It took them a while to get there, but the losing streak is over. Final Score: 2-1 Oilers in the shootout
Coming into tonight’s game, all I could hope for was that the Oilers would use the hatred built up in the playoffs to motivate them. Needless to say, these last four games have been anything but fun to watch and another one of those kinds of efforts could be enough to send Oilers fans off the deep end. On the bright side, the Oilers came to the rink ready to play tonight as they completely dominated the play throughout the first period. The downside, of course, is that they couldn’t score… again. After having such a good start to the game but being unable to capitalize, I was curious to see how the Oilers would respond as the game progressed into the second and third periods.
Unlike the gongshow we saw in the game against the Kings, the Oilers stuck with their game plan and weathered any storms thrown their way until finally being able to get their first goal in over seven periods of play. That was encouraging. What didn’t change, however, was the Oilers ability to finish a game with a clean sheet on the penalty kill. Quite frankly, when the Ducks scored that power play goal early in the third period I was worried that the wheels were going to fall off. Fortunately, on this night, the Oilers didn’t get burned by their special teams despite their mediocre 50% penalty kill and their inability to score on five power play attempts. In the end, this was a hard fought win considering the uselessness of the man advantage, and I credit the Oilers for their ability to shut down a solid hockey club and grind out a win.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- The Oilers had a really solid first period after finishing off their last game like a fart in the wind. They definitely needed a goal but they deserve some props for outshooting the Ducks 13-2 AND killed a penalty all in the same period.
- Who had Kris Russell as the guy that would end the goalless drought of 2018? Matt Henderson! But seriously, though, the Oilers broke into the Ducks’ zone with numbers and Russell made no mistake of absolutely smashing home the puck after Connor set him up on a tee. McDavid had passing options and he found Russell coming in late and Russell ripped it. Great pass, solid finish. Russell also hit the post later and was all over the puck tonight. Great game by #4.
- Connor McDavid was great from start to finish and it’s somewhat surprising that he only finished with one point in this game. He was dancing all over the ice with McDangles aplenty, and he was certainly worth the price of admission.
- Cam Talbot was rock solid tonight and he was there to cover up any mistakes that were made in front of him, something that hasn’t always been happening. When he is on his game, he gives the Oilers a chance to bend without breaking rather than being deflated like a cheap party balloon. Quite frankly, this is the Dadbot the Oilers need on a nightly basis. If they get this kind of goaltending then they could start getting back into the mix. Big ‘if’ there, though. Talbot finished the night with 33 saves and a .971 save%.
- Oscar Klefbom had a big game tonight. He quietly lead the team in ice time with 24:27, had four shots on goal, was a +1, and had three blocked shots.
- Solid night for the Oilers in the faceoff circle as they were able to win 54% of the draws they took. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins led the way with a 70% success rate.
- Quick shout out to Mike Cammalleri for that shootout move. Camo Larry had the dirty dangles going on that one.
- Todd McLellan played his three big centres a lot tonight as McDavid, Nuge, and Draisaitl each had 24:04, 22:01, 21:45 minutes respectively.
- The Oilers have traded a conditional 4th round pick to Montreal in exchange for goaltender Al Montoya.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Did the penalty kill allow a goal tonight? Yes. But the PK wasn’t nearly as bad as the power play that, somehow, went 0/5 on the night. The Oilers had their share of chances but couldn’t cash anything in. I don’t know what has to change but it has to be something. BTW why was Puljujarvi not on the power play in overtime? He’s a rookie, I get it, but c’mon.
- Remember how cool it was when the Oilers killed that penalty in the first period? Yeah, that was cool. Unfortunately, that was the only time they were able to kill a penalty as the Ducks tied the game up at one apiece on a Ryan Kesler power play goal, only 18 seconds into the third period. Now would be as good of a time as any to say that Ryan Kesler still has a punchable face.
- How many lucky, turd saves did John Gibson get tonight? The guy could have been laying flat on his back and the Oilers would have found a way to hit him. The boys need to recalibrate their sights a little bit.
- I would have liked to see the Oilers keep their foot on the gas a little bit more as the game progressed. After outshooting the Ducks 13-2 in the first period, they were outshot 15-8 and 13-11 in the second and third periods respectively.
|11:58||Edmonton||Kris Russell (3) ASST: Connor McDavid (32), Milan Lucic (18)||0-1|
|00:18||Anaheim||PPG – Ryan Kesler (1) ASST: Jakob Silfverberg (11), Cam Fowler (9)||1-1|
|Edmonton||Missed – Connor McDavid|
|Anaheim||Missed – Ryan Getzlaf|
|Edmonton||Goal – Michael Cammalleri|
|Anaheim||Goal – Rickard Rakell|
|Edmonton||Goal – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins|
|Anaheim||Missed – Jakob Silfverberg|
Trying to start a 'Darryl' chant for @jsbmbaggedmilk but no one's joining in.
— John Epler (@eplerjc) January 5, 2018
I’ve got your alibi covered…you’re good. Do what needs to be done
— JD ?? ⚽️ (@JackieDee16) January 5, 2018
@OilersNation Oh my lord. A Kris Russell goal to end the goal drought??!!?!! 2018 IS FREAKING WILD.
— StephyKei (@stephylee0526) January 5, 2018
I love an in game trade though…i don’t care how mediocre of an impact it will have.
— Jason Bilyk (@JasonBilyk) January 5, 2018
— Mike McKinnon (@mikemckinnon) January 5, 2018
— Ashley (@littleashley84) January 5, 2018
THE REAL LIFE PODCAST
On this week’s Real Life Podcast, the boys talk about what the hell happened in the two weeks since our last episode, what would it take to get Erik Karlsson out of Ottawa, and wonder where the team will go from here.
Source: NHL.com, Official Game Page, 01/04/2018, 10:15pm MST