Happy day time beers for once! Final Score: 3-2 Oilers
After writing the GDB this morning, all I could think about was how the Oilers had everything going against them in this game. Not only did they have to play hockey before the sun went down, but they were also facing the other team’s backup goalie which turns out to be their kryptonite, for some reason. Was it because they had their own backup playing and they weren’t scoring on other backups as a silent form of support for Brossoit? I mean, probably not but we have no way of proving it either. Regardless, having Cam Talbot back in between the pipes meant that my fake theory didn’t matter anyway, but I’m just saying that the Oilers didn’t have to feel bad about scoring on a substitute starter anymore.
Crazy theories aside, the Oilers had some jump early and did a really nice job of keeping the play in the Wild’s zone. The downside, of course, was that they couldn’t capitalize on that good start and give themselves an early lead on the board. While the Oilers did end up scoring three goals on their road to victory, I have to admit that seeing them get shut down by Stalock in the first period was giving me all kinds of awful flashbacks to Thursday night. On the bright side, Talbot looked fantastic in his first game back from injury and seeing him lock things down in the crease was a sight for sore eyes. The Oilers desperately need stability in net and Talbot provided that today in spades. This was a big four-point win against one of the teams that’s holding a Wildcard spot the Oilers are chasing.
There’s still a long way to go, but this was definitely a good start.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins opened the scoring after converting on a perfect shorthanded 2-on-1 with Zack Kassian. Nuge’s 13th goal of the season gives him back the team lead and the Year of Nuge continues.
- Milan Lucic continues his nice run of production with his 8th goal of the season. Looch gave the Oilers back their lead after he ripped home a quick wrister from the slot.
- Jesse Puljujarvi continues to impress since being recalled as the big Finn got himself another goal by getting to the dirty areas on the ice. Puljujarvi has made a point of crashing the net since Todd McLellan moved him up with McDavid, and it’s paying off as Puljujarvi is on pace for a 20 goal season despite missing a bunch of games early on. Now put him on the power play, Todd.
- I don’t know about you guys but I was pretty pumped to see Cam Talbot back between the pipes. No offence to LB but he was very inconsistent and having Dadbot in the net should (hopefully) eliminate some of those weak goals that were costing the boys points on the board. Talbot was excellent in his return, stopping 29 shots and finishing with a .935 save%.
- Oscar Klefbom seems to be having his game rounding into shape a little bit over the past few games. He played a team high 25:26, was a +2, and had 1 SOG. He does still need to work on hitting the net more.
- Despite sucking on the power play, the Oilers were excellent on the penalty kill. They killed off all four Minnesota attempts and that’s no small victory. The Wild have very good special teams and killing of every chance they had should be considered a win for the boys.
- Good day for the Oilers in the faceoff circle as they won 53% of the draws they took.
- I’m really appreciate Brandon Davidson’s mobility on the third pairing. I feel like he’s been a calming influence back there since being inserted into the lineup, and I can’t help but wonder when Gryba will get back into a game.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Matt Dumba tied the game up at one apiece after Matt Benning gave the puck up with his breakout pass to no one. Dumba scored a second goal after capitalizing on another Oilers mistake in the defensive zone as all five guys wound up on the same side of the ice, leaving Dumba all the time and space he needed to slap the puck past Talbot. Brutal coverage by the Oilers in their own zone on that second goal.
- What is it about backup goalies that makes it so hard for the Oilers to score goals this year? It’s a wild coincidence of some kind that has to be a joke to one of the crueler hockey gods. Seriously, what’s up with that?**********
- Why won’t Todd McLellan put Puljujarvi on the power play? What’s up with that? The kid has a bomb of a shot that would look really nice on the half boards but it doesn’t seem to be on Todd’s radar right now. What gives?
- Pat Maroon doesn’t look like the same player right now. He looks more tentative with the puck and he’s not causing the usual mayhem in and around the crease that we’re used to seeing from him. Right now, the Big Rig is struggling to produce away from Connor McDavid.
- Drake Caggiula replaced Anton Slepyshev today but I’m not sure how long that’s going to last. It seems to me like Slepyshev is doing more than Caggiula is with the same number of minutes. He only played 9:50 today as it’s clear Todd McLellan doesn’t trust him.
- When I say ‘power play’ you say ‘bad!’ Power play! “Bad” Power play! “Bad”
- PP: The Oilers went 0/6 with the man advantage today. Horrible.
- The NHL site only had the Oilers down for three giveaways but I don’t think that’s true at all. Both goals were the result of giveaways and there definitely wasn’t only one more on top of that.
- That Jason Zucker cross check on Brandon Davidson at the end of the game should be a suspension. Stupid play. No need for it.
|09:15||Edmonton||SHG – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (13) ASST: Zack Kassian (8)||1-0|
|13:18||Minnesota||Matt Dumba (4) ASST: Mikael Granlund (14)||1-1|
|16:37||Edmonton||Milan Lucic (8) ASST: Leon Draisaitl (15), Connor McDavid (28)||2-1|
|08:32||Edmonton||Jesse Puljujarvi (6) ASST: Milan Lucic (16)||3-1|
|15:00||Minnesota||Matt Dumba (5) ASST: Chris Stewart (4), Eric Staal (16)||3-2|
I'd like someone to touch me like that… so soft and gentle
— Ryan Challis (@Rchallis56) December 16, 2017
He's kinda blowing the snack budget the season with all the dunkaroos and chocolate Milk. But I don't care, it helps him grow big and strong 🙂🙂
— StephyKei (@stephylee0526) December 16, 2017
Did you make this rhyme on purpose?
— Cam Lewis (@cooom) December 16, 2017
— Ramone (@thesquireyeg) December 16, 2017
REAL LIFE PODCAST
On this week’s podcast, the boys get into all things Oilers, look at what’s going on with the Flames moving to Calgary and try to figure out who is impersonating me at the Pint.
Source: NHL.com, Official Game Page, 12/16/2017, 2:30pm MST