To his credit, Kris Russell smashed that puck home. Final Score: 6-4 Maple Leafs
I don’t think that I’m the only one that was nervous about tonight’s game. The Oilers haven’t exactly been world beaters this year and the fact that they also lost their starting goaltender certainly didn’t help their chances. That said, the Oilers have the horses to beat any team in the league and that includes the Leaves. When they play like they can (think season opener, Detroit game, Boston game) then they’re always fine. It’s the Buffalo efforts (or lack thereof) that get them in trouble. Needless to say, the outcome of tonight’s really did depend on which Oilers team showed up. Would they be the team that can beat anyone or would they lay down and play dead against a very dangerous team?
With the way the Oilers started this game — allowing two goals in the first six minutes — it really didn’t look like they had much interest in winning this hockey game. They weren’t checking well, their passes were sloppy, and they spotted the Leafs a lead that should never have happened in the first place. After finishing the first 20 minutes down by two goals, the Oilers pulled their heads from their asses and rallied to get themselves back into the game. Frankly, they looked like a completely different hockey team and it clearly caught the Leafs off guard. Heading into the third period down by a goal wasn’t exactly ideal, but it didn’t feel like the game was out of reach either. From the second period onward, the Oilers were the better team and it felt like a comeback was not just possible but going to happen. When they tied the game at four apiece it seemed like winning it was the only possible outcome. And then it happened… Kris Russell ripped home the game winner for Toronto.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Mark Letestu got the Oilers on the board after taking a nice feed from Jujhar Khaira from behind the net. Letestu smashed the puck home from there (his 5th) and temporarily got the Oilers back to within one goal.
- After going nearly two months without scoring, Zack Kassian now has goals in back-to-back games. The fourth line did a great job of cycling the puck down low and they were able to get the Leafs crossing over each other which gave Kassian some open space and Jujhar Khaira a wide open target. Great shift. Great pass. Big goal.
- You just knew that Connor McDavid was going to be fired up for tonight’s game. As the game went along he got better and better and it only seemed like a matter of time before he scored. The captain put home his 11th goal of the season on a nice little deflection on Kris Russell’s point shot.
- How about Kris Russell’s first goal tonight? The Oilers were down by one and Russell absolutely clapped a one-timer past Andersen to tie the game up at four. That was a huge goal (his 2nd) by Russell on an absolute bomb of a shot. I’ll get to the other goal later.
- How good was the fourth line tonight? The Khaira-Letestu-Kassian combo was easily the Oilers best line tonight and it seemed like they were making something happen every time they were on the ice. I mean, when was the last time you saw a 4th line that was responsible for three goals? Great night.
- Big shout out to Laurent Brossoit for stepping into a hostile situation and making the most of it. Brossoit played very well tonight and he gave the Oilers a chance to win which is all you can ask from your goaltender. He had a shaky start but he made some huge saves throughout the night and almost got his team to overtime. He just didn’t expect a Russell snipe from the slot. LB finished the night with 30 saves and a .857 save%. Sure, the .857 save% doesn’t look great but he played better than that number indicates. Solid start.
- The Oilers were the better team over the last two periods and it really is a shame that points got left on the board. That would have been a hell of a comeback.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Special teams were the difference again tonight as the Oilers, once again, couldn’t get anything done with their power play and they couldn’t stop the Leafs from getting things done with theirs. The tradition continues.
- Taking a penalty less than a minute into the game was a ballsy choice (bad call) for the Oilers because it gave the chance they needed to take an early lead, and it was Auston Matthews that opened the scoring. Give the guy that much time and he’s going to beat you and that’s exactly what happened.
- Dominic Moore beat Brossoit high to the blocker side in almost the exact same spot as Matthews. That said, Brossoit should have had Moore’s shot and the thing just blew right past him.
- Eric Gryba took one of the dumbest penalties I’ve seen in a while and the Leafs were able to capitalize on it almost immediately. Up until that point, the Oilers had been completely dominating the period and having Gryba take such a dumb penalty completely sewered their momentum. He didn’t see the ice in the third period.
- The announcers hadn’t even finished telling the people who scored before the Leafs were able to restore their two-goal lead. Matt Martin beat Brossoit on the back of a beautiful passing play that, once again, exposed the Oilers in their own end.
- Patrick Marleau was credited with the game winner with just over a minute left in the game. The reality is that Kris Russell absolutely ripped the puck into his own net. And I’m not talking about a light tap into his own net either, Russell smashed that thing home. I actually feel bad for Russell because it was a bad luck play, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t burst out laughing. Frankly, I’m more annoyed by Gryba’s penalty at the end of the second period.
- Nazem Kadri with the empty netter. *fart sound*
- Losing Larsson to an upper-body injury right before puck drop was just another kick to the balls that we didn’t need right now.
- Were breakouts a problem again tonight? Yes, why do you ask?
- Frankly, it’s not just breakouts that are annoying me these days it’s the fact that the boys have such a hard time connecting on basically any pass to their teammates. What’s up with that?
- Seeing so many Leafs jerseys at Rogers Place is revolting. I hope the season ticket holders that gave up their tickets made those jackasses pay a premium.
- I didn’t want to eat beets tonight and I certainly didn’t want to do it because of the Leafs. Tune into tonight’s #BeetCast over on my Twitter.
|02:15||Toronto||PPG – Auston Matthews (13) ASST: William Nylander (14), Jake Gardiner (10)||1-0|
|05:55||Toronto||Dominic Moore (4)||2-0|
|12:37||Edmonton||Mark Letestu (5) ASST: Jujhar Khaira (3), Zack Kassian (6)||2-1|
|13:06||Toronto||Matt Martin (2) ASST: Dominic Moore (5), William Nylander (15)||3-1|
|06:38||Edmonton||Zack Kassian (2) ASST: Jujhar Khaira (4), Mark Letestu (5)||3-2|
|17:32||Edmonton||Connor McDavid (11) ASST: Kris Russell (9), Darnell Nurse (6)||3-3|
|18:29||Toronto||PPG – William Nylander (5) ASST: Jake Gardiner (11), Auston Matthews (13)||4-3|
|03:00||Edmonton||Kris Russell (2) ASST: Darnell Nurse (7), Mark Letestu (6)||4-4|
|18:55||Toronto||Patrick Marleau (10)||5-4|
|19:59||Toronto||EN – Nazem Kadri (13)||6-4|
I hear beets are the new kale….
— Jay Cunningham (@JayJCunningham) December 1, 2017
*slides into the corner on his stomach*
— Marcel Schoenhardt (@mschoenhardt) December 1, 2017
Shaw making this game watchable pic.twitter.com/5vpWCZoCLR
— Ahad (@OilersFan05) December 1, 2017
Gryba is going to find himself in Fayne territory soon
— Matt Henderson (@Archaeologuy) December 1, 2017
Mark Fayne is being taught a lesson about making GMs offer him large contracts.
— John Epler (@eplerjc) December 1, 2017
@OilersNation russell giveth, russell taketh. again.
— Skorbib HUT (@DizDick69) December 1, 2017
Aaaaaaaaand @jsbmbaggedmilk is eating beets tonight courtesy of Kris Russell
— Dani (@penalty17) December 1, 2017
Source: NHL.com, Official Game Page, 11/30/2017, 10:15pm MST