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Predators 4, Oilers 2 post-game Oil Spills: Preds are real

The Edmonton Oilers haven’t fared well against the Nashville Predators recently. They’ve lost every game against the Predators since late 2014 and looked like they were finally going to end the streak after going up 2-0 in the first. Well, the Predators showed why they’re Stanley Cup contenders and the Oilers aren’t.

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Highlights

Here’s why I don’t get upset at the missed call on Evander Kane against the Sharks. Connor McDavid gets away with a slash on Mattias Ekholm and it results in an Oilers goal. That’s likely a penalty, especially this year. But it wasn’t and McDavid makes them pay. The NHL’s officiating isn’t great, but sometimes it evens out like this.

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Milan Lucic lights up Calle Jarnkrok. Jarnkrok still got the puck out, but at least Lucic is involved in some way, even if it didn’t really help on the play all that much. Lucic isn’t on the best of terms with fans but that’ll get him in a few good books around Edmonton.

Leon Draisaitl puts the Oilers up 2-0 after entering the zone on the power play. It seemed like an innocuous shot, but Draisaitl wired it and probably fooled Pekka Rinne on it.

By the numbers

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The Oilers had a good start but the Predators took control. They got a lot of really good chances and that’s not a surprise. Nashville’s a really good team. The Predators kept pressuring and eventually took the lead with two late-period goals in the third. Rinne’s save on McDavid’s breakaway when it was 2-0 allowed them to mount the comeback.

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Thoughts…

  • The Oilers let another lead slip away. I thought it was odd McLellan didn’t pull the goalie. Apparently, he felt the losses were worse with empty net goals and said they weren’t winning many faceoffs. That sounds strange. I would have, especially with a prospect playing their first NHL game. I guess now is the time to send a message, but that still doesn’t sit right with me.
  • On the same note, playing Lucic with McDavid sends the wrong message. Yes, they’re trying to get him going, but if ice time is supposed to be earned, Lucic hasn’t come close to earning first-line minutes with McDavid. McLellan said they tried reducing his minutes and now they’re trying the opposite. Over the year we’ve heard how players haven’t earned the chance to play with McDavid given their play: Jesse Puljujarvi, Nail Yakupov, Jordan Eberle. I don’t think any of them would have been playing alongside McDavid 5-on-5 and on the first power-play unit if they hadn’t scored in over 20 games.
  • Ethan Bear was on the ice for three of Nashville’s goal, but I thought he had an okay NHL debut. I would have liked to see him get a push on the power play but maybe that happens the Rangers on Saturday.
  • I watched the way the Predators move the puck from their defence and it’s night and day compared to the Oilers. The Oilers need defenceman that can move the puck better, but they’re fairly locked into this group with big contracts and trade protection to some (Sekera, Russell).

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  • tkfisher

    “Over the year we’ve heard how players haven’t earned the chance to play with McDavid given their play: Jesse Puljujarvi, Nail Yakupov, Jordan Eberle. I don’t think any of them would have been playing alongside McDavid 5-on-5 and on the first power-play unit if they hadn’t scored in over 20 games.” Treating Lucic like that sailed when the GM lost his marbles and decided to hand out an insane contract. The Lucic treatment is called trying to save face because there is no other option for that mistake. Slipping the Dr. a $50 under the table for a fake injury diagnosis and LTIR relief is about 2 years away, and probably best for all involved. Book it.

  • Threetimes

    Lucic had a good game. Even though hes in a slump he should get the minutes with McDavid, Oilers do need to get him going. He made alot of nice plays and seemed to have some jump. If he keeps playing like he did last night the goals will come. If the Oilers can get him going and get some value from his contract then that solves a pretty big issue for the Oilers…

    • Christian Pagnani

      I don’t think a player that hasn’t scored in a third of the season and makes $6 million deserves to play first line minutes at even strength and on the power play.

      • Threetimes

        It would be better to say he doesnt deserve the 6 million dollar contract… Wether or not he deserved to be on the first line, he did play well there and he has value on the PP. Reality is Lucic plays for the Oilers with a contract that makes it unlikely that he is going anywhere. The team either finds away to get him going or they pay 6 mill for a bottom 6 guy. Again he played a good game on the top line, if he continues to play like that he will start scoring and he will earn his contract.

  • Odanada

    For Gord’s sake! Let Looch play his game, taking penalties and hurting people. If nothing else it sends out a clear message that if you mess with McDavid, you will pay a price and it will be a painful one

  • toprightcorner

    You can’t compare Lucic not earning time on the top line with Eberle, JP or Yak because the next best left winger the Oilers have is Caggulia and he hasn’t earned it either. Lucic may not be scoring but nobody on the left side has shown to be putting more effort on the ice.

  • toprightcorner

    when your team is down by 2 goals and havent had much of any pressure or puck control in the offensive zone in 10 minutes, sometimes it is harder on the players to dig the puck out of the net again than anything. Any other team but Nashville, sure, but i don’t see it as a missed opportunity by any means

  • Oiler Al

    What is the sense of having puck moving defense men ,when McLellan wont allow them to join the rush/play.Lets wing it up the boards and dump it in the corner, all nite long.Get rid of the coaches. Your first clue is the special teams.

  • The Puck

    In fairness, Lucic had a decent game. Best in some time and not unlike his play going into the Christmas break. Made the primary play, although not credited, on McD’s goal. Subtle nudge of Ekholm then tap of puck/skate to 97.