C’mon, really? Final Score: 1-0 Maple Leafs
Coming into today’s game, all I wanted was for the Oilers to use that heartbreaking own-goal loss as some kind of revenge motivation for tonight. Seemingly every player and media member wanted to rally around Kris Russell after his bad luck play cost the Oilers at least a point on that night, and there would be no better way to do that than to pull out a win for him today. Regardless of what it took to motivate them, I needed to see the Oilers silence the horrendous hoard of human beings that willingly identify themselves as Leafs fans. Aside from beating Calgary, there are no wins more satisfying than watching the Oilers beat the Leaves. It was a simple dream.
That dream didn’t look like it was going to turn out so well after the Leafs were able to open the scoring off of a turnover at the blue line only 34 seconds into the game. I don’t know what it is about the Oilers and allowing early goals but they’ve got a real problem keeping the puck out of the net within the first few minutes of hockey games. Fortunately, the Oilers got better as the game went along, and they got their fair share of chances, but the snake bite was real as they couldn’t get anything past McElhinney without having it hit the post. As it turns out, that early goal ended up being the winner and the Oilers get nothing despite another admirable effort on the road. The Oilers probably deserved a point or better, but that’s the way things go when you’re struggling, right? *sigh*
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- You think Connor was fired up to play today? The last time the Oilers were in Toronto, Connor got beat on the game winner (horrible missed holding call on Kadri, mind you) and I figured that having things end that way must have annoyed him. He used that hate-fuel for good today as he was absolutely flying, carving the Leafs defence up like they were there by winning a raffle. He had so many chances tonight and it’s a shame he wasn’t rewarded for it.
- Despite playing the fewest minutes of any of the three centres, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins led the team with seven shots on night, was 50% in the faceoff circle, and had four blocks which was tied for first among the forward group.
- As a group, the top six defenders were all effective at limiting the Leafs from getting too many chances in tight. Klefbom led the group with seven shots and a 24:01 worth of ice time.
- I have to admit that I was surprised to see Laurent Brossoit back between the pipes tonight, and I was nervous about what kind of appearance this would be. Generally, the math shows that playing on back-to-back nights isn’t the best idea, but I guess that Todd felt like this was the only option. Aside from the first goal being questionable (though it was deflected), Brossoit was solid for 58 minutes of this hockey game. He finished the night with 22 saves and a .957 save%. It’s hard to win when the team doesn’t score.
- I have to give props to Jujhar Khaira again for his fine work down low. The puck has been following the big man around lately and he’s making the most of it with some timely goals. He may not have scored tonight but he had another big game on the Oilers fourth line.
- The penalty kill was perfect tonight, killing off both power play chances they faced.
- We won the Corsi.
THE FACE PALMERS
- There is no team better at making a backup goalie look like a Vezina candidate than the Edmonton Oilers. 41 saves for McElhinney? C’mon.
- If I told you that the Oilers gave up the puck at the blue line and the Leafs were able to walk it down the ice and rip one past Brossoit would you be surprised? Of course not. Draisaitl gave it up, Gardiner shoots, Hymen deflects it past Brossoit.
- How many posts did the Oilers hit tonight? Four? Five? Absolutely no puck luck for the boys in white tonight.
- After yesterday’s game, I had hope for the special teams — okay maybe not the penalty kill — but those were dashed again today. Once again, the Oilers were up to their old tricks of gifting goals and doing nothing with their opportunities. A big special shout out to the failed two-minute 5-on-3 power play at the end of the second period. A lot of standing around, a lot of passing, not a lot of finishing.
- PP: Going 0/4 on the night was the killer tonight. The Oilers had plenty of chances to get themselves on the board and their power play couldn’t get it done. That’s not to say that they weren’t effective at maintaining zone time, but the execution was (obviously) lacking.
- Oilers were only 46% on the power play with Connor really struggling at a 21% success rate.
- Making passes is not this hard. Making passes is not this hard. Making passes is not this hard. Making passes is not this hard. Making passes is not this hard. Making passes is not this hard. Making…
- Speaking of the power play, why isn’t Jesse Puljujarvi on it? Anybody have a good explanation that I’m not seeing? Why doesn’t Todd want to put him out there?
- Why couldn’t Jim Hughson say Brossoit? What was up with that?
- There is nothing worse than a Leaf-caused #BeetCast. As always, you can check it out on my Twitter.
|00:34||Toronto||Zach Hyman (6) ASST: Jake Gardiner (13), William Nylander (16)||0-1|
No Auston Matthews for the Leafs tonight, but the game is likely going ahead anyway.
— Rob Tychkowski (@Rob_Tychkowski) December 10, 2017
I think it’s bra-song.
— Erin White (@ewhite1199) December 11, 2017
IT’S CHOWDAH! SAY IT!
— Ryan (@IAmByks) December 11, 2017
— Mike (@p3rsonman) December 11, 2017
— Scrivs (@SamScrivano) December 11, 2017
So many beets but can't say no. So many beets but can't say no. So many beets but can't say no. So many beets but can't say no…
— Rajveer (@RajveerG) December 11, 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, 12/10/2017, 7:30pm MST