13
Photo Credit: © Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Oilers 2, Islanders 1 (OT) post-game Oil Spills: They didn’t deserve it, but they needed it

Something we talk about in sports statistics quite a bit is the law of averages. Multiple times in this young season the Oilers have played well but lost. Generally, over a large sample size, these tend to balance out. Last night, the Oilers clearly didn’t deserve to win, but they scraped one out in overtime largely on the back of an excellent performance from Cam Talbot. At this point, you have to take whatever you can get as the team looks to get on track.

Highlights

The Oilers opened the scoring a couple minutes into the second period off of a breakaway goal from Leon Draisaitl. Milan Lucic made a nice poke check at the blueline and Draisaitl did the rest. He chased the puck down, burning both Islanders defencemen in a transition, and buried one between Thomas Greiss’ pads.

We all knew this was coming. Jordan Eberle made a nice backcheck in the neutral zone, Mat Barzal, the could-have-been-Oiler selected with one of the Griffin Reinhart draft picks, drove the puck into the middle of the ice and made a nice no-look feed to Eberle who sniped a beauty over Cam Talbot.

This was a treat to watch. When the Oilers get into overtime and McDavid and Draisaitl are on the ice, there aren’t many teams out there who are going to be able to stop them. McDavid rushes the puck up the ice, Draisaitl keeps up, McDavid slides it back to him, Draisaitl drags the defender across the ice and dishes it back to McDavid who was all alone for the finish.

By the numbers

The first two periods were played evenly, with a slight edge in New York favour. The Islanders had 33 shot attempts at and 22 shots on goal even strength in comparison to Edmonton’s 25 shot attempts and 18 shots on goal through the first and the second. But in the third, the Oilers seemed to run out of gas the Islanders started to take control of the game. New York peppered 19 shot attempts towards the Oilers net while Edmonton only mustered nine (two on goal) in the third. That said, while New York controlled possession, the teams were split with two high danger chances each in the third.

In terms of individual performances, Darnell Nurse and Adam Larsson were the only players on the team to boast a shot attempt differential over 50 percent. The pair was also successful in limiting the Islanders deep in the zone, as New York didn’t have a high danger chance with Nurse and Larsson on the ice. The Eric Gryba and Kris Russell paid struggled, allowing 18 shot attempts against and getting only six for. In terms of forwards, the McDavid, Draisaitl, and Maroon line performed the best in terms of shot attempt differential, but Zack Kassian, RNH, and Milan Lucic generated the most high danger chances.

Thoughts

  • I mentioned at the beginning that this was one of those everything averages out kind of wins. Obviously, it isn’t as simple as that, but the Oilers have had a handful of games early in the season they probably deserved to win but didn’t. Whether it was ugly goaltending like the game against Carolina or excellent opposition goaltending like the first game against the Penguins, the Oilers couldn’t come out with a win. Then, tonight, they got outplayed, but Cam Talbot stole them one. Obviously, you want the team to play well and win, but when you’re at bottom of the standings in November, it doesn’t really matter how you get them, you just need wins. Last season, Cam Talbot stole the Oilers quite a few games. A win is a win and I would rather have a momentum-turning, greasy overtime win in which the goalie played a damn good game than a bunch of we outshot the other team but didn’t get the bounces kind of moral victories. Still, while we should enjoy the win and hope the team can build from it, there really aren’t many positives to garner from this game.
  • Drake Caggiula left the game with an injury which is unfortunate, but after Zack Kassian got bumped up to the second line the trio looked very effective. I find Milan Lucic is much better when he’s playing with another big bodied player who can cycle the puck down low. Kassian is that kind of player. I mentioned above in the numbers section that this trio had the most high danger scoring chances of any Oilers forwards, which isn’t surprising considering how strong they looked in the offensive zone. This is a trio I would keep together.
  • Tonight was another good game from Darnell Nurse. He’s pretty clearly passed Oscar Klefbom on the depth chart as Edmonton’s top left-handed defender. Him and Adam Larsson have looked good together. Klefbom had a few gaffes defensively but him and Matt Benning move the puck very effectively and can generate offence. I think Nurse and Larsson are going to have to be the pair you play against the other team’s best players while you look to give Klefbom and Benning more offensive situations.

Source: NHL.com, Official Game Page, 11/07/2017, 7:00pm MST

  • Consultant

    Nurse is certainly the silver lining this year so far.
    Increased minutes has resulted in increased quality.
    You could see him gaining confidence during the playoffs last year.
    He can skate, is tough as nails and likes to jump into the rush, plus he seems to know when to do it.
    Huge development win for the Oilers. He will still have up’s and downs but if he can keep improving over the next couple years he could be a legit top pairing shutdown dman in a few years. Maybe now is a time to talk contract with his agent, see if we can get a value deal, now we just need a GM.

    • Heschultzhescores

      He can become a real offensive factor I believe. I couple times he pinched and seemed a bit too concerned about getting back rather than getting the puck he was near. I think we have to give a bit of slack to guys trying to add to the offence. I remember an 80’s defenceman that made a ton of mistakes, but he’s now a legend.

  • Oilers Nation Citizen

    The Nuge needs new wingers.

    Beyond hype and contract, 27-18-44 is a third line.

    19-97-?
    ?-93-29
    27-18-44
    36-55-26

    16, 58, 91, 98, 24 are the only internal candidates to possibly fill the holes.

    As Nuge is making himself less expendable and Nurse is making the case for a significant raise, Maroon returning becomes less likely. Winger depth generally will be a going concern for years to come and the system is not exactly bubbling up with forward prospects outside of 56 and 98. In Chia we trust?

  • Serious Gord

    Yes Nurse seems to be getting it – reading the game better, but if he is passing Klefbom on the depth chart then this season is over. Klefbom HAS to return to the level he was at last year or the team is out of the playoffs – it’s as simple as that.

  • Heschultzhescores

    I just want to know when some of the guys are gonna chip in on the scoreboard…we’re well into the season. Are we going to have guys stay in the line-up when they’re not contributing offensively?

  • Soccer Steve

    “Mat Barzal, the could-have-been-Oiler selected with one of the Griffin Reinhart draft picks…”

    Stop. So many other teams passed him over too. Means NOTHING now.

  • Still Hate the Flames

    Curious what people think of the assertion that Nurse has passed Klefbom as the Oilers’ top LD. I think Oscar has had a rough start of this season, and Nurse has been trending up and playing well. I’d say Nurse is currently playing better than Klefbom, so I would agree that he’s the top LD option at this moment. But to me it feels a little early to proclaim him as having supplanted Klefbom in the long-range scheme of things. I wouldn’t be surprised if Klef rounds back into form and re-takes his spot as 1LD before too long. Thoughts?