GDB 41.0 Wrap Up: Somebody that I used to know

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Game Day

(photoshop: @isuckatpicking)

MARK-LE TES-TU! Final Score: 2-1 Oilers in OT

Let’s get this out of the way, right away. That was weird. It was strange as hell to see Taylor Hall flying down the left wing towards the Oilers zone rather than away from it. It was strange to see his failed toe drags while sporting David Puddy’s favourite jersey. For years, those were our failed toe drags. After being the face of the rebuild it was odd to face Hall as an opponent and see him do all of the things that used to make our jeans tighten. That said, I’ll take where the Oilers are in the standings now over where they’ve been for a decade. No, I still don’t blame Taylor Hall for all that losing, and I honestly feel bummed out for the guy that he couldn’t be around to be a part of it now that they’re winning.

As for the game itself, this was another one of those games where the Oilers were playing against a team that was on the second half of a back-to-back weekend and these games are chances at points that they have to capitalize on. The Oilers got the start they were looking for as they absolutely dominated the play early on. Edmonton’s pressure continued throughout the night even though the scoreboard didn’t really reflect what was happening on the ice. Despite heavily outshooting the Devils for forty minutes the Oilers, the game went into the third period tied as a result of Corey Schneider standing on his head and carrying his team on his back at the same time, somehow. 

With the Devils getting ridiculous goaltending but getting completely killed on the ice you didn’t know what to expect from the final period of play. Edmonton continued to pour on the pressure and were eventually able to tie the game up, but it didn’t look like that was going to happen for a while. This looked like it was destined to be one of those games where the Oilers had a terrific effort stolen from them by a hot goalie. After getting the game to overtime the Oilers continued their dominance and, essentially, played keep away until the Devils were forced to take a penalty to try to get the puck back. Edmonton made no mistake with the man advantage and put two important points in the bank heading into tomorrow’s game against Ottawa.  

That’s Hall, folks.

THE BRIGHT SIDE

Hot Dog

  • Matt Benning was finally rewarded with his first NHL goal tonight, and I will never ever get tired of seeing guys score their first. As it turns out, Benning’s goal was a huge one that tied the game up at one, a task that looked practically impossible with how Schneider had been playing. Matt Benning we speak your name!
  • Mark Letestu unleashed the fury in his OT winner as he let a clapper go that Schneider had absolutely no chance on. Letestu’s eight goal of the year was a big one as it gave the Oilers two big points, and a solid start to their back-to-back weekend.
  • Cam Talbot was rock solid again tonight. He made some big saves that kept the Oilers down by only one goal, and he allowed them to come back and eventually win the hockey game. Talbot finished the night with 19 saves and a .950 save%.
  • Connor had his rocket skates on tonight and he did basically everything but score. McDavid set a career high with eight shots on net and the ability to haunt the dreams of anyone tasked with defending him. Tonight was one of those games where Connor alone was worth the price of the ticket even though he didn’t get on the scoresheet. 
  • Maroon-McDavid-Draisaitl continue to produce chances together and were often a complete nightmare to play against down low. They were playing like hot fire all night long. Now we need to figure out what to call them. McMardrai? #McDrairoon? DraiMaDavid?
  • I was a big fan of the Lucic-Nuge-Kassian line tonight. Almost every time they touched the ice they found a way to get the cycle going and produce both zone time and scoring chances. 
  • Big power play goal to finish off the night and it came, obviously, at the perfect time. The Oilers won both sides of the special teams battle and their ability to cash in on the PP gave them the win tonight. The Oilers finished the night 1/2 on the man advantage.
  • Honourable mention goes the PK for killing off the lone attempt they faced and they didn’t really give the Devils anythings, no shots or chances to score.
  • Adam Larsson had a solid game tonight and you could tell that he was a little bit more fired up by his willingness to get chippy. Larsson was 2nd in TOI with 22:26 and provided solid defensive work anytime he was on the ice. 
  • Eric Gryba apparently had a problem with Taylor Hall because he was taking every possible opportunity to lay him out tonight. I have absolutely nothing to base that on but it’s fun to make things up.
  • Leafs lost. Nothing to do with this game but worth mentioning anyway.

THE FACE PALMERS

Floor Dog

  • The Oilers *cough* Gryba *cough* got caught flat footed on the first period goal by Miles Wood. Wood flew around the Oilers defender and was able to slide it in between Talbot’s legs.
  • So many turnovers at the Devils’ blue line tonight. So, so many. In a way, it was almost impressive to see how many creative ways they could come up with to give up the puck. 
  • The turnovers and giveaways that are plaguing the Oilers lately nearly resulted in the Devils adding to their lead early on. Luckily for Edmonton, Talbot was rock solid tonight and was able to Dad his teammates away from trouble. 
  • Oilers got killed in the faceoff circle, winning only 42% of the draws. 
  • The Oilers outshot the Devils 43-20 but only got two goals. The only reason that I’m including that here is because I thought we were headed for moral victory territory and the mood swings made me emotional.
  • Taylor Hall looks strange in another team’s jersey and I don’t like it. He had a solid night tonight and I’m not at all surprised. Get over it, I know. Fortunately, no points for TayTay tonight.
  • Corey Schneider was every shade of annoying tonight. If it hadn’t been for him this game would have been a blowout. The fact that the Devils even got a point tonight was all to do with Schneider. No other reason. Period. 

SCORING SUMMARY

1ST PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
09:44 New Jersey Miles Wood (5) ASST: Travis Zajac (17), Steven Santini (2) 0-1

2ND PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
No Scoring

3RD PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
03:33 Edmonton Matthew Benning (1) ASST: Andrej Sekera (14), Anton Lander (3) 1-1

OT PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
03:59 Edmonton PPG – Mark Letestu (8) ASST: Oscar Klefbom (8), Connor McDavid (32) 2-1

***UPDATE*** HOW DARE I MISS THE MCPOINT! *lines up to be slapped by Internet*

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        • camdog

          And if Greene’s not in the line up when they come to Edmonton next week we should all expect a repeat performance. If he’s in the line up, it won’t be as easy. Without Schneider, Greene or Hall the Devils are not a competitive hockey club.

          • Dreadguy

            The Oilers are simply the better team with or without any or all of the players you mentioned. It’s ok to like the Oilers, you’re on Oilers Nation. Perhaps you have a case of the Remendas?

          • camdog

            My comments are directed at some posters that have been very critical and negative of the Oilers system play and the coach. Next game when they play against a team with a legitimate number one d-man they will once again be questioning the coach…

          • camdog

            If the Oilers were able to swap Greene out for Russell, there wouldn’t be a team in the Pacific Division that would be able to catch the Oilers in the Pacific Division this season.

          • Harry2

            I agree but that has nothing to do with the assinine statement that Greene is a true bonafide #1 dman.

            Just curious. How many #1 stud dmen do you think there are in the NHL?

          • Harry2

            15? Ok I think your pretty damn close.

            Doughty, Keith, Karlsson, Burns, Byfuglien, Weber, Subban, Suter, Peitrangelo, Hedman, Letang.

            Then theres others like Seabrook, Josi, Vlasic.

            Point is Greene is miles away from the top list and its doubful IMO he even makes the secondary one.

            Edms d core is on the right track. Klef Larsson Nurse Davidson Benning are all very young and have great contracts.

          • Matt Turner

            I don’t know who was calling the game tonight but it was weird to have the broadcasters talking about the Oilers and Oiler players and focusing on Oiler plays instead of going on over how much they’d like to be oiling up the other teams star players in a private room.

  • Señor Frijoles

    Weird that some people are talking about Eberle tonight in a negative light – I thought he had a terrific night. If your big go to move is trashing Ebs on the ON boards, tonight’s not your night, son.

    • West

      For some here, Eberle is the whipping boy. No matter what he does in the game, whether the Oilers win or lose, they will find some small thing he did that was not good enough for them, and bang that drum to death.

      • Bills Bills

        I have been quite critical of Ebs this season (and past) for his lack of effort on the other side of the puck. But he played decent tonight and had a really nice take-away on the back check. Some time on the third line may be doing him some good.

        For the record I accept Ebs for the player that he is. But to me it is not acceptable for Eberle to score 25-27 goals on McDavids right side. He can do that with Nuge or anyone else he plays with for that matter. I want to see a 20 goal man scoring 27 or Eberle potting 35. If you have one of the best players on the planet as your center, you better be raising your level.

  • KevCantDance

    Here’s a question I was wondering during the game…would anyone trade Drai straight up for Hall? Hypothetically, of coarse, not a legit idea for a trade, but a simple compare. I would not make that trade, Drai I think is the better player. Agree? No?

  • GK1980

    “This looked like it was destined to be one of those games where the Oilers had a terrific effort stolen from them by a hot goalie”

    I was thinking the same thing. They play terrible against Boston and win and then play great against NJ and maybe lose?

    Finally the hockey gods are starting to favour the Oilers, a little. McDavid was flying and so was Nuge. That first line was killer! Keep them together for this push for the playoffs.

  • Connor in the post game presser. We just stuck with it. Last year we would get frustrated and it would turn into a “me show”.

    LOL….. yup… the solo-me-oh toe drags always lurk… but can they be kept at bay.

  • shaner

    Are there brain transplants? I’m not a Doctor but I’m just wondering if brain transplants are a real thing, If someone has a brain transplant Dr they know, umm I think we should make a case for Pouliot! He really is struggling with the brain he has, the simple concepts of contributing in positive ways just don’t make sense to him…..I would even take an ethan moreau brain right now….atleast that would cut down on 15% of our offensive zone penalties…. or even a golden retriever brain…..very friendly, definitely a dressing room favourite, will work for treats (basically free, no cap issues) and who will go to battle and is extrremely loyal. Not to mention very trainable,

    anyways just a thought

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    I don’t know why everyone rips Ebs these days, when you’ve got a perfectly serviceable goat in Pouliot skating every night. Pouliot is a horror show out there.

  • OILFANMEXICO

    Boy, a ton of nail-biters this year! Good win boys. I hope McLellan can get Pouliot and Ebs going soon, if he can we will not see so many overtime/shoot-out games. If he can’t we need to move on as they no longer fit our team especially at their cap hit!.

  • ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Anyone know the number of games this year in which the Oilers have come back from being behind to win or get points? I would guess they’re probably close to being on track to breaking their own record this year.

    It’s never a good thing to see the other team score first, but with very few exceptions (maybe the Bluejackets), I’m now never surprised to see the Oilers back in it.

  • ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Of course Letestu scores the winner. Cory Franklin Schneider played his first pro game for the Manitoba Moose, who play in the MTS Centre, which is home to its parent team the Winnipeg Jets, which is Mark Letestu’s plaything.

    Schneider never had a chance.

    • S cottV

      The more we evolve into a mix cycle and rush hockey club, the more Eberle becomes a fish out of water.

      Why wouldn’t anyone want to play more and more like what we saw last night? OK – maybe the Devils were missing their no 1 d man, and that makes it easier, but – we still can go a long ways further toward improving effective 5 man cycling.

      The one and done rushing days of Hall – Nuge – Eberle, just don’t compare in efficiency to what a healthy mix of cycle and rush can bring. I would much rather have McD flying around the o zone, with possession – as opposed to 200 foot south – north – south skates.

      The problem – Eberle is just not equipped to provide a lot of cycle support. Way too soft for that kind of deal and his stick handling prowess is not enough to offset it.

      If Kassian – can generate some tangible offence, the second line looks to be poised to produce on a mix of cycle and rush. That would be huge. If he can’t then better to find someone who can with similar characteristics, rather than throw the one dimensional Eberle back in there.

      Where does it leave Eberle? In the way. He isn’t a 3rd liner, where you would really prefer to have more cycle than rush capability.

      • ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

        There was an interesting moment in the Bruins game after Maroon scored his 3rd goal and Ebs attempted to skate up and congratulate him. Maroon skated away before Ebs could bring it in. Instead Maroon went looking for other team mates to celebrate with. Don’t want to make too much of it and really don’t know what to make of it, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before with this team.

      • btrain

        I have to disagree on a number of levels. First off I was absolutely thrilled to see the team actually prioritize possession. They were passing to keep the puck in the offensive zone rather than passing only to set up scoring chances. They were placing the puck in areas in the offensive zone that gave them the advantage to retrieve. It was a thing of beauty. I hope that we witnessed an evolution of McDavid’s game last night because for the majority of the season, that one an done offense you speak of, very much describes McDavid’s game. Which I believe has been a contributing factor in the lack of success of his wingers.Moreover, he shot every opportunity he had last night, another evolution to his game I can only hope sticks around.

        Now to your Eberle critique. Albeit it was against lesser competition but Eberle’s line was driving possession all night as well. Eberle was keeping the play alive, retrieving pucks, and looking dangerous throughout the evening. Not to mention he was more than sound defensively. So basically he was doing everything you say he can’t do and he did so with a Rookie and a massively struggling Pouliot. His hands and vision are exactly what make him ideal for maintaining possession.

  • S cottV

    Let’s hope Kassian can start generating some tangible offence with Lucic – Nuge.

    It might be there if McL can provide enough patience, to keep them together.

  • Oiler Al

    Take your two points and run. Dont tell anyone you won this game by scoring a whole 2 goals[ in overtime win] against a lame and depleted team. Not mention that if Talbot isnt on his A game this would be a loss.

    43 shots almost half of those came from two players
    [97 % #77].What was everyone else doing.
    The heavy line of Kassian and Lucic had 1 hit.^Ðont expect Nuge to hit.
    Draisailtl was still in his pajams,judging by his effort.

    Nothing wrong with winning the odd ugly one, but lets not plan the parade based on that game.

    • 3 Little Birds

      We did not watch the same game.

      Arguably one of their most dominate possession games of the year. Far out chanced the Devils.

      If not for Schnieder, that would have been a blow out.

      • Oiler Al

        It was so dominant that they had score all of 1 goal in regulation play. Took an OT goal by a 4 th liner to win.,against a team that played the night before, with a depleted line up, and is in 25th place in the NHL.
        Dont ring the possession bell to loud.This game was one shot from being a loss.

          • Oiler Al

            AH, I didnt say the game …sucked … every one of my points were just facts of the game. If they were that dominant the score should have been 6-2 or something.The Leafs chased Schnieder the nite before after 4 quick goals… I would say they were dominant.Possession without scoring and winning is a waste of time.

            PS; Please explain hockey I Q.

          • 3 Little Birds

            “Possession without scoring and winning is a waste of time.”

            They won the flipping game.

            Check out how many comments regarding last nights game completely disagree with your analysis.

          • S cottV

            C’mon Al. They generated enough chances to score 2 or 3 more goals, on any other given night – through the efforts of increased o zone possession. In particular – the first line.

            Besides – even possession for the sake of possession has considerable value, in the worst case scenario – from the efforts of increased o zone possession.

            It’s becoming a growing trend amongst NHL coaches – that the best defence is maintaining possession, in particular in the o zone. Keep away in the o zone, is a safe haven for the puck that is 200 feet from your goal.

            Done right – after an opposition line chases you around their d zone 30 or 40 seconds, and eventually breaks up the cycle – the last thing on their minds is a counter attack. They just wanna change.

            I could probably list 20 benefits to the process.

            Agreed possession for the sake of losing makes no sense, but – strong possession certainly increases your chances to win.