Is Al Montoya the new Goalie Of The Future?
FINAL SCORE: OILERS 4, COYOTES 2
The Oilers came into their Friday night game against the Arizona Coyotes on the tail end of a three-game losing streak, looking to right the ship against one of the league’s most miserably performing franchises so far this year.
While it wasn’t the start they wanted, a win is a win! And really, when it comes down to it, no better way to earn a win then to come back from a 2-0 deficit to pull off a nice, solid victory.
Before the game, it seemed – statistically, at least – like the Oilers had little reason to believe they’d lose to the Coyotes, despite playing their divisional rivals on home ice with a significant edge in net.
Sure enough, Cam Talbot and company did their damndest to drop those two points before all the butts were even in their seats at Gila River.
Arizona went up 1-0 just two minutes into the game, when veteran depth center Brad Richardson scooped up a juicy rebound and took advantage of some confusion in the crease on the team’s first shot of the night.
Yes, that’s a real thing.
The Coyotes would put the puck on net off the faceoff win down in Talbot’s end, with Jakob Chychrun ringing one off the post to Talbot’s right.
The puck would bounce out in front of the goaltender, who didn’t quite catch up to what was happening until Richardson had netted the rebound on a wide-open crease to Talbot’s left.
(That, by the way, would be the 28th time this season that the Oilers allowed the first goal of the game.)
From there, it would take Arizona just another minute before they beat Talbot again, this time getting beaten cleanly by fellow depth forward Josh Archibald.
While this one was a solid play by Coyotes forward Christian Dvorak, Talbot hung onto his left post for a little too long for a guy who was facing a sharp-angle shot with a passing option. And with that, his night was over – posting a not-so-glorious .333 save percentage for his troubles.
At this point, though, Al Montoya took over, and that went just how we all expected it to:
Al Montoya is the answer
— Cam Lewis (@cooom) January 13, 2018
Like I said, just as we all expected.
From this point on, the Coyotes would get shut out by an aging backup journeyman, while the Oilers would take over offensively (well, ish.)
A goal from Darnell Nurse 14 minutes into the first period would narrow the Oilers’ margin of deficit to just one goal, as Antti Raanta followed up an incredible 2-on-1 save with a weak-positioned goal allowed by Darryl.
(Did I do that right?)
Anyways, Patrick Maroon would net his 10th of the season just before the period ended, capitalizing on an incredible sequence between McDavid and Oscar Klefbom to draw Raanta out of his crease altogether. Although McDavid gets the secondary assist, his effort leading up to the goal – first getting the puck out of the corner, turning the play around as if no one else was on the ice, then deceptively passing out to Klefbom at the goal line to draw Raanta and the rest of the Coyotes away from a now-open Maroon – was mesmerizing.
After a miserable start, the Oilers managed to head into the first intermission tied up at two goals apiece. Not too shabby.
Let it be said: neither of these teams was anything remarkable on Friday night.
The second period saw zero goals, zero penalties, and just five shots apiece, with both teams trading off possession for spurts before relinquishing it again to head back up the ice with nothing to show for it.
Second Period Analysis: Boring. More goals please, more hits please, more fights please, more ANYTHING.
No more beets dammit! pic.twitter.com/wNVuT4xVy1
— Steve lowry (@Lowry12) January 13, 2018
Just four minutes into the third period, Offensive Juggernaut Darnell Nuse™ scored his second of the night, proving that sometimes, guys just have that one shot that beats the same goalie every time.
From there, the Coyotes would turn on the jets a little bit, doing their darndest to try and prevent another loss in order to keep up with the Buffalo Sabres in the win column (since at this point, it’s the battle of the Connor McDavid 2015 runner-ups in the basement this year).
Good Boy Nuge would manage to capitalize on the empty net in the final 20 seconds of the game, though, and that would be that. The Oilers pulled off a two-goal margin of victory, and avoided a loss at the hands of the league’s 31st-place team.
- Technically, that final goal was on poor Clayton Keller, who had an uncharacteristic lost edge to eat it at center ice to give up the turnaround back towards the other net. It wasn’t exactly his game, either; he had some of the worst possession numbers on the Coyotes, and his line did a whole lot of nothing despite hopes that he would continue rolling through January.
- I really don’t know what to say about Talbot. He’s playing pretty much the same way that Brossoit did when he was up with the team, and that’s concerning; although the defense in front of him is nothing to write home about, it’s a problem when Al Montoya has to come in for you in relief twice in his first week with the club. I’m a big Cam Talbot fan, and it’s not all his fault, but starting a game like that is how you find yourself scrambling to overcome a deficit against a basement-dweller just five minutes into a game.
- I haven’t gotten to watch much Connor McDavid this year, because I’m primarily working in the Central Division – but man, I wish that wasn’t the case. He’s so good.
Sorry to wrap things short, but I’ve got a strict bedtime! Hope you all had as much fun watching Darnell Nurse as I did.