GDB 9.0 Wrap Up: Put Your Clothes on. The Streak is Over.

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Well, 80-2 is still pretty good. Final Score: 2-0 Senators

These past couple weeks have been a strange trip for Oilers fans. For the first time in years, we find ourselves getting excited about game days and checking the calendar with regularity just so we can plan our lives around when the Oilers play next. When was the last time that we can honestly say that we were looking forward to watching Oilers games? It’s a beautiful thing to have that feeling back and I wanted to see another win tonight. Although the Senators are a good hockey club, I considered this a winnable game for the Oilers and they needed to keep banking these early points. 

The craziest part about this young season is that the Oilers have been finding new ways to win rather than finding every possible way to lose. To beat the Senators, the Oilers needed to keep repeating the things that have made them successful to this point. Before the game, Edmonton had been able to get great goaltending AND balanced goal scoring. They were going to need both of those things to keep the winning streak going and we all know how that went. We all knew that Ottawa was going to get a roster boost but also an emotional lift from the return of goaltender, Craig Anderson, who was away on leave after his wife was recently diagnosed with cancer. 

As expected, Ottawa came ready to play but the Oilers weren’t nearly as sharp as they have been in the past four games. Their passes were sloppy, their breakouts were sloppy, and Craig Anderson sure as hell wasn’t going to let them have an easy goal. The Oilers came out flat and then found themselves chasing. Simple as that. Tonight’s game was also the first time the Oilers have been down a single goal going into the third period, and, aside from the game against Buffalo, the first time they’ve had a little adversity to battle through. Normally, we’d see Edmonton fold their cards and kick their feet up until the clock wound down to zero, but that’s not what happened. They fought back hard in the third period and put up more than 17 shots, but they ran into a red-hot Craig Anderson. Unfortunately, Craig Anderson was not going to get beat and the Oilers ended up wasting a very good third period. Now to figure out how to play like that for all 60 minutes.

We wrap.

THE BRIGHT SIDE

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  • Connor McDavid has rocket skates, and I assume it makes NHL defensemen crap their pants a little bit. I like to imagine the “Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, oh shit” inner dialogue that’s going on in their heads (or out loud) as number 97 comes barreling in. 
  • What else can we really say about how well Cam Talbot is playing right now? The guy is laser focused, and I can only assume that the puck looks like a Buick to him out there right now. Talbot finished with 20 saves and a .951 save%. 
  • Another solid night defensively for the Pouliot-Nuge-Kassian, line and I’d argue that they were the best line overall. McLellan must have agreed as they were the only line that stuck together when the blender got fired up. They seemed to get better as the night went on and their offensive chances started to roll in. As soon as these guys can get a little puck luck they’re going to start adding points to their already stellar defensive work. 
  • The Oilers went 55% in the faceoff circle. There has been a gradual improvement over the last week or so. The centres went: Nuge 69%, Draisaitl 55%, McDavid 50%, Letestu 50%, Lander 33%.
  • The penalty kill was perfect again, as they killed of both chances that they had to face.
  • Shout out to Craig Anderson for getting himself back in the lineup as requested by his wife, and to the fans that cheered for him despite the fact that he was on the opposing team. As I mentioned earlier, Anderson’s wife was recently diagnosed with cancer and it was actually her idea for him to return to the lineup. That’s a fine woman, and we wish her the best in her fight. 
  • According to friend of the Nation, Reid Wilkins, the Oilers went 245 minutes and 57 seconds without trailing in a hockey game until Hoffman scored in the second period. 
  • Another solid night for Zack Kassian. You have to give the guy credit for embracing a new lifestyle and working hard to make the most of his opportunity with the Oilers. He looks two steps faster than he was at the end of last season and he’s making that Scrivens for Kassian trade look better by the day. The fight will be available on his fight card at HockeyFights.com later tonight.

THE FACE PALMERS

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  • Not a great start for the Oilers. The first period was very sloppy and they were lucky that one of their janky passes didn’t end up in the back of the net. 
  • The secondary scoring seems to have dried up over these past couple games. Connor scored the lone goal against a goaltender in Vancouver and the first goose egg of the year showed up tonight. It’s worth mentioning that the offense has dried up a little bit here. Now, everybody put thoughts of MOAR GOALZ out into the universe. Thank you.
  • The Oilers had three power plays in the first period that resulted in less than five shots on goal. They could have had Ottawa in a hole early, but the PP was brutally ineffective one again. I get not scoring on every power play chance, but to struggle to set up as badly and as often as the Oilers do is troubling. The power play went 0/4 and it was one of those nights where they really needed a PPG.
  • Quiet night from Jordan Eberle and Milan Lucic tonight despite playing 20 minutes each. Lucic was replaced by Draisaitl in the third period and Eberle couldn’t find the net when we needed him most. 
  • The Oilers got hemmed in their own zone a few times with the Nurse/Gryba pairing on the ice. They weren’t as able to find each other as we’ve seen over the past week or so, and Ottawa seemed able to take advantage.
  • The Oilers love to try cross ice passes in the offensive zone and they rarely work. There were a few instances when they’d throw the puck across the ice only to have it intercepted and moving the other way.  
  • Mike Hoffman hadn’t scored a goal yet this year and they spent a minute or two talking about it on the broadcast. As per tradition, Hoffman ended his drought against the Oilers. Such gracious hosts, we are.
  • When are we allowed to have an Erik Karlsson? The way the guy can generate offensive chances from the back end is pretty special. Can you imagine having that AND Connor on the same team? Dare to dream.

SCORING SUMMARY

SCORING SUMMARY

1ST PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
No Scoring

2ND PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
12:18 Ottawa Mike Hoffman (1) ASST: Tom Pyatt (2), Kyle Turris (2) 1-0

3RD PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
19:27 Ottawa EN – Bobby Ryan (3) ASST: Chris Kelly (2) 2-0

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

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Before each and every home game we’ll be putting on a NationGear pop-up store at Vacancy Hall (10363 104th Street NW – in the Mercer building) for a couple hours before puck drop. Feel free to swing by before (store closes an hour before puck drop) to upgrade your wardrobe with the latest NationGear without having to wait for shipping. 

  • Anderson can be proud of that win, it wasn’t like the Oilers went easy on him. My thoughts and prayers are with Nicholle Anderson and I hope she gets a shut out of her own!

    I don’t mean to get into moral victory territory, but the fact of the matter is that many, many teams will play a trap like this against the Oilers this season.

    It’s a learning experience where the team knows they have to be more than a rush team. Dumping it in and making the defense pay wasn’t really an option in the past, but with Lucic, Kassian, Maroon, and Drai on each line, it needs to start happening.

    • Bandwagon jumper

      Well I hate to burst this bubble. Someone needs to find a replay of the Oiler fan adjusting his junk on a live broadcast during the second intermission. The adjustment was tolerable until he decided to stick his hands in down his pants. And he was sitting behind some kids.

  • Aadvarkian Abakeneezer

    As a Flames fan, I just want to tip my hat to Oil fans tonight. That ovation was pure class. There are some moments that transcend sport and that was one of them.

    Best hockey related thing I saw all night.

    • Anton CP

      It is boring but to think that the other teams have to adjust to play against the Oilers is definitely something to be happy about. No one is taking the Oilers as a joke anymore.

    • Oiler Al

      The only thing I am tired of, is Mclellans coaching, and Woodknobs power play system.

      Ya Ya, I know we had 239 coaches etc, but it dosen’t mean McMellan is genius… Woody, sure as heck isnt.

      These two clowns could not make the play offs, with the same team that went to the finals the following year.

      Just listen to McLellans post game chatter, he has more stories than a library.

  • Anton CP

    There aren’t anything to be mad about for this game. Anderson was perfect out there, he is just simply unbeatable tonight. The Oilers will not be going undefeated for the rest of the season so it is still better off to lost to a team from another conference. It took a perfect play to beat Talbot so he is still on top of his form. It is refreshing that no one is really mad about tonight’s loss, be a winning team do help the psyche of the team and fans. Cheers and bring on the Leafs! McDavid vs Matthews for the first time!

  • Rob19

    Funny moment last night was when JP turned the puck over right at Sens’ blue line (passed in to defenders skates- might have been on a 3 on 2), then took a big, slow wide turn to retreat on the back-check, coasted back, tripped and the puck happened to hit him to break up the play in Oilers end. After the whistle Drew Remenda was giving JP accolades for his ‘hard’ back-check and special ability to get back to break up the play. They even replayed as Drew was finishing his spiel to show how far from the truth this was! Then quick cut to the bench to see JP getting sh*t from the coach. WTF is Drew watching? Lol.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    we’re legendary in the NHL for letting players get their first goals of the season or first goals to break a slump. this hasn’t changed from previous seasons and this one cost us the game.

    • GK1980

      Outworked the whole game? Did I watch the same game? To my eye game could have gone either way. 1-0 isn’t a score to be bummed out about. Eberle should have potted at least two of his chances. Outworked some of the game sure, but it wasn’t as bad as people are making it out to be.

      • Oiler Al

        To quote McLellan himself ” looked good, doing nothing”

        Pretty much sums up the game.

        37 shots most from the other side of town didnt add up to much. How about a little mucking around the blue paint.

        Wish McDavid would shoot more [2]… heck even Nuge in a more defensive role had 5 shots.Didnt help that Marron and Pouliot were running around, might as well have put a shovel in their hands, at least they would have cleaned the ice.

      • whateverhappenedtoearledwards

        I agree. A lot of people are just upset with a loss and let that cloud their judgement on how the game was played. I though the 0-2 loss and the 2-0 win over the weekend had a lot of similarities. The game in VCR had a lot more “edge” to it but in both games the opponent were trying to play a “good road game” and win 1-0. The Oil got the key goal in VCR but not last night.

        Isn’t it interesting the only two games the Oil have significantly outshot their opponent were their 2 losses. Is this telling us something or just a quirk?

  • whateverhappenedtoearledwards

    It’s good to see the Oil have finally come around and improved the shot differential and Corsi. Happy to have helped during my stay in Edmonton.

    Signed

    Dallas Eakins

  • OilersRidersChargers

    Everybody get off Eberle’s back. I’ve been making a point of watching him, and he’s been hitting, fighting through checks, battling on the wall, and then skating to open ice and looking to make a play. He has never looked disengaged or afraid (to my eye).

    My teams went 0 for 3 this Sat/Sun, but the Oilers made it interesting, and the Chargers were the Chargers. I love cheering for effort, discipline, and skill. Eberle is not at all the problem in Oiltown.

  • Rust In Peace

    Eberle was alright. In the third I watched him chip the puck into the corner, chase after it, hit the defenceman into the boards and regain possession. Not sure why people always call him soft. He just has that smaller frame that doesnt noticeably knock guys around like Lucic/Kassian/Maroon. I’ve always thought he uses his body positioning very effectively.

    Now the only real knock I have against him is zone entires and speed. He doesn’t seem to have wheels this year so far.. injury? Never enough speed to carry in the puck and make something happen. Always either chips to the corner or tries to dish to his linemates.

  • Didn’t watch the game, but sounds like it was a bit of a snoozer. I’m a little worried about the power play. McLellan had issues with it last year, and it sounds like more of the same this year. Too much talent on this team for the PP to be this bad. If he doesn’t have the guys on the point, then he needs to start teaching them.

    That was a pretty fun opening month, should be interesting to see how the team does in the month that usually kills them… November. Lots of road trip games against good teams. What would everyone be happy with for a record coming out of November?

  • I worry that when the coach is worried the Corsi differential isn’t good that the players focus more on, how did Eberle put it when Eakins left, “Shooting for the sake of shooting”? Anderson didn’t have to make many spectacular saves because most of the 37 shots were softies at his chest.

    Winning was working. Keep doing that.

  • GK1980

    “The Oilers came out flat and then found themselves chasing. Simple as that.”

    Flat? Not as flat as they used to play. I thought they played alright, enough to stay on par with Ottawa anyways. Game could have gone either way after the first in my opinion, and this is great news. They killed Ottawa on faceoffs, out hit and outshot them the majority of the game.

    It was a winnable game, play like they did last night and they will win more than they lose.

      • @Hallsy4

        Very True. I think it’s time for Chia Pete to shake things up, send everyone a message that losing any games is not acceptable. I propose that after every loss, Chia Pete trades or fires someone. Next loss, Woodcroft is dismissed. Next selfish penalty pouliot takes, he’s a goner. After that, EBS IS NEXT. Trade the mall, brother.