They lost but they’re still in a playoff spot. I’ll take it. Final Score: 3-2 Canucks in the shootout
I have to tell you guys that I was really hoping to close out 2016 with another win. As much as we like to bitch about the Oilers, the fact remains that this is the best spot the team has been in 10 years and the Oilers need points for their playoff push. The Canucks are beatable, they played last night, and Edmonton needed to find a way to take advantage. Even so, as much as I wanted to see the Oilers pull tables out from under the ice and smash the Sedins twins through them like they were some the turd competitor in old school WWE episodes (you know the ones I’m talking about), I would have been happy just knowing that we have a playoff race to look forward to.
Seeing that the playoffs are within reach by the time the new year comes around is something that hasn’t happened around these parts since 2005-06. This website didn’t even exist yet. Now, I’m not saying that I think the Oilers are going to make an unexpected dash to the Cup Finals (if they do, RIP liver) but I am saying that just having a chance at the dance is something more interesting for us to talk about than figuring out what the next draft class is looking like, and I appreciate that fact. That hope alone provides a sharp contrast to where we were at when the calendar rolled over last season. Do you remember the despair and general sadness? I do. After Connor went down, the team fell apart and the wheels to the season fell off entirely. Looking back on the past year, and comparing it to where the team is now, it’s hard to not feel better about what we’re watching on the ice.
As for the game itself, I was expecting the Oilers to come out flying in front of a rowdy New Year’s Eve crowd. At least, that’s what I was hoping to see. The Canucks played against the Ducks last night and I was betting on the visitors being tired and vulnerable as a result, or, in other words, the perfect victim for a New Year’s Eve beatdown. Despite the Oilers heavily outshooting their opponent, Vancouver didn’t seem to get the memo that they were supposed to roll over and die. Regardless of Edmonton’s power play pressure, the Canucks found enough energy in their old bones and were able to cause trouble for the Oilers all night long, even to the point getting the game into overtime seemed unlikely for a while. Vancouver dominated chunks of the third period, and if it had not been for Talbot the Oilers would have gone home empty-handed. On the other hand, if it had not been for Markstrom the Canucks could have been left for dead in a ditch somewhere.
For the last time in 2016, we wrap.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- The Oilers were down by a goal after their second coach’s challenge didn’t go through, but young Drake Caggiula stepped up to the plate and tied the game up at one just as a power play was ending. Nuge set up the Drake up for a quick snap shot in the slot and Markstrom couldn’t get all of it as the puck trickled past the goal line for Caggiula’s 2nd gino of the year.
- Connor McDavid scored a huge power play goal (his 14th) that tied up the game at two when it looked like it may have been over. The captain finished off a pretty passing play with Draisaitl and he made no mistake of depositing the puck into the empty side of the net.
- MORE NUGE-DRAISAITL LINE IN 2017! They were able to generate chances all night long, provided a strong cycle down low, and caused a ruckus almost every time they saw the ice. Both Draisaitl and Nuge got a point tonight, although both got their point on different lines.
- I’ve been pumping his tires a lot lately but Cam Talbot was a warlord in the net once again. He made the saves you’d expect a #1 goalie to make and is a big reason that the Oilers are where they are in the standings. Dadbot finished the game with 30 saves and a .938 save%
- Once again, the Oilers were excellent on the penalty kill, killing off both attempts they faced.
- As we say hello to another year I just wanted to make another announcement that I love Connor McDavid.
- Oilers outshot the Canucks 44-32. Won the Corsi!
- THE OILERS WON A COACH’S CHALLENGE! Brandon Sutter was in the crease and Talbot couldn’t do his thing. If it was the other way I would have been annoyed but that’s life sometimes.
- Louie DeBrusk should always do colour for Oilers games. Him or Ray Ferraro. Is that too much to ask? No, it’s not. Thank you.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Alex Burrows goal started as a result of a terrible giveaway by Eric Gryba behind the net. He had control and a lone Canuck forechecker put enough pressure on him that caused the brutal giveaway. Once the Canucks had the puck they made no mistake on a pretty passing play. Goat horns for Gryba on this one.
- The Gryba/Davidson, along with the 4th line, got pinned with both Vancouver goals tonight. The first goal was Gryba’s fault, but the second Canucks goal was a team effort of screw ups and puck watching.
- I thought the Canucks were supposed to be tired after playing last night? You wouldn’t have been able to tell by the way they pinned the Oilers in their own end for extended chunks of the third period.
- The Oilers’ power play almost let them down tonight, but it’s not because they played poorly. They were able to generate a ton of pressure but just couldn’t do enough to get more than the lone goal. The only reason I have the PP down in the face-palmers is because they probably should have ended this game earlier than they did.
- No McDavid in the shootout? Hmm.
- The Oilers got slaughtered in the faceoff circle tonight, winning only 38% of the draws.
- The Oilers had so many giveaways at both blue lines tonight that it was extremely frustrating to watch. Their passing just wasn’t on point and it was giving the Canucks gifts up and down the ice.
- Markstrom was all kinds of annoying tonight. Seriously. The Oilers fired 44 shots at Markstrom and he stopped 42 of those shots for a .955 save%.
- I’ve been watching the Sedins for years and they cannot retire soon enough. The guys have owned the Oilers for over a decade and their creepy run of terror has been hovering over us for too long.
|05:43||Vancouver||Alexandre Burrows (7) ASST: Bo Horvat (14), Sven Baertschi (12)||1-0|
|12:31||Edmonton||Drake Caggiula (2) ASST: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (11), Matthew Benning (6)||1-1|
|04:57||Vancouver||Sven Baertschi (8) ASST: Bo Horvat (15)||2-1|
|18:28||Edmonton||PPG – Connor McDavid (14) ASST: Leon Draisaitl (19), Milan Lucic (16)||2-2|
|Edmonton||Missed – Mark Letestu|
|Vancouver||Missed – Markus Granlund|
|Edmonton||Missed – Leon Draisaitl|
|Vancouver||Goal – Bo Horvat|
|Edmonton||Missed – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins|
BEST OF THE TWEETS
— VisuallyBetter (@Isuckatpicking) January 1, 2017
I bet Remenda is at home right now screaming Oiler criticisms into his pillow. And even the pillow is sick of it.
— Cory Dakin (@Corydakin) January 1, 2017
@OilersNation we won a challenge?!? This is gonna be a good 2017!!!
— Ashley (@littleashley84) January 1, 2017
— Nick Smith (@NSmittyWerd) January 1, 2017
Connor McDavid is unique because he’s better in real life than in video games @OilersNation
— Nathan White (@NWhite_17) January 1, 2017
@OilersNation Oh dear gawd… please tell me that Sedin is NOT walking naked through the streets.
— Kevin Resolutions (@sportsjunkie007) January 1, 2017
@OilersNation *baggedmilk furiously begins editing already complete game wrap up*
— Carmen Chinery (@geology24_7) January 1, 2017
THANK YOU, NATION
I know I already rambled on above, but we can’t thank you enough for the support you’ve shown this website over the years. Sure, we may argue like dodgeball rivals about whether or not Kris Russell can play defence but that doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate ya. Do me a favour, would you? Press your fist against the screen of your laptop/phone/whatever for me. Respect. Happy New Year, everyone. Be safe out there. We’ve got some big plans coming for our 10th anniversary and you’re going to want to be a part of it.