It’s hard to win games when stopping the puck is a hope rather than an expectation. Final Score: 5-3 Senators
After the big win against the Devils I was concerned about how much gas the Oilers would have left in the tank for today’s matchup against the Senators. While the Sens haven’t been setting the NHL on fire over the past couple weeks (4-4-2), they’re still a dangerous hockey team when they have the engines firing. The Sens came into this game on a four-game losing streak and it didn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure out that they’d be fired up about reversing the trend. Not to mention, when you have a guy like Erik Karlsson in the mix and Gustavsson in the net, you never know what can happen. The Senators are a beatable team, but the Oilers were still going to have to play well if they were going to win.
One of those things that needed to go right was to find a way to get a strong start even though they played a tough game last night in Boss country, and they were going to have to get saves from Jonas Gustavsson. Unfortunately, the good start was too much to ask for and the goaltending didn’t click either. Rather than hit the ice guns blazing, the Oilers gifted the Senators an early lead as a result of some shoddy defensive zone work and mediocre goaltending as a garnish. The Senators have struggled to score over the past week+ (including the game they lost last night), and to be given four goals through two periods was a
colossal mistake gift from a sloppy Oilers team that seemed to be looking for every possible way to shoot themselves in the foot.
Luckily, the Big Rig, Pat Maroon, knows the codes to the Caramilk secret and he used the powers for good to do everything in his power to get his team back into the game. Patty Maroon scored two two goals in the first half of the middle frame to rally his troops and get the team going. Draisaitl added a third goal shortly after, and the Oilers actually found themselves with a lead. Despite the fine work of Maroon, Drai and friends to claw their way out of the hole they dug for themselves, the Oilers couldn’t hang on long enough to get themselves any points. The biggest problem by my eyes was the inability to get a save. Where Talbot is generally reliable and able to bail his team out, Gustavsson was unable to provide any kind of consistency and they Oilers ended up missing out on points that were there for the taking.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- When you’re hot, you’re hot, and that’s the only word that actually describes Pat Maroon right now. Patty Maroon scored two big, second period goals (his 15th and 16th) to tie up the game and get his team back into a night that looked lost after 20 minutes. Maroon continued his trend of knowing exactly where Connor McDavid needs him to be and he continues to build his case to stick with the captain. Sorry, Milan. Big Rig has five goals in his last three games and it doesn’t look like he’ll be slowing down anytime soon.
- Leon Draisaitl got a friendly bounce on his goal from behind the goal line. Draisaitl threw the puck on net from a tough angle and he got the friendly bounce he was looking for to give him 15 goals on the year. While score the goal was nice I think Draisaitl’s best work came by setting up his teammates all night long. The guy is so good and only getting better.
- MORE MCPOINTS! Connor got his 33rd and 34th assists of the year to extend his lead in the NHL points race.
- Adam Larsson quietly played his 20 minutes and did so as the lone guy in the top-four with a plus rating. I know +/- isn’t the best stat to track defenders, but it is noteworthy considering all three other guys were in the minus column,
- Matt Benning gets big props for defending a teammate and scrapping with Chris Wideman midway through the second period. Check out this fight and all of Benning’s fights on his player page over at HockeyFights.com. I know I’ve said it before but Matt Benning has been found money this season and it’s the kind of score that hasn’t happened around here often enough.
- He may not be what he once was but it’s always a pleasure to listen to Bob Cole’s voice during a hockey game. That man’s voice was the one I grew up to and there’s always a sweet sense of nostalgia whenever I get a chance to hear him call a game, especially an Oilers game. Sure, he may not know people’s names at times but there’s still nothing quite listening to Bob’s silky voice with hockey on my TV machine.
THE FACE PALMERS
- The Oilers need a better backup option than Jonas Gustavsson. The Oilers came roaring back from a two-goal deficit in the second period and Gustavsson allowed two weak goals on four shots. He’s not the answer for that position. Gustavsson finished the night with saves and a .765 save% and was a big reason they lost this hockey game.
- Very soft defensive zone coverage by the Lucic-RNH-Kassian line on the first Ottawa goal. That said, it was probably a saveable puck by Gustavsson who is known to be an adventure out there and I’m not really sure he was in the game in that moment.
- Russell gave the puck away in the defensive zone and the Oilers couldn’t get into the ballpark of getting it back. The Senators moved the puck around Edmonton’s zone with ease and Mike Hoffman had a wide open net to shoot at and he made no mistake.
- Brutal start for the Oilers as they gave up two questionable goals to a Sens team that has struggled to score goals lately. Not a good look.
- Oilers got roasted in the faceoff circle, winning only 43% of the draws they took. (Nuge 58%, Lander 50%, Draisaitl 46%, McDavid 43%, Letestu 33%, Caggiula 27%)
- Edmonton lost the special teams battle as the Senators scored on their lone power play chance and the Oilers could not match that feat with their own opportunity.
- No Puljujarvi again tonight. Well played, Oilers.
|03:36||Ottawa||Zack Smith (9) ASST: Mark Stone (18), Cody Ceci (3)||0-1|
|14:53||Ottawa||PPG – Mike Hoffman (11) ASST: Mark Stone (19), Kyle Turris (13)||0-2|
|05:58||Edmonton||Patrick Maroon (15) ASST: Anton Lander (4), Adam Larsson (5)||1-2|
|07:01||Edmonton||Patrick Maroon (16) ASST: Connor McDavid (33)||2-2|
|12:59||Edmonton||Leon Draisaitl (15) ASST: Connor McDavid (34), Andrej Sekera (15)||3-2|
|13:33||Ottawa||Mark Stone (12) ASST: Zack Smith (8), Derick Brassard (10)||3-3|
|18:14||Ottawa||Tom Pyatt (5) ASST: Cody Ceci (4), Marc Methot (5)||3-4|
|18:38||Ottawa||Empty Net – Kyle Turris (14) ASST: Mike Hoffman (16), Dion Phaneuf (11)||3-5|
BEST OF THE TWEETS
— The Iron-E (@vote4p3dr0) January 9, 2017
— Ryan ? (@IAmByks) January 9, 2017
— allantaylor (@allantaylor) January 9, 2017
Draisaitl’s passing…. he’s up there with Backstrom for best pure passers in NHL.
— Jason Gregor (@JasonGregor) January 9, 2017
— David Smitten (@DavidSmitten) January 9, 2017
To be fair, that empty net had just as much a chance to stop that as gustavsson has had all night @OilersNation
— edmontons #1 taylor (@MemeDamnSure) January 9, 2017
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