GDB Wrap Up 43.0: First Place is Overrated Anyway

Welp… Final Score: 5-3 Sharks

Seeing the Oilers play a game like this against the Sharks after that blown opportunity against Ottawa was Grebeshkov level of frustrating. Let me explain. The Oilers could have come into tonight’s game on a three-game winning streak with two more points in the bank rather than going up against a team that they’re notorious awful against on the back of a loss. Gord damned Gustavsson. We need these points! Anyway… If the Oilers wanted to get themselves into that top slot in the Pacific Division then they were going to have to get a better start than they did on Sunday, and they were going to need better goaltending. What can I say? I guess I’m a dreamer.

With the way that this game started, I figured that the idea of finishing the night in first place seemed more like a fever dream or a mushroom trip than anything close to reality. Remember when I said the Oilers needed a good start? Didn’t happen. The home side gave up the first goal of the game less than two minutes in and they followed it up by giving the Sharks all kinds of working space to do their thing. As far as starts go, this was Sharknado 4 kind of bad. While Edmonton settled down as the first period continued, eventually tying the game at the 15-minute mark, they were still far too passive and loose in the defensive zone. That extra space gave the Sharks seemingly endless supply of zone time and open looks at the Oilers’ net, an advantage that they cashed in on repeatedly.

At the end of the day, this game was lost as a result of a bad start and an even worse second period. The Oilers didn’t get the lights out goaltending from Talbot that we’ve come to expect, and their mistakes in their own end piled up on them until the comeback was impossible. At times the Oilers looked nothing at all like the team that was supposed to be challenging for first place, but more like the slightly warmed carcass of a highway skunk. The crazy part is that there were also times when the Oilers were able to put the Sharks back on their heels and produce offense like you would expect them to do. Long story short, Edmonton Jeyll and Hyde’d once again whereas the Sharks were consistent for 60 minutes and that was the difference.

I guess first place will have to wait for another day. 

Wrap we must so wrap we shall.



  • Drake Caggiula’s third goal of the year was a big one as it got the Oilers tied up late in the first period (albeit temporarily). The Drake was in the right spot and the right time and used his quick hands to pull the puck forward from behind the goal line and slot it past Martin Jones. 
  • Matt Benning scored his first NHL goal on the weekend and he quickly followed that up with another. Benning scored his 2nd goal of the year early in the third period and it gave the Oilers some hope for a comeback.
  • Oscar Klefbom scored his 7th goal of the season on a quick slapper from the point that beat Jones up high. Klefbom’s goal brought the Oilers back to within one (temporarily) goal and it looked like they were going to pull off the comeback. 
  • The Maroon-McDavid-Draisaitl line was easily the Oilers’ best tonight. They were producing chances all night long and were the only trio that seemed able to generate any consistent pressure of any kind. 
  • Andrej Sekera has been a bright spot this year and I’m greatful for him. He’s still playing above where he ideally would be, but he’s doing so admirably. He played the most minutes of any defender with 22:53.
  • The Oilers killed off both Sharks power play attempts. The PK hasn’t been as strong over the past few weeks, but they were solid tonight. 
  • The Oilers outshot the Sharks 36-28 which was a small victory (I’m reaching here) after getting completely pumped on the shotclock the last time these two teams met. 
  • I’m not happy about how this hockey game played out. Not at all. But the Oilers are still in a playoff spot in January and it’s nice to be angry about the Oilers playing poorly in a big game than it is to be angry about finishing last again. Silver linings, people.


Floor Tacos

  • Horrible start tonight. The Oilers allowed the Sharks to take a lead less than two minutes into the hockey game. Things didn’t get much better from there as Mikkel Boedker went on to score to more goals to complete the hat trick. Strange for a guy that had three goals on the year before tonight. 
  • I hate how much I love Brent Burns. Burns scored his 16th goal of the year by sneaking a quick wrister through traffic and beating Cam Talbot. Burns was a menace all night long, and I couldn’t tell you what I’d give to have a guy with a shot like his patrolling the Oilers’ blue line. 
  • Matt Benning got a free lesson on Logan Couture’s third period goal. Benning looked for a hit and missed, giving Couture a lane to the net for a goal. Benning has mostly been solid back there but this was one of those moments where he looked like a rookie. I’m sure he’ll be mad at himself for that one. 
  • Tonight was not Cam Talbot’s night. I’m not saying that all of the goals were his fault, but he wasn’t the same show stopper that we’ve seen over the past few weeks. Dadbot finished a forgettable night with 23 saves and a .821 save%. 
  • The Oilers were 38% in the faceoff circle tonight. Can’t get much worse. (Nuge 58%, Hendricks 50%, Caggiula 36%, McDavid 25%, Letestu 20%, Draisaitl 18%)
  • The Oilers power play couldn’t get anything done on either of their two chances tonight. They did get some zone time, some nice puck movement, and few shots but they could convert. 
  • Mark Letestu wears the Green Jacket tonight with his -3 in 8:59 on the ice. Almost impressive. Lander was -2 in 3:24. 
  • No McPoints.



01:39 San Jose Mikkel Boedker (4) ASST: Micheal Haley (4), Brent Burns (25) 1-0
15:53 Edmonton Drake Caggiula (3) ASST: Benoit Pouliot (3), Zack Kassian (8) 1-1
19:42 San Jose Brent Burns (16) ASST: Marc-Edouard Vlasic (7), Joe Pavelski (23) 2-1


02:24 San Jose Mikkel Boedker (5) ASST: Melker Karlsson (5), Brent Burns (26) 3-1
08:55 San Jose Mikkel Boedker (6) ASST: Marc-Edouard Vlasic (8), Micheal Haley (5) 4-1


00:22 Edmonton Matthew Benning (2) ASST: Milan Lucic (17) 4-2
03:45 Edmonton Oscar Klefbom (7) ASST: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (12) 4-3
05:06 San Jose Logan Couture (13) 5-3


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  • Muddy

    1. Fight for First
    2. Home Game
    3. Coaches old team

    How on earth does it take you till the third to get up for such an important game? You need to start acting like a 3rd place team in order to stay in third. These games should be like the playoffs for 60 min. Take a night off against Colorado but for God’s sake please always be up for the Sharks.

  • OldOilerFan

    Att one point I was expecting the “longest fart in the world clip ” again from BaggedMilk. That just makes me laugh.

    But hey, they showed some backbone coming back…(briefly)….

  • I’d fault everyone on the ice for that Couture goal. Either touch the puck to get a whistle or skate back into your own zone because you’re letting an untouchable player make the perfect pass. Tough for Benning and a lesson learned, but that situation didn’t have to happen.

    I didn’t mind the Oilers play in the second apart from the 4th line matchups that always favoured the Sharks and gave them a goal almost every time.

    The Nuge/Ebs/Lucic line wasn’t on fire, but at least weren’t a liability. Kassian, Drake and Pouliot were having issues but gave the other team issues. Lander/Letestu/Hendrick’s line though…ouch.

  • Oiler Al

    If they would have played the first two periods,like they did in the third, could probably won this game.

    Too often this team starts their games like they wish they were elsewhere.With chance to displace a team in first place they should have been fired up at puck drop.
    But no, as usual they get scored on very early in the game.!!

    It helps not, when you have a 821 SV% ans 38% in the FO circle.

  • I found they held their own all day, outshooting and outchancing the sharks for most of the 2nd and 3rd periods. They were let down by defensive mistakes but by no means was it a bad game overall for the boys in blue. They were in it.

  • testyesty44

    Despite the fact we got the Loss, we peppered Jones all night- off night for talbot and the boys with multiple blown coverage ( your welcome boedker)
    rest up and lets hammer Taylor Hell and the flamers to finish off the week- 5 more games at home have a great chance to cement our spot up the standings

  • madjam

    Sharks took the foot of the gas after being up 4-1 at end of second . At least early third we got back in contention for a while . We are back fighting L.A. , Calgary and Vancouver for one or two playoff spots . Two games coming up against Flames could be monumental in our drive for a playoff spot . Ducks and Sharks look to be a lock in our division .

    • Been there

      I will respectively disagree with you. Jones was the difference through the first two periods making some crazy saves, and the sharks insurance goal was a fluke off off a leg from a sliding player resulting in the difference.

  • S cottV

    As much as I really like the first line, McL probably needs to break it up.

    Have to have an effective 2nd line.

    McL has to get Lucic going with line mates that can keep the puck in the o zone. Nuge and Eberle don’t work that way.

    Maroon McD Nuge

    Lucic Drai Kassian

    Pouliot Cagguila Eberle

  • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

    Peter Charelli and the Oilers organization are going to wear that Lucic contract big time if they don’t find a centre who can play with him.

    He’s dangerously close to becoming the third LW on the team and this is his first year of a long term contract.

    But, I suppose he brings heart, grit, and some self invented swagger, Oh!! He fights too, that’s important in close games or the last 20 games or so since his last fight.

      • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

        Yep, 3rd in team scoring when gifted PP time with 97 & played 35 games with McDavid, that won’t last to much longer as Maroon blows past his numbers.

        I remember when 14 was second on the team in scoring & he’s complete sh-t this year.

        If Lucic was getting chances that would be struggling, but he can’t generate anything on his own & is constantly four strides behind the pace of the other forwards…

        I stand by what I said, Lucic needs a centre, actually a RHC with good skill so Lucic can give and take passes without changing speeds.

        This happened in both Bos and L.A when he was paired with RHC , this gave Lucic his best offence.

        My guess is he keeps dropping or is put back on 97 line.

        I guessing 97 saves his season.

        • RJ

          Man, you’re on the wrong Oilers website if you want to criticize a highly paid Oiler veteran. Most of these guys spent the past three years wishing for a Lucic-type player to change the make-up of this team. Then when they got the player of their dreams they didn’t realize that the Lucic of 2016 shares the same name as the Lucic from 2011 (when the Bruins won) but that’s where the similarities end, for the most part.

          Lucic needs way too much coddling for an NHL vet with almost seven hundred games in the NHL.

          My guess is he’ll continue to coast until game 60 or so, and then pick it up. If he has a good playoff, then all the Lucic lovers will be back in force. If not they’ll just criticize you for not supporting the team unconditionally. These are the same fans who cheered for Eakins when he was coach.

          Coppernblue and Lowetide are better sites for fans interested in critical analysis.

  • Petrolero

    The Oilers have to make the playoffs this year AT ANY COST! If they don’t they’re going to have to wear the monumental shame of being the sole owners of the record for most consecutive years out of the playoffs.

    They better not forget that.

    • GK1980

      Make the playoffs? Maybe they make the playoffs. It’s a tight race and one small losing streak could see the Oilers looking in. Below 40% in the face off circle will not get you into the playoffs. If this keeps up it may be a disappointing second half.

  • elliotsmom

    I’m not making any excuses for the Oilers—-they didn’t play 60 minutes and that’s on them. Talbot however, is a different issue. First of all, he doesn’t have a backup that he can have confidence in, and apparently it doesn’t seem reliable help is coming, (LB isn’t ready). And he was just snubbed on game day for the All Stars in favour of Martin Jones and Mike Smith. That’s gotta sting.

  • Been there

    I guess I saw a different game than most
    Yes the Oilers started slow especially after the first quick goal, but I thought after the first ten minutes we played hard. Martin Jones was the difference. Sharks scored on their chances but Jones was making sensational stops, Maroon alone could have had a hat trick if not for the sharks goalie. In fact the only thing missing from the Oilers game was a physical aspect outside of Maroon and 1 attempt by Lucic. Not sure who picked the 3 stars but Jones easily should have been #2 if not #1.
    I for one actually like the compete level, not collapsing like years gone by. Most people would have been thrillled at the beginning of the year if we were where we are in the standing in January but now we expect to dominate all? Unrealistic!
    Now for my opinion, I would like to see Kassian get a shot with McDavid and Maroon. I wonder how much more room he would create, fast on the forecheck with the large body and physical edge giving McDavid more space and Maroon coming in to clean up.
    I would then put Drai on the wing with RNH and Lucic, all three speed compliments each other bettter. Eberle and Pouliot have played together lots so chemistry should not be a problem and Either Letestu, Cagggiula or Lander could centre them.
    Just food for thought

  • Hemmercules

    The Oilers have greatly improved but I’m not so sure they are a playoff team just yet. They cough up early goals way too often, they lose the faceoff battle every game and they have huge money locked up in guys that aren’t scoring nearly enough. Lucic, Eberle and Pouliot need to start winning a game or two one of these days. Still in the hunt though and thats all that matters, its going to be a grind to the finish.

    Some bad puck luck last night on a couple goals against and Jones played great. The PP was pretty awful at times. Burns is unreal, if the Oil could land a guy even close to that they would be laughing.

    • I don’t think anyone can know for sure if they are a playoff team, until they play in the play offs. Would you say the Kings are a playoff team, cause right now they don’t have a spot.

      There are teams that make the playoffs, and then there are playoff teams. Right now I’m hoping Edmonton is a team that makes the playoffs, after that I will begin wondering if they are a playoff team or not.

      • Hemmercules

        I was suggesting they wont make the playoffs.

        Another thing I didn’t mention is they lose to bad teams too often as well. And I should add Nuge to the list of guys that need to show up.

        I’m enjoying the season a lot so far. Lots to be happy about. Still quite a few screws loose though. If they make it, anything can happen, but making it is going to be an uphill battle all the way.

        • Thanks for clarifying.

          I disagree though. Currently I think Vancouver’s play off push is a mirage. Looking at that line up, they are a Bo Horvat or Sedin Sister injury away from it all crumbling. I will give props to their coach for getting wins out of such an anemic line up.

          LA does not have Quick. As someone with Budaj in my pool, I can tell you right now that team is very inconsistent, and without Quick I just don’t see that changing. I do think they will make a late season push, as that’s their MO, but whether they get there or not is anyone’s guess.

          Next is Calgary. They had some success at the end of December. And it’s pretty clear TJ Brodie is finally figuring out his new role which is really helping. But that team literally lives or dies off the production of Gadreau. I won’t count them out because that has proven to be stupid, but I will say they are not a better team than Edmonton, nor have a better chance at making the playoffs.

          On the central side, Dallas is just now recovering from injuries, so I could see them starting to push. But both Nashville AND Winnipeg have been struggling all year with full healthy line ups. And now Winnipeg will be without Laine for an extended amount of time.

          Oilers will still need to win games to make the playoffs, but I don’t see them going on some crazy losing streak.

          As for losing against bad teams, in terms of making the playoffs, that’s not good. In terms of competing once there, I’d rather they make the playoffs beating all the teams they’ll have to compete against, rather than be propped up from points they got from lesser teams and show up like Vancouver two years ago. Thinking it was just another regular season game.

          The West, and especially the Pacific is incredibly tight right now, so too soon to book any parades, but a look around the conference confirms every team has significant challenges, and I can’t see enough playoff spots getting out of reach. Hell the Oilers are beating St Louis right now.

          • Hemmercules

            I think Nashville makes it. That 7th and 8th spot is going to be a battle between Oilers, Calgary, Winnipeg, LA and Dallas. Only 6 points separate 5th and 11th right now, thats crazy close. Oilers can’t afford another 5 game skid like earlier in the season or it could be lights out.

          • It’s true, I’m glad the loser points are keeping them afloat, but their last 12 games are: LA, San Jose, Anaheim, LA, San Jose, Vancouver, Vancouver, Anaheim, LA, San Jose, Vancouver, Vancouver.

            They need to start winning right now, or risk facing a huge uphill battle right at the end of the year.

  • whateverhappenedtoearledwards

    After the 1st 10 minutes, in which the Oil could have been down 3-0, goaltending was the difference. Natural stat trick has the Oil having a whopping 20 high quality scoring chances in the game (vs 12 for the Sharks). Hockey gods payback for the Boston game.

      • Doctor Smashy

        Good point…I forgot about the NMC. If the prevailing view is that the first few years of Lucic’s contract will be the best then it might be cause for concern.

        • Hemmercules

          I don’t get why people think Lucic has been garbage this year. He’s on pace for the same points he got last year. He plays a hard game, he has a good shot and he’s a good passer/receiver. Just because his foot speed isn’t great and he doesn’t fight someone every game that doesn’t mean he’s no good. His one timer could use so work, he has missed a few 5 star chances in front of the net. The lines have been a blender this year too, I can’t blame him for not finding immediate and lasting chemistry yet.

          • Doctor Smashy

            Not so much suggesting that he has been bad because, you’re right, his point totals are fine. Someone with the Oilers might be thinking some of that 6 million dollar cap hit could be better spent elsewhere. Did you expect him to be a little better or is this where you thought he would be?

          • Hemmercules

            Lucic is about where I expected him. I thought all the people saying he would have a career year were a little optimistic for sure. I was expecting similar output as last season. I was happy to get him but didn’t like the contract all that much like most people, thats the way it goes though when you sign high profile UFA’s.

            I do think he should have about 4 or 5 more goals after seeing some of the chances he has had. I thought he had a solid game last night, if he plays like that for the rest of the way he might beat his totals from last year.

  • Off topic, but who thinks Thorton and Marleau are gone this summer? If so then what does that team look like going forward? Their D is still great, but then Martin AND Vlasic both only have one more year. I could see Vlasic resigned, but maybe not though. That guy will get huge dollars on the open market. Right shooting Olympic shut down D man who averages just below 40 points a year playing against the toughs. Ya who wouldn’t want that guy?

    Question is, do you think if one or all of those guys go, will San Jose still be a contender with guys like Winnik, Boedker, Couture, Pavelski, Burns, Braun, and Jones?

  • Heschultzhescores

    Eberle….1 goal in 22 games now, his last one was against Buffalo on the PP and it was fortunate to go in. He’s on a torrid 2 goal pace for the rest of the season. 6 Million…all I can say is he should be ashamed of taking that money.

    • Hemmercules

      Its almost weird to see Eberle, Poluliot and Nuge all having a bad year. You would think at least one of them would be doing well. If those three find a way to get going and Lucic gets to another level the team will be pretty dangerous.