GDB 65:0 Wrap Up: Oilers @ Sabres

We told you Connor is better. Final Score: 2-1 Oilers in OT

Can you believe that there are only 17 games left after tonight’s stop in Buffalo? It’s almost the end of the season and we’re right back where we were a year ago, at the bottom of the standings. Same shit, different pile. Right? No! Well, not exactly. In this year’s trip down miserable lane we already have Connor McDavid in our pocket, and could get another (lesser) version come June. Mind you, there’s also the possibility that the Oilers actually trade that pick for immediate help. That’s change, man. I mean, it’s not a great change, but it’s change nonetheless. What can I say? I’m a hopeless romantic. 

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As for tonight’s game, this was the first time that Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel have ever played against either other in a National Hockey League game — I’m not sure if you heard. It was amazing to me how some people (media/fans) were making such a big deal of it that you may have thought that one of them was going to cure cancer. Think about it. We’re talking about two 19-year old kids that play their first game against each other and it is front page news on every hockey outlet on the planet. It’s crazy, right? And I say that as someone who is not even the one living it. I’m just sitting here pantless like the rest of you. 

As for the game itself, it was another solid road effort by the Oilers and it couldn’t have started any better. Connor McDavid scored the go ahead goal 22 seconds into the first period and they never really looked back from there. Apart from the last 15 minutes of the third period, when the game was tied, it was never really that close. The Sabres got excellent goaltending and he kept the score closer than it possibly should have been. At the end of the night, the Oilers iced a better lineup than the Sabres did and they won a game should have won. As for the Connor versus Jack storyline that went on all day? It wasn’t close. #ConnorsBetter

Wrap it up.

THE BRIGHT SIDE

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  • I love how salty Jack Eichel is whenever he gets asked about Connor McDavid. From where I sit, you can tell that it bothers him and it’s funny to see him rattled when Connor doesn’t seem to get too rattled about the whole thing. 
  • Connor McDavid scored a highlight real goal (his 11th) only 22 seconds into the game before Jack Eichel had even had a shift yet. To rub salt into the wound, Connor followed up on his first goal with a coast to coast rush for the overtime winner (his 12th). Sabres fans were booing him all night. It was glorious. Connor for Calder. 
  • Nail Yakupov looks like a different person when he’s playing with Connor McDavid. He doesn’t have to worry about having the puck so much. He’s able to get open, look for shots, and wait for Connor to find him. 
  • Cam Talbot is such a relief. It feels like for the first time, in a long time, we don’t have to worry about some soft goal from centre ice. He brings a calm to the Oilers that they haven’t had since Roloson. Talbot was solid again tonight and finished the night with 31 saves and a .969 save%. 
  • I liked Adam Pardy’s game. He was solid defensively and threw the body when he had a chance. The Oilers need more of that on the back end. Pardy played 20:06 solid minutes in his debut. 
  • I liked the way Adam Cracknell takes the puck to the net, and goes to the net when he doesn’t have the puck. More that. 
  •  Andrej Sekera had a big game, and should have had a goal if not for the ridiculous coach’s challenge. He played a team high 23:06 and they were all tough minutes.
  • The Oilers were 56% in the faceoff circle tonight. Possession!

THE FACE PALMERS

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  • They didn’t show enough shots of Tim Murray during this game. I would have liked one right after McDavid scored his goal. Missed opportunity. 
  • I honest feel bad for Jack Eichel. Everyone is comparing him to Connor McDavid because they were drafted first and second, but Connor is clearly the better player. Not Eichel’s fault, but he’ll be hearing about it for his whole career. Is it wrong that I really like him as a player?
  • The Oilers outshot the Sabres 41-32 but Robin Lehner stood on his head. He made some big saves to keep the game close. The score should have been higher than it was. Great game by Lehner. 
  • I hate coach’s challenges. Sekera should have had his sixth goal of the season but it was called back on a challenged offside. Ridiculous. 
  • It’s too bad that Patrick Maroon wasn’t able to play tonight. He had a crazy long travel day so it makes sense that he would sit out, but I’m excited to see what he can do. He wasn’t getting many minutes in Anaheim and maybe a change of venue will do him some good. 
  • Adam Cracknell should’ve had his first point as an Oiler tonight, but it was called back on a stupid coach’s challenge. 
  • Cal O’Reilly didn’t have a goal in 20 games but he scores on against the Oilers. Surprised? I wasn’t. We’re the best slump breakers in the league.
  • The Oilers power play plan should be lit on fire and blasted off into space. The PP let them down AGAIN. It’s not surprising news, but it is news (0/3 on the power play).
  • Speaking of the O’Reilly goal, what was Eberle doing? He completely spaced out on that goal. 
  • Anton Lander played a team low 12:05 tonight and you have to wonder if he’ll be back next year?

SCORING SUMMARY

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1ST PERIOD
00:22 EDM Connor McDavid (11) ASST: Jordan Eberle (19) 1 – 0 EDM
2ND PERIOD
NONE
3RD PERIOD
09:06 BUF Cal O’Reilly (1) ASST: Sam Reinhart (11), Mark Pysyk (5) 1 – 1 Tie
OT PERIOD
03:48 EDM Connor McDavid (12) ASST: NONE 2 – 1 EDM

BEST OF THE TWEETS

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THE NORTH X NORTHGRETZ PODCAST

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In today’s podcast, the boys take a look at what will happen with the Oilers on deadline day and whether or not Connor McDavid should be given the captaincy. Chris also forces Jeanshorts and Baggedmilk to play a game that he put together only minutes before recording. 

As always you can follow North x NorthGretz on FacebookTwitter and Instagram, and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes

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