GDB 42.0 Wrap Up: Capital Punishment

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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.

We wrap.

THE BRIGHT SIDE

Brunch

  • 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

Dishes

  • 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. 

SCORING SUMMARY

1ST PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
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

2ND PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
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

3RD PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
18:38 Ottawa Empty Net – Kyle Turris (14) ASST: Mike Hoffman (16), Dion Phaneuf (11) 3-5

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  • I don’t mind front-loading this top line, because I felt the other lines held their own tonight.

    To keep Ottawa to 4 shots in the 2nd period, that’s credit to all 4 of the Oiler lines. McDavid’s line was the one creating the best chances, sure, but the other ones were also cycling it deep in Ottawa’s zone and putting them on their heels.

    The 3rd period saw a lot of trapping on Ottawa’s part, something that wouldn’t have been possible if they were behind or tied.

    The game, and the score, would have been drastically different if Gustavsson made all 4 stops in the second period.

    Yes, I’m gonna pin this loss on Gus. I wouldn’t be doing so if the goals against were similar to the Pou giveaway a few nights ago, or odd man rushes against. Gus was in the right position to the make the stops but somehow let the pucks go through him. Very saveable shots against.

  • testyesty44

    Ill never forget Jonas Gustavvsons last NHL game….

    For those of you saying call up Brossoint have a look at Nick Ellis;s numbers instead.

    As fun as it is to waste 2 points when we have a cushion I would rather not.

    never. ever. evvvvver play Jonas AGAIN

  • Free Bird

    As I live out east, this was my first chance to see McDavid play live and despite the loss, it was a great experience. The Canadian Tire Centre wasn’t sold out tonight, so I found other empty seats and viewed the game from a different perspective each period. A few things really stood out:

    – As others have mentioned, Gustavsson is not a good goalie. His only technique is to drop into the butterfly and hope the puck hits his big body. There was no reaction from his pads, gloves or blocker to redirect rebounds and his reflexes to react to loose pucks was a half-second slower than an average NHL goalie.

    – Sekera and Larsson both look solid. They are a notch above the rest of the d-core. Each has the instincts and the skating ability to anticipate the play, turn noise into silence, and control the transition game. Klefbom looked invisible tonight (which was a good thing given the d-zone problems in this game) until the third period where he had two good rushes but he ended them both with a low percentage shot attempt. The skating ability is there but he doesn’t show the quick mental processing like Sekera/Larsson.

    – Benning had some bad luck getting the puck caught in his feet a few times and looked panicky and indecisive on several occasions. His game got a little better after his fight, but it felt like he was in over his head tonight. He’s a rookie and should be sheltered more.

    – The transition game was the biggest problem in the first period. The Senators played with three forwards fully back and in their respective slots, so their d-men always had 1/2 passing options coming off a rebound or takeaway. The Oilers’ forwards played too far forward, so their d-men were frequently stuck with no passing options in transition (leading to a d-zone turnover or an uncontrolled zone exit). Playing further up helped in the second period though: the two-line passes caught the Senators on the long change a few times.

    – The Nuge-Lucic-Kassian line doesn’t work. Lucic wants to play a dump-and-chase game and cycle the puck in deep while Nuge wants to play a finesse pass-and-shoot game. Either one of them changes their style or TM should put them on separate lines.

    – McDavid and Maroon have great chemistry. TM has to keep these two together.

  • FISTO Siltanen

    I’m curious to see what comes tomorrow.

    Seems to make sense that they gave The Monster one final start to see if there was anything there.

    Seems to make sense to allow JP finish the road trip he started.

    Seems to make A LOT of sense now to send both of them down and recall a couple of bodies. Thinking Slep and LB.

  • toprightcorner

    BM, you need to hire a grade 6 student to proof read your articles and correct your grammar. I hate the grammar police as much as the next guy but when I have to re-read some of your sentences a few times to figure out what your saying, their is a problem!

    • dougtheslug

      And when you use the possessive “their” when you mean to use the introductive pronoun “there”‘ , well, as they say, “…they’re really having their problems there.”

  • toprightcorner

    I am not gonna blame the Monster for the loss. Could he have made some big saves to win the game? Sure, but hoping for big saves doesn’t mean the goalie played bad.

    1st goal – defensive tire fire and the puck was bouncing all over the place, when the shot actually came, Nuge’s stick was knocked out of his hand with the shot which chanced the puck angle and made it a tough read. Fault to defense.

    2nd goal – tick tack toe with a great pass on the PP, no chance for a save.

    3rd goal – 3 on 2 with a nice play with a wide open lane to the net, Gustufsan slides across and a well placed shot beats him. You hope the shot hits the goalie in that case because that not skill that stops that puck, every goalie hopes it hits them,but it didn’t. If the Oilers score that goal everyone talks about the nice breakout and pass, not the goalies fault.

    4th goal – guy wide open in front of the net and gets a feed from behind the goal line. A save you hope for but not the goalies fault if they score. – defensive fault

    Sure, big saves may have changed the outcome, but that is different than a goalie having a poor game giving up weak goals.

    If everyone blames the Monster for those types of losses, then Talbot should get way more credit for the games the Oilers win.

  • Harry2

    What a disgusting game by Gustavsson.

    There now that thats out of the way. Does anyone else think that Lucic reminds them of Rick Vaughn from Major League 2? Gets the big contract then turns into a pretty boy sell out has been.

    I mean im not talking about the points its more about the toughness to his game. I want the Lucic that leveled Miller or the one that slapped around Vancouver in the finals a couple years back.

    One can only hope he turns the physicality up a few notches down the stretch

  • Heschultzhescores

    Just did Gustavsson’s career save percentage .898 over 9 seasons. I think that is all the answer you need. No NHL goaltender should be under .900 IMO, and preferably well over .900

  • RJ

    A couple days ago a few people suggested that Eberle should be left exposed in the expansion draft. And Team Eberle came out in force sticking up for their hero. I didn’t comment at the time, but I would say this: if Eberle is the elite offensive juggernaut his fans keep saying he is, I would expect a nice run like we see from Maroon. Not just tonight or the past few games. Every game Maroon plays with McDavid, he’s a threat to score (14 points in 16 games last season, not sure what the stats are this season). Maroon should stay with McDavid the rest of the season.

    As for Gustavsson, what did you expect? Willis did an article back in July:

    “Edmonton’s deliberate decision to pass on players with vastly superior track records is difficult to defend, particularly since it was obvious at the start of free agency that there were more goalies available than there were NHL jobs.”

    Just about everyone available was better than Gustavsson, but that was PC’s guy. An extremely favourable schedule to start the season has meant that having Gustavsson as a back-up hasn’t hurt them too badly….yet. It’s only a matter of time where it will. And Brossoit is not blowing up the AHL this season, so I wouldn’t expect him to come in and be a marked improvement. Ellis has been better but he’s a rookie with 11 or 12 pro games under his belt. That’s not really a recipe for success.

    I won’t get into Puljujarvi again. If he’s not going to play at the NHL level at least 10-12 minutes a game, then he should be in the AHL. But TM knows best right?

    Gee who could have foresaw that a hole in the back-up spot or lack of depth at RW might negatively impact them? Oh that’s right. Everyone but the look-aid drinkers and Oilers interns.

  • Mitch92

    I feel bad for Gus but I told my wife last night that I would not be surprised if he gets waived today. With the brow beating that Gus is taking from Oiler Nation today, it would be easy for management to justify a roster shake-up.

  • Doug Weight

    Ok, to start things off. Gus was brutal, if my math is right and there is very little reason it would be I have his save percentage for the night at .750 which is nowhere near acceptable. It is time for Chi to cut his loss and get someone better or bring up LB or Ellis. That performance is unacceptable and it cost us the game. In all other leagues you lay a stinker like that when you’re on the fringe; you are gone the next morning. It lets the team know that all players are accountable

    Now that we have that cleared up lets look at the positives here. Out shot Ottawa 38-17 I believe. Absolutely dominated the 3rd period and most of the second but could not get a goal to drop. It is killer to lose out on points at this stage of the season when we are in the hunt for a playoff spot.

    BUTT, lets look at the state of complaints here at ON. Last few seasons, we had no starting goalie, no 1st line center, had about 6 defense men who should have been slotted into the 6/7 role on the depth chart and Dallas Eakins was around at one point.
    This year we are complaining about a lack of secondary scoring, and our back up goalie. MUCH much much easier problems for Chi to fix.

    Also, we all have gotten our digs in at Gus. Well deserved as I said but can we switch the dialogue here to how brutal the Nuge/Kassian/Lucic line was… Nuge was a ghost, Lucic looked like he was playing with ankle weights and Kassian seemed almost dis interested. That is a line of 2- 6 million dollar players and is unacceptable to be that bad and should be the ones getting ripped if our boy Gus didnt have the performance of a life time.

    Finally, i liked the Poui, Cagu, ebs line tonight.I thought even though he didnt produce Poui had his best night of the season. He was skating moving the puck well was in the play, had a great chance and set up Ebs for another one. Now make those go in and everyone here is happy.

  • The Senators cheated and played Dion Lurch Phaneuf far too little. To be fair to Jonas G. Riding pine for months and then getting chucked into a live bullet situation is going to be tough for the best of goalies.

    It was for all intents like watching the Flames on the few nights Kipper used to take off….. one of his backups went a complete year and never won a game. Might actually have been noodles. Lost every game he played in. Without some sort of regular game action.. Goose has an impossibly tough gig and he is lousy at it. Predictably. The fact that he was suspect to begin with, well, that illustrates organizational issues above his pay grade.

  • whateverhappenedtoearledwards

    I hope the Oil don’t make their roster decisions based on ON chatter. If they did there would be close to a 100% turnover every month.

    LB has a .907 save % in the A, this doesn’t look like a player who we should have confidence in at the NHL level. Ellis has only played 11 pro games.

    The Oil have 2 back to backs in the next 3 weeks, something may happen soon.