Forget about this one, boys. See you tomorrow. Final Score: 4-3 Ducks
I don’t remember the last time that I’ve been this excited/stressed out by an Oilers game that happened in March. Probably 2006? I can’t think of anything since then. Whenever it was, there was no chance that I’ve been able to write about it because I’ve only been blogging since about 2008 (only ?) and this year is literally the first time that I’ve ever been able to use ‘Oilers’ and ‘playoffs’ in the same sentence, unless it was something like wondering where the Oilers would be watching the playoffs at? I think my favourite thing about this playoff push is that I know absolutely nothing about what’s happening at this year’s draft. Not a clue. Isn’t it beautiful?
March fuzzies aside, this game was a megalodon for the Oilers. Had they been able to beat Anaheim, it would not only have given Edmonton sole possession of second place in the Pacific but also would’ve been like hockey’s equivalent of heading to the store to pick up nails for LA’s coffin. LA wouldn’t be quite dead yet, but someone would’ve definitely been reaching for the plug if you know what I mean. That makes the loss a double jab to the pills. With the way the game started, I wasn’t sure whether we were going to end the night on high or wind up pissed off about another wasted chance at points. The Oilers were able to score a couple goals early but couldn’t keep the Ducks from getting back into it. After Anaheim came back for the second time the Oilers couldn’t get anything else going.
Edmonton started out like a house on fire, but the work was undone to the point of no return by some sloppy defensive play and the inability to get a save. It seemed liked Talbot got rattled after the Eaves goal went in and he didn’t quite look the same after that. With Talbot unable to bail the team out, the wheels started to fall off allowing Anaheim to take control from there. Even when things looked like they were going right it almost seemed inevitable that Edmonton would find a way to screw it up. It was just one of those nights, man. Obviously, the most disappointing thing about this loss is the fact that the Oilers dropped the ball and missed out on a huge opportunity to grab hold of second place and add two big points to their total.
Fortunately, they won’t have much time to dwell on this loss as they’ll have to regroup and get back at it in Colorado tomorrow.
Wrap it up.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- After the Ducks hit the post, the Oilers walked the puck down to the other end of the ice and found a way to beat Bernier. Leon Draisaitl got the puck on his stick in the slot and he fired a quick wrister past Bernier to open the scoring.
- The Ducks had just tied the game up at one but Captain Connor didn’t like that very much as he added another highlight reel goal to his resume. The captain smashed his turbo button and flew past the Ducks’ defender, made a slick little move to his backhand, and cashed in his 26th goal of the year past a helpless Bernier. On the bright side, McDavid ended his pointless streak against the Ducks with three McPoints tonight which gives him 85 on the season.
- Mark Letestu scored his career high 15th goal of the season just as the game was winding down. The Oilers got a couple late power plays and Letestu was able to sink one but it was too little too late. That said, big props to Mark Letestu for the career high. He’s found a home on that power play and he’s taken full advantage of the opportunity.
- Laurent Brossoit was solid in relief of Cam Talbot and you have to wonder what Todd McLellan will do tomorrow in Colorado. You’d hope that the Oilers should be able to beat the Avalanche regardless of who is in net so it would all boil down to whether McLellan wanted to give Talbot a chance to bounce back or rest. Going back to Brossoit, he finished his 30+ minutes perfectly by stopping all 16 shots he faced.
- The penalty killers were perfect again tonight as they killed off all five of Anaheim’s chances.
- The power play scored a goal tonight (good) but often looked tentative and unwilling to shoot the puck (bad). Tonight’s Oilers didn’t look like the winning streak Oilers on the man advantage if you know what I mean.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Patrick Eaves fired a weak wrister on net from about 25 feet out and it somehow beat Talbot. Dadbot stops that puck 9/10 but it snuck through him tonight. Cue the “Talbot is tired” narratives.
- The Oilers gave up a tough goal with less than a minute left in the first period and it kept the Ducks hanging around when they shouldn’t have been able to in the first place. Hampus Lindholm’s goal was avoidable had their defensive zone coverage been what it’s supposed to be.
- Josh Manson hadn’t scored a goal in 11 games but he beat Talbot with a softie tonight. Manson’s goal was second stoppable puck that beat Talbot tonight and, at the time, it was the third goal on eight shots faced. Not good enough.
- Second Period = Vomit worthy
- After getting those two early goals the Oilers took their foot off the gas and weren’t ever able to find it again. They couldn’t execute the small details that they excelled at over the course of their winning streak. Passes were a bit off, the were trying to force offence to happen, and Talbot didn’t look like Talbot. All in all, it was a poor effort by some that resulted in a forgettable night for all of us.
- This was a forgettable night for Cam Talbot. After allowing a bad goal to Patrick Eaves, Talbot was never really the same until he got pulled midway through the second period. Talbot finished the night with four goals on 18 shots and a .778 save%. He’ll bounce back.
- Jordan Eberle didn’t have a very good night. He got thrown off the puck on the Josh Manson goal and the play died with him on more occasions than not. He needs to be better.
- Darnell Nurse and Eric Gryba share the green jacket tonight if you’re into that kind of thing. The pair each finished with a -2 in their column. Not the best night for the third pair.
- I’ve complained about the refs 2000 times this season but did anyone else think that they were especially bad tonight? It seemed like the Ducks were getting the veteran benefit of the doubt where the Oilers were getting pinned with weak calls. I mean, for fox creek, Ryan Kesler was allowed to jump on McDavid’s back without getting called for it? What is this? Junior C? Ridiculous.
- How are the Ducks challenging for the division and their building is that empty? Embarrassing.
- The Oilers finished the night at 48% in the faceoff circle. Not bad by any means, but not good either.
|05:58||EDM||Leon Draisaitl (25) ASST: Patrick Maroon (13), Connor McDavid (58)||1-0|
|07:46||ANA||Patrick Eaves (25) ASST: Ryan Getzlaf (46), Hampus Lindholm (10)||1-1|
|08:49||EDM||Connor McDavid (26) ASST: Leon Draisaitl (42), Kris Russell (7)||2-1|
|19:29||ANA||Hampus Lindholm (6) ASST: Rickard Rakell (13), Ryan Getzlaf (47)||2-2|
|01:33||ANA||Josh Manson (4) ASST: Hampus Lindholm (11)||2-3|
|11:23||ANA||Rickard Rakell (32) ASST: Ryan Getzlaf (48)||2-4|
|19:53||EDM||PPG – Mark Letestu (15) ASST: Connor McDavid (59), Patrick Maroon (14)||3-4|
BEST OF THE TWEETS
This is remarkable. Of the bottom 5 teams last season, 4 are currently in playoff positions. pic.twitter.com/u55UTBCPha
— Tyler (@kerdy19) March 22, 2017
@OilersNation I was sitting in the end where McDavid schooled Doughty and warped time and space and I’m still not sure where I am
— x – Ryan ⚱️ (@RJB1982) March 23, 2017
Kesler rode McDavid like he was hopping on the Small World ride at Disney Land
— Matt Henderson (@Archaeologuy) March 23, 2017
This is a unique game in that the Oilers were legitimately great in the opening period and then just totally fell apart
— Dennis King (@DKingBH) March 23, 2017
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