The Oilers looked to sweep their California road trip after getting swept on it a few weeks earlier. After starting strong in the first period, the Oilers lost it all in the second and couldn’t recover.
— NHL (@NHL) February 28, 2018
Connor McDavid can do it all and even with Milan Lucic on his wing. What a guy. McDavid flies down the right side and wisely opts to shoot and puts the Oilers up 1-0. McDavid’s been on fire lately and watching him make a go at the Art Ross and another 100-point season is one of the few positives down the stretch.
— Connor Halley (@ConnorHalley) February 28, 2018
Evander Kane cross-checks/boards Matt Benning and no call is made. The play continues while Benning is in the corner and the Sharks score. Oilers fans were furious, and while it should have been a call, it’s also on the Oilers to not give up on the play. The missed call shouldn’t mean you allow four goals in one period.
POOL PARTY! JESSE PULJUJARVI FINISHES PONTUS ABERG'S FEED AND THE OILERS ARE WITHIN 2! pic.twitter.com/GBCtNkcm6Y
— NHL Daily 365 (@NHLDaily365) February 28, 2018
Ryan Strome alludes Brent Burns and gets the puck to new Oiler Pontus Aberg who feeds Jesse Puljujarvi for his 10th goal of the year. Aberg has a decent history of scoring in the minors and didn’t get much ice time in Nashville. It’s good to see Puljujarvi not playing on the fourth line.
By the numbers
The Oilers had a strong start, but that’s where it ended. The Sharks took control after the first period and had a bunch of quality scoring chances. Shot attempts were 57-49 for San Jose, with a lot of those coming in the second-period bombardment. The Sharks outshot the Oilers 25-11 after the first period. That’s not good.
- I don’t think the Oilers needed any response to Kane’s hit. It didn’t seem malicious and any retribution would have put the Oilers on the penalty kill, although that matters less in a lost season.
- I get why Lucic is on the McDavid line and top power play unit. But it’s time for a change. I know they’re trying to get him going and there’s not much else to play for anymore, but playing him 19-20 minutes a night isn’t helping. Slot him down the lineup a few games, maybe alongside Strome or Khaira and have him play against lesser competition. He had a decent night against the Sharks but the play dies with him far too often.
- Here are a few players on the ice with the goalie pulled: Milan Lucic, Mike Cammalleri, and Adam Larsson. No disrespect to those guys, but two of them haven’t scored in nearly a third of the season, and the other is a defenceman with eight points on the season. I don’t understand not throwing Puljujarvi, who scored in the third period, or someone else on with the extra attacker to get a goal.
- This is the time of year you get odd line combinations. Ty Rattie and Pontus Aberg will probably finish the season in Edmonton. Ethan Bear was called up and should get into a few games.