Another day, another frustrating loss. The Oilers have just one win in five games in 2018 and the faint hope that they had built up around making an unlikely playoff run prior to the Christmas break has now completely dried up. The team didn’t play poorly, but they just weren’t good enough, which has been the story all season.
This goal was kind of unfortunate. Nashville went ahead 2-0 when Ryan Johansen walked into the zone and launched a pass off the boards to Roman Josi. Josi’s one-timer was mostly stopped by Cam Talbot, but it deflected up and hit Adam Larsson in the face and Viktor Arivdsson was able to bury the rebound. There isn’t much you can do there, as Larsson was effectively tying up Arvidsson and likely wouldn’t have been able to score had the puck not drilled Larsson right in the face.
Under a minute into the second period, Connor McDavid pulled the Oilers to within one goal with an excellent individual effort in the offensive zone. He picks up the puck right against the board while being checked by Mattias Ekholm, but still manages to break free and slide a goal through Pekka Rinne’s five-hole. The fact he pulled this off against Ekholm, arguably Nashville’s best all-around defenceman, is brilliant.
BOOOOOO! pic.twitter.com/D7UNczysJT— Oilersnation.com (@OilersNation) January 10, 2018
The Oilers tied the game with a few minutes to go in the third period, but the goal was called back because Jujhar Khaira’s skate was in the zone before Mark Letestu carried the puck past the blueline. Edmonton had a flurry after that with the goalie pulled, but couldn’t get the tying goal past Rinne.
The first period was played evenly, with Edmonton edging Nashville in even strength shot attempts 15 to 14. Nashville was able to convert in the first on a power play (of course!) and they scored the second goal off of an unfortunate bounce. In the second, Edmonton turned on the engines and had 21 shot attempts to Nashville’s eight. I think at this point the Predators were playing conservatively, but Edmonton was only able to muster one goal early on. In the third, the shot attempts were split 11 to 11 with the Oilers getting a few high danger chances. All told, the Oilers’ defence did a good job shutting Nashville down, as they only allowed the Preds to get 33 shot attempts towards the net and 15 scoring chances at even strength. Unfortunately, Edmonton’s offence yet again wasn’t able to turn strong possession numbers into goals. Same old, same old.
- The McDavid, Draisaitl, and Maroon line was dominant, as you’d expect. I imagine Todd McLellan will continue to roll with this group for the next few games, as they were the one trio consistently driving offence and generating chances in Nashville’s zone. The McDavid line managed 12 scoring chances at even strength, which was more than half that the entire team had combined.
- I thought the blueline was solid last night. The Predators didn’t get many great scoring chances and the Oilers defence did a good job keeping the shots to the outside. Now, is that because they played well, or is it because Nashville scored a couple first period goals and played defensively the rest of the way? This is also a Nashville team without Filip Forsberg, their top offensive threat. I’m trying to be positive here, and it isn’t very easy.
- Scott Hartnell had a brutal slash of Patrick Maroon in an area he, uh, you know, shouldn’t be making a slash. The refs missed it. Connor McDavid was also hooked on a breakaway. The refs missed it. I’m usually not one to complain about reffing, but it’s pretty shocking how little protection McDavid has been getting this season. Doesn’t the league want speed and skill to shine through?
No hook? Ok. pic.twitter.com/mdZ77TIv9X— Adam (@OilersAdam) January 10, 2018
- The offside call that overturned Mark Letestu’s game-tying goal was the right one but the rulebook, but it’s a stupid rule. The league implemented these offside challenges because that one time Matt Duchene was, like, a mile offside and scored on a breakaway and the refs looked terrible. But in situations like this when Khaira’s skate is an inch over the line? Who cares? It isn’t effecting the play at all. It’s a little different, but in soccer, they altered the offsider rule so that it’s based on whether a player is involved in the play. This really needs to be changed in the NHL so that a guy off to the side with a foot over the line not effecting the play isn’t a reason to overturn a goal. Nashville fans know all too well just how stupid this rule is.