Oilers win. We have Connor McDavid. Eat shit, Calgary. Final Score: 3-0 Oilers
After patiently sitting by our TVs all summer, the wait was finally over and the Oilers played a hockey game that actually mattered tonight. For me, I was so excited about the whole thing that the game itself was almost a blur. As much as I love a good round of the Battle of Alberta, my excitement made it hard to focus. It’s been said before, but the strange thing about being as excited as I was for tonight is that this was the shortest offseason that the Oilers have had in a decade, but, even so, it felt like an eternity. As for the game itself, I was having a really hard time not letting my excitement completely distract me from doing basically anything more complicated than drooling.
When the puck finally dropped, it was hard not to just stare at my TV with a big dumb grin on my face because the Oilers were playing for real again and it was the most beautiful thing I’ve seen in months. After the tears of joy had dried up, and the tear induced clouds had cleared from my vision, the Oilers followed through on their end with a nearly perfect home opener. Edmonton came out flying, pushed the pace, and never really looked back after Connor opened the scoring in the first period. Frankly, the Oilers were just too much for the Flames to handle and had it not been for an admirable performance by Mike Smith, this wouldn’t have ended as close as it did. Edmonton was easily the better team.
For the first time this year, let’s wrap it up.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Who else would you expect to score the first goal of the year other than Connor McDavid? The guy is magic on ice and it just makes sense that he would get the first Oilers goal of the year. When he’s playing with Leon, they make magic. It’s really fun to watch and that first goal of the night was beautiful. As nice as the first goal was, his second of the night was an absolute masterpiece. Connor smashed the turbo button, flew past every single Flame on the ice, and beat Mike Smith high over the glove. Unbelievable. McDavid completed the hat trick to close out the night which was the first ever Oilers hat trick in a home opener in team history.
- As you would expect, the Maroon-McDavid-Draisaitl line was fantastic again and basically did as they pleased in the offensive zone. Their cycle game was unstoppable, their puck management was stellar, and Calgary really didn’t have much of an answer for them.
- The second line wasn’t anything to write home about until Todd McLellan switched things up and put Kassian up in Yamamoto’s spot. After he made that move, the second line was a lot more effective at generating offence. That’s not a knock against Yamamoto, that group just needed a different look.
- Cam Talbot was perfect in his season debut and made it look easy while he was at it. Even though they were mostly kept to the outside, the Flames had their share of chances, but Dadbot was having none of it. He was sharp in the net, saw the puck well, and smothered anything that was near him. Great start for Talbot as he finished the night with 26 saves and a flawless save %.
- Really good night for the Oilers’ defensive group. All six guys were solid when they were on the ice and they all found ways to keep Calgary to the outside and limit their access to the slot.
- Who would have ever expected Kailer Yamamoto to crack the opening night roster? Amazing story coming into camp. Who knows how long he’ll be here (maybe all year?) but he deserves props for doing what most people thought was impossible. It wasn’t his greatest night but I’m not surprised that a teenager was probably nervous in his NHL debut.
- HUUUUGE props to the Oilers for bringing out Constable Michael Chernyk out onto the ice for the pre-game ceremony. How this man is able to walk out there like that is an inspiration. Incredible. The guy is a superhero.
- The Oilers finished the night with a 58.39CF% (80-57 attempts) with numbers courtesy of Corsica.
- Gotta love seeing Kassian drop the mitts against Tanner Glass in the first period. The Battle of Alberta is supposed to be angry and I’m a big fan of getting the blood.
- Edmonton went 54% in the faceoff circle which was a nice start for a sore spot in the stats column.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Making us wait until 8pm for the season opener was a dick move, schedule guy. You know it’s true.
- Anyone else get annoyed by how often Mike Smith has to put a little Hollywood on his glove saves? I couldn’t tell if it was that or the constant hair flipping that annoyed me more but he was doing a really good job of being annoying.
- Surprise, surprise, the Oilers didn’t get enough from their bottom three lines. I’m not saying they played poorly but it would have been nice to see more offensive pressure. Something to work on.
- The Oilers went 0/2 on the power play but they were generating some chances. Things went decently well (shorthanded 3-on-1 against excluded) but they just couldn’t cash. I imagine that will change soon enough.
- I had to watch a feature about Jagr being a Calgary Flame and it was irritating to watch. I’d rather not see legends soil themselves with such a horrible jersey.
This man is a superhero. Unbelievable. ? pic.twitter.com/saiTAap7NC
— Baggedmilk?? (@jsbmbaggedmilk) October 5, 2017
— Adam Bachez (@adam_bachez) October 5, 2017
— Luke (@ljcmorrison) October 5, 2017
— Shaan (@Shaansaysnow) October 5, 2017
Well that couldn't have gone much better.
— Kent Loftus (@kentlofty) October 5, 2017
THE SEASON LAUNCH PARTY
We’re trying to raise as much money as possible for the victims of last Saturday’s attack in Edmonton and we could use your help. Tickets to the Season Launch Party are on sale now for $30 and will remain on sale straight through until the date of the party, or until they sell out — whichever happens first. Your ticket will also enter you into all of the draws for NationGear prizes and the jersey giveaways that will happen throughout the night.
- Where: The Pint Downtown
- When: Saturday, October 7th starting at 6pm
- Why: Because we’ve got a hankerin’ for some partyin’
- How Much: Tickets are $30 with net proceeds going to the victims of last week’s attack in Downtown Edmonton
- How: Tickets are available here
For each ticket you buy, you’ll get one of the exclusive season opener t-shirts (shown above), a $10 Denizen Hall GC, a card for FREE perogies and tacos for a year at the Pint, $10 Oodle Noodle GC, a Nation sticker package, and, most importantly, a chance to kick off the season with your Nation brothers and sisters.
Source: NHL.com, Official Game Page, 10/04/2017, 11:06pm MST