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Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

GDB 27.0 Wrap Up: Giddy-Up

Hey, Oilers Nation! Emergency Backup Cat here, taking on the Battle of Alberta for our lovely friends on the full-time writing staff to help them out with a prior engagement.

Holy smokes, what a barn burner.

Coming into this game, I was excited to see what both Laurent Brossoit and Mike Smith had to offer me. Brossoit’s record, up to this point, didn’t really look like it was going to stay where it was – at some point, he was going to settle in and get things rolling – while Smith has had some white-hot games, and I was curious if he could maintain that reaching his usual fatigue point in the season.

Boy, did they ever show me!

FINAL SCORE: EDMONTON OILERS 7, CALGARY FLAMES 5 (!!!!!!)

THE RUNDOWN

FIRST PERIOD

Edmonton jumped out to an early lead in the first frame, getting two goals by Jesse Puljujarvi midway through the period when he capitalized on some good bounces in front of the net.

His first of the night came on a rebound to the right of Mike Smith just in the crease, while the second – which Mark Giordano can’t be thrilled about – was a double deflection, bouncing off of Giordano’s skate before bouncing off of Puljujarvi’s skate and through Mike Smith’s five-hole.

The Flames would get on the board minutes later, though, when Michael Frolik snagged a short-handed tally.

Matt Benning would cough up the puck along the boards at the Calgary blue line, leaving Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on the backcheck trying to stop a 2-on-1 by Mikael Backlund and Frolik. Nuge would pinch a little too close to Backlund, leaving Frolik all alone to quickly fire one past an off-center Laurent Brossoit’s blocker side.

Edmonton would regain their two-goal lead just minutes later, when Jujhar Khaira would accept a perfect centering feed from Kris Russell to put one past Mike Smith at the 17:44 mark.

It was a chippy first frame, with a combined five penalties in those 20 minutes alone – but despite both teams finishing the period with 16-13 in shots (in favor of Edmonton), neither managed to convert on the man advantage. Only Calgary, with their short-handed tally, would notch a special teams point through that point in the game.

Of course, then the rest of the matchup unfolded. Hold on to your butts, guys. We’ve only discussed four of the TWELVE total goals scored.

SECOND PERIOD

Of the three periods, this one was the least eventful on paper, although that didn’t stop Edmonton from ruining Mike Smith’s life.

Kris Russell would negate his perfect helper on the Khaira goal by taking a puck over glass delay of game penalty just three minutes into the second period, putting Calgary on the power-play for their third try of the night.

Instead, luckily, yet another short-handed tally ended up on the board, when Mark Letestu scored an easy breakaway goal on Smith to capitalize on a bad bounce off of Sean Monahan’s skate (seeing a theme?).

Milan Lucic would follow up with an even-strength goal to put Edmonton up 5-1, and it seemed like the team had a safe buffer heading into the third.

IT SEEMED, HMM?

THIRD PERIOD

Here’s where things really flew off the rails, for both teams.

Between Calgary and Edmonton, a whopping six goals got scored in the final 20 minutes, including four unanswered tallies from the Flames to blow a 6-1 Edmonton lead.

First, Patrick Maroon managed to score just over a minute into the period, welcoming David Rittich to the game after Lucic’s tally ended Mike Smith’s night early.

Then, things started to get really stupid.

Sam Bennett scored a flukey sharp-angle goal off of Laurent Brossoit’s butt, narrowing the lead to four goals:

Easy enough to maintain, right?

Wrong.

Michael Ferland would then take advantage of traffic on an Edmonton penalty kill to fire one from the top of the circle, beating Brossoit cleanly to narrow the margin yet again.

Then came the play shown above, where Kris Russell blew a tire and left Sam Bennett to fly up the wing alone and fire one top-shelf over Brossoit’s head to bring the game to 6-4.

Oh, then Johnny Gaudreau got in on the action, scoring his own sharp-angle tally from the goal line to almost blow Edmonton’s lead entirely.

By this point, it seemed entirely possible that, with the home crowd behind the Flames comeback, Edmonton could blow the game.

Connor McDavid himself got stopped on what was probably the most terrifying breakaway of David Rittich’s young pro hockey career with just minutes remaining, and Calgary absolutely hammered Brossoit with shots down the back stretch hoping they’d catch him off guard again.

With a final-minute goal from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Milan Lucic, though – which came off of, you guessed it, TJ Brodie via deflection – the Oilers held on to their lead, winning the Battle of Alberta in a wild bloodbath that all three goalies may need a week to recover from.

THOUGHTS

  • I thought Cassie Campbell-Pascall had a really good point at the end of the game, following the own goal by TJ Brodie. She pointed out the parallel between the own goal by Russell that set the internet on fire and this one, pointing out the only real takeaway from both of those goals; sometimes, it just isn’t your night. Against Toronto, it wasn’t Russell’s – against Edmonton tonight, it wasn’t Brodie’s. It happens. It has no bearing whatsoever on the kind of player you are.
  • Laurent Brossoit needs to figure out what happened during that final period. I don’t know if he got hurt, if he was dehydrated and off-balance, or if he was being controlled by the voodoo doll Mike Smith hid under the bench before the game – but after looking excellent during the first 40 minutes of play, he lost any semblance of proper post coverage and positioning during that final frame. If the team had lost, it would have been on him. As a goalie, I try to avoid saying that as often as possible, but that was a doozy of a period.
  • Kris Russell is going to want yet another goal against back from this game, this time the one that came from the play he blew a tire on to really get the Flames rolling. But the important distinction, of course, is that both this goal and the one against Toronto have practically nothing to do with his actual talent level. We can debate how he did in the game all day; he had a couple excellent shot blocks, and a great pass up to McDavid that led to his third period breakaway, but also failed to clear the zone in a couple of key moments and had to block so many shots because of that. But in case Mark Spector wants to act as if we’re using a blown tire and a brain-melting own goal to justify analytics, let’s be clear: they don’t. Those are Kris Russell’s mulligans – and as Campbell-Pascall pointed out, even the TJ Brodies of the NHL have them.
  • On a positive note, awesome to see two goals from Jesse Puljujarvi tonight. He’s still getting there, but I thought he looked really in control on that rebound for the first goal; he didn’t get ahead of himself on the play, and he was exactly where he needed to be to put that one in. Getting goals from Khaira and Letestu was nice, too; there’s that secondary scoring that’s been so lethargic through the month of November.
  • Finally, I wanted to make a quick note about Cassie Campbell-Pascall. A league-wide op-ed columnist complained about her getting to call the game, since her husband, Brad Pascall, is Calgary’s assistant GM. I didn’t think it needed saying, but Campbell-Pascall does an excellent job of remaining impartial in Calgary games – and, for that matter, in all the games she calls. She’s an excellent hockey mind, and the tight-knit hockey community means plenty of announcers call games they’re personally linked to in some way. If Ray Ferraro can call games his son is playing, or that the Leafs were playing when his cousin was general manager, then Campbell-Pascall’s presence shouldn’t even be a blip on the radar.

Conclusion? Hockey is silly. Kris Russell needs a hug (just not quite so much money). Laurent Brossoit needs to work on his lateral movement and post coverage. Cause yikes. If he has another outing like that, expect to see Nick Ellis get a legitimate shot at heavier starts until Talbot is healthy – and look at what Edmonton may do to pick up either Calvin Pickard or Garret Sparks if they can.


Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 12/02/2017 – 11:00pm MST

  • Danoilerfanincalgary

    Goaltending depth is obviously an issue and what is wrong with Draisatl is he pouting too much, time for him to get his act together the team needs him. The Flames are not a very good team and they were gifted goals really ruined a great game by the Oil in the first two periods. LB is probably a pretty good goalie his issue is between the ears either you are NHL goalie or not he needs to figure it out.

    • Normally I’d agree, but I think Ellis getting the next nod is a smarter move in this particular atmosphere.

      I don’t want to see Brossoit get every start while Talbot is out; we need to see what Ellis can do and what the team is working with depth-wise, and now is the best time to do that. If Talbot ends out longer than two weeks and Ellis struggles as much (or more) than Brossoit, the team needs to consider bringing in someone else (ie Sparks or Pickard from Toronto, or even Gudslevskis from the Islanders). You want to find that out as soon as possible – and if you give Brossoit the Wednesday start and he does well, you don’t want to then sit him the very next game just for the sake of giving Ellis a nod (and you don’t want to discover that Ellis isn’t ready during the first game of a back-to-back, either).

      If it’s me, I give Ellis Wednesday’s game, then you have until Saturday to figure out if you need to bring in reinforcements to help Brossoit while Talbot is out.

      • Oilerz4life

        Yeah, can’t wait to see Ellis the acrobat get his chance! I hope he’s not a bundle of nerves. If he does what he can do I can honestly see him supplant L.B. as back-up.

      • Dean: don’t disagree. But he can only be sent for either two weeks or seven games, iirc (although goaltender rules may be slightly different), whichever expires sooner. So the team would be smart to use that when they have a good bundle of games for Bakersfield for him to play in.

      • Stack Pad Save

        I think that is the problem, he only looks okay most nights.

        I think the thing hurting Leon the most this year is the ineptitude of the power play. Until that Power Play gets rolling their is no hope. Letestu has to go off the Power Play, he scored a real nice short handed goal last night, but he is struggling on that Power Play with zone entries. Why on Earth does McLellan have Letestu carrying the puck through the neutral zone on a Power Play that had both McDavid and Nugent-Hopkins on it? Both of them are infinitely better for that, plus that allowing them to carry the puck allows Letestu to get in position for using his shot.

  • camdog

    Only in Edmonton does a number 4/5 defenceman garner this much publicity. This wouldn’t happen in any other NHL market. There is only 1 NHL city where metrics are used to run guys out of town. The bloggers in Edmonton are ruthless compared to those in other markets. Of course this is not meant for Cam, but for other bloggers on this site.

    • Stack Pad Save

      Only in Edmonton do they pay a 5 D-man 4 Million dollars. Also, only in Edmonton to have such a highly educated hockey fanbase that is able to analyze their hockey team well enough to recognize that Management made some colossal mistakes on the summer that they should have used the extra money before McDavids contract in to help the kid get to the cup, not straddle him with a bunch of boat anchors.

      • camdog

        Not true mosts team have an over paid UFA on their roster. The Russell contract isn’t the boat anchor, there are a couple on the team that are worse. GM needs to be criticized, but some are making it their personnel agenda to attack the player for the short comings of the GM.

    • Oilerchild77

      Not do ever not have a clue about the other markets in this country. You think Edmonton is tough? You should read the vitriol from fans in cities like Montreal and Toronto. They’ve run plenty of players out of town. And, yes, they also talk about their 4th/5th dman, among other depth positions. You Edmontonians need to get out more.

    • Stack Pad Save

      She was better than her play by play partner Dave Randorff. Also, she is far better than Remenda. Is she as good as Ray Ferraro, no. But she wasn’t terrible and better than what most Oilers fans are used to. Also, she is inexperienced give her a break. And her comment on the hit in Matt Benning was priceless.

      • the dope $teez

        Cassie >>>>>> Remenda jeez some people you can never please.
        I thought she and Randorf were fine, if anything old Dave was off his game missing a few penalty calls and the maroon kick.
        When Cassie and Romanuk team up it is brutal. He’s always correcting her and talking over her. #mansplaining

        • She played in the first preliminary women’s pro leagues in Canada and appeared in three Olympic Games (winning gold twice, serving as captain for both gold medals as well), along with seven IIHF World Championships (winning gold six of those seven times).

          Since the only ‘experience she needs’ that she ‘has already missed’ that I can imagine you’re referring to is playing the game, I think a quick trip to Google would have served you well before making this kind of statement. She’s one of the most decorated Canadian hockey players to date, given the era in which she played.

  • The last dynasty

    It’s almost better to win that way against the Flames. More soul-crushing. Give the fans a bad night for two and a half periods, then give them a glimmer of hope to keep them in their seats till the end, then send them back to the Saddledome parking lot in a foul mood to fight traffic. Fantastic.

  • DN

    I set the TV so that Kevin is at a good volume but at the same volume Drew is just too quiet hence the comment about mumbling. Secondly, we want a colour guy who is describing the game and not league gossip or what they do on their night off.

  • GarbageGoals

    Anybody else think of this last night? Manchester Miracle. Unbelievably I was watching this before the game and thought this was going to happen again. So close…

  • Spydyr

    What? No Flames trolls here. Funny how that happens when they get spanked and yes the did get spanked. The only reason the game was close was the extreme suck that was Brossoit . Ellis should get the next start. Brossoit does not deserve it.

    • HOCKEY83

      I’m here. I loved the game it was classic. I know you forget what a spanking is because the Oil seem to need OT to beat even the worst teams in the league when they do get a win but 7-5 is hardly a spanking when goal 6 and 7 were both gifts. The best thing about that whole game was the near comeback at the end. Man that was fun to watch. It made ya completely forget about the loss. It was close. The oil really need to count their lucky stars they hung on for dear life and won that one because a comeback from the flames in that one would have sent the oil into a tailspin. Good job for hanging on to that 5 goal lead. It really shows growth in the team.

  • GK1980

    Brossoit’s performance in the third was brutal. Brutal! Boys are playing much better lately which is positive going forward but seems like everyone expect the coyotes in the Pacific are playing incredible. Going to be tough making the post season this year.

  • Oiler Al

    Three things happened in the third period: Oilers took their foot off the gas pedal, Calgary turned up the heat and Broissoit shirt the bed.
    PS: nice to see secondary scoring. Three youngsters stood out…Nurse, JP, and Khair.

    • Dean S

      I watched both games on HNIC. The Leafs/Nucks game has good structure, goaltending, special teams, speed and tenacious forechecking. Game#2 was so sloppy by comparison. Terrible goaltending, and multiple mistakes.

  • Dex Dexter

    Brossiot looked like a spectator on some of those goals. Like hey I’m a watching here stop shooting at me. The end result still counts for div. Points.

  • Dean S

    Edm, has had very poor goaltending all season. Prior to last nights game Talbot was 45th, and Brossoit was 56th in SV%(6 or more games played).That’s brutal.
    Edmonton would have won this game 6-2 with a decent NHL goalie.

    • Mclovin

      I’ve noticed too that both Cam and Laurent are paying the same way. Always staying very deep in their crease and down low. Never challenging the shooter and cutting down the angle. This is leading to the bad angle goals that seem to be happening every game. Guaranteed all the other teams are being coached to shoot from these areas. To me this is the way the goalie coach is telling them to play. I think it’s time to replace the goalie coach. Look what happened with Dubnyk. I think it was Cam Ward that turned his career around. Not sure but either way he was totally retrained to be a top net minder from almost not being able to land a job in the NHL.

      • Quick note: the goalie coach Dubnyk played under in Edmonton was Fred Chabot, who is now back with Dubnyk organization-wise (he’s working with AHL Iowa as a development coach for MIN). The team is currently using Dustin Schwartz, who worked with the Oil Kings in the WHL prior to his time with EDM.

        And as for who re-trained Dubnyk, Cam Ward is a goaltender for the Carolina Hurricanes, and has never played under Chabot or Schwartz. If you’re thinking of who worked with Dubnyk, it was Sean Burke with Arizona.