Anyone else’s heart still pumping? Final Score: 3-2 Penguins in the Shootout
It’s funny how much can change in a year. When Justin Schultz left Edmonton he was being booed off the ice and now he’s playing on the first pair (Letang is out) and setting career highs for the defending Stanley Cup champs. It’s amazing what can happen when a guy plays with confidence. Over his time here, Schultz was expected to be the guy from day one and it wasn’t a realistic trajectory to expect. Management didn’t protect him with any useful veterans and the Jultz was born as a result. Schultz was cringeworthy over the last year and change that he was here but he certainly didn’t get any support from the management, a move which likely stunted his development as an Oiler. As an additional kick to the pills, we’re now forced to watch him blossom into MacT’s promise in another market. That’s the rebuild in a nutshell, my friends.
As for the game itself, the Oilers had a massive challenge on their hands with the defending champs in town. A big chunk of tonight’s story was obviously centred around McDavid and Crosby but Pittsburgh has way more weapons than only Sid. Malkin has been great all year, Kessel is always dangerous, and anyone that plays with Sid has a decent chance of scoring. If the Oilers wanted to win, they were going to need a better effort than what we’ve seen over the last while. Frankly, the Oilers have been sloppy for weeks and they’ve only been getting away with their terrible puck choices because of Cam Talbot. That wasn’t going to fly against the Penguins, and things didn’t look good early after Edmonton spotted them two first period goals. I’ll say this, that kind of slow start certainly wasn’t included in the quick guide to success, fame, and babes pamphlet that I coloured and sent to the Oilers head office either.
After the Oilers found themselves in a two-goal deficit and not really looking like they were going to be factor after 20 minutes, the game took a hard left in a different direction. The Oilers came out flying and looked like they weren’t going to let this game slip away without a fight. I would love to know what Todd McLellan said to his team between periods because his team came out flying for the final 40 minutes. Edmonton deserves a lot of credit for battling their way back after a tough first period and finding a way to manufacture the two goals they needed to tie the game. While it wasn’t the result we wanted and settling for a loser point sucks, this had to be one of the most exciting games of the year. At the end of the day, the Oilers needed a win and that’s not what happened, but at least they didn’t fold up the tent and quit camping after a little bit of rain.
As much as we can’t be happy with losses at this time of the year, you’d have to admit that the last two periods against Pittsburgh was as good as they’ve looked lately and as far as being entertaining… *whistles*
Wrap it up.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- David Desharnais scored one of the first ugly goals that I’ve seen an Oiler get in a while. Lil D went to the net and banged home the loose puck for his first goal with the Oilers and 5th of the season. The Oilers need to learn that garbage goals count just as much as the pretty passing plays, and it was nice to see them throw the puck at the net and go for the loose change.
- In a surprise to no one, Connor McDavid was the best forward for the Oilers tonight. The Captain was flying all over the ice and seemed to have the puck following him around again. Connor tied the game up on the power play after the puck found him and he made no mistake beat a sprawling Fleury.
- After having a first period that he’d probably want back, Cam Talbot shut the door for the Oilers over the final 45 minutes. The Penguins had some excellent chances and Dadbot was having none of it, finishing the night with 28 saves and a .933 save%. Losing the game in the shootout doesn’t really reflect how well Talbot played over the final 40 minutes.
- The EberNucic line was producing chances again tonight and it seemed like they were going to be in for a goal or two before all was said and done. All three of these guys got chances to score but they didn’t get any puck luck in this one.
- The Oilers were much better in the 2nd period than they were in the first. Rather than sit back and wait for the Penguins to pummel them, the Oilers moved the puck, skated hard, and were able to generate some chances and pressure. They didn’t look like the same team that looked timid and slow in the first period.
- The Oilers were excellent in the faceoff circle tonight, winning 72% of the draws.
- Outshot the Penguins 42-31 and had it not been for Fleury they would have got two points instead of one.
- The PK hasn’t been very good lately but they were perfect tonight, killing off both chances they faced. The biggest kill came in overtime as they fought off a full two minutes of 4-on-3 hockey.
- The Oilers actually swept the special teams battle tonight after they scored the tying goal on the power play midway through the third period.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Milan Lucic made a nice play off the boards to get a shot from the ring wing that beat Fleury but hit the post. The Penguins walked the puck down to the other end, created some pressure, and Nick Bonino finished off the play for 1-0 Pittsburgh lead. Oilers hit the post, other team scores – seems about right lately.
- Malkin’s goal was pure luck. Talbot got a piece of his shot and the puck laid in the net near the goal line. Connor had his stick tied up so he tried to kick the loose puck out of the way but it ended up bouncing off Talbot’s pad and into the net. That’s pretty much how things have been going lately.
- Of course Justin Schultz was going to get a point tonight. Why wouldn’t he?
- How many times did the Oilers hit the post tonight? Two? Three? If they had any luck at all this game would have ended in regulation.
- I’m not a big +/- guy but Oscar Klefbom and Adam Larsson wore the green jackets tonight with a -2 each.
- I hate Marc-Andre Fleury. The Oilers deserved to win that hockey game.
- The refs, as usual, were calling next to nothing tonight. Players were getting dumped all over the ice with no penalties being awarded and the it seems like prison rules is the new norm. The most annoying missed call came after Eberle got a questionable tripping penalty in overtime and after the Oilers had killed it off Schultz dumped Eberle behind the net and got no call.
- That game was way too much fun to watch to have it end in a shootout. How anticlimactic.
- I don’t know if my heart can handle meaningful games in March.
|05:42||Pittsburgh||Nick Bonino (13) ASST: Scott Wilson (15), Justin Schultz (34)||1-0|
|17:25||Pittsburgh||Evgeni Malkin (32)||2-0|
|04:55||Edmonton||David Desharnais (5) ASST: Zack Kassian (13), Kris Russell (6)||2-1|
|12:45||Edmonton||PPG – Connor McDavid (23) ASST: Milan Lucic (23), Leon Draisaitl (33)||2-2|
BEST OF THE TWEETS
@OilersNation wife: are you listening to the Hockey on your phone??
Me: No this is s podcast of National anthems.
— Nathan McLean (@nathanmclean0) March 11, 2017
Schultz helping contribute to goals against the Oilers. Oh the memories!!
— Rick Weidemann (@RPW_1832) March 11, 2017
— Erik Berglund (@Kn1ghtT3mplar) March 11, 2017
You really look at Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in a different light when you start calling him Brian Nugent-Hopkins. Totally different vibe.
— The Towel Boy (@TheTowelBoy) March 11, 2017
@OilersNation think "o dawg" still wouldn't trade Mathews?
— Stephen Mullen (@StephenMullen85) March 11, 2017
THE NATION/APOLLO COLLAB 2.0
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