We’ll talk about the hockey game, but first a shout out to Glenn Frey. The guy was a legend. RIP. Final Score: 4-2 Oilers
The last time the Oilers and Panthers met it ended up being a lot more exciting than anyone likely expected. There were fights, hits (clean and otherwise), great goaltending, and the time of bad blood you would only expect from a rivalry — not from two teams that only play twice per year. The major story from that game was, of course, what would happen with/to Matt Hendricks after crushing Aaron Ekblad from behind in their last game. Hendricks was suspended for three games and Ekblad hasn’t played since.
I was expecting (read: hoping) for some of the physicality and bad blood to carry over from the last game. I wanted to see how the Oilers would respond to a big, strong team and see if they could handle it while still trying to play the game responsibly. Aside from the Hendricks/Ogre fight early on, this game was more mellow than the last. Though tonight’s matchup wasn’t as physical as the first meeting, it was still pretty fun to watch (Nuge injury, and parts of the third period aside). The Oilers were able to compete with a very good hockey team, and close out a rare win on the road. That’s not to say that they didn’t give us a scare.
The Oilers still almost found a way to lose this game, in the third period. I don’t know why it happens, but taking a lead into the third frame seems to be like kryptonite to the Oilers. They handle the puck like a high school kid trying to unsnap his first bra. They fumble with it, make mistakes, seem frustrated, and tread dangerously close to embarrassing themselves. The Oilers are still learning to close out tight games, and beating streaking teams like Florida is what they’ll need to do with regularity if they’re going to make progress in this league. They found a way to make it happen tonight, and registered two important points in the standings.
Unfortunately, they also lost their best two-way forward.
Wrap it up.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Only 16 days left until McDavid.
- Taylor Hall needed a goal and he got one (his 17th) in the first period when he roofed one on Montoya. Hall wasn’t done there as he put up his 18th on a screened wrist shot in the second.
- How about the balls on Matt Hendricks? He knew he was going to have to fight tonight, and he had to do it against an angry ogre in Erik Gudbranson. The big Panther defenseman looked like a Sasquatch that was trying to kill his next meal, but Hendricks held in there and took his lumps like a champion. The Oilers could use five more of him.
- Jordan Eberle’s goal (his 11th) was a result of a beautiful passing play by Pouliot and Nugent-Hopkins. Nuge started the play with some puck thievery and waited out the Panther defenseman to set Eberle up on a tee. As we’ve come to expect, Jordan Eberle’s hands are money in front of the net.
- I know you guys will say that I’m president of the Nuge fanclub (which I am), but how many pucks did he steal off Panther sticks tonight? Guy was Danny Ocean out there before he got hurt.
- Cam Talbot was lights out once again. He made some of the biggest saves of the night in the final few minutes when the Oilers really needed him to shut the door. The Panthers were buzzing and Talbot was able to stop the bleeding. He finished the night with 31 saves and a .939 save%.
- Teddy Purcell had a great game. He always seemed to be in the right spot and as a result put up three points on the night (a goal — his 10th — and two assists).
- Iiro Pakarinen was levelling Panthers all over the ice. He was a wrecking ball, and I liked it.
- The penalty kill was great tonight, killing off all four Florida attemps.
- Tickets are on sale for the Nation ski trip to Jasper! Get yours before they sell out.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Benoit Pouliot loves taking bad penalties. It’s kind of his thing. You know how Cindy Crawford’s beauty mark was kind of her thing? Bad penalties are Pouliot’s beauty mark.
- Nuge left the game after blocking a shot with his hand. He didn’t return to the game, and you could see the pain on his face. Broken hand? I’d bet on it. Let’s see how the ‘trade Nuge’ crowd like the Oilers’ depth at centre with Nuge out too. It’s a shame, he was having a great game. #PrayForNuge
Long-term injury for RNH (hand), Coach McLellan announces.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) January 19, 2016
- Other teams can actually break the puck out of their zone. The Oilers only seem to be able to bank it off the boards and hope for the best.
- Quinton Howden hadn’t scored a goal in 15 games, but he got one tonight. Seems about right.
- The Oilers nearly coughed up the lead in the third period. I don’t know why the Oilers seem to hate taking multi goal leads into the third period, but they always seem eager to cough them up lately. Tonight was a close one.
- McLellan sat Anton Lander (their best faceoff guy) in favour of Luke Gazdic tonight and Gazzer didn’t play many minutes in the third period. When Nuge went down it sure would have been nice to have that extra centreman in the lineup.
- The refs were giving out some pretty lame penalties all night, and I don’t think I’m making things up. Though I am slightly intoxicated I still don’t think I’m seeing things. How did Florida get four chances while the Oilers only got one?
- Speaking of the power play, the Oilers negated their only chance by taking a too many men penalty.
- Gregor nailed all three of his game day predictions in this morning’s GDB. Not only did he get all three, he even predicted the score. I’m going to hear about this one forever.
|05:50||EDM||Taylor Hall (17) Wrist shot – ASST: Teddy Purcell (17)||1 – 0 EDM|
|17:52||EDM||Jordan Eberle (11) Wrist shot – ASST: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (22), Benoit Pouliot (11)||2 – 0 EDM|
|04:19||EDM||Taylor Hall (18) Wrist shot – ASST: Teddy Purcell (18), Leon Draisaitl (25)||3 – 0 EDM|
|02:45||FLA||Reilly Smith (13) Snap shot – ASST: NONE||3 – 1 EDM|
|05:35||FLA||Quinton Howden (4) Wrist shot – ASST: Shawn Thornton (1), Brian Campbell (13)||3 – 2 EDM|
|18:32||EDM||Teddy Purcell (10) Snap shot – ASST: Taylor Hall (27)||4 – 2 EDM|
BEST OF THE TWEETS
— Ryan McByks (@IAmByks) January 19, 2016
@OilersNation anyone else surprised the FLA fans knew enough to even boo hendricks?
— McJordan Schell (@jordanschell86) January 19, 2016
— The Towel Boy (@TheTowelBoy) January 19, 2016
@jsbmbaggedmilk We get McDavid back soon, so of course we lose Nuge. C’est la Vie in Oil Country
— Ben (@benoliver_1) January 19, 2016
@OilersNation So, our current C depth is Drai (2g in last 25), Letestu, Hendricks and Lander?
— Cervantes Xavier (@CervantesX) January 19, 2016
— Higgs-Distortion (@Higgsdistortion) January 19, 2016
Talk to me, Twitter. Hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk for your chance at ending up in the GDB Wrap Up.
THE NORTH X NORTHGRETZ PODCAST
This week Jason Gregor joins us to talk about the latest stretch of Oiler games, the debut of Zack Kassian, power play woes and potential trades in the near future. Then we play a spirited round of Ask The Idiots where we talk Making A Murderer, Gregor gives his dating advice and we find out what Chris The Intern’s favourite colour is.
- Episode 2 – Where Are The Guests Bro?
- Episode 3 – Chip Wars 2015
- Episode 4 – Neon Leon
- Episode 5 – Ya Jinked It!
- Episode 6 – Nation Battle Royale
- Episode 7 – The Brownlee Christmas Spectacular
- Episode 8 – Return Of The CTI
- Episode 9 – NxNGretz Holiday Special
- Episode 10 – An NxNGretz New Years
- Episode 11 – Is There A TV Doctor In The House?