It was fun for a few minutes! Right? Anyone? Final Score: 6-4 Lightning.
Tonight was the first Nugeless night on our way to Connor McDavid’s return in exactly two weeks time. Until that happens, the Oilers are going to need multiple guys to step up and fill the hole. To me, Nuge’s injury (coupled with McDavid’s) shows exactly why Peter Chiarelli should be hesitant of trading him. Depth at centre is still an issue on this team. The top two centres for tonight consisted of a guy (a great one) with less than a full year of NHL experience and a third line winger. That’s bad. Don’t you think it would be a good idea to have an abundance of guys that could play either in the middle, or on the wing? I do.
Debating why trading Nuge is a bad idea is a debate that we can have for weeks to come. In the meantime, I think we may need to figure out which god/spirit/lucky gonch that we’ve upset because we almost lost another first overall pick tonight. Nail Yakupov got tied up in the Lightning zone and was pulled down awkwardly, favouring his ankle as he was helped off the ice. Luckily he came back, staying for the rest of the game, but having another guy go down would have been absolutely ridiculous. He bounced back. We can move on… this time.
As for the game itself, the only way I can really describe it would be ‘a complete gong show’ and I don’t necessarily mean that in a bad way. Defense was optional tonight, and you can’t help but love seeing 10 goals in a game. For as often as the Oilers were bad, and made some glaring mistakes, they kept finding their way out of it. Even after Nilsson went out for a hot lap on the winner, I was still expecting them to get the game into overtime. But the hockey gods hate us right now, and they don’t want us to feel any prolonged happiness. Dreams crushed. More points lost. *sigh*
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Zack Kassian scored his first goal as an Edmonton Oiler and he was pumped about it. Kassian was floating in front of the net, and was in perfect position to bang home the rebound. The puck was even inside, near his skates, and he was still able to put the rebound away. Kassian later got an assist on Leon Draisaitl’s goal, giving him two points on the night. If he can keep his shit together the Oilers may have found themselves a nice piece of the puzzle.
- Iiro Pakarinen got an assist on Kassian’s goal and follow it up with one of his own (his fourth). Pakarinen has been playing well over the past few weeks, and he was rewarded with a goal. It was also nice to see some production from the bottom six.
- Mark Letestu was great again tonight. With Nuge out, and Hendricks playing centre, Letestu had a bump in minutes and he handled them well. He was rewarded for his hard work with a shorthanded goal (seventh goal of the year, second shorthanded) that was a result of his speed and hustle.
- I thought Brandon Davidson was solid tonight. He was a team leading +3 on a night when the Lightning scored six.
- Taylor Hall and Leon Draisaitl played their two-on-one perfectly in the third period. Hall made a perfect pass and Draisaitl just had to tap it in (his 11th). Hall played much better after being benched for the final minutes of the second period.
- The penalty kill was perfect again.
- Thank Gord for post luck. The Lightning beat Nilsson cleanly three times in the first period, but were denied by the post. All hail post. Tonight could have been a lot worse.
- Tickets are on sale for the Nation ski trip to Jasper! Get yours before they sell out.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Power play. Awful. 0/4 on the night.
- I thought Nail Yakupov was playing fairly well early on in the game, but as the game went on he gave away the puck multiple times. Forgettable end to his night.
- Nail Yakupov also re-injured his ankle in the first period, and had to be helped off the ice. He did return later in that same period, but you have to wonder how the ankle will feel once he takes his skate off.
- Teddy Purcell got caught puck watching on Ondrej Palat’s goal. The Oilers had full coverage on the back check but Teddy P lost his man and the puck wound up in the net.
- In defense of Purcell, his whole line was quiet for big chunks of the night. Taylor Hall was even benched by McLellan in the second period.
- It makes it much easier for the other team to get the matchup they want when they’re only defending against one true scoring line.
- Jordan Eberle had a forgettable game playing with Pouliot and Hendricks. He was very quiet, and seemed to be chasing the puck more than he had it.
- The Oilers still give up too many pucks at both blue lines. It must drive Todd McLellan insane.
- Steve Stamkos pulled one of the dirtiest plays in hockey when he slew footed Zack Kassian against the boards. Not only did he slew foot him, it was blatantly obvious. Not sure what the hell he was thinking on that one. Normally I would expect a suspension for that kind of play, but it’s Steve Stamkos doing it to Zack Kassian so you know nothing will happen.
- Not a great night for Anders Nilsson. As I mentioned earlier, he was getting a lot of luck with pucks hitting the post in the first period and they all ended up staying out of the net. On other shots, he just didn’t look comfortable at all. I’m not saying he played horribly (he didn’t), but this wasn’t a great night for Anders Nilsson and I think that’s being generous. He finished the night with 25 saves on 30 shots, and an .833 save%.
|03:57||TBL||Nikita Nesterov (3) Wrist shot – ASST: Alex Killorn (13), Andrej Sustr (9)||1 – 0 TBL|
|05:25||EDM||Zack Kassian (1) Wrist shot – ASST: Iiro Pakarinen (3)||1 – 1 Tie|
|16:57||TBL||Nikita Kucherov (19) Backhand shot – ASST: Tyler Johnson (10), Alex Killorn (14)||2 – 1 TBL|
|19:26||EDM||SHG – Mark Letestu (7) Wrist shot – ASST: Darnell Nurse (6)||2 – 2 Tie|
|06:09||TBL||Ondrej Palat (4) Wrist shot – ASST: Vladislav Namestnikov (15), Steven Stamkos (16)||3 – 2 TBL|
|17:12||TBL||Vladislav Namestnikov (10) Tip-in – ASST: Ondrej Palat (9), Steven Stamkos (17)||4 – 2 TBL|
|02:10||EDM||Leon Draisaitl (11) Wrist shot – ASST: Taylor Hall (28), Zack Kassian (1)||4 – 3 TBL|
|04:29||EDM||Iiro Pakarinen (4) Slapshot – ASST: NONE||4 – 4 Tie|
|07:42||TBL||SHG – Brian Boyle (9) Wrist shot – ASST: Braydon Coburn (6), J.T. Brown (10)||5 – 4 TBL|
|19:33||TBL||EN – Alex Killorn (8) Wrist shot – ASST: Nikita Kucherov (20)||6 – 4 TBL|
BEST OF THE TWEETS
— Clay Yourk (@Yourk17) January 20, 2016
— David Smitten (@DavidSmitten) January 20, 2016
— Jeff (@Jeff_Hughes11) January 20, 2016
— VisuallyBetter (@Isuckatpicking) January 20, 2016
@OilersNation Have the Oiler goalies allowed more goals from guys behind the goal line ever? Just bizarre
— David Smitten (@DavidSmitten) January 20, 2016
@OilersNation I knew there was a new way to lose!
— Pestival (@Pestival1) January 20, 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?