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.
william nylander: elite 1c pic.twitter.com/cTitw2SkoR— The Leafs Nation (@TLNdc) December 11, 2017
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.
McDavid with the moves but he can’t beat a sprawling McElhinney. pic.twitter.com/XrqwLb8Y1Z— Oilersnation.com (@OilersNation) December 11, 2017
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.
Get a life, post! pic.twitter.com/a96WpxDvwS— Oilersnation.com (@OilersNation) December 11, 2017
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.
AAHHHHH!! pic.twitter.com/2oRzOuVPkE— Oilersnation.com (@OilersNation) December 11, 2017
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.
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.
- 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