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GDB 11.0 Wrap Up: Oilers blow another lead and the special teams fail again

Once again, the special teams were the difference. Final Score: 3-2 Penguins

It there’s one thing the Oilers haven’t needed through this rough start, it’s the long gaps between games. I mean, you have to think they’d be better off playing games rather than wallowing on losses right? Sure, they could use that extra time to practice things they should already know, but the only way to make sure that those concepts get executed in game situations is by playing actual games. On the flip side, you’d hope that the Oilers were going to come out flying against the Penguins tonight, considering they were well rested, but considering the Penguins got torched by a touchdown in their last game, you just knew they were going to come out firing.

Oddly, both teams started the game almost tentatively. Aside from a few harmless shots for each side, the first 10 minutes of the opening period looked like both teams were trying to figure each other out. As the game moved into the second period, both sides seemed to relax a little bit and the play opened up with a pair of goals going up on each side of the board. With the game tied heading into the third period, and the margin of error between these two teams being razor thin, it felt like overtime from the time the puck dropped. When things are that tight you know it’s going to be the team that gives up the last mistake that ends up losing, and that’s exactly what happened to the Oilers.

When your special teams are useless you have you have to eliminate mistakes, and the Oilers weren’t able to do that tonight.

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We wrap.

THE BRIGHT SIDE

  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins looked really good again and had a bunch of first period chances that could have ended up in the back of the net. After the hot start, it wasn’t really surprising that Nuge was able to bury his fifth goal of the year (100th of his career) midway through the second. Call me crazy but it looks like RNH has his offensive swagger back and it’s going to be heartbreaking when Chiarelli trades him for a half-sleeve of Oreos.
  • Only moments after Nuge tied the game, Leon Draisaitl had a tap-in after a ridiculous bit of puck skills by McDavid on the assist. Connor made the defenceman look stupid and Leon finished it off with one of the easier goals he’s going to score all year. That goal was every shade of beautiful.
  • After being a bit quiet (points wise), Connor McDavid had some flashy moments against the Penguins that were the doses of magic that the Oilers (and fans) expect to see from their captain. His assist on Draisaitl’s goal was worth tuning in for alone and it’s almost surprising he didn’t get more than he did.
  • Tonight was game number eight for Kailer Yamamoto and he was very quiet, aside from the two penalties drawn. With only one more freebie available, the pressure is on as to whether or not they’ll send him back. He was fine again but my money is on him going back to Spokane.
  • As per tradition of late, Cam Talbot was great again and he played well enough to give his team a chance to win the hockey game. I can’t think of what else you could want from your starter because he’s not the one that can’t score goals. He finished the night with 27 saves and a .900 save%. You can’t put this one on him.
  • The Oilers finished the night at 53% in the faceoff circle against a solid Penguins team. They’re definitely improving there. Nuge was a team-high 71%.
RELATED ARTICLE:
ON's Top Prospects Countdown - No. 15: Stuart Skinner

THE FACE PALMERS

  • Patric Hornqvist opened the scoring on a power play deflection that beat Talbot right from the slot. There wasn’t much Talbot could do on that one aside from telling his teammates to stay out of the funkin’ box.
  • The Oilers had a good chance down in the Penguins end with less than a minute to play in the second period when the Pens turned it around and scored down at the other end. That goal was a tough blow with only 22 seconds left to play in the period. I’ll also say that there wasn’t much backchecking going on either. Not ideal. Not close.
  • Of course Gino Malkin scores the goal ahead goal late in the third period off of one of the worst penalty calls of the night. Of course he does.
  • The Oilers took too many penalties against a very good Penguins team and I say that knowing that they themselves had more chances. They were fortunate to only allow two goals when they were down by a man (sometimes two) because, as you all know, the PK has been gross all season long.
  • Once again, the power play could have put this thing away for the Oilers long before the final buzzer sounded but they fell flat on their face. Aside from the Nuge goal, the only thing the PP did effectively was kill minutes off the clock. They finished the night at 1/5 on a night when the PP could have made a huge difference.
  • I feel like it’s worth repeating how the special teams lost them this hockey game.
  • The bottom six may as well not exist. They’re not doing much of anything to help the hockey team right now.
  • We’re 11 Wrap Ups into the season and I think I’ve complained about the refs in every single one that I’ve written. The trend continues tonight as there was, once again, very little consistency in regards to what was a penalty and what was not. That call on Nuge in the third period was dog shit. Remember when they were calling things by the book in pre-season? Yeah, that was fun.
  • Kris Russell played the fewest minutes of any defender so far.
  • Edmonton played well enough to win. They didn’t and this horrible movie won’t end.
RELATED ARTICLE:
Oilers loan defenceman Philip Kemp to Allsvenskan

SCORING SUMMARY

1ST PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
No Scoring

2ND PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
00:56 Pittsburgh PPG – Patric Hornqvist (4) ASST: Kris Letang (8), Phil Kessel (10) 1-0
06:36 Edmonton PPG – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (5) ASST: Patrick Maroon (5), Connor McDavid (7) 1-1
07:26 Edmonton Leon Draisaitl (2) ASST: Connor McDavid (8) 1-2
19:38 Pittsburgh Conor Sheary (6) ASST: Sidney Crosby (7), Olli Maatta (7) 2-2

3RD PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
12:23 Pittsburgh PPG – Evgeni Malkin (6) ASST: Phil Kessel (11), Kris Letang (9) 3-2

#GOODCONTENT

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THE REAL LIFE PODCAST

On this week’s podcast, the boys welcome a local radio legend to teach them the ways of broadcasting and talk a little hockey.

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Listen to Real Life on Soundcloud here, on iTunes here and on Google Play.


Source: NHL.com, Official Game Page, 11/01/2017, 10:00pm MST


  • BringtheFire 2.0

    “…when Chiarelli trades him for a half-sleeve of Oreos.”

    To be enjoyed here by the fans on ON with some…baggedmilk, mayhaps?

    Also, I’d LOOOOOVVVVEEEEE to have whatever the refs are being mandated to smoke this year. I bet it’s SOOO good, like, we’re talkin’ Snoop-caliber weed.

    Yup. REAL sticky icky.

  • It’s time for McLellan to go. It’s not fair, and it might not ultimately save the season, but here’s the thing: either A) his system simply isn’t woking or B) he can’t get the players to buy into it. Either situation is bad, and there’s no real fix other than full-scale lineup changes or firing the coach.

    For my money, I think that situation B) is the most likely scenario. Other than the Eberle trade and Sekera’s injury, this is the same team that exceeded expectations last year. They played with fire, determination, grit, and sometimes desperation. This year, they’re sleepwalking. The heck was going on during that penalty kill, the one where Pittsburgh walked right in and scored? Thats not a lack of talent. That’s laziness.

    They aren’t listening. And they’re not PeeWees, so you can’t just skate them until their legs burn and they get the message. It’s time for a new voice. Sorry, Todd.

    • Jordan88

      Yeah what a Eakins doing now /sarcasm.

      This team needs a scoring winger. Draisaitl and Mcdavid can’t carry this team. Lazy uninspired play is not on the coach

    • Big Nuggets

      yeah something is up. I dont buy into the narrative that players arent trying. Some skill players play a bit lazy but when you are 3-6-1 you don’t need the coach to give you a bag skate for motivation. You need something to help with focus and confidence. Todd seems to be out of answers at the moment. This team should put some wins together but we can’t wait any longer. Something is off with the recipe.
      I liked Krueger as a coach, but he probably would not come back. I dont want to fire Todd for the sake of it, but if there is a good coach out there it might be a good time to make the switch.

  • ScottV

    McL is definitely gonna face some music, if this doesn’t turn around soon. I’ve been critical on a number of fronts since the beginning and strategy / tactics is one of those areas.

    Another example of many over his time here – we have a 2 – 1 lead late in the period. With 30 or so seconds left, we have a McD led dangerous attack toward the Pens net and almost score. Nurse decides to bite deeply into that attack as an unneeded 4th attacker. Unneeded because McD has talent, speed and support from his line mates to handle the offensive opportunity and unneeded because we have a 2 – 1 lead and unneeded because the Pens have lightning strike counter attack ability and still the best player in the world – Crosby on the ice. Nurse ought to say – better not jump up too much on this one – at this particular time. But no – Nurse bites beyond the reasonable line of transition and gives up a 2 on 1 – with seconds remaining that ends up in the back of our net. A horrible time to give up that kind of a goal.

    When asked about it – in the presser after the game, McL advised that we want our d men to jump up as a 4th attacker and that the 2 on 1 was not played properly by our lone defender.

    2 on 1 – led by Crosby – not played well? Really…. And we wonder why we tend to give up these kind of goals???

    • Traydsies

      McL could easily be taking the heat off of his player here. The Oilers are losing games because they aren’t scoring enough. You can’t tell them to score more without encouraging them to take a chance here and there. It would be worse for McL to tell Nurse to get more involved and then throw him under the bus later on. He isn’t a dumb hockey coach… he knows what Nurse did there. They might lose, but I am happy that we don’t have J Lemaire telling the team to win 1-0.

      • ScottV

        I would bet that if you took a poll of the 10 most offensive NHL coaches, to look at that play and all the circumstances surrounding it – most if not all, would say that Nurses’s handling of that play was not a good idea.

        You don’t shoot a 4th attacker into a rush every time.

        I could have easily accepted a 2 – 1 win last night, with no further scoring before the Nurse miscue.

        A Lemaire 1 – 0 win, every now and again? No problem. Great teams – even great offensive teams are capable of some 1 – 0 wins.

        If McL threw someone under the bus – it was Larson and he got the wrong guy….

        • Traydsies

          I completely agree with your rebuttal but I’m trying to add that McL has likely been trying to convince his players to try to be up in that play. Sure he overcommitted and got burned, but if you are a coach that is trying to encourage a young player you can’t tell him how dumb he looked there. He already knows… a public poll wouldn’t be needed and certainly wouldn’t be helpful.

          I’m also inferring that we are trying to read too much into his comments here, but it’s the comments section so I’ll push on:

          Would I have preferred my favorite team won 1-0 last night? Sure… but I don’t think that should be the message McL sells them. I also doubt he would be criticize them about their defense when they lose 0-1. This team is consistently closer to losing 0-1 than 4-5. Sadly, they are still losing and that has us all angrily pointing fingers at anything. However, I think we can all agree that they need more offense more than they need fewer goals against.

  • madjam

    New rules are definitely not helping the Oilers game , and a portion of why we are not doing well adjusting . Active sticks is not our team fortay- still losing most battles . This is a team that wants to force a goal along the ice , rather than raise it above goalies pads to score – so frustrating to watch .

    • The slashing stuff, especially. My lord, Nurse…you can’t hack at the hands! However, one area where the new rules enforcement is helping is in the faceoff circle. Especially Nuge. His best season on the draw thus far has been ’14-’15, where he finished at 45.7%. So far this year, he’s averaging 55.8%. Early still, but it’s a significant increase from last season’s 43.8%.

  • Not a First Tier Fan

    Ride it out… there was a lot of good play by the top two lines last night and some even more from the third. Murray had a great game – its been nuts how every goalie playing against the Oil this year has played like a Vezina candidate.

    It will turn around. Though I agree that some help is really needed on the right wing.

    Those anticipating a coaching change are going to be in for a surprise. We’ve been there before, got the t-shirt, and it doesn’t help. Chia’s too smart to make that mistake.

  • El Connor mcdaddy

    Devils come into town tomorrow, every one sees taylor Halls excuse for facial hair. it pisses everyone off. boys go off on schnider, win 6-0. that sends a spark, then a flame, then a fire, and we explode. set an NHL record with a 20 game win streak. win presidents trophy, win the Clarence Campbell, win the Stanley cup. with faith Oilers nation we can do anything.

  • Mr.Snrub

    12 points per every 10 game section of the season = 96 points after 80 games with a chance to hit the century mark in the final 2 games of the regular season.

    If the Oilers can hit that mark over the final 71 games they’ll end up with 91/93 points and still miss the playoffs. So basically they have to play Division winning level hockey for the next 5 months straight to make the playoffs, with no slumps or losing streaks longer than 2 games.

    Yeah folks this season is over.

  • Connor McFly

    I would like to see a workhorse like Brad Malone get a shot on the bottom six. All he does is hit, check and go to the blue paint. Unlike the existing lunkers on those lines.

  • OldOilerFan

    IMO they are missing Matt Hendricks in the dressing room. He kept them loose.
    I’m floored how we looked so great the first game and have xxxx the bed since ….

  • Alberta Ice

    Speaking on riding McDavid’s coat tails, another element lacking this year compared to last year is the physicality of the Oilers. Overconfidence in your team or riding the coat tails of your generational player does not produce hard work. It seems like that’s one great element missing in this year compared to last year.