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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Macbook

  • 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

Typewriter

  • 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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Talk to me Twitter. 

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

PREVIOUS EPISODES


  • SweetBabyNuge

    That was so fun. McD was magic. The team defense looked NHL caliber. To see Jordan upset at his missed defensive assignment was testament to that.

    Bravo boys, tip of the cap. Love watching a team that works to win.

      • SweetBabyNuge

        True, but instead of a fade to the bench he was truly upset with himself for letting his team down. Hopefully he learns to play better on that side of the puck if he’s invested in winning.

      • S cottV

        That GA was messy.

        It was Yak who was first forward back.

        His job was to let his D men handle the 2 on 2 – identify the Sabres trailing 3rd forward and cover him off to the net.

        Yak – doesn’t even look for the 3rd trailing forward. Once again – he is back covering no one, cheating to the puck carrier who is already covered.

        Eberle came back into the zone tracking with the guy Yak should have relieved Eberle of, allowing him to cover a Sabre point man.

        This all may have caused some confusion for Eberle, although clearly he should have accepted that Yak screwed up and stayed tighter to the eventual goal scorer.

  • TheBirdOfAnger

    ‎McDavid is otherworldly.

    I’ve been sick and my voice has been gone for the last week. He made me try screaming. 

    Lol. We are so unbelievably lucky to have him

  • LibrarianMike

    While it’s beyond obvious that #ConnorsBetter, I’m with you that Eichel is pretty damn awesome, Baggedmilk.

    He’s just not as good as Connor.

    But who is, really?

    Because Connor’s better.

  • TheBirdOfAnger

    I get so frustrated when McDavid downplays himself, like when he spoke about his goal just now. We all know deep down he himself is screaming #ConnorsBetter

  • TheDonkeyJohnson

    Connor McDavid… that young man is by far the best thing that has happened to Edmonton oh say… since ’06?
    Can’t wait for another season, until he really gets his legs. In Connor I trust.

    Now I’m fully aware and prepared for the wrath of the Nation for this, but has anyone else noticed how Eberle is starting to mimic Hall with the imbecilic temper tantrums when a play goes bad? They are both talented young men, but for the love of gord! Not exactly leadership qualities there boys.
    I’ve listened to all the Yak badgers go off like drunken hillbillies at an Ozark family reunion for too freaking long. Yak can’t do a damn thing right in the eyes of a lot of folks, where’s the verbal dissection of Hall and Eberle?
    Mark my words, Chia wants a different atmosphere in the dressing room, scoot one of Hall and Ebs out.
    “Talent” can and will take them so far, and by my eye, well at least we’re ahead of the Leafs.
    Keep on hustling Connor!

    • Harry2

      Eberle has more goals than Yak has points. Yak has 5 goals in 43 games. Results matter. Yak isnt half the player Hall or Eberle are. Not a personal attack on Yak just 100% truth.

      Im not saying they ahouldnt trade Hall or Ebs but Yak is not even close to the same player either one of those guys is

      • TheDonkeyJohnson

        Can’t righteously argue the point you made about Hall and Eberle having more goals and points, but I find it mind numbing that everyone rips on Yak. Exactly how many different centres has he been paired with? Have any of them been adept at helping devolop Yak’s scoring ability? Compared to Hall and Ebs, it’s a vast difference. Pile on top of that the number of coaching changes Yak has been subjected to. Given the fact that both of them(#’s 4 and 14) have experienced the whirlwind of changing systems, but as a fan base, have we all forgotten the exuberance Yak showed his first year? What happened to the player he was then compared to now?
        In honest defence of Eberle and Hall, yes I respect the talent they possess but, in my opinion I feel like the team should wash its hands of them if they get rid of Yak. Start over afresh with McDavid and Company.
        Complacency is an ugly pig. And all I can say is if the masses are going to put that lipstick on Yak, Hall and Eberle should be in line behind him waiting their respective turns.

        • Oil drop

          If when we trade yak. Gms are going to be lining up to see if they can salvage the player at a barain price. Before this gets bad why not try to salvage the players potential for free. It’s not like his value is going to go down

        • THRNHJE

          I know this may not be popular opinion, and obviously Eakins didn’t help the situation by toally beating down Yak, but equally to blame is getting rid of the veteran centre presence of Horcoff.

          How good did Yak look when he had a veteran centre that had been mentoring the new kids for the 2 years prior, having them come to his house for Sunday dinner and teaching them the little thing it takes to be in the NHL? What did that cleared cap space go to exactly?

          For proper development of a skilled player you need to have them brought in with skilled VETERANS. Yak was thriving his first half of a season when he had that, take it away give him a dickhead coach that wants him to change the type of hockey he plays and blames him for every loss what do you expect?

          If Horcoff was still here and Kruger was the positive influence instead of Eakins, I think we would see a completely different Yak.

          • THIS.

            Mac T’s biggest blunders of his GM career were,

            Trading Shawn Horcoff for no reason other than fan pressure.

            Firing Ralph Krueger, after he requested help behind the bench, only to be replaced by Mac T’s man crush, and even less experienced coach.

            Nikitia Nikitin.

            After their highest place finish in years, and real signs of progress, they trade their Captain, and fire their coach and GM.

            That is the most “Oilers” thing I’ve ever written.

        • Harry2

          Im saying results matter. Goals matter. And Eberle has over 4 times as many goals as Yak. Scoring is the hardesr thing to do in the NHL

          Give Eberle 75+ games and I bet he scores 40. Yak had 3 goals playing alongside McD and last night yet again he looked lost. He isnt even close to the same player as Eberle or Hall and the numbers prove it.

          That being said I believe you trade either Eberle or Hall for a #1 dman and dont look back.

    • KMA

      Man, I hear you. I think the obvious choice is to trade Eberle and that little kitten Hall is a close second. Unfortunately there is no other GM in the NHL who would agree to pickup a $6 million dollar contract for a player who is so soft. Thanks again MacT.

      • Oil drop

        I vote for Eberle. I like the guy, but of the 3 6 millionaires he is the most expendable.

        Rnh is a solid 2 way Centre hall is top 5 lw league wide. Eberle is a damn good right wing

        We can all point to areas of there game where they can improve but they all have game.

        Eberle is the logical choice to go

        • I respectfully disagree and most on this board will disagree with me on this, respectful or not:)
          Watching the moves that P.C. has made, he wants a heavy game. Plenty of skill, speed and scoring in the first 2 lines and muscle in the 3rd/4th lines. (some scoring would be nice. Think of the 4th Line of the Islanders. Clutterbuck/Cizikas/Martin) However; this club will NEVER get out of it’s own damn way, let alone make the playoffs until the Defence is Championship worthy. Period. End of story. The Oilers would be stupid using the 1st pick on a player, (unless they move him) Does it make sense to bring in a Austin Matthews and have another 18 year old kid play? Geez, that has worked so damn well over the years. I am not talking about McDavid here, and Matthews ain’t McDavid. a) Take the 1st Pick/Yaks and move him to the Islanders for Hamonic. His contract is unbelievable. I would love for the Oilers to sweeten the deal and have the Islanders throw in Cizikas. b) Sorry, but you trade RNH and Reinhardt to the Blues for Shattenkirk. This would be a very salty Defence.

          • Seanaconda

            You don’t trade rnh for kirk before he is signed to a contract. Wait till the deadline and get him for a rental trade. Aka picks and prospects. Also you wanna trade a 6 mill player and not the pick because of salary cap reasons.

          • RJ

            You have a lot there, so I’ll just comment on Shattenkirk.

            He’s a great offensive defenceman, but he’s only a year away from free agency. If he decided to re-sign in Edmonton, then he’s a great pick-up. But if you trade for him and he walks away, then you just set things back.

            If they were one move away from a serious run, maybe you roll the dice. Right now the Oilers are just trying to make the first round.

          • Seanaconda

            Yaks value isn’t the same as a first overall right now. And we don’t even know where we will pick yet with the new draft system. even if we finish 30th we could still end up picking 4th. I would prob give the islanders Eberle and keep the pick tho. And I actually like ebs it’s just the pick if it ends up being top 3 has a good chance to be a big effective player on an elc with rfa status after that vs a small ebs at 6 mill and ufa at the end.

          • Seanaconda

            The best thing that could happen is the oilers climb the standings to around 20th and then win the lottery due to the anti oilers rule. God that would be the greatest thing in the world.

          • Oilerchild77

            All this is irrelevant, because Snow isn’t interested in Yakupov. In fact, noone is at the moment. The Oilers have to dpend on him upping his own value in the final games of the season. Think about it, if you’re the Islanders GM, why on earth would you trade your best defenceman for an 18 year-old and what looks very much like a draft bust? You wouldn’t, and neither will an actual NHL GM.

          • Seanaconda

            I don’t think you understood my post. I was saying yak has far less value than a first overall atm. The first overall if we get it will have value tho. Tbh if we end up getting the first overall I think snow would trade harmonic for it. But I think that would be a bad trade for the oilers. Harmonic wants a trade and how long will he wait I don’t think snow will get market value.

          • Anton CP

            Something you need to know about Shattenkirk, Blues is a good defensive team and somehow Shattenkirk amazingly collected team worst -16 by played 10 games less. If he is with the Oilers that he will be a smaller but just a bit better puck-moving version of Jultz with the same huge defensive liability.

        • Thumby

          Maybe… It just bugs me watching the plays die with Hall whenever he’s pressured. He’s fine blasting down the wing but not good on pp when critical decisions and accurate reads are needed. Eberle is a lot higher in hockey iq. To me, you trade whichever one gets you a top D and never look back.

          • camdog

            Hall drives the play off the rush. He does not drive the play on the cycle or on the power play. Off the break out he’s special, once established in the zone he is not.

          • Oilerz4life

            I would say that is a broad generalization and not entirely acurate. Somewhat true at times, not ALL the time. Hall has many assists setting up teammates off the cycle and has set up Drai a time or two. He has worked the cycle down low with Ebs and RNH many, many times. It’s like you guys pick a flavor of the month and choose whipping boy of the week or use these broad sweeping stereotypes.

          • Oiler Al

            I think often when Hall,charges into the zone at a high speed he is alone. Mates can’t keep up wth him, has no one to pass to, so takes a shot from the boards.
            Drisaitl could probably skate with him, but being a center covering down low he is usually 40 ft back.
            We know Purcell could not keep up.Hope fully Kassian changes this attack, because he can skate
            well enough.

            McDavid has the same high speed solo enteries,no one can keep up with him.

          • S cottV

            Hall needs to understand that he is not McDavid.

            When McDavid decides he’s all in on a play to the net (like the OT goal), he either pulls it off or plays a Houdini card – to keep a possession alive. Just before that, Eichel decided to go all in and it resulted in the game ending turnover.

            Hall pulls way too many Eichel’s.

            He runs his line into too many dead ends and loses possession. Guys finally get possession 15 seconds into a shift, they work the puck (often reluctantly)to Hall by the 20 second mark and he runs a square peg into a round hole – losing possession by the 25 second mark. It gives up a dangerous counter attack and takes 15 seconds to get the puck back. We dump the puck because we have to change. Hall pouts. Repeat – repeat – repeat.

            Hall has to use his linemates and d men, more effectively and make better reads / decisions with puck possessions.

            Cycling? Hall doesn’t even know how to properly cycle.

            McClellan needs to get that line some serious cycle practice because they are missing a big opportunity, let alone the fact that he can’t keep letting that line – turn the puck over like they are.

          • Oilerz4life

            I would try to come up with some witty remark to counter this but it speaks for itself. A good portion of what you are trying to say there is just too rediculous to be taken seriously.

          • Oilerchild77

            Like everything you said about Hall. He’s a phenomenal player. You’re assessment of his game, including his ability to cycle, is way off. He can cycle the puck fairly well when he does it. Does he turn over the puck? Yeah, so what?! He also leads the team in scoring every year, so…

          • S cottV

            Take a close look at a few LA Kings hockey games.

            Watch how they cycle the puck.

            You are underestimating the cycling process. Anyone can half @ss cycle the puck and Hall can certainly do that. Maybe complete 2 or 3 cycle legs – etc.

            6 – 7 – 8+ cycle legs intermixed with some rugged puck protection is another story.

            This takes belief in the process, guys who are built for it, and guys that practice / execute it.

            Hall and Drai have been over reliant on rush tactics and they are turning the puck over too much.

            They are both big strong guys and they get a guy like Kassian.

            It now makes sense to blend more cycling into their process.

            It would cut down on turnovers big time.

            So what you say?

            That speaks for itself…..

          • Oiler Al

            Yes, good description …… some players have a hard time shedding their junior hockey habits, where its pretty much a ME ME game, rack up the points and get a high draft pick. [ can’t really blame the guys ].

            Hall has changed his “wreckless” game, now if he can only learn that its ok to make a pass to your own player.[ It might even be passed back to him for a play at the net.]

          • Seanaconda

            He already had the season were he decided to work on passing. He puts up so many points now because he puts up assists. He’s not a pure playmaker but he does use his teammates. Maybe being put with an always think pass draisitle makes him look greedy this year.

          • camdog

            Actually watch Hall on the powerplay, there are many games where he rushes the puck to the net when the play is not to the net. It kills the powerplay. It’s not a myth that the only time that the Oilers powerplay looked great the last 2 years was when Hall was out with injury last Christmas.

            On the Team 1260 today there was a comparison of Hall to Messier, but from what I see he’s more in the lines of Glen Anderson. Both were great Oilers, but comparing Hall to Messier is one of silliest things I have ever heard.

          • Oilerz4life

            Trade Hall for a defenseman then, but there is no getting Hall back. He is a top of the league point producer and that’s a fact, there’s no disputing that. Whether he produces on the powerplay or not he scores goals. He makes things happen, that’s his thing and once that is gone there is no getting a young Hall back, not many of those around. He’s a number one draft pick that makes goals happen, so good luck replacing that.

          • Wintoon

            Hall is similar to Messier in terms of his physical talents but that is where it ends.

            Hall is a pouty child compared to Messier. In all the years I watched Messier play I never once saw him pout or demonstrate the frustrated body language that Hall does every time things don’t go his way.

            Messier was a leader and Hall is far from that. As a matter of fact I would not want Hall to get the C. That would be a full blown disaster for the Oilers. You want your leader to be committed to the team. You don’t need a guy who thinks “me first”. I have seen much more maturity from Nuge and McDavid than I have from Hall.

          • Wintoon

            Hall is similar to Messier in terms of his physical talents but that is where it ends.

            Hall is a pouty child compared to Messier. In all the years I watched Messier play I never once saw him pout or demonstrate the frustrated body language that Hall does every time things don’t go his way.

            Messier was a leader and Hall is far from that. As a matter of fact I would not want Hall to get the C. That would be a full blown disaster for the Oilers. You want your leader to be committed to the team. You don’t need a guy who thinks “me first”. I have seen much more maturity from Nuge and McDavid than I have from Hall.

  • Prometheus

    His name is a Mc-septet of letters

    A game worthy of Ebs’ ugly sweater

    With not just one but two

    Jack, he flew right past you

    Now we all know that, hey, #ConnorsBetter

    This has been a Connor McDavid limerick.

  • KMA

    As hockey fans we need to get past this coaches challenges are a bad thing. It’s not going to go away.
    The challenge is available to all teams for each game.

    Complaining about a goal called back because an infraction was noticed after the fact simply sounds like whining. More like a poor loser than a winner.

  • RJ

    Did Yak get a point? Nope.

    Did he look like a much better player? Not even close. He was heads and shoulders better.

    That cycling at the end of the first…where did that come from? Let’s see more of that.

    • usetobewise

      Lets hope we don’t see much more of that. That’s was frustrating to watch. Obviously you failed to notice the 3 Sabres players collapsed into the slot with not a single Oiler in front of the net, or even any where near it?

      Did they score? Nope!

      Aren’t you getting a little frustrated with season after season of Oilers perimeter play? C’mon man it’s time to cut bait on Yak.

      I can probably tolerate Eberle (/w McDavid) if he’s offset with a bigger body winger that can contribute in ways he can’t, but that ain’t Yak unfortunately.

  • Harry2

    Say what you want avout the challenge but what the hell is Lander doing on that play? I mean get your ass to the damn bench for f sakes.

    Dont blame the challenge for A) Lander gapping out and B) the linesman missing the call

  • Armchair genius

    Great game tonight from the whole team! Ebs with a soft play on Buffalo’s goal but all in all a very solid effort. That being said missed assignments are becoming quite regular for Eberle which is why I think he’ll be the first of the “core” to be dealt this summer.

  • Randaman

    Hey BM, quit blaming the stupid coaches challenge and rake Lander for a lazy lack of effort to clear the zone.

    Hockey 101 I thought

    And Yak didn’t look too much different to me. One shot so he wasn’t getting open so Conner could find him, was he?

    #tellitlikeitis

  • SKOilFan

    Was impressed with Pardy. Cracknell to me was a little above avg, but it’s one game a day after waivers. Can’t wait for Maroon to slate in. I like Chia’s “big” hockey mentality (Kassian, Pardy, Cracknell, Gryba etc). Want moar please..

  • S cottV

    Not to dump too much on Yak – but c’mon – it’s not right.

    McD – flanked by a couple of smurfs?

    Maybe you half get away with it vs Buffalo, but when for real like the Kings or Ducks etc etc etc…- forget it. It’s not even arguable.

  • S cottV

    I was most disappointed with Hall tonight.

    Another square pegs in round holes with authority night.

    He runs almost everything he forces into a dead end turnover.

    He turned on some intelligence by participating in some cycling – with 4 minutes left in the game.

    Had he used Drai and Kassian in this fashion, throughout the game – we probably wouldn’t have needed McD’s heroics.

    A lot of gifts but too much bone in that head of his.

    • Oil drop

      Well seeing as we spent the week talking about if we screwed up shut by rushing and continue to talk about rushing players since Gagner. How about we hold of on making cmac captain.

      It was awesome 2 goals overtime winner get excited just hold of on the c

  • Boom or Bust

    Great game. I liked Pardy. McDavid was amazing. But Bagged Milk, I don’t agree with you on Yak. He seemed busy but once again failed to get open to get shots on net. I am not even sure he had any shots in the first period. He got better near the end but…. He might have already lost his spot to Maroon.

    • SSB1963

      Yak will be the first to go. Even with McDavid last night he was a none factor although he did have a good shift of cycling the puck. Doesn’t understand defense and can’t seem to get open for his shot. Would already be gone but nobody wants him!

  • Oilerchild77

    The Oilers are attempting the classic pump and dump with Yak and Eberle. It’s funny bcause the best player on the team is playing with two players that haven’t got a snowball’s chance in hell of being on the team next season.

  • GK1980

    Mcdavid. Good game by both teams. Tenacious. One thing I did notice was Hall. He received a pass on the side of the net about 10 ft out with space and time then skates it to the blue line where the play usually dies. Anyone else see this? I kept yelling to shoot and then try and pound a rebound in.