Balanced scoring? ✅ Power play goal? ✅ Excellent goaltending? ✅ Win? ✅ Final Score: 6-2 Oilers
I’m not going to lie to you guys, I didn’t really have a whole lot of hope coming into tonight’s game. As sad as it is to admit it, I’m a beeten man and it’s the Oilers fault. Not only are they not at their best, the costly injuries on the backend have resulted in a patchwork crew of guys that are either struggling, battling above their weight class, bad in general, or Darnell Nurse. One man cannot make a defence. Combine that with Cam Talbot’s injury and Brossoit’s ‘who knows what will happen on any given shot’ run as a starter, and you’ve got a fanbase that’s rattled and a blogger that’s eating beets more than any human should. I mean, it’s not like we’re giving up or anything but I remember what last season felt like and being nervous ahead of games now is exhausting.
Despite my pre-game panic and dread of another poor showing, the Oilers did a good job of weathering an early storm before settling into their game and quickly opening up a two goal lead. As we’ve seen so many times before, the Oilers end up playing from behind so having them get an early lead was a luxury that we haven’t been privy to all that often. Not only that, the Oilers were able to build on their hot start and add to it, virtually ending Montreal’s night midway through the second period. Even after the Habs were able to get themselves on the board, the Oilers didn’t look fazed whatsoever. From the crease out, Edmonton played as a unit and they executed their game plan exceptionally well. If they can figure out their consistency issues, and get 60 minutes worth of effort like this on a nightly basis, then the Oilers could win a lot of hockey games. Dare to dream? We’ll find out tomorrow.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Mike Cammalleri scored his first goal as an Oilers after firing a quick shot that snuck through Carey Price. The Oilers haven’t had much with scoring first but they were able to do it tonight after Cammelleri took a pretty little backhand pass from Nuge and sneaking it through the goaltender.
- Carey Price came out to clear the puck behind the net and Ryan Strome did a really nice job of knocking it down. From there, Jujhar Khaira was able to pick up the loose puck and tuck it home before Price was able to make it back into his net. Price goofed, Khaira capitalized. Beautiful. Khaira wasn’t done with the one goal, though. JJ caught Price being late in getting across the the net for a second time and the bearded one made no mistake.
- Milan Lucic got in on the action as he got a loose puck in the slot on the power play and ripped it past Price with a low wrister. The Oilers hadn’t scored a power play goal in what seemed like ages so it was nice to see them get something done with the man advantage. Lucic was really good all night and I would go so far as to say that it was his best game in weeks.
- Oscar Klefbom hadn’t been a factor on the power play recently but he certainly was tonight. Klefbom got a little bit of luck as his blast from the point bounced in past Niemi off of a couple of Montreal players. He has had much luck this year but he got some tonight.
- Connor McDavid made a beautiful drive wide into the zone and it created all kinds of space for Yohann Auvitu to walk into the slot alone. From there, Connor made a perfect pass into the slot and the Auvitu buried it for his 2nd goal of the season.
- We needed a big game out of Connor and we got exactly that as the puck seemed to be following him all night. He was dangerous every time the puck was on his stick and likely should have had more than the two points he got.
- The Oilers desperately needed Laurent Brossoit to come through for them today and he did exactly that. Going up against Carey Price with your season on the line was probably a mind-funk for Brossoit, but he did a great job of squaring up to shots, controlling his rebounds, and smothering any second attempts. This was easily his best start of the season and he deserved the win. Brossoit finished the night with 23 saves and a .920 save%. Great game.
- Leon Draisaitl finally got a power play point as he assisted on Lucic’s power play marker in the second period. Open the floodgates, Leon.
- Brandon Davidson made his debut in his second tour of duty with the Oilers and looked pretty good while he was at it. In 15:01, Davidson had two shots, five blocks, was a +1, and definitely looked like an upgrade on that third pairing.
- Shout out to Nathan Walker for making his Oilers debut. Considering this was my first time ever watching him play, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but my first impression was that he’s a quick skater and he’s definitely not afraid to get in the mix.
- How about two power play goals on four chances? It’s been forever since the Oilers have gotten one power play, let alone two. Much better.
- The Oilers had a really good night in the faceoff circle, winning 60% of the draws. (Letestu 64%, Draisaitl 64%, RNH 60%, and McDavid 55%)
THE FACE PALMERS
- Alex Galchenyuk scored a power play for the Habs after the refs gifted them a weak call on Brandon Davidson, but that is neither her nor there. The Oilers weren’t able to stop the Canadiens from moving the puck around the zone, eventually landing on Galchenyuk’s stick and in the net.
- Phillip Danault got the Canadiens’ second goal of the night while the Oilers had a delayed penalty coming. The Oilers couldn’t get a stick on the puck and the Habs were able to move it around the zone effectively which gave Danault space at the side of the net.
- I don’t know why the Oilers have so much trouble connecting on their passes but it’s an issue someone needs to address. I don’t care if they need to bring in a psychiatrist to figure it out, or some kind of witch doctor to break the curse that’s hanging over their head. They were better tonight than they have been but not nearly good enough. The NHL site has them down for 17 giveaways but I think that might be generous.
- What was with Romanuk and Galley talking about Nuge like he’s some kind of slouch all night? More than once, they talked about how the Oilers can’t be good if they’re relying on Nugent-Hopkins to be one of their best players. What kind of horrible take is that?
- The penalty kill was decent tonight but still not able to end the night with a clean sheet. The Oilers allowed one goal on the three penalties they took, and that’s something that still needs work.
- I missed Carey Price when he left. Niemi was cool.
|07:46||Edmonton||Michael Cammalleri (4) ASST: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (10), Patrick Maroon (9)||1-0|
|11:37||Edmonton||Jujhar Khaira (4) ASST: Ryan Strome (8)||2-0|
|01:11||Edmonton||Jujhar Khaira (5) ASST: Ryan Strome (9), Kris Russell (11)||3-0|
|02:24||Edmonton||PPG – Milan Lucic (6) ASST: Leon Draisaitl (13), Connor McDavid (23)||4-0|
|13:44||Montreal||PPG – Alex Galchenyuk (7) ASST: Jeff Petry (8), Max Pacioretty (10)||4-1|
|02:40||Edmonton||PPG – Oscar Klefbom (3) ASST: Mark Letestu (7), Milan Lucic (15)||5-1|
|03:09||Edmonton||Yohann Auvitu (2) ASST: Connor McDavid (24), Jesse Puljujarvi (1)||6-1|
|15:58||Montreal||Phillip Danault (6) ASST: Byron Froese (4), Daniel Carr (5)||6-2|
Goal or not, he’s earned a pizza.
— Ryan (@IAmByks) December 10, 2017
— Kevin Thang (@KevinThang_) December 10, 2017
— Carmen Chinery (@geology24_7) December 10, 2017
REAL LIFE PODCAST
On this week’s Real Life Podcast, the boys get into an array of topics including trading for Karlsson, and what it would be like to have the nicest house on the west coast.
Source: NHL.com, Official Game Page, 12/09/2017, 7:15pm MST