53
Photo Credit: Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports

GDB 45.0 Wrap-up: Comeback Kids

Is Al Montoya the new Goalie Of The Future?

FINAL SCORE: OILERS 4, COYOTES 2

THE RUNDOWN

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.

FIRST PERIOD 

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:

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.

SECOND PERIOD

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.

THIRD PERIOD 

NURSE!

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.

NOTES

  • 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.

  • Leon

    Good game boys. Needed this one.

    Please please don’t start with Montoya being our new #1. This is a healthy competition and should keep the goalies on their toes. I haven’t given up on the playoffs just yet. Have some faith !!!

    Oh … Nurse and Leon are bffs again. End of story !! We all live happily ever after.

  • PleaseWinOilers

    The goaltending graveyard that is the Edmonton Oilers claims another victim. Thank God Arizona called off the dogs otherwise it could’ve gotten really ugly.

    • Connor McJesus

      I don’t think Todd is very rational. I listen to Tsn1260 all the time and Dean always brings up good points – Slepyshev was doing well in playoffs with Lucic and Draisaitl, getting 3 goals in 12 games. Yet that line combination has only been seen together for 19 seconds this season.

      Todd said Pulji is his deadliest winger, yet sees no first line PP time or out with a pulled goalie.

      He doesn’t put Nurse on the PP, he doesn’t give Strome a shot, Paige made an article about Russell being the 6th man, the list goes on.

      I don’t mind Letestu on the PP at all, but try new things for the sake of avoiding the worst PP/PK in the league would be nice. I think both Chia and TMac have to go in my mind and I don’t think the season is salvable if that happens, I just hope they are gone in the offseason.

    • Its.Not.Me.Its.You

      as sick as it sounds i think they wont put nurse on the pp till they sign him to keep his contract low thats the only thing that makes sense lol

  • Heschultzhescores

    Someone needs to ask that question. Are they trying to keep Nurse and JP’s numbers down so they can stay under cap? It’s bizarro world out there right now. I would love someone to ask TMac his rationale for continuing to use the same guys who are not producing on the PP. The PP is essential to winning in the NHL in case he didn’t notice, as is the PK. I just wanna slap him upside his fat head, he’s so damn stubborn it’s costing us many games!

    • crabman

      I have a hard time buying into the narrative that a coach is purposely holding back his pp for the sake of helping a GM to keep future costs down. Coaches want to win now and keep their jobs. I can only assume McLellan thinks the people he puts out their gives him the best chance to win. And that is where he loses me. It isn’t working and it’s time for him to make a change or the team to make a change to some new coaches.

    • tealyn

      I don’t think that our management or coaches could ever even come up with that scenario, I think it is honestly just plain old incompetence. When you have the worst special team in the last idunno 4 decades or something and you keep sticking your 4th line center on the powerplay and nothing changes and you don’t change, tells me someones pride is more important than changing.

  • Big Nuggets

    I think Talbot and Klef are good bounce back candidates for next season. I would not trade them. I would probably try to trade Sekera this offseason, maybe for a forward and try to sign a defenseman. Also I would trade Strome and be willing to trade Sleppy or Cags if there is a deal out there.

      • fasteddy

        I thought everyone was saying Sekera being out was the main reason for the bad start?! Now we want to run him out of town?! (For the record I like his steadiness, but never thought he was half as much of a difference maker as was being alluded to)

        • Big Nuggets

          Im a Sekera fan but the budget looks a bit tight next year and I would rather not trade away either of the young Swedes. Even if Russel waved his NTC what could we get for him? Obviously not trading Nurse so that leaves Sekera, If he would wave his NTC clause.
          Maybe we can keep all our defensemen but we will need to replace or resign Maroon too.
          I repeat the budget looks tight next year, so if we have to move a large contract this off-season who else from the roster would you rather trade?

  • Mike Modano's Dog

    That was a fun game to watch! Now onto Vegas to see how we look against a real team. I hope the Oil can keep it going – and thinking we’ll be using Montoya in net to start this one. Who knows? Should be good!

    • GK1980

      The enthusiasm is nice to see but they need to win 7 out of 10 games the rest of the year to maybe make it in. Wishful thinking friend since they have put one 4 game win streak togehter all year.

  • KennyG

    Did playing all those games last year take its toll mentally and physically on Talbot? I really think so. Let Montoya play until he loses. Make Cam earn the number one spot again.

    • fasteddy

      I found it very comforting watching Montoya in there; calm and in control looking. Just seemed like it was going to take a really good play to beat him……which has not been the case much of the season so far

    • Puckluck

      Even with the stress of a heavy workload from last season, I cannot see a carry over to this season. It makes more sense to me that there is internal and external pressure on Cam due to the under-performance and standing of the team. If anyone thinks that either of those two goals last night were his fault, I’m pretty sure they weren’t watching the same game. Always easy to point fingers at he goalie.

      Montoya coming in and looking all calm and stable is awesome but maybe thats primarily due to the fact he has ZERO pressure on him (aside from in-game performance)…he wasn’t part of the problem that got the Oil in this hot mess.
      Go Oil Go – keep the faith!
      *its all a bad dream

  • Spydyr

    Yet another game when Talbot was the worse goalie on the ice. When will the Oilers realize they need to address starting goaltending? After another lost season? I’m hoping they do it this summer.

  • Opi

    So … clarify some thangie for me … if the Oil won this game outright … and are awarded the two points … why does it still feel like just another moral victory, lolo … ?

  • camdog

    The coach reminds me of some of the farmers in my family. The diesel was really good truck. Just a couple more days before All Star break. Let’s mile her out. We all know Talbot has played like 13 games in a row and needs a rest. We have this old gas truck that just come out of the shop it’s ready to go – but it just was never the same type of truck. Just 2 more days until the end of season we’ll go with the diesel that needs an oil change.

    We could go on about the powerplay about some of those old horses are long in the tooth, but I think everybody gets my drift.

  • GK1980

    They beat the worst team in the league. Actually going down 2-0 early on and still not looking that great. Defence is very porous and collapses on even the slightest opposition pressure and no one except McDavid is quick and explosive. People may diss Yakupov but at least he had some quickness to his game. This team is still a work in progress.

    • oilerjed

      Moving Nurse while his value is high? Are you high? That is some cray a$$ logic right there. The Oilers are watching the development of a stud dmam who is mean, can skate and handle the puck. Do you really think moving out a guy like that is worth while?

      • Mitch92

        The only move that is beyond Chia involves moving McDavid. I am not saying I would support such a move, just that it might be on Chia’s radar if he thinks he can improve the team over the long run. For example, if Chia could get into Karlsson or Doughty land by including Nurse in the deal would he consider it?

        • The Whispererer

          You need to adjust your sights. Karlsson, Doughty and Ekman-Larsson will all be UFA in 2019 and all will be looking for money in the McDavid neighbourhood ( minimum $10 million per year ). There is no way the Oilers could afford any of them without gutting the team. You only have to look at the forward group’s difficulty in scoring since moving Hall and Eberle; now imagine our forward group without Draisaitl. The Oilers have to groom their studs internally, and Nurse is a vital component of that future defence.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    kudos to Nurse for having a strong game and renewing my faith this season on his #7 pick at the draft. Kudos to Montoya for playing goal like he gave a damn while Talbot looked like he was still in bed ! and kudos to the thousands and thousands of Oiler fans who went down there to make this game look more like a home game than a road game. if you are now going to Vegas to watch the next game, know that i am very jealous!