GDB 19.0 Wrap Up: Connor Does Dallas

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Hat trick for Connor. Oilers win. Back on the bandwagon. Final Score: 5-2 Oilers

When the Oilers played the Stars eight days ago, they opened up a shooting gallery on Kari Lehtonen, and he stood on his head despite playing in back-to-back games. Tonight? Not so much, but we’ll get to that. Coming into this game, Edmonton had only been able to muster up four goals in the three games played since they lost to the Stars last Friday night. With those numbers, it’s no surprise that the Oilers had lost those same three games as well. Since this losing streak started, the Oilers have been scoring about as often as I did in high school which, as you’ve already figured out, was never. But I’m no quitter. Eventually, through the magic of prayer and patience, my dry spell ended, as it for a few Oilers.

The big story coming into tonight’s game was the influx of wounded soldiers that would be making their return to the lineup. Matt Hendricks made his season debut while Drake Caggiula made his NHL debut. I’ll be honest with you guys, I thought the Oilers were going to start the Drake with the Barons to give him the chance to get his legs back, but I guess they’re going to teach the kid to swim by chucking him in the deep end of pool. Fortunately, Drake performed tonight and I’m happy to be wrong. Equally as important was the return of Kris Russell. Depending on where you sit with fancy stats, Russell’s return to the lineup likely meant an impact was coming on either side of the ledger. Fancy stats or not, one thing everyone can agree on is that the Oilers needed to win this hockey game.

Almost miraculously, the Oilers not only started the game looking like they came to play but they also scored first. Not only did they score first, they actually scored four (FOUR!) straight goals. For a team that hasn’t scored many goals lately, this kind of outburst seemed about as likely me winning the Pulitzer for writing. As it turns out, the Oilers likely needed those four goals more than we think because a questionable double minor called against Kassian in the second period gave the Stars two goals and a running start to get back into the game. Luckily for Oilers fans everywhere, Connor opened the floodgates with his first career hat trick and led the Oilers to the victory they so desperately needed.

Wrap it up for safety.

THE BRIGHT SIDE

Dallas

  • Connor McDavid hadn’t scored in a while and he desperately needed one. How about a lucky bounce to end the streak and get some confidence back? Connor scored his sixth goal of the season trying to pass the puck and getting a friendly bounce into the open net. He followed up the non-shot goal with two more goals (seventh and eighth) to complete his first career NHL hat trick, end his scoring drought, and end his team’s losing streak all at the same time. Let the floodgates open, buddy.
  • What can you say about the start Lance ‘No Not Tyler’ Pitlick has been having? The guy already has six goals. All I can say is that I hope Pitlick can keep himself healthy and let the train keep rolling because I’m pulling for him.
  • The Hockey Gods must have wanted the Oilers to score goals because they gifted them another by having Oscar Klefbom’s shot-pass attempt deflect off a defender and into the net for Klefbom’s second goal of the year.
  • Speaking of Klefbom, I thought his pairing with Larsson had one of the best games they’ve had in a while. With Russell back, the Oilers are able to split the tougher minutes and it just seems to help everyone all around
  • Jesse Puljujarvi had a good night on Connor’s line as he put up two assists and didn’t look out of place playing with the captain. Here’s hoping this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
  • Kris Russell returned to his spot alongside Andrej Sekera and he was back like he never left. I know the fancy stats people aren’t a fan of him, but my eyes showed me a solid game by #4. I respect the numbers, but it was nice to have Russell back.
  • Cam Talbot returned to the net and had a nice bounce back game after having a night off against the Kings. He made some huge saves, especially in the third period, and helped the Oilers snap their five-game losing streak. Talbot finished the game with 31 saves and a .939 save%
  • Shout out to Drake Caggiula for playing in his first NHL game and registering his first NHL assist. I can only imagine what kind of nerves and thoughts he had today, not to mention not playing since the pre-season, but he had a great game despite it all and for that we salute him.
  • They didn’t score, but the Oilers’ line of Maroon-Nuge-Eberle looked dangerous all night. Edmonton needs these three guys to start cashing in on some chances, but the opportunities were coming in bunches tonight.
  • I’m liking the way Matt Benning keeps improving as he keeps getting into more games. Who knows how long he’ll stick with the Oilers this season, but he’s definitely making the most of it.
  • Shout out to Kari Lehtonen for allowing four goals on 13 shots. That’s the kind of head start we needed. To be fair, two of those goals went in off Stars’ players.

THE FACE PALMERS

DallaEakins

  • I will always hate the Stars. They know why. You know why.
  • I know the Oilers were happy to have Caggiula back but Mark Letestu kills a lot of penalties for the Oilers and I thought it was a weird choice.
  • How about the refs trolling Connor with that hooking penalty? ??
  • Zack Kassian took a hooking penalty and then got called for another for unsportsmanlike after he told the ref his hooking call was a dive. The Stars scored goals on both ends of the penalty which was the most Oilers thing ever.
  • Speaking of penalties, I’m sure the Stars played 60 minutes of hockey without doing absolutely anything that merited only three penalties when the Oilers got six. Yep. Totally believe it. *makes fart sound with mouth*
  • That said, it’s not like the Oilers did much with the power play chances they did get. To their credit, Draisaitl did hit the post which is the closest they’ve come to a PP goal in six games.
  • The Stars had six power play chances tonight and that is way too many. Bad refs or not, you can’t be giving the other team that many chances on the man advantage, and also keep your offensive players on the bench.
  • The Oilers didn’t have a good start to the third period at all. They were sitting back and waiting for Dallas to attack, and they were lucky that Talbot shut the door in those first few minutes of the third.
  • What’s the deal with the ‘banging on the glass’ guy anyway? I know he’s got a Twitter account (not plugging it) and he puts himself out there, but what’s his end game? Does he go home and tell his buddies about all the times he banged on the glass? Does he get tickets for banging? How long does it take him to make the signs? Whatever his schtick is supposed to be I don’t get it. Too bad he didn’t have much to bang about tonight.
  • Nail Yakupov was scratched for the fifth time in eight games tonight. I don’t think we’re going to get that second rounder from St. Louis.

SCORING SUMMARY

1ST PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
02:57 Edmonton Connor McDavid (6) 1-0
11:36 Edmonton Tyler Pitlick (6) ASST: Drake Caggiula (1), Matt Hendricks (1) 2-0

2ND PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
05:21 Edmonton Oscar Klefbom (2) ASST: Anton Slepyshev (1), Leon Draisaitl (7) 3-0
06:17 Edmonton Connor McDavid (7) ASST: Jesse Puljujarvi (3), Matthew Benning (3) 4-0
15:37 Dallas PPG – Patrick Eaves (9) 4-1
16:47 Dallas PPG – Jamie Benn (5) ASST: John Klingberg (8), Jason Spezza (3) 4-2

3RD PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
06:51 Edmonton Connor McDavid (8) ASST: Jesse Puljujarvi (4), Anton Slepyshev (2) 5-2

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  • Mitch92

    The rumours that I have been reading lately suggest that the Arizona Coyotes are itching to make some personnel changes. Might be a good time to make a deal that could improve the Oilers over the next couple of years? I am hearing the names Dylan Strome and Anthony Duclair. If the Yotes are willing to move some of their youth for help today it might be a good opportunity to jump on. Strome was pretty decent playing behind McDavid in Erie. Just saying?

    • whateverhappenedtoearledwards

      The Oil don’t need Strome or Duclair (not a knock on these players). OEL is the prize one that team the Oil need. Of course if the Yotes are desparate for at least some level of success now, OEL would be the last player they would move.

      • Mitch92

        I have a sneaking suspicion that the Yotes are attempting to set up an Auston Matthews acquisition. If Matthews continues to fail hard in Toronto they might be able to be convinced to move him to the desert for a little less than a kings ransom. The Leafs would be wise to nix any deal that does not include OEL as he is what they need in order to “take the next step” toward respectability. If I were the Yotes I would offer Domi, Strome and a first in 2017. It would be fun to see the Leafs and Yotes turn the hockey world on its head by making a huge deal that would effect the futures of each franchise.

  • Dr.NickRiviera

    Monday’s game vs the mighty Blackhawks is a HUGE test for this team. If they come out on top of this one, it will be a massive confidence boost as they try to claw their way back to the top of the Western Conference. Keep the pedal to the metal!

    • Mitch92

      As much as I think Burns will resign in San Jose, I would love to see him go to UFA. I think the Oilers would have as good a chance to sign him as anyone at that point. Chiapet needs to cast out the lure of playing with CMD and being the top dog on the defense of a team that is on its way to years of competing for the Stanley Cup. There are a lot of teams that would love to sign that guy but only a handful will have the resources to make it happen and the Oilers should be able to position themselves well to make a solid pitch.

    • Burns would help but I don’t see how you think Strome and his 1 NHL assist are better than Pouliot and Eberle. And that’s not a shot on Strome, he’s just an inexperienced rookie. Good joke to start the morning!

      • whateverhappenedtoearledwards

        I’m concerned that I am agreeing with BM about something. Dylan Strome is the shiny gift under the tree that is very enticing. But how good will he really be? The Oil don’t need another teanager on their team.

      • I am Batman

        Whereas Ebs is a proven player (liability) that will not be better than he is right now

        I like Strome and Duclair for their potential, but I would LOVE to see Max Domi shake loose.

        • Potential don’t get you into the playoffs, bro.

          I’m not saying Eberle is the answer either, and maybe he gets moved soon, but if you think you’re a better team with a “maybe” (talking Strome now) rather than a proven 60 point guy then you’re crazy. I get the dislike for Ebs right now but let’s not be ridiculous.

          I do agree that Max Domi is a stud.

          • camdog

            Burns isn’t a maybe, he was a finalist for the Norris trophy last season… Salary cap world the Oilers would need to get rid of Eberle’s contract to make room for Burns. Yes trading Eberle for a prospect not ideal, but you’d need to take low salary back.

          • The problem with signing Brent Burns (and I love him btw) is that he’ll be 32 years old when he becomes a free agent. Do you think he’d sign a three-year deal with the Oilers? Likely not. He’s going to want a long-term deal at big money that could wind up being an anchor when the team needs cap space so I’d be very wary about signing Burns. Not for the couple years after the deal is signed, but for the potential cap headaches it might cause when he’s 35+. Every dollar matters in the McDavid era.

          • Mitch92

            In today’s NHL you don’t worry about the tail end of the contract. Look at what you will get in the first three or four years. If you think play-offs and Stanley Cups are within reach you can always bury or buy out the contract if he eventually becomes ineffective down the road. Much like Chia already did with Looch.

          • camdog

            That’s a fair argument. No question, but the proposition of moving out Eberle to make room for Burns was a fair proposal as well.

            Eberle’s back playing with RnH. They are both playing better hockey. They are going to start to score goals. It was a mistake by the coaches to separate these 2, they are good together and will provide balance to the roster.

          • I am Batman

            Call me crazy then.

            I think the Oil fights for a playoff spot this year but they either don’t make it or exit on the first round and then they need to focus on the future.

            In junior Strome lit it up with McDavid and when McDavid injured his hand he kind of carried on the momentum.

            I’m not saying he is another McDavid , but probabilistically speaking there is a huge chance he will be a great player. If said player is available now, you kind of buckle up and do it and hope the rest of the team is a good stop gap for the production we would lose with Eberle.

            I think the problem with the coyotes is the coyotes themselves. But I don’t think they are stupid enough to give away one of their kids for a 6 million contract from a guy that is what he is and won’t be more. So it’s kind of a moot point, we can agree to disagree.

          • Mitch92

            Agreed. I think a good comparison for Dylan Strome is Jeff Carter. He may take a couple of years to discover what works for him in the NHL but he will become a serviceable top line center or a very good second line guy. Playing in a very familiar spot sheltered by CMD is not a bad spot to end up in.

          • Randaman

            Strome will in no way be anywhere close to Jeff Carter. The skating alone tells us this.

            Strome may have been lights out in junior but sometimes that doesn’t translate to the NHL.

            Example is his older brother.

            I’ll pass

          • Mitch92

            Well even if Strome developed into a Brandon Dubinsky level player rather than a Jeff Carter level player that would still be deemed a success and he would be a useful piece on a winning Oiler team.

          • whateverhappenedtoearledwards

            Why would the Oil have interest in Dylan Strome? Who would he displace, RNH, LD? Will he ever be as good as theses guys? He certainly isn’t today.

      • Mitch92

        That is why I said “over the next couple of seasons”. I think Strome will develop into a fine second or third line center and together with Burns will out produce Eberle and Pouliot easily, in a couple of years.

    • Mitch92

      If McDavid were to go to the Leafs I doubt it would be via offer sheet. They might keep that option in their back pocket but I think blockbuster trade or UFA are the only way it happens. If they offer sheet Chia would match and then the Oilers would own McDavid’s rights for a long, long time.

  • OriginalPouzar

    Offer sheet for McDavid? This is simply not going to happen.

    For one, the player has to agree to the contract, and I just don’t see Connor McDavid as the type of guy that will sign an offer sheet provided by a third party team and put the Oilers in that position.

    Additionally, practically, McDavid will sign a long term contract in early July 2017 which will take him to UFA status.

    Of course in 8-9 years (7-8 year contact plus the one year left on his ELC), he could test UFA but no person in the world could possibly know what the circumstances will be at that point.

    Perhaps the Oilers have won 3 cups and he can’t wait to win more?

    Lastly – I can’t imagine the contract that he’ll sign next year being any where near the “max” – players don’t sign for 20% of the cap hit. It could be in the $10M/year range but I wouldn’t be surprised if he comes in even a little bit under.

  • Oilerchild77

    Ok. I guess people don’t like the Burns idea. Well, personally I wouldn’t sign him for longer than 3 years, nor more than 6M. He will probably want more though, so I hope they don’t commit any more than that.

    Not saying I would do it at any cost, I’m just saying that I think the oilers brass are looking at bringing him in.

  • I think it’s a safe bet to assume Burns would sign long term at this stage, but there are the exceptions out there that will sign short term to have the chance to win a Cup.

    I don’t know if Burns is that sort of guy.

    At the end of the day, this all hinges on the Oilers doing well this year. If they miss the playoffs, no one will see them as that sort of destination. If they make it and sweep the Sharks, Burns would definitely take notice.

    So just have a successful season, and the doors of opportunity may open up in unimaginable ways.

  • Seriously Bored

    Shocking that after the struggles the oilers have had people are discussing trading proven nhl players away for more rookies.

    Burns is not going to sign here and isnt going to sign a short term deal.

    McDavid will not be getting 14 mil from anyone who is dreaming up these numbers? Even if he scores 100 points this season and the Oil make the playoffs he will get around 10. His 27 year old UFA contract will be where the big jump is.