Carried the play. Lost the game. How Oilers of them. Final Score: 2-1 Panthers
If I’m being honest I don’t think that I’ve fully recovered from what happened to the Oilers during the third period of Friday’s loss against the Lightning. The Oilers played well on Friday night, even taking a two goal lead into the third period, only to have the effort stolen by three crazy plays in the Lightning’s favour. Son of a bitch. It rattled me. As a result, tonight’s game had me waiting for something weird to happen. What other crazy nonsense could the hockey gods come up with? There were infinite possibilities. I was ready. I was waiting.
Tonight, the hockey gods served up another chapter in the pursuit of the moral victory playoffs that we’ve been riding for the past decade. I’ll back up. The Oilers started tonight’s festivities like they were still half asleep. They were making Eakins era mistakes, passing to no one, and giving up breakaways to one of the best goal scorers in NHL history. After having a goal called back on a coach’s challenge, the Oilers found themselves down two goals to a team that has been red hot over the last month. But this isn’t the Oilers of years past and rather than default to “roll over and die” mode they actually turned this into an entertaining hockey game.
After starting the game like they were trying to sneak out a fart with food poisoning, the Oilers battled back to within a goal and dominated most of the game. The problem, and it was a big one, was that they couldn’t beat Al Montoya a second time to get this game into overtime even though they carried the play for most of the night. This loss was the Oilers season in a nutshell: They made some early mistakes, got themselves into a hole, and played well enough to win the rest of the way only to come up short in the end.
If you’re counting moral victories you can add another tally to your board, but I’m tired of ELPH and bored of looking at draft odds.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Another game closer to McDavid. Is the all-star break over yet?
- I know it didn’t count but Taylor Hall’s disallowed goal was a beauty. Did I mention that I hate the coach’s challenge?
- Mark Letestu has been a great pickup for the Oilers. He plays tough minutes, just like Boyd Gordon did, but brings more offensive pop. Maybe I’m crazy but Letestu always seems to get one when the team really needs it. He scored his sixth goal of the season by being in the right spot after a hard working shift by the wagon line.
- I don’t know what Todd McLellan said in the first intermission but the Oilers looked like a completely different team in the second period. They were hitting, cycling the puck, and not finding ways to screw themselves.
- Speaking of the second period, it was nice to see the team throwing their weight around rather than get pushed around.
- Andrej Sekera has steadily improved since his slow start of the season. He is easily the Oilers best defenseman right now, and it’s unfortunate that he’s unable to play all 60 minutes. The Oilers need three more of him.
- We won the Corsi!
- I’m not sure how to rate Cam Talbot tonight. He allowed two goals on the first three shots of the game, but one was a breakaway and the other was from right in the slot. He didn’t allow another goal for the rest of the game, but he only had 14 shots against. I guess I give him a passing grade, because he was reasonably solid when called upon. Talbot finished the night with 12 saves and a .857 save%.
- Matt Hendricks was an absolute wrecking ball tonight. Check out this shift where he levelled Aaron Ekblad and then got in his second scrap of the game. Courtesy of HockeyFights.com:
THE FACE PALMERS
- Remember the stories from about 10 years ago when former management thought Jaromir Jagr was “too old” to play for the Oilers. Seems crazy now. I enjoyed watching him tonight. The guy is a legend and it’s hard to dislike anything about the way he plays the game. He scored on a breakaway after pickpocketing Darnell Nurse at the blue line.
- Tough break, and a bad giveaway, by Darnell Nurse at the blue line which caused the Jagr breakaway. Nurse has been playing like a rookie lately, and that’s no shot at him, but he has been showing a lack experience over the past week or so. He’ll figure it out.
- I hate the coach’s challenges and I mean that both ways. Taylor Hall had an absolutely beautiful goal called back over a couple inches. If I was a coach I’d tell my goalies to flop any time someone touched them, and challenge anything that could be offside. The NHL wants to increase scoring, but institutes rules to make scoring them even harder. Lame.
- Taylor Hall got absolutely levelled by Erik Gudbranson in the second period and not one Oiler stepped up with some push back. Maybe a strongly worded letter will follow?
- The Oilers went 0/3 on the power play. How many games have they gone scoreless on the power play? Rather than being a weapon, the power power is a demoralizing waste of time.
- 19/45 in the faceoff circle. Brutes.
- Jultz gonna Jultz.
No Jultz! BAD JULTZ! pic.twitter.com/HuRpVn993P
— OilersNation (@OilersNation) January 11, 2016
|03:22||FLA||Jaromir Jagr (15) Wrist shot – ASST: NONE||1 – 0 FLA|
|07:04||FLA||Jonathan Huberdeau (6) Wrist shot – ASST: Aleksander Barkov (15), Brian Campbell (12)||2 – 0 FLA|
|12:32||EDM||Mark Letestu (6) Wrist shot – ASST: Lauri Korpikoski (5), Matt Hendricks (5)||2 – 1 FLA|
BEST OF THE TWEETS
@jsbmbaggedmilk Just saw my neighbour outside wearing a Nurse jersey. I yelled “atta be Darryl”. He didn’t get it and now I have to move.
— Ryan McByks (@IAmByks) January 10, 2016
@OilersNation In all seriousness, guy who should be most worried about McDavid coming back…Lander. 3 bona fides scoring centres + Letestu
— David Smitten (@DavidSmitten) January 11, 2016
I WAS wondering how many airplane rides McDavid missed during his injury. Thanks Sportsnet.
— Chris Gordeyko (@TheNationChris) January 11, 2016
I wonder if we should launch a kick starter to get @TheNationChris a Motomaster Eliminator for the Senti.
— David Shortt (@AdMan0828) January 11, 2016
— Chris (@ShotByCA) January 11, 2016
Hendricks isnt mad about the Hall hit. Hes mad Ekblad made McDavid pay for dinner. @OilersNation .
— Brandon (@SniperElite989) January 11, 2016
@jsbmbaggedmilk Please don’t use “moral victory” in the wrap up
— Kevin Mines (@KevinPMines) January 11, 2016
Talk to me, Twitter. Hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk for your chance at ending up in the GDB Wrap Up.
THE NATION SKI TRIP
This is going to be the event of the year and we’re inviting you and all of your scandalous buddies to join us. If I was to make a recommendation I would suggest that you don’t wait to buy your tickets. This event will sell quickly, and procrastination will do nothing but leave you missing out on a hell of a party.