GDB 39.0 Wrap Up: Witch! Witch!

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Until proven otherwise I will believe that the Blue Jackets are all witches. The streak lives. Final Score: 3-1 Columbus

I know I said this the last time these two teams met but when the hell did Columbus get good? How did this happen? Someone explain it to me. They were a lottery team last year and now they’ve turned the ship around to the point where they have only five regulation losses on the year? C’mon. I’m not buying it. Until someone can absolutely prove to me that there hasn’t been some witchcraft or deal with the devil that resulted in the Columbus Blue Jackets acquiring some kind of turbo button that no one else has access to. It’s either that or we have to start looking the possibility of whether or not they’re doing something like filling the opposition’s dressing room with a sleep-inducing gas of some kind. I’m not saying that’s happening, but I’ve had no one tell me that it’s not happening. 

With the way this game started, I really didn’t think the Oilers were going to have much chance of ending Columbus’ winning streak and (obviously) my hunch wasn’t wrong. The Blue Jackets grossly outplayed the Oilers in the first period, and if it hadn’t been for Cam Talbot’s general brick-wallness then this game would have gotten out of hand in a hurry. Frankly, Dadbot was one of the few players to show up for the actual start of this hockey game and was likely the only reason that the Oilers were able to stay in it as long as they did. While the Oilers did improve as the game went on they really weren’t able to generate much in response to the home side’s continued waves of pressure. CBJ spat hot fire for forty minutes and the Oilers had their goaltender to thank for keeping the deficit to one goal and giving his team a chance in the third.

Going into the third the need for the Oilers to play better was obvious, but they also needed to find a way to stay out of the penalty box. The Jackets have the #1 ranked power play and after seeing them torch the Oilers for two power play goals it was pretty obvious as to why that’s the case. That wasn’t meant to put blame only on the PK team, Edmonton’s special teams were a hot mess on both sides of the coin. Neither the power play nor the penalty kill was very good for the Oilers and Columbus won the special teams battle outright. As it turns out, the two CBJ goals with the man advantage were the difference in tonight’s game and were the case and point for the importance of a strong power play. In the end, the Oilers’ struggles on special teams was only a drip in the bucket of disappointment that was this highly anticipated matchup.

Edmonton didn’t put up much of a fight and the Blue Jackets’ winning streak was never really in doubt. Subpar effort. Expected result.  

For the first time in 2017 – we wrap.

THE BRIGHT SIDE

Dinosours

  • Oscar Klefbom scored a big goal to tie the game up at one midway through the second period. The Blue Jackets were all over the puck before Oscar Klefbom followed up on the play and fired a puck home from the slot for his 6th goal of the season. 
  • Cam Talbot was easily the best Oiler tonight, and he gave his team a chance to win even though they probably didn’t deserve it. Dadbot was easily the busier of the two goalies and had it not been for him the Oilers would have needed a touchdown to get back into it. Talbot finished the night with 32 saves and a .914 save% on a night when he didn’t get much help. 
  • Connor McDavid as an Oiler is just as wonderful in 2017 as he was in 2016. Mmmm Connor. 
  • This game was feisty early on and I liked it. The first period had a few big hits and all that did was stir up the angries. I still don’t know how to react when I see the Oilers mucking it up after the whistle because it’s been so long since that’s been a thing that happens. 
  • In the second period, Pat Maroon flew into the corner and crushed Brandon Dubinsky. To his credit, Dubinsky got up and got into Maroon’s and the two fellas started chuckin’ em’. As always, you can check out this fight and all of Maroon’s fights on his fight page over at HockeyFights.com.
  • The Oilers won 54% of the faceoffs tonight. (Letestu 75%, Nuge 65%, Hendricks 60%, Draisaitl 44%, McDavid 33 %)
  • The game ended early enough that we don’t have to go to bed angry. 

THE FACE PALMERS

CandyCorn

  • Not a good start to this hockey game. The Blue Jackets ran the show for extended periods and the Oilers needed Cam Talbot to bail them out on too many occasions. 
  • Unlucky bounce on the Columbus power play goal credited to Nick Foligno. The puck took a friendly bounce off of both Russell and Sekera and wound up in the net, giving the Jackets an early lead. Unlucky way to get down to a hot team. Then again, hot teams always seem to get those bounces, don’t they?
  • William Karlsson’s goal (another power play goal) came as a result of the Jackets working harder than the Oilers on the boards, and capitalizing on that extra zone time. The Oilers had a chance to clear but they couldn’t get the puck out of zone and the Jackets made them pay for it.
  • Absolutely horrible giveaway by Benoit Pouliot on the Jackets’ third goal of the night. He had the puck on the boards, he had time, and he passed the puck absolutely no one in particular and Foligno walked in alone and scored. Brutal. I was actually surprised that McLellan continued playing Pouliot after that one. 
  • Two power play goals for the Jackets tonight on four chances. You could see how much confidence they have with the man advantage by the way they always seemed to be in the right position and their passes were always on point.  
  • The special teams sucked in general with the power play going 0/3 and the penalty kill allowing two goals on four chances.
  • Puljujarvi took a bad penalty that led to CBJ’s first goal of the night. Jesse didn’t have control of his stick and he got himself tied up with a Blue Jacket resulting in a holding penalty for his efforts. He needs to be better, and that fact is magnified considering his general lack of scoring. Why ? is ? Puljujarvi ?  still ? here? ?
  • The Oilers were horrible at the blue lines throughout the first forty minutes of play. They either gave up the puck as they were trying to leave their own end, or as they were trying to enter the attacking zone, and the Jackets didn’t need their help finding the puck. 
  • The Oilers were outhit 17-10 despite Columbus always having the puck. How does that work?
  • I will not complain about the reffing. I will not complain about the reffing. I will not complain about the reffing. I will not complain about the reffing. I will not…
  • Outshot 35-22 and I was surprised the Oilers got to 22.

SCORING SUMMARY

1ST PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
12:32 Columbus PPG – Cam Atkinson (18) ASST: Zach Werenski (19), Alexander Wennberg (26) 0-1

2ND PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
05:39 Edmonton Oscar Klefbom (6) ASST: Patrick Maroon (7), Jordan Eberle (18) 1-1
10:43 Columbus PPG – William Karlsson (6) ASST: Brandon Saad (19), Seth Jones (10) 1-2

3RD PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
02:45 Columbus Nick Foligno (13) 1-3

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    • Devolution

      It would be interesting to see if a competitive team could be built from players that weren’t good enough for this team. Start with Hall, Dubnyk, Gagner, Schultz, Cogliano, Petry… who else was cast off because they were the problem? Players that are still in the league and producing.

  • Jiff

    Hard game to watch. Where was the effort tonight? Does TMac say anything to these guys between periods?! Light a fire under these guys butt’s ffs.

    Chia better be working the phones. Some of these guys need some new scenery. ~cough~ Pouliot, Ebs, Nuge. ~cough~

  • Oilersrule99

    The Columbus blue jackets seem to be the antithesis of the Edmonton oilers. They are not highly skilled but find ways to win games playing as a team, detail oriented, very good puck management, very few puck watching collapses, seem to all no their roles and most importantly seem to be able to handle success playing a very focused game without getting overwhelmed with the emotion of the game

    How many times have the oilers collapses under pressure this year,how many games have they played to the intensity of the other team unable to dictate their own pace , how many shifts have they looked lost playing as individuals,how many games have they played hard and deserved a better fate if they stayed focused.

    • Anton CP

      The reason for Jackets are highly efficient is because of the coach(yeah, Tort…) managed the team with great balance. Look at who’s on their 4th line: Hartnell and Gagner. Basically that Jackets get 50 points (59 total) out of those two from 4th line. 30 points total from 3rd line, 61 points from 2nd, and 100 points from top line. Their first pairing is focus on attack and with Werenski and Jones that they have 42 points and second pairing is the complete shutdown with combine of +45. Not a single player on the entire Jackets roster played for more than 5 games has a minus (3 players with 5 or less has -1 each). Jackets reminds me the late 90~early 2000 Devils: team with great goaltending, solid and mobile defense with wide systematic offense.

      Team with less talents is easier to build a system around. They have less of personal egos but more with prides. They move the puck so well that no other team has 3 forwards with 20 or more assists like they do. It is sort of amazing about how they are able to move the puck around to perfection, and that helps with their league best PP because they are always able to find an open player to shoot.

      • percy

        Couldn’t agree more. What a mess. This is complicated. Reminds me of a triple A team playing an A team. Almost like they are lost out there. JP and DC down and BP and JE out.

  • Pouzar99

    The boys were really awful. Way too many passengers. I am sure Chiarelli is identifying those who will not be returning. After so many gave so little in back-to-back games, what can TM do to get them to play hard in Boston? I thought we were past this crap.

  • elliotsmom

    Hate to be pessimistic, but complacency is going to knock us out of a playoff spot. I’m not sure the Oilers will have the mental strength to be able to fight their way back in if they fall out. I can’t understand why they are not showing up playing to win every time they’re on the ice. No heart, no passion, no fight, no drive, half assed passes, not scoring…….They need to play their arses off every game like every other team does. They can’t just pick and choose when to put in an effort, and when not to. Nothing gets easier as we head toward the second half of the season.

    • OilersGM

      So true, that’s why I think TM is overrated.
      The proof is in the putting. When he was in Jose the team couldn’t get over the top, he get the team to win when it matters the most, he doesn’t press all the right buttons. San Jose let him go and look what they did.

      Chiarelli is in the same boat as his coach. I understand you have to get bigger but you have to do it with skill not just bunch of big players that can’t play and his not done screwing this team it wil only get worse, his always a step behind.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    I’m not putting the game all on Pouliot, but his sweet pass to Folingo was the proverbial nail in the coffin. If TMac/PC doesn’t waive Pouliot for the purpose of assignment, and he plays against Boston, then I’ll start questioning the powers that be. If Fayne can be sent down, so can 67.

    I’d rather have JP take BPs spot any day.

  • madjam

    Jackets solidly had the better offensive line and defensive line thru out entire game , controlling the pace , style and direction of game . When your dominated in both areas you usually on the losing end of a game . Poor passing , team play and lack of flow to Oilers game also victimized . Like in football , quarterback (Connor) can only do so much when his team is dominated on offensive and defensive line play . The better team won last night . Our Oilers are still questionably a playoff team in the makings this year .

    • S cottV

      I’ve been trying to preach our need to move in a direction, similar to what has happened in Columbus.

      The need to implement and execute more advanced and disciplined team play. To play a stable game.

      It’s not just effort – it’s the systems of play and the influence from the Coach to pull it all together – to influence players to buy in.

      Team play is a lot more than saying ok guys – lets play like a team and put some effort into it.

      I don’t think McL is enough of a believer in winning through systems – as a team. He caters to the star factor too much. There is a balance in there and I don’t like where McL sits on the teeter totter.

      It’s like DeBoer taking over in San Jose. Bring some Devils systems dna into the equation and you have a team – winning more as a team.

      How long does McL get away with this guy or that guy or those guys didn’t show up?

      He’s not showing up with enough substance and influence to execute, something that resembles what you see happening in Columbus and San Jose.

      • Anton CP

        It is something interesting, the way that Chiarelli builds this team seems to contrast the way McLellan coaches this team. Chiarelli is looking for more balance plays by bring in players that lost in shuffling from other teams meanwhile that McLellan has players shifted up and down the line without consistency, even as good as McDavid that have him logging 21 mins of ice time is way too much.

        • S cottV

          Been seeing and saying similar things.

          I don’t mind what PC has done to date.

          I just hope that PC is mad as hell about how McL has managed the change process within PC’s vision.

          Get bigger – stronger – harder to play against, reduce dependence on rush – improve cycling, puck protection, use of the points, get more o zone possession, reduce GA’s through dedicated team d systems and effort, improve game management, win more as a team – are all good things that I think PC wants. Things kind of like Torts has going in Columbus. I mean you can see it? Can’t you?

          I see minor movement toward some of the above, through McL’s leadership and influence. I don’t even see a lot of effective influence, as it relates to under performing players. But – I believe that McL needs to give them some better mouse traps to operate with, to get comfortable with, to believe in and to get excited about.

          Influence.

          Too little team substance. Like I kinda said yesterday – Babcock is better. And – so is DeBoer, Torts, and several other NHL Coaches that operate and implement stable team systems of play.

  • Didn’t watch the game. Sounds pretty similar to the last time they played the Jackets. But to the Oilers’ credit, the Jackets are one of the few if only teams to really run the Oilers’ show this year.

    I also want to know how they got so good. Torts, trading their number one centre, not drafting Puljujarvi. Really they lucked into a number one C, and a top pair left side D. Personally I think it’s good to see because outside of Seth Jones, none of the players on that team are really unattainable or tough to find. They are proving hockey is a team game, and if the team buys in, like every guy on every night, then it’s possible to win.

    Or as Brad Goodman says, “there’s no trick to it, it’s just a simple trick.”

  • camdog

    I missed the game so I can’t go there.

    But I do find it interesting how going into the season most people had Torts as the worst coach in the entire league, especially after that debacle at the World Cup. Now some people have him as god’s gift to coaching.

    Personally I have always respected his coaching abilities, that said I haven’t changed my perspective on his coaching abilities because of his last 15 games…

  • dsanchez1973

    Not sure how many times McLellan can throw his players under the bus and say “X wasn’t ready” or “Y wasn’t good enough for us tonight”. At some point, you have to look at the coach and ask how he turned Eberle into a 10 goal scorer, Nuge into a 3rd line centre, Pouliot into a waiver candidate – these are all players who have had success in the NHL.

    I will miss Nuge and Eberle when they’re gone, replaced by inferior players.

      • I agree, I think a big issue with these guys is the optics. When they were playing on a bad team, with poor systems, they looked good. Now that they are playing on a good team with responsible systems, they are looking pretty damn lazy out there and undisciplined out there.

        Nuge, has looked better playing with Drai and I do think some of the problem is McLellan blends his lines so damn much, not allowing for much chemistry to generate, even when the lines are doing well and the team is winning. We all remember when Shlep and Pitlick were pulled out because McLellan wanted to get Hendricks and Puljujarvi ‘going’. So yes, some blame does fall to the coach on for some reason having too many players and thinking they all need to ‘get going’.

        Considering Nuge hasn’t been to liable defensively, I’m having a hard time pinning losses on him.

        Eberle, however, looks like he already has one foot out the door. He cannot make a controlled zone entry, but he doesn’t chip and chase, nor move the puck effectively enough, unless it’s to McDavid. Every single game I watch, if the puck is on his stick, defenders close his gap so fast, and just rub him off the puck. He’s not out pacing them, he’s certainly not out working them, and he’s not finishing enough of McDavid’s dishes.

        Pouliot, has been terrible. Undisciplined, not learning from mistakes, looks sour, just not helping. Sadly the play of players the team needs to trade is not helping their value.

  • btrain

    CBJ are defying all odds and its not natural. Obviously when teams show up with a C level effort like the Oil, its going to help them out, but how are they this good! If I am drafting a team of any players I want, I am not sure a CBJ even cracks the line up or is even on my call up list. Yet they are approaching history with their winning streak! It is mind bottling! Thank the heavens they are in the Eastern Conference and their sudden emergence doesn’t impact the Oilers playoff hopes in a significant way.

  • Spoils

    the pouliot give-away falls (in my own imagination) – with the Oilers of old.

    The new Oilers don’t make those mistakes. I believe Benoit can turn the corner- like Nuge and Ebs and join a healthy constellation in the new McDavid universe…

    i can’t handle all the Gagners, Petrys, Dubnyks, Schultz (+24, .63 PPG)…

    will Yak bang out 20pts in the Blues cup run this year?

    WE NEED TO GET VALUE FOR THE ASSETS WE MOVE

  • madjam

    Veterans on team must be frustrated by being benched and put on different lines every time they make a mistake . Same goes for many newbies like Jesse , etc.. Our makeup of veterans is not of a high value when it comes to truculence and fighting for the puck , and that has not changed much over last two years , but offensive output of them has been in a nosedive playing the Chia and TM system of play . Likewise , I find it curious and frustrating how a real talent like Jesse has produced far less than his Finnish teammates Aho and Laine . Something is amiss here as to why he is looking so bad . Maybe a more in depth hybrid system might be in order for many games , to take more advantage of our skill level .

    I know i’d be playing on pins and needles if I was demoted and /or benched for every mistake I did/might have made . Overall player strength and depth we are still not very high , or as high as we’d like to be . Thus many games we still struggle mightily for points . Team still has little consistent flow to their game .

    Defensively we are still in bottom one third of league with no real quarterback on back end especially to help power play and transition game .

  • slats-west

    A few thoughts……

    – there is a lot comments about intensity after this game and some would argue that we have had this for the last 5-7 years. A team like CBJ really amplifies this argument and a few examples of body language really say a lot:
    >>> eg pregame skate many Oilers skate upright (even Connor is doing this now!!!) in warmup with missed passes were common and their thought process seems to be “stay loose” vs. the CBJ are skate in a technically correct low power position, they constantly work on skills, focus is do things at low speed but everything has precision and focus

    >>> PP goal #2 Pouliot comes to the point like a limp noodle, standing perfectly upright, waives his stick, allows for easy cross ice pass … goal. Correct me if I’m wrong but don’t PK players have to play twice as hard as the PPplayers?

    >>Pouliot is either throwing games or wants so bad to leave Edm his play has reached new low depths as evidenced by that 3rd period pass on the tape to CBJ ….. on that play he wascompletely unpressured, at the beginning of a shift and he had only 3 other options available…. sorry but your next game will be sitting next to the 630 Ched crew…he’s a tire fire!!!! Trade or exorcism not sure which is next.

    Overall – what to do with this Team re: intensity? They are constantly out worked. Does someone need to take away their video games? Invoke a curfew? Bag skate? Whatever it is it’s not the Coach. It’s not. Chia will make some moves and we will cry when we get low picks for Poulitot but its better than losing like this…. When will someone step up in the dressing room? When will guys get called out? …When?

    • S cottV

      Ultimately – it is the Coach.

      The Coach has to influence. The spectrum of influence spans to – those he chooses to lead in the room. If they fail to influence, then it falls back on the Coach.

      Influence involves many things.

      Part is belief in what you are doing and or how you are doing things. Like systems. It’s up to the Coach to develop the systems, sell the systems, implement the systems, and get the systems executed. Done properly – the players see the benefits and embrace the systems with enthusiasm. Great influence.

      If a player or players balk at the systems or fall off the systems, then yeah – then maybe you have to kick some @ss. Different influence but influence if it corrects the problem.

      I really do question McL’s ability to influence and certainly question his lack of interest or ability to implement effective team systematic play.

      He really does throw out a lot of this guy or that guy didn’t show up.

      How about saying something like – apparently my ability to influence certain guys, calls into question how I am going about certain things. Its my responsibility to get players doing the right things.

      Maybe the players in question, might say – geez, the Coach is being too hard on himself. I think I’ll redouble my efforts, because he really isn’t that bad a guy. Influence…

      • Krueger had an AHL roster with a few stars and got them to play hard. He’s a motivator, so it’s no surprise.

        He also implemented a strict system, one that is designed for teams that are low on skill.

        And despite playing in a tough Western Conference (exclusively), and in a rushed schedule that didn’t allow for many practices, he had the team in a playoff spot at the trade deadline.

        So I’m in agreement here. I like McL, but he has to bear some responsibility.

        Oh, and by the way, the Oilers have changed their PP drastically, adopting the same 1-3-1 format that Nelson had success with (and that you’re seeing more often across the league). So pressure on the team can result in coaching tweaks.

        At the end of the day, I am pretty happy with McL despite these valid criticisms. Scoring is way up, goals against are way down, the team looks far more competitive, are able to break out the puck much better than years previous, and they’ll be fighting for a playoff spot. The only time I’ll go real hard on him is of the team isn’t improving. Maybe the team is plateauing mid season? Perhaps.