GDB 4.0 Wrap Up: Bounce Back

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. 

We wrap.

THE BRIGHT SIDE

Goldfish

  • 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

Goldfish

  • 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. 

SCORING SUMMARY

1ST PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
01:51 Edmonton Anton Slepyshev (1) ASST: Leon Draisaitl (4) 0-1
09:22 Edmonton Jordan Eberle (3) ASST: Mark Fayne (1) 0-2

2ND PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
02:35 Edmonton Tyler Pitlick (2) ASST: Mark Letestu (1), Anton Lander (1) 0-3

3RD PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
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

Talk to me Twitter. Tweet at @OilersNation and @jsbmbaggedmilk for your chance to land in the Best of the Tweets. 

NATIONGEAR POP-UP STORES AT VACANCY HALL

VacancyHall

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. 

  • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

    Never critique a win someone once said, having said that, out of all the games the Oilers have played so far St.Louis will be a great test to see where the Oilers are.

  • Grumpy OM

    Best part of this game was it started out on tv with the Fox network play by play guys. Then after the first commercial break we had to listen to Drew Remenda again , o well I guess Drew talked us through to victory !!! I just love having every play relieved by Drew . When will the TV people realize that most people that watch hockey understand it , and we are not blind !!!!

  • A) Great comeback for Talbot. B) Once again, what in the hell is going on within the first minute of the puck drop? Damn Hurricanes nearly scored. That would have been 4 straight games..Stop the Madness. C) Anton Slepyshev is a future stud. Big, Nice Skill and a hell of a release. D) Tyler Pitlick: Enough said. This guy deserves to be healthy for a whole season. E) Faceoffs are a killer, especially on the power play. Waste 20 Seconds just retrieving the damn thing. F) I wouldn’t mind seeing Pitlick on the 1st line from time to time. Plus, Pitlick played less than 9 Minutes…not enough. I know the P/P and P/K has something to do with that. G) Adam Larrson: Hell of a game. Shows a lot of grit in his game. H) Sorry, but Lander doesn’t do anything for me at all. I) Tyler Pitlick. J) LA Kings in for a long year. Too bad. K) OILERS WON. Good nite all.

  • nrXic

    Nuge is doing fine for a slump.

    He’s not getting pts, but he’s winning battles, stripping pucks, backchecking well, and creating some amount of trouble for the opposing D.

    Since he’s facing 2nd pairing Dmen, and weaker opponents in general, it’s fair to expect some output from him, so by no means am I not considering this anything other than a slump.

    I feel like a couple more weeks with Maroon and Kassian and we’ll see more gel between all players. Right now, all 3 are making some solid plays, but there’s little synchronicity.

    • Big Cap

      I’m gonna have to respectively disagree with your assessment of RNH.

      As a 6 year vet with a 6 Million cap hit, he needs to do alot more than win some battles, strip pucks, and back check.

      He was 29% in the FO department tonight, with a season average just slightly higher which is totally unacceptable as he’s no longer just getting into the league.

      He’s faced second pairing defence all year and has a meager 1 assist to show in 4 games.

      He does nothing to run or contribute to the PP. And for the most part doesn’t do much for his line mates in terms of injecting any offence into there games.

      In my opinion, Nuge should be on the 3rd line with Leon running the 2nd line. In the next 25 games Leon is gonna blow past him with a much more complete game and will be a much bigger contributor is all facets.

      • RJ

        They won’t put a $6m player on the third line, even though that’s where his play dictates he belongs. I had suggested making him a winger since he’s so brutal at face-offs.

        What I also note, but we aren’t seeing on any Oilers blogs is that his production plummeted away from Hall. The trade is done. This is not about that. But his production away from Hall last season and this season has been atrocious. He’s got to produce.

        • camdog

          RnH had some pretty good years with Eberle on his wing, hence the reason I wanted to play them together this season. Away from Eberle or Hall, RnH has not to my knowledge ever put up productive offensive numbers.

      • Nuge was 47% in the faceoff circle against Buffalo and had a tougher night last night. Letestu was 36% against Buffalo, and McDavid at 37% as an example.

        To be fair to Nuge, he had better faceoff stats last year than the following list…

        Adam Henrique, Mark Scheifele, Gino Malkin, Alex Burmistrov, Mike Ribeiro, Brayden Schenn, Alex Steen, Artem Anisimov… The list goes on.

        Also, haven’t notice his wingers being unable to cash huh? Like when Pouliot had a wide open net in game 1 and put it up on the crowd, or on Sunday night when he had Kassian open and he missed the net. If those go in there are three points for Nuge and no one is talking about him.

        • Big Cap

          Hey BM,

          Thank you for “editing” your initial reply to my post.

          If i’m ranking our top 3 centres this year in order of impact made to the first 4 games id go with; 1. McD 2. Drai 3. Nuge.

          Where would you and the rest of ON rank them?

          Perhaps im missing something but Nuge is clearly 3rd in my books, and should be running the 3rd line not the 2nd line.

          • whateverhappenedtoearledwards

            I wonder if too much emphasis is put on the naming of #2/#3 lines with the Oil at the moment. Last night a line was Pouliote/RNH/Kassian and another line was Maroon/LD/Shlepshev. Is one of the these line obviously better than the other? RNH ice time was about 1 minute more than LD, maybe because of some penalty kill time. Saying which line is #2 and which #3 is rather arbitrary.

            To answer your question LD has surpassed RNH at this point.

        • McRaj

          I am a huge Nuge fan, but BM you seem to be one of those who refuses to hear any criticism against Nuge.

          To be fair, a player like Malkin does way more on the ice than Nuge does and Nuge is no where near the player he is, so it’s okay if Malkin has worse F/O stats than Nuge.

          And last time I checked, Steen plays wing and is a tremendous goal scoring threat as well as 2-way player.

          As for Henrique, Burmistrov, Ribeiro, Schenn, and Anisimov, I would hope that after selecting Nuge #1 Overall and heaping all this praise on him, he would be a better player than those guys in all aspects of the game.

          As for Scheifele, he is entering his fourth full season, not sixth.

          It is completely fair to be critical of Nuge, no one is saying he is terrible, but nothing wrong with pointing out his flaws. No need to try comparing him to players that you would assume he should be much better than.

          • My list said absolutely nothing about production, only faceoffs. Of course Malkin is a better player than Nuge, no one is arguing that. That said, Nuge was better on faceoffs than Malkin was last year. Full stop. That’s all I said. When we’re talking about faceoffs you can’t move the goalposts to talk about points. Does Nuge have to produce more? Absolutely. 1000%. But that still doesn’t change the faceoff stats from a year ago.

            Also, Steen took 360 faceoffs last year so it’s fair to include him in the list.

          • Seanaconda

            I really wish malkin was better at faceoffs. Killing me in my fantasy pool. Him and Spezza. How is Spezza so awful at faceoffs he wins less a game than jamie Benn.( probably an exaggeration but only by like 1 or 2 wind a night for a winger vs a center.

          • RJ

            Year 1 – 37.5%

            Year 2 – 41%

            Year 3 – 42.4%

            Year 4 – 45.7%

            Year 5 – 44.8%

            This year – 35%

            Courtesy: Puckbase.com

            Nuge has never been great at faceoffs, but he is at an all-time low right now.

            He is currently 94th in the league.

            (If it makes you feel better BM, Sean Couturier is 95th at 34.9%.)

          • Not doubt he needs to better, I’m not arguing that. He hasn’t been nearly good enough this year.

            All I’m saying is that he’s not drowning on an island by himself. There are some good players around him in the faceoff department. Not sure why that’s a big deal to say.

          • RJ

            Well, 4 games is not a huge sample size, I’ll be the first to admit.

            But when you look at the 317 GP in his career, or the 4675 faceoffs Nuge has taken in his NHL career, we do have a larger sample size to work from.

            Let’s not forget, there was competitive hockey being played prior to the NHL season. Some players like Drai have started in mid season form.

      • I agree that he needs to do a lot more than the basics, which is why I’m calling it a slump.

        When the scoring isn’t there, you’d expect the other areas to at least remain consistent. I think a great counterpoint that you brought up was the FO%, which indeed is a stat that you should expect to be at decent levels when scoring isn’t.

        Yes, 1 point in 4 games and a big part of that is who he’s playing with. I think it’s reasonable to expect a bit more time to develop some chemistry with new linemates. The lines have been shuffled a few times recently, so it’ll take some time.

        The PP is just horrible to begin with. It is never dangerous, and that included the time when McDavid is out there (who I’d argue is dangerous nearly every time he’s on the ice when its even strength). There may be merit to your point, but I have to say that I feel the same way about everyone on the PP.

        You might be right about Drai. That’s an interesting take and I can’t really disagree with that.

        But I’m going to continue beating the dead horse that the Oilers have, over the past 6 years, struggled with building chemistry among top talent and I think we’re seeing the same thing here.

        In the past few games we have see a lot of great individual plays getting goals, and it’s great. We are seeing some great cycles deep in the opponent’s end too (though I’d like to see some of them converted into goals). But we need to recognize that the Oilers are behind other teams in line chemistry. Once we recognize that we will have fairer assessments of players.

        Pitlick, Slepy, and Eberle’s goals came from some great individual efforts. And I’m happy for that, it’s winning the team games at this point.

  • Namudi

    I read the first part of the article and laughed.

    First 25 mins limit scoring chances?
    In the first 5 minutes theres was a breakaway and 4 odd man rushes were lucky cam ward sucked and the Carolina offense can’t capitalise.

    Honestly i no we are 3 and 1 but if we keep playing like this we will be out of it by January.

    • Seanaconda

      Idk most of the league is playing like this atm. Look at the scores. I hope they keep calling penalties and the offense stays up tho it’s exciting having no safe leads even when a teams up 4 goals.

    • whateverhappenedtoearledwards

      I didn’t see the game last night, and initially read a recap on the Edmonton Journal. after readings BM’s I’m thinking maybe BM didn’t actually see the 1st period and just assumed the Oil must have played well being up 2-0.

      RNH is becoming a bit of a worry. I hope he doesn’t have another of his 3 goals in 33 games slump like last year.

  • Jakethesnail

    Russell has been a pleasant surprise in Edmonton considering how the fans and media chased him out of Calgary.
    He gets the puck up the ice ,competes hard and of course he is like another goalie out there, and very tough for a smaller guy.

    • Canoe Ride 27.1

      Honestly, I don’t think we’d be 3 – 1 without him. Proving to be a great last minute roster pickup at a value (compared to what he was hoping for in the FA market ).

      Nice to get a W with a goalie bailing us out. #weneedyoucam

      • Oiler Al

        Makes one wonder how bad the Oil Defense really is, when a guy that has been chased from two other teams in one year, can come in and standout amongst the Oilers starters. Yes we dso tend to over rate our players …… can you spell Nuge.

  • madjam

    Four games into the schedule and team has not played great , but good enough to win 3 of 4 so far . We are not in mid season form , just like rest of league . There are at least some indicators we are getting better team play this year . Team more aggressive this early season , but far from being heavy on their checks .

    Still losing far to many puck battles . It will be a problem for most of year because of our player makeup , as it has in past with several of them . Cutting down on the quality of shots from opposition still looks like a challenge . We can’t continue to get outshot by a wide margin each game and hope to have many victories . Usually a good sign you are still winning even though your not playing that well .

  • Will

    Nice to see Talbot bounce back, I was getting worried there for a bit, but he made some great saves. Honestly the team in front of him didn’t play that great, giving up a bunch of chances. Maybe Talbot needed a game like that where he had to bail the team out. Going forward maybe now he can just play solid.

    It was weird not seeing Conner get a point. Having said that he creates so much for the rest of his linemates and basically his team that even when he’s not scoring, he’s contributing.

  • ubermiguel

    Talbot saved the game with two killer saves (2nd and 3rd period). It was great to see him rebound quickly after a bad game, that’s what real #1 goalies do. Larsson was a mixed bag; he made a couple of boneheaded plays and got bailed out, but he broke up several possessions by Carolina.

  • O.C.

    That’s a good win because there were a lot of missed assignments creating too many chances, but Talbot held them off.

    Stars for me were Pitlick #1, Russel #3.

    Way to many odd man’s that game.

    Lots of film to watch. Teams seem to have found a gap to reverse quickly in creating a counter.

    Carolina can’t play much better than they did last night. That’s a better team than their record.

  • DannyGallivan

    This is a new team who have a number of rookies, new players, injuries (WTF?). It will take time to gel. Thank G they have an easy schedule at the beginning. We will see how good/bad they are playing on Thursday vs. the Blues.

    Nuge has a new line so he needs a bit less “throw him to the wolves”. His dot performance (and the team’s) is concerning but it is only the 4th game and for sure Kassian is no Ebs.

    Given expectations going into the season, Dr. Drai has been the most impressive player on the ice for the Oil IMHO. He is 5.56 pts/60 with 52.9% in FO%. McJesus is 4.27 pts/60 with 41.5% and Ebs is 4.10 pts/60. Anyway you slice it, Dr. Drai is playing well! PS, Hall is 2.07 Pts/60.

    • whateverhappenedtoearledwards

      Agree that LD is becoming a real good news story, let’s hope he keeps it up. If Talbot’s performance is an indicator of what is to come, that’s two big up arrows even though the game as a whole was rather disappointing.

  • positivebrontefan

    Another win is another win. I thought the Oilers looked a little tentative out there last night, like they were scared to throw up another stinker like a few nights ago. That being said, I think they willed themselves to win, mostly thanks to Talbot who I thought had a decent rebound game. He needed that for his confidence going forward.
    Other than that, yeah the game had a bunch of warts on it, but its early in the season, looks like a lot of teams are going through it. At least our record is .750 and not .250.

    Lets please not get on Nuge and run him out of town, like it appears a lot of you are ready to do. We do this every year, find someone to pick on and have him run out of town, this is why we cant have nice things, and in my opinion why no Canadian teams made the playoffs last year. The Canadian fans ramp up the pressure and the guys start to grip their sticks a little tighter and don’t play like they can. Give it a rest already. He hasn’t done anything wrong other than be a little snake bit, he’s not giving up on plays, and not giving the puck away, he’s still doing the little things that make him a good player, it’ll come around. And six Mill a year isn’t his fault, if or when that becomes a limiting factor of this team, then jump on it, but for now, leave the 6 Mill out of it.

    • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

      I indeed agree that Canadian teams run a lot of good players out the door. Sure the management in Oiler land has done a ton of Damage but as fans if we praised the good and let the coach bench and deal with the bad I for one feel it would work out far better. Pouliot looked much better last night.

    • DannyGallivan

      Well said, though with the exception of Samwise and Hallsy with too many turnovers or Petry or Schultz or Yakupov or Dubnyk or…. we never do that. Game 4 not game 40.

  • Oiler Al

    Time after time Canes would break out of their own end as five man unit. Oilers is always a sramble squad approach, with the D-men dicking around with the puck and forwards standing around waiting or a lone ranger streaking up the ice.Oilers mostly out numbered in all zones.

    Passing isnt crisp and off the mark too often.
    Boys this the NHL, not the beer league.

    Heck they cant even organize a Power Play, guys running around all over the place.

    Nice work Coach!

  • S cottV

    I watch centerman like a hawk and believe that LD is our best bet for 2c, for a number of reasons.

    Nuge has not delivered the push back you would expect from being challenged by McD and Drai for top c billing.

    McL is giving him priority over Drai in hopes the push back materializes but it’s starting to wear thin, as the imbalance becomes more and more obvious.

    With all the understandable hype over McD and no chance he gets over looked or under appreciated – watch that Drai doesn’t get lost in the scheme of things.

    Order of play needs to be determined on merit and performance.

  • @Hallsy4

    The NUGE seems to be the new whipping boy. TRADE THE NUGE. TRADE POULIOT, and bring peace to the nation. There will be disagreement on the twitter, but the chosen one will deliver us to the holy grail. All Praise Harambe. In Chia Pete we trust.

  • freelancer

    I think people are worrying about Nuge too much. Wait until the 15 game mark, if he is still having scoring issues then we can talk. It’s game 4 people.

    However I do think a real concern is looking ahead to next year and whether the Oilers will be able to keep McDavid, Draisaitl, and Nuge. Draisaitl will need a new contract and he could also be entering the 5-6 million range.

    • Seanaconda

      Pretty sure the nhl site doesn’t like people data mining their stuff anymore and had a big agreement you had to click accept to about a year ago saying you wouldn’t use their information on other sites.

      So it may be hard but could probably get a deal with them or one of the other sites that track stats.

      • oilerjed

        Articles in both MSM and blogger communities routinely link to articles how would this be different?
        Can’t imagine that the NHL would balk at having more clicks on their website.

        • Seanaconda

          I’m sure you could link to it but idk if they would like if they Screencap’d their charts? But yeah linking it would be fine i would think.

          but oilersnation doesn’t even link their own writers articles that they write for other news outlets soo idk if Wanye likes sending people to other sites that aren’t paying him.

  • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

    Have a great Day Miss and Mr. Talbot. Hockey is great but Family is forever. Enjoy the day and the privilege of seeing yourself reflected in those beautiful little faces.

  • S cottV

    If and if is the right word, Cagguila is the real deal in the short term at 3c – then the Nuge Drai combination is certainly worth a look.

    Cagguila is more likely a mid term solution at 3c, but you do wish he was a little bigger.

    That all being said – Nuge and Drai should switch off on c duties, depending on who is closer to the c plays that need to be made during the course of play and who is getting the job done over the dot.

    The arrangement would be to determine Nuges ability to play on the wing, as much or more so – than Drai’s ability to play on the wing. My feeling is that the answer on who needs to obviously play 2c full time, will materialize in a short time.

    Switching off duties can be done, but it does run the risk of confusion and breakdowns – as a result. At some point, you need to – for the most part, cement the roles.

    Maybe Nuge can play top 6 wing, on a line with Drai and another big winger who can pull the trigger and score. Puljujarvi? At some point in the future?

  • 99CupsofCoffey

    One of the things i noticed last night that was refreshing was that the Defence was getting the puck up the ice in the middle. Not just slamming it up the boards like they did at Buffalo. We were off and going before the Canes could stop the puck.

    When the Oilers were up 3-0 what did they do? Tried slamming it up the boards. The Canes kept the puck in, and all of a sudden it was 3-2.

    I’m looking forward to the next game to see if they can keep getting the puck up the middle. If so, they’ll win.

  • Spoils

    I recall a Connor rush through the middle leading to a penalty. As usual he was dangerous all night and could have easily had a couple points.

    if teams move to shut him down in the middle you can bet he discovers and exploits a new option