Welp… As far as ugly finishes go that ranks right up there. Final Score: 4-1 Canadiens
I can’t even begin to stress how important tonight’s game was for the Oilers. After the Flames beat Winnipeg easily last night (thanks Jets durrr), a game that knocked the Oilers down into a wildcard spot, it was imperative that they used tonight’s game in hand to get themselves back up on top. While the Canadiens are a beatable team they are also a hot and dangerous team, going 7-3-0 in their last 10 games before tonight’s contest. To beat them, Edmonton was going to need to get more of the effort that we saw in the last two periods of Friday night’s game against the Penguins rather than the sit back and wait for doom approach that they took in the first. As we now know, the team that pushed Pittsburgh right to the wire on Friday night was not the one that showed up tonight.
Neither team had a particularly strong start tonight and it felt like both teams spend the first 10 minutes trying to figure each other out. The passing wasn’t particularly strong, there were plenty of whistles to interrupt the flow of the game, and neither team was able to produce much of anything. Unfortunately, the Habs figured out what they needed to do to settle in and get their game going while Edmonton looked like they weren’t really sure whether or not it had even started. For the second game in a row, the Oilers took the first period off before deciding that it was time play some hockey. Once again we saw a different Edmonton Oilers team in the middle frame and they ended up outplaying the visitors and winning the period. I’m not saying that it was a perfect 20 minutes of hockey, but they found ways to bend without breaking and also gave themselves enough offence to take a lead into the third period.
Heading into the third, I was hoping that the Oilers weren’t going to have to rely so heavily on Cam Talbot to maintain their lead, but that was the opposite of what happened. Even though both sides fired away with an array of shots and chances it was only the Canadiens that were able to get anything past the keeper. Montreal put home two goals in just over a minute, Carey Price went into lockdown mode and all of a sudden the Oilers went from looking at points to looking at an extended losing streak. After Alex Galchenyuk’s friendly bounce goal beat Talbot it seemed like nothing could stop the wheels from falling off. I mean, how else would you describe when you allow four uncontested goals to lose in the third period when you had a lead when it started? The Oilers had a chance of climbing up the Pacific Division standings and they blew it by not being ready to play.
Outside of a few bursts here and there, the Oilers didn’t deserve to win the hockey game and they had better learn that lesson pretty quick. Too many more of these kind of nights and they’re going to be on the outside looking in.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Milan Lucic was an absolute beast on the sequence that led to his 15th goal of the year. The big man basically threw Emelin off of him at the Oilers blue line before walking the puck all way down to the Habs zone where he beat Carey Price cleanly with a heavy wrister.
- Props to the EberNucic line as they continue to produce some wonderful chances throughout the game. This line has responded ever since Todd McLellan put them back together with the tasks of digging themselves out of the holes they were all in.
- Cam Talbot was fantastic tonight, shutting the door on the Canadiens in the face of some excellent scoring chances. Had it not been for Galchenyuk’s puck luck it would have been Talbot that was the reason that the Oilers were able to hang on. Talbot certainly wasn’t the problem as his night finished with him allowing two goals on 39 shots for a .937 save%.
- I get to write about the Oilers being solid in the faceoff circle again. I don’t know where the dominance has come from over the past couple games but it’s sending this guy right here from six to midnight. The Oilers finished the night at 67% on the dot.
- Great tilt by Darnell Nurse and Michael McCarron in the first period. Ol’ Darryl was angry and took out that anger on the Canadiens’ face with a collection of fist kisses. To McCarron’s credit, he turned it up as the fight progresses but my judging card goes to Nurse. As always, you can check out the fight on Nurse’s player page over at HockeyFights.com.
- I will never get tired of Bob Cole’s voice. I know the ol’ boy has lost a step in terms of announcing but the man is a legend and hearing the voice I grew up on is always nice.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Paul Byron’s goal was annoying for a few reasons but the first being that the Oilers were outworked below their own goal line. For some reason, both defencemen were behind the goal line along with a forward and no one was covering the front of the net. Once Byron got the puck he had an open lane to the front of the net. Byron added an empty-netter late in the third to seal the game at 3-1 (the Canadiens weren’t done, though).
- Alex Galchenyuk’s goal is so annoying because it was a lucky bounce that beat Talbot and went in just below the crossbar. Awful luck. Brutal.
- Max Pacioretty added a second empty-netter after the Oilers gave absolutely no effort with the net empty. The Canadiens had about five or six shots at the net before their captain finally put it in. Terrible.
- The Oilers allowed four straight goals a third period in which they had the lead. Revolting finish.
- Personally, I don’t think that this was one of Leon Draisaitl’s best nights. He looked like he was trying to force plays to happen rather than making the simple decision and it was a night that he’d probably like to forget. Actually, that whole line shares the green jacket tonight.
- The Oilers wasted some big power play opportunities that would have surely made life impossible for the Habs. I’m thinking mostly about the four-minute double minor to Emelin in the 2nd period. The Oilers only got four shots during those four minute and most of them came within the final 45 seconds.
- The shots were 41-25 for Montreal. The end result shouldn’t be all that surprising.
- The NHL site has the Oilers listed with 11 giveaways but I’m not sure I buy that. I feel like the bean counter was a little bit generous with such a low total.
- It’s physically upsetting to see that many Canadiens fans enjoying themselves in our building. Truly gross.
|04:17||Edmonton||Milan Lucic (15)||0-1|
|13:33||Montreal||Paul Byron (17) ASST: Phillip Danault (22), Brendan Gallagher (13)||1-1|
|14:42||Montreal||Max Pacioretty (32) ASST: Alex Galchenyuk (24), Andrei Markov (26)||2-1|
|18:53||Montreal||Empty Net – Paul Byron (18)||3-1|
|19:33||Montreal||Empty Net – Max Pacioretty (33) ASST: Paul Byron (16)||4-1|
BEST OF THE TWEETS
@jsbmbaggedmilk "Oh baby, that song can make my hands clap!"
— Brett Barrett (@BrettBarrettYEG) March 12, 2017
Good job Nurse! pic.twitter.com/oZjAV5CTMq
— VisuallyBetter (@Isuckatpicking) March 12, 2017
— UnclePaul (@macleanpa) March 12, 2017
@OilersNation is Benning scratched because he's spending the night on the phone with Aston-Reese telling him how awesome Connor is?
— Doug Millar (@DougMillar80) March 12, 2017
@OilersNation the end of this game reminded me of the end of the movie tin cup
— Mega Tron (@rocknrolltruckr) March 13, 2017
@OilersNation Thats two games in a row we won the faceoffs, but not the game. I think its time to stop winning those faceoffs. :/
— Kyle Eldstrom (@KEldstrom) March 13, 2017
— Ryder (@ryderfm) March 13, 2017
THE NATION/APOLLO COLLAB 2.0
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