GDB 62.0 Wrap Up: Keeping An Even Keel

Wrap up AMA


It was close, but not quite close enough. Final score: 2-1 Capitals.

Todd McLellan doesn’t generally mince his words after a loss. If he’s disappointed in his team he isn’t afraid to say so. So his measured reaction to Edmonton’s defeat on Friday is telling, and it should be said entirely appropriate under the circumstances: 

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

It’s one of our 82. I think this morning I said if we played really well and left here we wouldn’t get too high and if we played poorly and left with a loss we couldn’t over-evaluate. We believe that we can play with the top teams in the league and we think that we can compete with them. Tonight on the road, in the middle of a long road trip, we played against a real good team and pushed them right to the end. We’ll take that. Unfortunately we didn’t get the points but we’ll move on.”

McLellan’s response is understandable. It was Edmonton’s third game in fourth nights. It came against the best team in the league, a team which has not lost a home game in 2017. It came without top defensive defenceman Adam Larsson vs. a foe that has scored 5-6 goals in 11 straight on home ice. 

None of that changes the fact that the Oilers lost, or the difficulty they had generating quality chances. It’s merely helpful context. Edmonton is now 5-5-0 for February, and of the five times they’ve lost this was the least disappointing of the bunch.

This tough six-game road trip always looked to be a test. so far the Oilers are at 0.500 against some very decent opponents, and the challenge now is to finish on a winning note in games against Nashville on Sunday and St. Louis on Tuesday. 

The Goals

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

It isn’t shown on the highlight, but this one started on the Oilers breakout. Matt Benning retrieveed a Washington dump-in and whipped it around the boards to Patrick Maroon, who tipped it out to centre. Ex-Oiler Taylor Chorney then took the puck and fed it back to Wilson for another quick zone entry, this time one where Washington was able to gain the line with possession as Edmonton executed an ill-timed change. 

Matt Benning had a tough night and wasn’t assertive enough here, but most of the time with a shot from that far out it wouldn’t matter. The only reason it did in this case was because an effective screen by Daniel Winnik prevented Talbot from picking up the shot in time to do anything about it. 

The Oilers knotted the game 1-1 on their first shift of the second period. Connor McDavid lost the opening draw, but an effective attack by Leon Draisaitl resulted in Edmonton gaining possession almost right away. Kris Russell took advantage of some open ice, skating the puck out the defensive zone and then dumping it into Washington territory, a technique which can be remarkably effective at creating turnovers if Patrick Maroon happens to be thundering in on the opponent who retrieves the puck.. 

Although the immediate cause of the goal was Draisaitl jumping on a turnover, that’s the sort of thing that happens to a team that can keep pressure up in the offensive zone, as the Oilers did here. It took Draisaitl’s shot to finish off the play, but that pressure was a concerted effort by the entire McDavid line and the Andrej Sekera/Russell pairing. 

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Draisaitl undid some his fine work on Edmonton’s second goal here, when his neutral zone turnover allowed the Capitals to attack the Oilers zone with possession – again taking advantage of a line change to sneak in on the far side of the ice. Brandon Davidson also had a chance to regain the puck at one point during the cycle, but couldn’t get it under control and was quickly out-manned. 

As for the goal itself, one would like to see Eric Gryba respond a bit more quickly to the presence of a shooter like Justin Williams. That’s also a pretty sharp angle for a goal against; as much as the puck was on a tee and Williams blistered it that’s not a goal Cam Talbot usually allows. 

The loss keeps Edmonton from overtaking the Anaheim Ducks in the Pacific division standings. Both Anaheim and San Jose have had underwhelming runs of late, but the Oilers’ own mediocre play over the last 10 games has kept them from taking advantage. 

On the bright side, that isn’t likely to continue. After the final two games of this road trip, Edmonton will play its next eight games and 11 of 13 overall in March on home ice . If the Oilers are going to make a run at the division title this season, that’s when it will happen. 

  • Heschultzhescores

    The guys played well, no powerplays again…yet I know I saw several infractions committed by Washington players. I went back 5 games, could be more, but the Oilers have had less powerplay opportunities than the last 5 teams they played, and in two of them they hand no PP opportunities, two others they had 1. Are teams really playing that clean or are the refs turning a blind eye towards the calls?

  • Strottie

    That’s one of those games where some secondary scoring would have been great to have. I’d love to see Chiarelli go after some guys before the deadline and have them meet us in Nashville: that third line is as ugly as it was when I read the GDB.

    Personally tired of seeing Caggiula playing at the NHL level but can’t expect anything to change this late in the season. Boggles my mind as to why Slepyshev sat during tonight’s game.

    The reffing was a stinker. The game was a stinker. Onto the next.

  • Mr. McDavid

    Mr.Drisatle double clutched on
    Four different occasions , and all of
    Them lead directly to turnover s
    And the game winner . Bad game
    In that sense His goal was awsome
    He rarely has a bad game.
    Bring on Nashville.

  • The guys were burnt most of the third. You could really tell with the increase in mistakes as time wore down. Still, a good effort against the best team in the league right now. I’d like to see Nuge and Ebs pick up some slack though. We haven’t seen either at 100% for most of the year.

  • usetobewise

    It’s Saturday at the time of this post (No longer positive Friday), so I’m now free to say that I still really don’t like Drew Remenda’s annoying drivel during the games. That will be all for now folks. #replacedrewremenda

  • slats-west

    A few thoughts ….

    – still a team that won’t shoot first and wants to tic tac toe a goal when you’re in a tough place to win and goals hard to come by. McDavid guilty late in third on a 3 on 2….goalies and Dman are really starting to cheat pass on him.

    – Other guilty parties were Big Rig who use to shoot the puck hard from everywhere is now thinking pass first??? With the net empty he was in front of the net and could not get the puck to settle when a quick release would have been his “old” play

    – as for the replays above what you don’t see in that clip just prior was a brutal missed penalty on a pick play on Gryba …that’s why he was late getting to JW. Brutal no call on “the most penalized team in the league?????”

    – I don’t think Winnik screened Dadbot I think it was Sekera … need that one back especially on a “non-sniper” like Wilson ….brutal.

    – what I did like was the depth of our dman in another game without #6 … Gryba is making a good case to remain when Nurse comes back

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    Far be it from me to tell McDavid how to play hockey, but you can see D men keying in on the fact that he’s always looking to pass. The guy can thread a needle in a hurricane and he makes some passes that don’t even seem possible, but if he started shooting more, opponents would have to respect that fact and he’d open up more lanes for himself.

    • Boom or Bust

      Your s*%ts weak soccer troll. Maybe This weekend you should finally leave your Moms basement go get some fresh air, clear your head. Try talking to a real live person. Then comeback and try to troll a bit better…lately you’ve been off.

      • I am Batman

        Is there a chance he is not trolling and that on this one he actually has a point?

        I do get nervous about losing games where Talbot is in because I get worried about fatigue becoming an issue. And armanus in his trolly way is right: we have no backup goalie who can come in and steal us one. So if Talbot game goes off the cliff, we are hooped.

        Let’s treat people for what they say or do, not for what they said or did.

        I’m the first one to say that armanus most of the time is nothing more than a cockroach, but in that post, he is right

        • TruthHurts98

          I’ve read a couple of rumors that Oilers are working on getting Retto Berra from Florida for the backup. I saw multiple rumors (that’s all they are) that Eberle to the Islanders for Strome plus picks. TSN had that one reported saying they might add Davidson and something else for Boychuk and Halak if Snow took back salary. I wish he was up for that. I think PC will make a couple moves because lets face it: this is a one line team. I really wish Connor would shoot more, he would open up so many more passing lanes and have a few more goals in the process. Reimer didnt even play the shot last game knowing he would pass every time. All goalies are doing it now as well as defensemen. Never thought I would say it, but be selfish once in a while!!! It would also be nice if the 18 million dollar line could earn half their salary at least. End of rant.

          • oilersfan497

            I’m not sure how this makes him any more of a fool than the one who responded to Arminius: you. I don’t normally comment on grammar because I suck at it, but it hurts to read your comments. Most importantly though, ‘I am Batman’ wasn’t simply defending Arminius. He was defending his point. Batman was pointing out that we don’t have a real backup, and that you should respond rationally to people even if they themselves are often irrational. An idiot can say something true too.

          • Boom or Bust

            I can’t stand commenters like you who go back and forth about grammar and spelling!! Who gives a crap. What are we all teachers now on Oilernation. What a waste of time. As far as Arminius goes…anyone on this site knows he’s a garbage troll. I will comment on him as I see fit!!

  • oilerjed

    Yet another game where the other team has zero penalty minutes?? hat is up with that? With the two chintzy calls made against the Oil it is very hard to believe that the hook on Lucic etc couldn’t have been called.

  • OTOF2

    Why does Talbot insist on going down for every shot? If he would have just stood there for Williams top shelf blast the puck would have bounced off his shoulder. Did he play like that in NY or is this something that the Oils goalie coach is promoting?

    • BobbyCanuck

      Almost, if not all NHL goalies play the butterfly style.

      It takes more skill to raise the puck off the ground, the butterfly style, along with the size of the blocker and glove effectively means that a shooter has to get the puck at least 2 feet above the ground to have any hope of scoring a goal, especially if shooting from around the blue paint area.

      Takes a lot of skill to roof the puck from in close, we used to have a player like that, his name was Eberle, don’t know what happened to him

      Kidding, two weeks ago I wanted to see him on waivers, I have been impressed with his back/forecheck, and hustle, as of late. I even saw him bodycheck a D-Man last night. I still think our making the play-offs or going past the first round are going to live and die with RNH/Ebs either producing or not

    • Heavy Stick

      Just wondering if you know the game. In the “old” game goalies were generally smaller. They had smaller equipment and wore no mask. The stood up for safety. Many goals were scored low.
      Now they take the bottom away with the butterfly aND they can see the puck around legs not bodies. This forces shots and up high where there are big bodies including the goalies giant equipment.

      • OTOF2

        So a goalie should go down every time before he even looks at the shot to see if it is coming high or low? I know the tendencies and the butterfly style but there is still a time and place. This was a high shot from a bad angle all the way from the boards. Does a goalie not try to read a long distance shot before just flopping everytime? I have seen other goalies make stand up saves – not often but yes when it is a high shot from a bad angle and far away. This shot shouldn’t have gone in so I find it hard to defend the way Talbot played it.

        • TruthHurts98

          As a goalie myself I would have done the same thing. There are so many screens and moving players. It was a perfectly placed shot that Holtby, Price and other goalies would have let in. Talbot is top ten in the best league in the world. Talbot wasn’t the problem in that game, not even close. Lack of any production from the other lines was. Same old story. Have you ever played hockey???

          • OTOF2

            So because you would have done the same thing that makes it excusable for an NHL goalie? Funny. The only reason we could see that the shot was well placed is because it got past Talbot. It should have hit his shoulder and stayed out if he played it properly. It was not a shot that should have went in. Talbot would probably say so himself. And ya I did play hockey. Played up to midget AAA.

  • McDavid's Comet

    Reto Berra has pretty good numbers, would be a good upgrade over Brossoit as back-up and could be the back-up that eventually replaces the starter kind of goalie.

  • Valar Morghulis

    Must be hard to have no friends and arms growing out your anus.

    Oilers lose and there are still twice as many comments as a Flames win.

    I guess it’s no wonder those pathetic pieces of sh!t have to come here.

    Reminds me of Stewie Griffin trying to get attention, “Mom…momma…mommmy…mom…Lois…”

  • McPucker

    Still concerned with the Oiler’s lack of grade A scoring opportunities.

    It was a good game to watch. Talbot played great. For sure had to make more quality saves than the Washington goalie.

    Losing 2-1 to a team like Washington isn’t too bad. It’s just the ‘1’ they’re getting against quality teams that’s a concern.

    • Randaman

      Passing up quality shots so they can make another pass is part of the problem.

      When they get home the fans should scream SHOOT way more often. It doesn’t look like the coaching staff is getting through.

  • The Future Never Comes

    Don’t like that Cagiulla is penciled into every game automatically like he’s a given, I don’t think he’s quite earned it yet. I think if we want a shot he should be on the sidelines come playoffs, Khaira brings more to the table. Secondly, what about trading Davidson for a legit forward, or does he not have enough time left on his contract to be attractive/ would need protection?

  • Coach Todd

    “It’s one of our 82. I think this morning I said if we played really well and left here we wouldn’t get too high and if we played poorly and left with a loss we couldn’t over-evaluate.”

    Ralph Kruger must look at this weak drivel and shake his head. How to fail a motivation class by Todd from Sasky.
    Yes… I get the “realistic” take on the situation and yes Washington is a good team and yes its 3 in 4 and all that jazz. But Todd has a capacity to set em up for failure in his uber honest framing of the situation. It is very odd, Rah rah Ralph I got… this guy puzzles me.

  • Rob...

    Shame on TSN for their game summary article that didn’t mention the Oilers playing 3 in 4 nights, nor mentioning Adam Larsson being MIA. Instead they focused on high-fiving the Caps for their narrow victory.

  • Oiler Al

    To be honest I figured the outcome would be worse, not that a moral victory helps much . But for how and who they played 1 point would have been nice, but not to be.
    Issue; old aged problem, scoring only 1 goal, wont win you too many games.They can’t seem to snipe?[ look at Caps scoring two goals from the other side of the tracks.

    Third period the team looked tired. [ Maroon and Lucic looked tired at the 1 minute mark of the game.]

    PS: note to Lucic, Gary Roberts says ” give me a call”.

  • S cottV

    Big game in the balance and you need more alertness from veterans.

    Gryba should not have been that confused on coverage. Quick head on a swivel and in a split second u see the need to move to the goal scorer.

    Worse – Eberle has to delay on that change. Someone needed to push the defenders back another 15 feet, before he can check out like that.

    Details – to get to the next level.

  • IRONman

    2-1 is huge improvement over last 10 years

    We need 40 pt d right handed. They are like gold.

    Shattenkirk would be awesome. And Boyle. And Iginla

    Load up like 2006.

    You never know until you try