We’re going streaking! Final Score: 5-3 Oilers
Isn’t it weird to think that it’s December 18th and the Oilers just played their first game of the year against a California team? I don’t know what’s going on with the schedule, but saving these Western Conference games until the season is already 34 games old is going to make for one wild finish. Needless to say, if we were going to inch North in the standings the Oilers needed to get themselves fired up and into this game from the opening faceoff. Tonight had to be a must win night and the Oilers needed to do whatever it took to get themselves on the right side of a four-point swing.
After a rocky start that saw the home side giving up a power play goal for an early lead, the Oilers settled things down and started executing their game plan. Even with the Sharks scoring first the Oilers kept battling. Rather than lay down and die as they might have earlier in the season, the boys came roaring back with three straight goals of their own, grabbing a lead with their kung fu grip. Most impressive was the way the Oilers found a way to counter any time the Sharks managed to get themselves back in the game. In the end, this was a massive regulation win for the boys and one that gets them started on a winning streak and a step closer to where they want to be.
Now let’s see if they can keep the good times rolling.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Mark Letestu set himself up along the boards on the left hand side of the ice (facing the net) and blasted home a one-timer past Martin Jones to tie up the game at one goal apiece.
- Ryan Strome scored one of the easiest goals of his NHL career tonight after Jujhar Khaira and Leon Draisaitl made a beautiful tic-tac passing play with Strome being the toe. Very pretty puck movement ended up with a gimme for Strome for his fifth goal of the season. Later on in the night, Strome added the empty netter to cap off what was arguably one of his best nights as an Oiler. Bonus Fun Fact: Strome scored the Oilers’ 10,000th goal in franchise history and is now the answer to a trivia question few will ever ask. Still cool, though.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins got some puck luck tonight as he was coming in on a 2-on-1 with Drake Caggiula and had his pass deflect in off a Sharks player for his 14th goal of the year.
- Pat Maroon hadn’t scored in a little while but he got himself back on the board tonight. Nugent-Hopkins found Maroon with speed on the wing and he made no mistake as he ripped a clapper past Martin Jones for his ninth goal of the year. And arguably the biggest Patty Positive® of the night: I’ll never get tired of watching Pat Maroon give Brent Burns’ beard a tug.
- Leon Draisaitl is starting to look more like himself again. His two first period assists were beauties and when he’s on his game, his vision is ridiculous.
- I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am to see Cam Talbot back in net for the Oilers. It was one of those things where you don’t really know what you have until its gone, and that was the story for me when Dadbot was on the shelf. Personally, I thought the goals that beat him tonight would have taken some luck to stop and even though it wasn’t a perfect night he did enough to give his team the win.
- The Maroon-RNH-Caggiula line deserves some props for the night they had. That line was buzzing almost every time they were on the ice and ended up contributing two big goals on the night.
- Imagine the luxury of having Connor McDavid held pointless but your two other star centres finish the night with two points each.
THE FACE PALMERS
- The Oilers have given up the first goal in 21 of 34 games. Be ready to play, boys. Jebus.
- Right after the Oilers failed miserably on a power play, the Sharks got one of their own and made short work of the historically bad Edmonton Oilers. After moving the puck around effectively, Joe Pavelski walked into the slot and pounded home a rebound.
- The Oilers gave up too much space at their own blue line which allowed Timo Meier to walk in unimpeded and fire a shot from a prime scoring area. Unfortunately, that shot saw it’s way through traffic and deflected off Hertl on its way past Talbot and into the net. Need to mind the gap better than that, boys.
- The Sharks caught the Oilers sleeping on Marcus Sorensen’s third period goal as their defensive coverage was porous, to say the least. San Jose’s forwards were allowed to walk into the zone without being touched and slice through the defence like they were standing still. Sloppy.
- The Oilers have played 16 games at Rogers Place this season and they have only six wins. What is it about being at the home barn that has made winning nearly impossible? Hopefully, tonight’s win will trigger the “not in our house” complex that the Oilers had at home last season.
- Who’s penalty kill is historically bad? The Oilers’ penalty kill is historically bad! Once again, the PK failed to shut the door as the Sharks were able to go 1/3 with the man advantage.
- Not to be outdone, the power play went 0/2 on the night. Though, to be fair, Letestu’s goal was right as the PP expired.
- The NHL site had the Oilers with 19 giveaways to the Sharks’ nine and I believe it. As usual, the Oilers were too often sloppy with the puck as they were either exiting or entering the zone and often ended up giving it away. Need to tighten that up.
- Listening to Drew Remenda swoon over the Sharks all night was nauseating.
|06:15||San Jose||PPG – Joe Pavelski (7) ASST: Kevin Labanc (9), Brent Burns (15)||1-0|
|14:42||Edmonton||Mark Letestu (8) ASST: Leon Draisaitl (16), Oscar Klefbom (6)||1-1|
|18:51||Edmonton||Ryan Strome (5) ASST: Leon Draisaitl (17), Jujhar Khaira (5)||1-2|
|06:36||Edmonton||Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (14) ASST: Drake Caggiula (4), Patrick Maroon (10)||1-3|
|08:32||San Jose||Tomas Hertl (8) ASST: Kevin Labanc (10), Brent Burns (16)||2-3|
|08:23||Edmonton||Patrick Maroon (9) ASST: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (11)||2-4|
|11:58||San Jose||Marcus Sorensen (2) ASST: Justin Braun (14), Melker Karlsson (5)||3-4|
|19:52||Edmonton||EN – Ryan Strome (6)||3-5|
— SAD TIMES ON DA YEG (@heresdylan) December 19, 2017
— Doug Otway (@yawto) December 19, 2017
Clearly those iPads on the bench aren’t charged.
— Ryan (@IAmByks) December 19, 2017
Nuge has been so good this season. To everyone who I argued with online over the summer, I'm right and you're wrong, and I'm -not- going to be the bigger person here.
— John Epler (@eplerjc) December 19, 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, 12/18/2017, 10:30pm MST