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Photo Credit: © Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Leafs 1, Oilers 0 post-game Oil Spills: There isn’t time for moral victories

The Oilers outplayed the Leafs last night but didn’t win. The team badly needs to start winning games, and as nice as good underlying numbers are, there isn’t enough runway left to just assume things are going to naturally turn around.

Highlights

The Leafs grabbed an early lead under a minute into the first period. William Nylander brought the puck into the zone, waited up, slid it back to Jake Gardiner at the point, and Zach Hyman shovelled the rebound past Laurent Brossoit.

Connor McDavid played like a man possessed last night. Here’s one example of how good he was. McDavid gets the puck and blasts past Leo Komarov and then drives around Ron Hainsey, who, to be honest, played this about as well as he could have. Unfortunately, Curtis McElhinney also played this very well and made a poke check before McDavid could get a shot away.

Zack Kassian had a prime chance to tie the game, but rifled a shot right off the post. I think the Oilers hit the post five times last night.

Mid-way through the second period, McDavid took a pass from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for a shorthanded breakaway but couldn’t slide the puck between McElhinney’s legs on the backhand deke. This pretty much sums it up. The Oilers got a lot of good chances, but couldn’t beat McElhinney, who had his best game of the season. When they did beat McElhinney, they couldn’t beat the post.

By the numbers

The first period was evenly contested, with the Oilers and Leafs each had 18 shot attempts at even strength. But in the second and third, the Oilers completely dictated the play. Both Edmonton and Toronto were on the second-half of a back-to-back, but the Oilers certainly looked like the team with more energy in the final 40 minutes. They had 18 shot attempts to Toronto’s 10 in the second period and then a whopping 25 to Toronto’s 11 in the third. Unfortunately, you need goals to win, and the Oilers couldn’t buy one yesterday, even though they were the better team.

THOUGHTS…

  • The Oilers played well last night and had terrible puck luck. But that isn’t good enough right now. If the team was sitting in a playoff spot and they outplayed the Leafs but ran into a hot goalie and lost 1-0 like they did it wouldn’t be a big deal. You could gain positives from it and trust the process rather than worry about the individual result. But at this point, with a lot of ground to make up and not a lot of runway, there simply isn’t time to sit here and talk about moral victories. The Oilers need to find a way to score in a game with Curtis McBackup in net. They had a full two minute five-on-three power play and plenty of opportunities against a team that doesn’t thrive on the defensive side of the puck.
  • I found some numbers from this game pretty shocking. The Oilers had 61 shot attempts at even strength, which indicates they were driving play for a good chunk of the game, but only 26 of those ended up being shots on net. The team had 41 shots on net in all situations, 15 on the power play and 26 at even strength. Also, they only had seven high danger chances. What this tells me is that the team took a lot of bad shots, didn’t hit the net, and didn’t create rebounds, which could explain why they were shutout by Toronto’s backup goalie.
  • Connor McDavid was ridiculous last night. Just ridiculous. The rest of the team was good, but McDavid really stole the show and played one of his best games of the season. I think Jesse Puljujarvi is an ideal winger for him because of his speed and nose for the net, but I have a feeling Leon Draisaitl is going to find his way back on the first line as a winger because he isn’t driving much offence with his own line. I find the Oilers are deeper with the three best centres manning their own lines, but they need more out of Draisaitl and they get it when he’s with McDavid.

Source: NHL.com, Official Game Page, 12/10/2017, 7:30pm MST

  • BobbyCanuck

    Come on Man, we scored no goals and you say…Connor McDavid played like a man possessed last night. Here’s one example of how good he was…call it like it is, we need more finishers and less passengers

  • BringitbacklikeSlats

    So many missed shots last night. If Klefbom can’t learn to get his shot consistently on net then they need to rely on a better shooter. It’s hard but he’s far from accurate with it. Worst of all his wild clapper ten feet wide ends up in a rim and an odd man rush going against us. He said not the only one missing shots but he’s certainly the most uncontrolled shot.

  • Hemmercules

    I’d say they are done. I held out hope for the first week and a half in December but if they can’t win 2 games in a row its just treading water. Win one, lose one gains no ground. Especially when teams like LA are ripping 10 in a row.

    Drai is not himself. I like the guy but that 8.5 he makes could get ugly fast if last season was his peak.

    Klef is also not himself, or maybe like Drai, last year was just an anomaly. Klef either misses the net almost every shot or “tries” to miss with the hopes of a tip. I got news for ya Oscar, no one on this team is tipping sh*t so just try to hit the net more often and go from there.

    This team is officially in “Miracle Run” mode now if they weren’t already at the end of November.

    • Heschultzhescores

      “I got news for ya Oscar, no one on this team is tipping sh*t so just try to hit the net more often and go from there.”

      That cracked me up, thanks.

  • Johnny Zylon

    To get some scoring I think they should at least consider trading Larsen for that kid in Jersey….Taylor Hall. Devils probably wouldn’t go for it though.