GDB 28.0 Wrap Up: Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda

That last minute was a series of unfortunate events. Oilers lose in overtime. Final Score: 4-3 Sabres in OT

The last time the Oilers and Sabres played it was that horrific Sunday night in October when the wheels fell off our wagon, too many goals were scored, and Edmonton fans left our shiny new arena with anger in our hearts and rage beers in our bellies. Frankly, the Oilers looked gross in their first tussle of the year between these two teams and I automatically expected Edmonton to be better. Well, not that they could have been much worse than they were in that 6-2 loss, but you know what I mean. How could they not give a better effort than the last time? Regardless, the Buffalo Sabres are a beat up hockey team and one that the Oilers needed to get two points from.

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With the way this game started, I was thinking we were going to be in for another long night from the jump. Despite being ripe with injuries, and playing in the second game of back-to-back nights, the Sabres were the ones that ran the show early on. Buffalo used their advantage to score the first two goals by working hard, firing the puck towards the net, and actually looking like a team that was ready to play. I’m not sure what was up with the Oilers, mind you. Have you ever taken nighttime cold/flu tablets during the day only to discover that you took the wrong ones by mistake? That’s what the Oilers looked like in the first period. They looked like they were battling through a NyQuil buzz and their motor skills couldn’t seem to catch up. To their credit, Edmonton played much better in the second period but it’s not as though they had a high bar to clear. That said, full marks goes to the Oilers for not folding up the tent and going home when the rain hit early. They improved throughout the middle portion of the game and found a way to get themselves out of the two-goal hole that they dug in the first period.

When the Oilers took a tie game into the third period it seemed like they had a decent chance to win this hockey game. At first, I thought that the Sabres being tired from last night’s hockey game would play into Edmonton’s favour. They made more mistakes, took more penalties, and the Oilers were able to find time and space to do their thing. Unfortunately, part of their “thing” also seemed to include lazy defensive coverage and bad penalties at the worst possible times. The Oilers had this game wrapped up with under a minute to go, with two points in the bank, but they managed to allow the tying goal and take a questionable penalty that gave the Sabres the winning power play goal all within a matter of a few shifts. That’s a tough way to end a hockey game, no? Quite honestly, it’s disappointing that the Oilers couldn’t close out a game against a tired, injured Sabres team that is below them in the league standings. Sure, it’s great to get a point but these are the games where they need to get two. If they Oilers want to make the playoffs this season then they’re certainly not doing anything to help themselves by losing games to teams like Buffalo… TWICE!

Wrapping it up like Christmas.

THE BRIGHT SIDE

Buffalo

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  • Jordan Eberle scored himself a greasy power play goal (his eighth) tonight. There was a loose puck near the Sabres net and all three forwards crashed the cage, with Drake Caggiula literally ending up in the net. Eberle put the puck home and queued the second-period mini comeback.
  • Milan Lucic made no mistake as he finished off a beautiful passing play started by Drake Caggiula and polished by McDavid. The big man was caught looking on Gionta’s first-period goal and he made amends with his tying goal (his eighth) in the second.
  • Leon Draisaitl scored a huge power play goal (his 11th) in the third period which temporarily gave the Oilers a 3-2 lead. Draisaitl and McDavid have had some nice chemistry over the past few games and tonight’s collaboration just furthered the point.
  • Have you guys seen the movie the Sandlot? I feel like McDavid has a pair of those magic shoes inside his skates. The kid is lightning and I’m still not sure how it’s humanly possible to be moving so fast despite the fact that it looks like he’s gliding. Does not compute for me. The captain had another solid night and finished the game with two more assists in the bank. Friendly reminder that Connor leads the league in points and he’s an Oiler.
  • Drake Caggiula had himself a night, putting up two points on the board and getting himself involved all over the ice. Drake ended up playing some shifts with Connor and didn’t look out of place.
  • The power play was big tonight, scoring two goals on four chances. The Oilers need to tighten up other areas but that’s the kind of PP production that would be nice to have on a consistent basis.
  • Oilers won the Corsi, outshooting the Sabres 37-26.
  • I have to admit that I feel bad for Jack Eichel. The kid will be forever compared to Connor McDavid because of where he was drafted but the contest really isn’t that close. Eichel is a very good hockey player, but he’s no Connor. Anyone disagree?

THE FACE PALMERS

Fallen Jumbo Tron

  • Another first goal allowed by the Oilers. Evander Kane scored a power-play goal to give the Sabres a lead midway through the first period. That said, it was a pretty questionable call on Kassian.
  • Brian Gionta is not a big dude, and he was able to walk right to the front of the net untouched and bang home his sixth goal of the season, and Lucic just watched him do it. Not good enough for the Oilers.
  • Evander Kane got some free ice in front of Cam Talbot and banged home his second goal of the game to tie things up with under a minute left. Tough goal to give up for Edmonton. They had a win wrapped up.
  • First goal of the year for Rasmus Ristolainen you say? No way. OT winner.
  • The first period finished with the shots at 10-5 and the score at 2-0 for the Sabres. Gross effort by the Oilers in the first.
  • Adam Larsson took a tough penalty with under a minute left to go and the Sabres scored the winner on the power play in overtime. He can’t be taking penalties that late in a tie game, but I will say that the call was a bit weak.
  • Cam Talbot had a decent night and was better than he was the last time he faced the Sabres, admittedly not a hard task to beat. Gustavsson seems to be getting into more games lately, and I wonder if the extra rest for Talbot will help him perform more consistently. While Talbot wasn’t necessarily the problem tonight, he wasn’t a big part of the solution either. Talbot finished with 22 saves and a .846 save%.
  • If Mark Fayne didn’t have bad luck then he would have no luck at all. For the second time this season, Fayne apparently hurt his left leg by skating. I don’t have anything else to tell you. Sportsnet played a clip and that’s what it looked like. Ghosts? Could be ghosts.
  • Did anyone else think it was weird for Todd McLellan to take that timeout near the end of the game? Seems more like something the losing team would do, no?
  • I will not complain about the refs. I will not complain about the refs. I will not complain about the…
  • I’m not saying that the PK had a bad night but they weren’t perfect like we’ve come to expect. Is it bad to demand perfection from one of the top PK’s in the league? I don’t know, you tell me. The Oilers finished the night stopping only two of four Buffalo man advantages.
  • Oilers got pumped in the faceoff circle, winning only 43% of the draws.
  • I’m not at all surprised that the Ders (former Oiler) stopped pucks well against his former team. The former Oiler curse is real and I’ll be damned if we won’t acknowledge it and talk about it.

SCORING SUMMARY

1ST PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
10:38 Buffalo PPG – Evander Kane (2) ASST: Jake McCabe (5), Matt Moulson (3) 0-1
13:46 Buffalo Brian Gionta (6) ASST: Marcus Foligno (4), Rasmus Ristolainen (14) 0-2

2ND PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
10:31 Edmonton PPG – Jordan Eberle (8) ASST: Drake Caggiula (3), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (9) 1-2
12:16 Edmonton Milan Lucic (8) ASST: Connor McDavid (24), Drake Caggiula (4) 2-2

3RD PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
09:59 Edmonton PPG – Leon Draisaitl (11) ASST: Connor McDavid (25), Andrej Sekera (8) 3-2
19:31 Buffalo Evander Kane (3) ASST: Ryan O’Reilly (8), Rasmus Ristolainen (15) 3-3

OT PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
00:57 Buffalo PPG – Rasmus Ristolainen (1) ASST: Ryan O’Reilly (9), Jack Eichel (2) 3-4

BEST OF THE TWEETS

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

A GOOD OL’ HOCKEY GAME

Wem Edited

  • When: Friday, December 9th with doors opening at 2pm (the game starts at 6pm).
  • Where: West Edmonton Mall at the Mayfield Toyota Ice Palace
  • Who: Edmonton takes on Minnesota
  • Why: Because we love to party
  • What else: We’re going to have prize giveaways all night long
  • How much to get in: FREE!

Huge thank you to everyone at West Edmonton MallThe Brick, Vimy Hockey, Donnan, 1st RNDTSN 1260Eddie BauerThe Bear and everyone else that worked so hard to help us get this event off the ground. Your hard work is appreciated, and I can’t wait for December 9th to get here. It’s going to be a fantastic night.

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  • dolenupnorth

    So anybody think it’s possible that the oil leave nuge exposed in the expansion draft in exchange for the Knights first overall pick, still leaves the oil with 3 young centers and where else will Vegas get a top line center? Gets the oil cap space and possibly a high draft pick, not the best but they are gonna need cap flexability in the future.

  • dolenupnorth

    So anybody think it’s possible that the oil leave nuge exposed in the expansion draft in exchange for the Knights first overall pick, still leaves the oil with 3 young centers and where else will Vegas get a top line center? Gets the oil cap space and possibly a high draft pick, not the best but they are gonna need cap flexability in the future.

  • Sir Dudeinstein

    I will be nice today.
    I think lately (the last couple games) Eberle has been trying to play a more complete game. He has been back checking more, he has been actually hitting the net more. Sure he needs to work on the quick release but he has been improving and working on his weakness so I will give Eberle Props where its due.
    Now what is the cause of this? Actually taking what he reads here to heart? Maybe the last few years playing against top defenders been overwhelming for him defensively. The fact on the second line isnt exactly a cake walk but we all know playing on the road the opposing team will match up their best defenders against McDavid which should lessen the load for Eberle. This is what I been trying to say that Eberle as a second RW works so far. (Dont kid me wrong, Eberle has A LOT to learn defensively but he is showing that he can work with the coaching staff on this part.)

    • Hemmercules

      I think Eberle was a little gun shy this season. He’s a small forward in a big league and he spend the first month on the IR last season. I’m sure McL also showed him a little tape of his defensive gaffs and asked him to be better going forward. Getting him back with a guy he’s a lot more familiar with I’m sure helps as well. I think Eberle is just fine offensively against top players, defensively he needs to be sheltered a bit.

      • Sir Dudeinstein

        This is why a second line role (granted the second line is playing roughly 1-2 minutes off ice less than first line for the oilers at the moment) is doing him well. It isnt just a big league we are in a heavy big division. By that I mean the top teams (California) are big and vancouver isnt exactly small but they are roughly the Oilers if you want to say. Eberle gets pushed a lot and playing that second line we dont expect him to defend against Perry or Thorton or kopitar, which takes a load off his back as he finds his game (shoot wise I mean) He needs to boost his confidence and be taught its not okay to lose anymore. We Oilers fan tasted first in the division, we tasted a winning streak of more than 3 games so we are addicted and would blame/sell anyone who isnt McDavid to keep achieving that.

      • Sir Dudeinstein

        This has been the last 3-4 games, so this could be a new mentality or comfort eberle is seeing. It takes a while to break habits, especially bad ones and Eberle not back checking is a bad habit that coaching staff is trying to break. He now given leadership within the edmonton group to help with his struggles (there will be bad nights there will be good) but McDavid already shown he doesnt like players taking games off…lucic suppots mcdavid over this and obviously so does the coaching staff/management by picking mcdavid. Hall I think (my gut feeling no sources or real proof) wasnt one who likes to be told what to do, and as ‘A’ he would support eberle for playing Eberle game and not a Team Game. McL spent last year observing obviously first year and now him and Chia been trying to form a team that they think will be successful in the pacific division.

        I am a hater and I am sure I wont be the only one when Eberle takes the night off people will point and blame. If Eberle keeps this up, Hopkins may feel more relaxed in two way play and try more offensive play (as we seen the last couple games with his rushes and his scoring chances with Maroon and Eberle as linemates)

  • Al Theeathoone

    COACH MACLELLAN

    Why did they lose 6 games to Toronto, Arizona and Buffalo? How could they lose to those supposedly inferior teams? Let’s have a look…

    Toronto – Mike Babcock, Arizona – Dave Tippett, Buffalo – Dan Bylsma – a Stanley Cup winning coach.

    OUT COACHED – no doubt about it.

    Here is the new coach:

    IAN HERBERS – (off the Oilers team staff directory page on their web site)…

    Herbers 49, enters his second season with the Edmonton Oilers coaching staff as an Assistant Coach.

    Prior to joining the Oilers, Herbers spent three seasons as Head Coach of the University of Alberta’s (U of A) Golden Bears.

    In 2014-15 he lead the Men’s Hockey Team to their SECOND STRAIGHT Canadian Inter University Sport (CIS) National Championship. The Jasper Alberta native enjoyed success at the U of A, posting a record 72-12-0 against Conference opponents, 12-1-0 record in Conference Playoffs, 7-1-0 record in CIS University Cup games, 28-5-0 record in non-conference play and an OVERALL RECORD of 119-19-0.

    And don’t even bring up the fact that University Hockey is not the same as the NHL. Of course it’s not but a good coach is a good coach – that’s why Krueger can coach hockey or soccer. The sport doesn’t matter. What matters is how he treats his players, what they “think of him”, and how he gets the most out of each player. Is that happening here?

    This team needs a coach that the players can respect. One who they play FOR. You can blame Eberle, Pouliot, Nugent Hopkins, Lucic and anyone else all you want. One thing is certain – they stopped playing for MacLellan a month ago. First period quick goals, last minute third period goals, overtime goals scored against and losing to teams they should beat is all the proof management or anyone else should need.

    • Hemmercules

      Just what the Oilers need, and entire new bench, again……..

      Who do you have in mind???

      I like Dave Tippet, but what has he done thats all that much better than
      McL?? Also, They lost those games to Arizona because of Mike Smith, OEL, and a lucky bounce in the one game, not Tippet.

    • Dan 1919

      Top 10 Coaches Win % (Minimum 200 games coached)

      1 Tom Johnson, .738

      2 Dan Bylsma, .668

      3 Bruce Boudreau, .663

      4 Scotty Bowman, .657

      5 Claude Ruel, .648

      6 Todd McLellan, .637

      7 Toe Blake, .634

      8 Mike Babcock, .627

      9 Floyd Smith, .626

      10 Joel Quenneville, .614

      Notice #6 on the list, you’ve got a tough argument to support.

        • Ha! He didn’t get to coach a single game for the Edmonton Oilers last year. He got a season to coach many Edmonton Oiler players, but not one single time was the full team healthy and able to be iced in even a single game. And it’s not like it was one or two guys at a time missing. More than half the core players missed more than half the games.

          That wasn’t a team, that was a hospital ward. And still the team improved. Cut the goal differential in HALF!

  • MrBung

    My favourite Face Palmer comment (although there were a lot of good ones):
    “First goal of the year for Rasmus Ristolainen you say? No way. OT winner.”

    Not only that, it sounded like it goes back 52 games since he last scored.

  • Not a First Tier Fan

    I respect all the folks that are bringing up the Oils place in the standings and saying that it’s not all bad. Absolutely. I don’t think there’s anyone but Flames Trolls on this site that aren’t happy about where the team is st and that we’re talking possible play-offs rather than possible draft picks.

    If the team had brought a level of compete last night but had still lost than this would be an entirely different conversation.

    Fact is they let Buffalo totally out-work them to the point (at least in the first) that it was embarrassing. The other team was shown on TV laughing and not having broken a sweat. There’s some tough sledding ahead divisionally – especially at the end if March and beginning April. Losing the points from these types of games is bad enough. But not even showing up to try to win them is the thing that’s unacceptable. The repeated pattern of this is the real issue.

    Honestly – I look at where the team is in the standings and I have no idea how they got there… Those last three weeks of the season are going to be difficult to watch if they keep playing like this.

  • VD

    Can we please send Jesse Puljujärvi down.. He has some great skill and will benefit from scoring a lot down in the minors , just let the kid develop properly.

  • Looch#27

    I prefer being positive as negative never helps anything but some people sound happy with being mediocre which I know is better then the last 10 years but still isn’t what the final goal should be. TM made a severe blunder at the end of the game with that timeout and his personnel decisions should we gloss over that? What’s with this team not being able to show up at the start of a game? Losing to trap teams all the time is also worrisome and the lack of hard work is quite evident when they skate around completely disinterested in backchecking or basic def assignments. Much improved from last year for sure but that sure ain’t saying much….more effort from the drop of the puck till the final horn would be welcome and loses wouldn’t taste so bad. Pull your head outta your ass TM the goat horns are yours for that loss