Take that Corsi Cats! Final Score: 4-3 Oilers
After spreading their cheeks and dropping a fresh road turd on the ice in Tampa last night, I was really curious to see how the Oilers were going to bounce back against a better team tonight. Edmonton hasn’t played all that well to start their road trip and the games are only going to get tougher as they go along. Coming up with a decent effort against the Panthers could do wonders to help turn around the mini-tailspin that the team finds themselves in, despite stealing a win in Chicago. Long story short, the Oilers needed to play well and they needed to do it for 60 minutes. Did it happen? Close enough.
As though they read my GDB from this morning, the Oilers had a much better start to the game than they had last night against the Lightning. Not only did they find a way to grab themselves an early lead, they also prevented the Panthers from instantaneously responding with a goal of their own. It looked like clear sailing early on. But after winning the first period, it was important that the Oilers not allow their level of play to sag or give the Panthers unearned chances to get themselves back in it. Unfortunately, that’s the opposite of what happened. Rather than hit the ground running and keeping their checking game on point, the Oilers allowed goals in the first and last minutes of the second period along with a blown coverage stinker as a cherry on top.
After grabbing and losing leads on three separate occasions, the Oilers allowed the Panthers to hang around in a game that should have been out of reach. It seemed like the kind of storyline that was going to bite them in the ass, you know? With the game heading into the third period tied at three, it really was anyone’s guess as to who would come out on top. There was a little bit of Jekyll and Hyde going on in the Oilers defensive zone and with Sekera leaving early it only added to the problem. Fortunately, the Oilers were able to bend without breaking and keep the Panthers at bay despite their onslaught of pressure. With the game tied the Oilers needed a hero and it was the silent assassin, Kris Russell, with his first goal of the year, that gave the Oilers a win and two much-needed points out of Florida.
Wrap it up.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Oscar Klefbom had a goal disallowed last night because of a ridiculous coach’s challenge, but tonight’s marker definitely counted for his 11th of the season. Klefbom one-timed a loose puck from the point that beat Reimer and took a friendly bounce off the post. Sexbom has six points in his last five games and all of a sudden the Oilers may have found a defenceman that can produce a little bit of offence from the backend. It was also the second straight night where he played over 26 minutes.
- The Oilers were back on their heels after Florida tied the game up at one and it looked like they had a good chance of taking the lead. That was, until the offensive warlord known to earth people as Eric Gryba scored his second goal of the year and gave his team back the lead.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is one of the players that has been called out for needing to produce more offence and he made good on that tonight with a greasy goal (his 13th) in front of the net.
- Kris Russell picked the perfect time to score his first goal of the year as he jumped into the play and put home a wonderful pass from Leon Draisaitl. This was Russell’s first goal in 61 games and you know he’s happy to get that monkey off his back.
- Connor McDavid clearly did not appreciate going pointless last night and he spent tonight’s game smashing the turbo button that no one else seems to know about or have access to. Connor finished the night with an assist and five shots but likely should have had more given the number of 2-on-1s he was involved in.
- Cam Talbot was a little bit shaky in the first two periods but really shut the door for the third. The Panthers had 13 shots in the final frame and Talbot stood tall and kept his team in the lead. Dadbot finished the night with 31 saves and a .912 save%.
- Todd McLellan put Lucic-Nuge-Eberle together to try and pull each other out of their offensive ruts. From where I blog, the EberNucic experiment worked better tonight than it has in a while. The trio combined for three points and could have had more with a little bit of luck.
- Jagr is the best and I’m not ashamed to say that I love that old man. Would have preferred if he stayed off the scoresheet, though.
- Big thanks to James Reimer for being really mediocre tonight.
THE FACE PALMERS
- For the second night in a row, the Oilers allowed a goal within the first minute of a period. Florida tied the game at one only 21 seconds into the second period and it put the Oilers back on their heels. Not exactly the best way to build on an impressive opening 20 minutes.
- Edmonton was sloppy on the Colton Sceviour’s second period goal. Simple as that. Lucic left his man alone and the Panthers were able to tie the game up at two. Attention to details.
- The Oilers allowed a goal in the first (Barkov) and last (Marchessault) minutes of the second period and both of the goals were completely preventable. Lock it up.
- The Oilers lost Andrej Sekera after only 8:12 minutes on the ice after blocking a shot with his arm. He came back for a single shift after being in the training room for 10 minutes but that was it. Losing Sekera long term would be devastating for the Oilers. Hopefully, Larsson will be back soon.
- Why is it that the Oilers have been getting so few power play chances over the last three games? I find it hard to believe that both the Panthers and Lightning have teams filled with Lady Byng candidates. One chance? Give me a break.
- Meanwhile, the Panthers scored two power play goals tonight and punished the Oilers for both penalties. Bad combo.
- The Oilers were once again sub-50% in the faceoff circle (48%).
- Only five shots for the Oilers in the third period as they basically just sat back and held on until the final buzzer sounded. It was stressful, man.
|05:18||Edmonton||Oscar Klefbom (11)||1-0|
|00:21||Florida||PPG – Aleksander Barkov (15) ASST: Jussi Jokinen (11), Aaron Ekblad (11)||1-1|
|10:26||Edmonton||Eric Gryba (2) ASST: Mark Letestu (17), Kris Russell (6)||2-1|
|15:53||Florida||Colton Sceviour (8) ASST: Jussi Jokinen (12), Keith Yandle (27)||2-2|
|18:59||Edmonton||Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (13) ASST: Jordan Eberle (24), Milan Lucic (21)||3-2|
|19:56||Florida||PPG – Jonathan Marchessault (18) ASST: Keith Yandle (28)||3-3|
|12:02||Edmonton||Kris Russell (1) ASST: Leon Draisaitl (31), Connor McDavid (48)||4-3|
BEST OF THE TWEETS
— Shawn Clint (@raingump) February 23, 2017
Is Klefbom just figuring out how good he really is?
— Matt Henderson (@Archaeologuy) February 23, 2017
— Sean Maloughney (@SMaloughney) February 23, 2017
— Laura Chinery (@Hatshep12) February 23, 2017
— Kevin Jesus (@GlobalJesus) February 23, 2017
— Carmen Chinery (@geology24_7) February 23, 2017
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