It wasn’t the prettiest win, but it’s still a win. Final Score: 3-2 Oilers
After the practice-gate hysteria subsided and everyone realized that moving a scheduled day off from Monday to Wednesday is not actually the end of the world, it was time for the Oilers to get back to work. With the way that Buffalo game went, I think it’s fair to say that we were all curious to see how the Oilers would respond to the early-season ass kicking. It’s not like the Hurricanes are world beaters themselves, so it was important for the Oilers to bounce back after their last lackluster effort and win a game that they’re supposed to win. If they couldn’t get at least one win out of teams like the Sabres and Hurricanes then this could turn out to be another long year.
Tonight’s game was important because the Oilers had to show the NHL/fans/themselves that Sunday night’s gong show against the Sabres was a one off, and not just another night at the office like we’ve seen before. The team had to show up to play from the opening faceoff, and not find themselves down by a goal early in the game. To take that point even further, the Oilers need to stop finding ways to play down to their opponent rather than perform at their full potential. I guess the extra practice worked because the Oilers had a much better start to this game, were able to carve out an early lead, and received the timely goaltending they needed to win the hockey game. That’s not to say that there weren’t any warts because there were plenty of them, but the Oilers still managed to grab two points that they desperately needed.
The saving grace in this game came from Edmonton’s hot start. After settling in, they were able to limit Carolina’s ability to produce quality offensive chances, got some great goaltending, and also received offensive contributions from players outside of the usual suspects. Winning hockey games will always be easier when all four lines are going, and the Oilers needed that secondary offense tonight. Carolina got better as the game progressed and the Oilers seemed to take their foot off the gas, allowing the Hurricanes to make more of a game out of this than should have been possible. It was lucky that the Hurricanes spotted the Oilers three early goals because it looked like they were set on making the comeback. That said, a win is a win and the Oilers find themselves with six points in the bank and for that we celebrate.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Anton Slepyshev looks like he doesn’t want to be sent back to Bakersfield as he scored his first NHL goal tonight on a wicked little wrister from the left side. I’ll never get tired of watching guys score their first goal. I’ve said it a million times and I hope to say it a million more.
- Equally as impressive was Gregor calling Slepyshev to score his first NHL goal in this morning’s GDB. I’m convinced now more than ever that Gregor’s a witch.
- The Maroon-Draisaitl-Slepyshev line was tough to handle tonight. They always seemed to be able to create a cycle down low, and the Hurricanes didn’t seem to have an answer for them. Great night for that line.
- Jordan Eberle scored his third goal of the season on a lucky bank off of Cam Ward. Ebs was behind the net and tossed the puck out front only to have it bank in off Ward. Mark Fayne assisted on the goal and got his first point of the season in his first game.
- Tyler Pitlick continued his solid early season by scoring his second goal of on a quick wrist shot off of the faceoff. He apparently does not want to go back to Bakersfield. I’m pulling for Pitlick and hope he can stay healthy enough to put a run together. He had a great game tonight.
- Klefbom and Larsson had a better night tonight than they had on Sunday against Buffalo. Larsson, specifically, was a defensive juggernaut and made some big plays to keep the puck out of the net.
- Cam Talbot had a huge bounce back game after shitting the bed against Buffalo. He was solid when the Hurricanes had nothing happening in the first period, and even better when they turned up the pressure in the second. This was the kind of game that the Oilers will need from him going forward. He knows that, and I think he’s capable of doing it. Talbot finished the night with 31 saves and a .939 save%.
- The penalty kill was very good tonight, killing off both attempts they faced.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Teams are starting to eliminate Connor’s space coming through the neutral zone. Buffalo did a better job of it than Carolina, but they were still effective in limiting his opportunities off the rush.
- I feel like Justin Faulk should be an Oiler. I have absolutely nothing to base that off of apart from the fact that I want him controlling the blue line on the power play.
- Mark Fayne was having a solid game until he got hurt and left the game. He went out early in the second period and did not return. The defensive purge continues.
- Maybe it’s just me but it seems like the Oilers keep getting caught trying to make cross ice passes. It’s like they’re trying to force the puck out wide regardless of whether or not there is someone in the way. Systems thing to look for that pass? Temporary boneheadery? Let me know.
- The Oilers sucked in the faceoff circle again. They need to bring in a consultant or kill a chicken or visit a shaman or something. Edmonton finished the night at 39% on the dot.
- The Oilers allowed the Hurricanes to gain steam as the game went on. They had them up against the ropes but let them creep back into the game. Dangerous habit to get into.
- Nuge can’t buy a goal right now. He’s getting some great chances but just can’t seem to bury them. Case in point came when he hit the post on the empty net, a shot he normally makes 9 out of 10 times. The chances are coming, and the goals will follow. It would also be nice if his linemates could cash on their chances every now and then, but I digress.
- The power play… what can you say? 0/3 on the night.
- Taylor Hall scored two goals for New Jersey tonight. I know that has nothing to do with this game, and I’m actually really digging Adam Larsson, but I’m still a little bit salty. So what? Fight me.
|01:51||Edmonton||Anton Slepyshev (1) ASST: Leon Draisaitl (4)||0-1|
|09:22||Edmonton||Jordan Eberle (3) ASST: Mark Fayne (1)||0-2|
|02:35||Edmonton||Tyler Pitlick (2) ASST: Mark Letestu (1), Anton Lander (1)||0-3|
|03:18||Carolina||Lee Stempniak (2) ASST: Victor Rask (1), Justin Faulk (3)||1-3|
|04:14||Carolina||Lee Stempniak (3) ASST: Jeff Skinner (2), Victor Rask (2)||2-3|
BEST OF THE TWEETS
— Wolfram (@CityOfChamps14) October 19, 2016
Can we push tomorrow’s off day to next week? This whole practice thing is working. @OilersNation
— Healthy Scratch (@dougers14) October 19, 2016
@OilersNation McDavid getting 2 minutes for not knowing his own strength.
— Doug Millar (@DougMillar80) October 19, 2016
Anton Slepyshev’s hair is thoroughly Russian. Take that to mean whatever you’d like.
— Matt Henderson (@Archaeologuy) October 19, 2016
@jsbmbaggedmilk why doesn’t he have any points tonight??? Even Lander has a point… Worst goalie ever…
— MASmith (@MASmith_13) October 19, 2016
— Kevin BATowits (@sportsjunkie007) October 19, 2016
@OilersNation boy, Lance Pitlick is having a night.
— AndrewOscarDelta (@AODGames) October 19, 2016
@OilersNation Connor refuses to score on empty nets. That’s too easy.
— AndrewOscarDelta (@AODGames) October 19, 2016
NATIONGEAR POP-UP STORES AT VACANCY HALL
Before each and every home game we’re putting on a NationGear pop-up store at Vacancy Hall (10363 104th Street NW – in the Mercer building) for a couple hours before the game. Feel free to swing by before home games (store closes an hour before puck drop) to grab the latest NationGear without having to wait for shipping.