “eye-ballers” early. 

The second period featured fairly even play going back and forth but it was the mistakes that cost the Oilers. Even though they were still skating well the Oilers made little mistakes that ended up costing them two second period goals. On the first goal the Oilers were unable to clear the zone, and the second came as a result of poor coverage coming back off the rush. The Oilers weren’t making those mistakes early on. I’m not sure whether the Oilers were feeling more tired than they looked but both those mistakes were small defensive breakdowns that need to be corrected.

Point for the nerds.

I thought the Oilers played well enough to give themselves a chance to win early on in the night. Unfortunately, the offense dried up and they weren’t able to cash in on some key chances whereas their opponents did just that. The Coyotes played a solid game and put the puck in the net pretty much every time they were given the chance. As the third period progressed the Oilers were playing like chickens with their heads cut off. What started off as a solid road game ended up as a sloppy, disappointing loss.

Nerds win. 

Wrap it like it’s hot.

THE BRIGHT SIDE

Win

  • The Oilers had a good start despite playing the second of back-to-back games. 
  • Taylor Hall scored his team leading seventh goal of the season off of a beautiful pass by Leon Draisaitl.
  • The Hall-Nuge-Draisaitl line has been hot fire since Todd McLellan put them back together last night in Anaheim. Sure, the rest of the team can’t score, but that line certainly can! 
  • Can I swoon over Leon Draisaitl again? No way he goes back to Bakersfield this season. 
  • Very quietly Andrej Sekera put up his seventh assist of the season. He seems to be settling down which is a good thing, because he was not playing good hockey early on. The Oilers will need him if they hope to accomplish anything this season. 
  • The Oilers outshot the Coyotes 28 to 21. Alright, so I’m reaching here. 
  • Oiler Connor McDavid convalescing well, without pain, week after shoulder to repair broken clavicle, I am told. #oilers #nhl #globehockey

THE FACE PALMERS

Lose

  • Day nine without McDavid.
  • Darnell Nurse got caught for the first time in a few games making the wrong decision. He made a pass to no one in the Oilers’ defensive zone which led to the Oliver Ekman-Larsson goal at the end of the first period. The amazing thing about it is that Nurse hasn’t been making many mistakes despite (probably) playing over his head these past few weeks. Daryl knows better.
  • Yak looks lost without McDavid. To be fair, playing with Letestu isn’t the same thing as playing with McDavid so I criticize with a heavy heart. Maybe Connor can give him a call, or face time, every now and then?
  • Nilsson wasn’t really even close to sharp tonight. If you ask the fancy stats world they would have told you that this morning. Nilsson finished with 17 saves and an .810 save%.
  • I can’t believe I had to hear about what would happen with the Coyotes at Glendale arena during the intermission. HOW MANY YEARS IS THIS GOING TO GO ON FOR?! 
  • Rumour going around the Twitterverse that the Oilers are battling some kind of flu tonight. I know that Pouliot wasn’t playing due to illness so I guess it’s plausible, but I still think that was a winnable game. 
  • The Oilers went 0/4 on the power play. They had chances to take the lead throughout the second period but they just couldn’t get anything together.

SCORING SUMMARY

1ST PERIOD
03:03 EDM Taylor Hall (7) Backhand shot – ASST: Leon Draisaitl (7), Andrej Sekera (7) 1 – 0 EDM
16:49 ARI Oliver Ekman-Larsson (2) Wrist shot – ASST: Brad Richardson (2) 1 – 1 Tie
2ND PERIOD
13:47 ARI PPG – Shane Doan (4) Wrist shot – ASST: Max Domi (7), Tobias Rieder (4) 2 – 1 ARI
17:29 ARI Stefan Elliott (1) Wrist shot – ASST: John Scott (1), Kyle Chipchura (4) 3 – 1 ARI
3RD PERIOD
11:28 ARI Max Domi (8) Backhand shot – ASST: Michael Stone (4) 4 – 1 ARI

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  • Heschultzhescores

    At what point do we accept that this team is never going to be a factor in the NHL? They don’t have the work ethic, and they don’t have the hockey sense to make good plays on a regular basis. There is more to drafting than picking the guy who scored the most points. We’ve all played with that guy, and yep, they are usually as much a liability as they are an asset. We need guys that are going to show up every day, you might take a day off…but these guys are taking a day off every second game. I’d keep about 5 of them…Hall, Hopkins, McDavid, Nurse (i believe he’ll be worth waiting for) and possibly Draisaitl…only for his size, not his work ethic. There might be one or two more…but seriously, this team should have been exploded long ago. I can’t imagine making the money these guys make and putting out that kind of effort. It’s like they’re literally running around without hockey sense. Standing near the guy who scores every time…like that’s somehow covering your man. I don’t want to slag these guys anymore, they’ve been hammered enough, but the point is, many of them are not NHL players…and never will be. The reason they’re getting slagged is because they are junior players and that’s the highest level they should have achieved. We need bigger, smarter players…who cares if they’re not 50 goal players, we have McDavid & Hall, we don’t need any more stars, we need a supporting cast…and a leader, which I don’t see on the team currently. Drafting should be given a little more thought that just picking the guy with the most junior points. A team of decently skilled guys, with decent size, who don’t make a ton of mistakes will beat a team of highly skilled, munchkin prima donna’s every time. Even a team of Gretzky’s would not win a stanley cup…they would not have the toughness or durability to make it through the battle. The games are still won and lost on the boards, and we lose those battles 9 our of 10 times.

  • Well thank God TM had the team ready to play! I’m so relieved that bringing in a head coach of his caliber seems to have made all the difference………we are clearly witnessing a visibly better team.

    I’m going to chalk last nights game up to the “flu”………I’m not sure if others would agree, but having watched all the Oilers games this year, I can’t remember one flukey or lucky goal?

    If I missed this, please respond.

    • Soiled Trousers

      I know what you mean. I saw a plane crash on television the other day and I thought ” that doesn’t seem right but what do I know, I’m not a pilot.”

      Come on man, you don’t need to be a genius to figure out a hockey team is supposed to win hockey games.

  • Rob...

    I knew it was going to be a long night 5 minutes in when Yak was heavily interfered with while in puck pursuit, and refs ignored that but nailed him for the trip that followed.

    Could you imagine if cops only enforced some of the laws… oh wait they do.

      • Rob...

        A lot of veteran players with plenty of hockey sense have taken retaliation penalties but you go on holding Yak to a higher level of scrutiny than ‘those’ players. This also doesn’t erase the fact that hockey referees are horribly inconsistent in enforcing the rules of the game and the game suffers because of it. In this particular case the refs showed bias against either the team or the player and when that is shown early in the game you know it’s going to be a long night.

  • Spoils

    I know Drai is hot on the RW right now, but our center depth is a real problem. We can’t go through the rest of the McDavid injury without a real 2nd line center.

    I would try Drai at center and see if he can make the leap… maybe his confidence will get him there.

    Maybe play him with Pouliot and Ebs to give him max support.

    Letestu and Lander are turning our top 6 into a top 3.

    other option – make a trade for an old wily vet.

  • Spoils

    Pou was missed.

    Hendricks. Korpiskoski and even Jultz.
    Throw in Connor.

    Do we really expect them to win back to back games? It would have been a bonus.

    Bring on LA and let’s start over.

  • Zarny

    There is nothing “fancy” about the stat that playing G back to back is dumb.

    It is, in fact, a very simple stat. Goalies playing for the second consecutive game have an average SV% of ~ .892, versus .912 if they had at least one day off.

    That’s a 20 point gap in a league where 10 is significant.

    The Oilers problem though has nothing to do with “fancy” stats or eye-balls. The depth on the roster simply isn’t good enough. Same as last year, 2 years ago, 3 years ago etc.

    The only thing that surprises me is that some are surprised. The Oilers are performing on par with what should have been expected given that, aside from McDavid, they subbed Sekera for Petry and shuffled some deck chairs on a 62 pt team.

    They are, in my opinion, clearly visually better this year. 2015-16 will yield an exponential drop in internet memes at the Oilers’ expense. They’ve lost and will lose more games 2-1 or 4-2 compared to 7-1 or 8-2 like last year.

    But until the blueline is not one of the worst in the NHL and there is the depth on the roster they will not be “good”.

    Rebuilds or building a contender is measured by players; not days, months, years, decades or any unit of time.

  • For Pete's Sake!

    Mcdavid isn’t going anywhere, he has publicly stated he wants to be here. The future is bright but poor management did not surround the kids with proper vets. They do need to make a good hockey trade to acquire a good D. Just like we have all been saying for years now. In fact sorry for wasting your time with this post, just repeating myself, over and over again.

  • For Pete's Sake!

    So many complaints about the goaltending. Had Talbot played, he would have had to get a shut out in order for the Oiler’s to win.

    To my eye, Nilsson was okay. He made some very fine saves. The other goalie had one, maybe two difficult saves.

    Oilers need to learn to create offense inside the perimeter.