GDB 36.0 Wrap Up: It’s Still a Festivus Miracle

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Festivus

Should have had two, but lucky to get one. Final Score: 3-2 Sharks in OT

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Coming into tonight’s game, the Oilers had a chance to head into the Christmas break in first place in Pacific Division. If they lost, the worst that could happen is that they’d wind up in second place. Let that sink in for a minute. As much as we like to complain (and we will continue to do so), this is the best spot the Oilers have been in at Christmas in years. That fact alone is both hilariously tragic and cause for celebration. Needless to say, tonight’s game had huge implications and would’ve been a nice boost going into the Christmas break. That said, getting a point out of tonight’s piss poor effort is still a win considering how terrible the first 40 minutes were.

Even though it was obvious how important this matchup was, the Oilers didn’t look like they had much interest in playing hockey throughout the first 40 minutes. Unless Edmonton just recently decided to become strict disciples of the rope-a-dope strategy then I’m not sure that playing dead for two periods was the best overall strategy. Frankly, the Oilers looked a lot more like the turd laying wood choppers from the Eakins era more than they did a team that was challenging for the division lead. If it hadn’t been for Talbot then this thing wouldn’t have even been close. Dadbot held his team in the game and gave them a chance they didn’t deserve. That said, Mr Hyde disappeared in the third period and Dr Jekyll reemerged, finding a way to tie the game up on two occasions in the final frame. 

In all honesty, finding a way to get this game into overtime and getting a point out of it was a Festivus miracle in itself. The Oilers played like moose turds and still managed to steal a loser point. Loss aside, I still can’t be too mad going into the break with the Oilers in a playoffs spot. I remember what it was like to be out by Halloween, and just the fact that they’re still in the mix can give me some satisfaction. Maybe it’s the rum speaking but I’m happy that we’ve still got playoff dreams and I’m taking that into the break. I say that we go out on a high note. I want to wish all of you and your families a very Merry Christmas, or Happy Holidays, or whatever it is that you’d like me to say right now. I hope everyone gets a chance to relax a little bit, eat too much, drink too much, and do all of the things that make Christmas a special time of year. All the best, Nation.

Like presents, we wrap. 

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THE BRIGHT SIDE

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  • Cam Talbot was lights out tonight and it allowed the Oilers to stay in the for way longer than they probably deserved to be. Dadbot got peppered by shots and the Oilers would never have gotten this game to overtime. Talbot finished the night with 28 saves and a .903 save%.
  • The Oilers needed a big goal, and it was the captain that gave it to them. Connor came charging down the ice and threw the puck on net, getting a friendly deflection off of a Sharks defender for his 13th goal of the year. McDavid follow the goal up with a big assist on Patty Maroon’s tying goal later on in the third period.
  • Patrick Maroon just seems to know where to be when he’s playing with Connor McDavid. Maroon scored a huge goal (his 10th) in the third period to tie the game up shortly after the Sharks took the lead. If I’m Todd McLellan (and I could be), I wouldn’t separate those two for the rest of the year. Bonus points to Maroon for the amazing cellies anytime he scores.
  • If Matty Hendricks is playing his final games as an Oiler he sure as hell doesn’t want to go down quietly. Hendo scrapped a gigantor in Brendan Dillon and hung in there admirably. As always, you can check out Matt Hendricks’ complete fight card over at HockeyFights.com
  • Not to be outdone, Zack Kassian scrapped for the sixth time this season. Kassian has been angry over the past few games, and you just knew he was going to fight after Hendricks stepped in for him in the first period. As always, you can check out this fight on Kassian’s fight page over at HockeyFights.com.
  • The Oilers PK was busy tonight against a very good Sharks power play, and they were solid on 3/4 chances. The PK was especially good when Kassian took the double minor in the second period. 
  • It’s December 23rd and the Oilers are in a playoff position. Merry Christmas. 

THE FACE PALMERS

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  • You may be asking yourself why there is a Ford Escape in the Bright Side section of this Wrap Up. Well, the tireless SUV in the picture above is actually Chris the Intern’s Escape. His lovely fiance went out to jump in their vehicle to go to work and when she got there the passenger side rear wheel was gone. I want to apologize here, publicly to Chris for laughing when he told me. The story was ridiculous and I couldn’t help it. 
  • Slow start for the Oilers tonight, and the Sharks were able to generate a few odd-man rushes for some excellent offensive chances. They were lucky that Talbot was ready to play or things could have been worse.
  • Zack Kassian took a bad double-minor in the second period. He got one for roughing which was questionable, and then doubled down with a cross-checking penalty as the cherry on top. Fortunately for Kassian the Oilers were able to kill off both penalties, but he didn’t see the ice again after he was out of the box.
  • Oscar Klefbom had a brutal pinch on Kevin Labanc’s third period goal. Sexbomb got lost in the neutral zone and the Sharks came in on a clean 2-on-1 and made no mistake of burying the chance. Fortunately, the lead didn’t last long. 
  • Lucic was not good in the OT period and I was surprised McLellan put him out with Connor. The cherry on the sundae was when Looch and Connor flew the zone in OT allowing Labanc to walk in alone for the winner. Kass played only 6:41 tonight and that’s only because of that double minor.
  • Taylor Beck played 4:12 tonight. Why was he put in the lineup instead of Puljujarvi exactly?
  • Anyone else think that it’s time to recall Lander and send Caggiula down to Bakersfield? Can’t just be me.
  • The power play was awful tonight and really didn’t get anything going in any of the six chances they had. The PP could have been the hero tonight but the reality was that they, at best, killed 12 minutes off the clock. Not good enough, especially when you consider how strong the PP has been recently. 

SCORING SUMMARY

1ST PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
No Scoring

2ND PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
00:31 San Jose PPG – Joe Pavelski (12) ASST: Brent Burns (18), Joe Thornton (21) 0-1

3RD PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
06:17 Edmonton Connor McDavid (13) ASST: Andrej Sekera (13) 1-1
08:21 San Jose Kevin Labanc (5) ASST: Logan Couture (10), Joe Pavelski (20) 1-2
08:45 Edmonton Patrick Maroon (10) ASST: Connor McDavid (29), Eric Gryba (1) 2-2

OT PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
03:22 San Jose Kevin Labanc (6) ASST: Logan Couture (11), Brent Burns (19) 2-3

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.

NATIONGEAR BOXING DAY SALE

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If you’ve always wanted NationGear but have only ever been able to afford 80% of it then you’re in luck. Starting at 12:01AM (MST) on December 26th, absolutely everything at www.NationGear.ca will be 20% off. After you’ve taken a moment to let that sink in I want to follow up with another hard-hitting factoid. The 20% off sale is a one day only affair and if you’re looking to Nation-sexify your wardrobe then this will be the time to do it. Set your alarm clocks, Nation, because we’ve only got limited supplies. 


  • deferoiler

    Remind me why was maroon ever taken off of mcdavids wing. Lucic is much more suited to play with Drai. Poulliot needs to go to Bakersfield he is absolutely useless out there and looks lost during every shift… another one of MacTs bites the dust.

  • Connor McJesus

    That last goal in OT, Lucic turned it over with a perfect pass from Klefbom. This guy’s got some really stoney hands.

    So much happier Maroon is with McJesus now instead of Looch. Lucic can bring other intangibles, but he doesn’t really have the hands or scoring touch to play top line.

    I’m still happy with the 5/6 road points though, Merry Xmas!

  • Glass

    Maroon and McDavid have played well together in the past. Lucic and McDavid haven’t been good together.

    Draisaitl and Lucic have played well together in their small spurts.

    It would be interesting to see Maroon/McDavid/Nuge, and Lucic/Draisaitl/Eberle. I want to see what McDavid and Nuge can do together 5×5, let Draisaitl drive his line.

    Send down Puljujarvi & Caggulia, then bring up Slepyshev and Lander.

    • Gravis82

      I have been thinking this for 20 games! It just tmakes sense. Also lander should be here on the 4th, with letestu 3c.

      MacLellan takes forever to catch on to these things. Eberle needs to be finding open ice, not battling on the wall. He would be perfect with Lucic and Drai.

  • Look. Lucic is not a good player. For some reason the coaching staff do not recognize that. It’s all good we fought hard and got a point, but if we really were serious about winning the game, 27 would be stapled to the bench. His foot speed is too slow for 3 on 3 and he cannot process the game at the same speed as his linemates

    • Oilerchild77

      He’s averaged about 60 points per year for the last 6 or 7 seasons, so I don’t agree with your asessment that he’s not a good player. He does a lot of things very well. He’s decent defensively and is a force around the net. Not having a good year 5×5, but otherwise he’s giving more or less exactly what I expected.

  • slats-west

    A few thoughts …..

    – that was not Klefbom’s best effort…. terrible pinch on 2nd goal and even worse stretch pass to Lucic (?) … really cmon need better from our #1 dman. His play on PP was also brutal could save a puck or get even a shot on net.

    – Game was lost though on the power outage on their Powerplay… had they scored this may have been won in regulation

    – end of day we are 1 point out of first…. as far as predictions go none would have expected this … so I think we can all head into Christmas with a smile and dreams of Playoffs in our heads

    Merry Christmas ON

  • M22

    Remenda was right: McDavid and Lucic were both on the wrong side of the puck on the last play of OT. They both turned to blow the zone, but the Oilers didn’t even have possession. D first, boys. D first.

  • geeker99

    When you have a line like Conner, Leon and Pat take over a game like they did our other lines first priority? Don’t get scored on, defense first. Nuge didn’t have good a game but he has defensive knowledge. I am more worried how he is developing physically. Has he shaved yet? Eberle can do it as he showed in OT but would rather not. Lucic is just too slow.

    That’s a lot of money in players that we are winning in spite of. I understand that Todd can’t just sit these guys but they make me nervous when we are in tight games. Anyone Else?

  • S cottV

    Agreed Cagguila looks out of place.

    Drai is comfortable slowing things down, so – I would put him with Lucic.

    McL has a good excuse to make that move. Lucic was awful in that OT sequence. Booting the pass from Klefbom and being the worst of the two, who flew the zone.

    Not sure what was worse though – Lucic or McL for putting him out there?

  • Garnett

    All this talk about Lucic and Ebrele, and how terrible they’ve been. Just a thought. The best thing about Lucic’s game is his strong cycle play and his puck retention. That cycle basically dies the moment it hits Eberle’s stick. As for Eberle, his strong play is his ability to create high skill plays, something Lucic is not good at. They are making each other look bad. I’ve been a tier 2 fan, Ikea armchair coach/GM/pro scout for years now. I say split those two up already.

  • Just as you’d put your hottest hands out during a shootout…I’d do the same for OT.

    Struggling D like Klefbom needed to sit while Larsson, Sekera, and Davidson needed to be on.

    Lucic and Eberle struggled, I’d have Drake out with Nuge actually, Maroon with McDavid, and Drai with Letestu.

    Narrow the bench to those 6 fwds and 3 D.

    But I’m not a coach and I could be making some errors shrinking the bench to that extent. But 2 of the 3 guys out on the OT goal against weren’t having a good night, plain and simple.

    On a completely separate point, boy do I miss Pitlick already. The team played a stinker and losing a consistent player like that really hurt.

  • Gadgets

    The Oilers are in a playoff position, we have McDavid, we’ve shown teams that we won’t be pushed around, and sad little Flames fans are desperately trying to make themselves feel less like losers. I love Christmas time!

  • Heschultzhescores

    Why do coaching staffs have to even ruin the 3 on 3…it’s now more of a game of keep away, where-as before it was amazing end-to-end action. Maybe we have to do something like basketball, you only have 30 seconds in which to do something with the puck or possession turns over to the other team.