After getting edged out by the Flames 1-0 on Wednesday night, the Oilers were back in Edmonton for the second half of a double dip against the San Jose Sharks. Despite putting forward a good effort offensively, the Oilers blew three different one-goal leads and eventually got dropped in overtime.
Oh baby! Caggiula finishes off a nice feed from Kassian. pic.twitter.com/sjZqLw9NPb— Oilersnation.com (@OilersNation) March 15, 2018
A couple minutes into the game the Oilers jumped ahead after Zack Kassian found Drake Caggiula alone at the side of the net with a gorgeous no-look pass. This was excellent work by the fourth line to get the puck down low and turn it into a chance in front of the net. It was especially good work by Kassian to essentially draw two defenders to him and leave Caggiula completely alone in front.
No shoulder injury here! pic.twitter.com/HUcqxjw0Zk— Oilersnation.com (@OilersNation) March 15, 2018
Oscar Klefbom gave the Oilers the lead back in the second period with a bomb from the point. Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion was in the crowd last night and many speculate it was to watch the Oilers defender. If that’s the case, Klefbom showed Dorion that his shoulder isn’t a big issue.
Speaking of Klefbom, he got another opportunity to impress Dorion in the third period when Connor McDavid found him at the point and he bombed a puck on net that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins deflected past Martin Jones. Of course, the Oilers couldn’t hang on to the lead.
In overtime, Leon Draisaitl got completely rag-dolled by Tomas Hertl. Hertl outworks Draisaitl to free the puck, then he gets it over to Logan Couture, gets himself open, get the puck back and buries the game-winner.
I usually post the heat map to show how each team performed in regards to shots and chances, but I think this game flow chart is a better indicator of what happened last night. The Oilers came out of the gate hard but clearly burnt out in the second half of the game, which isn’t all too surprising given the fact they played the night before. The Sharks ultimately had 54 even strength shot attempts to Edmonton’s 43 and San Jose out-chanced the Oilers 14 to nine. The way things tilted in the second half, the Oilers were probably lucky to get into overtime.
- After last game, I lamented Edmonton’s inability to get offence going as the Flames, Mikael Backlund particularly, did a good job shutting down Connor McDavid. Last night, McDavid had Marc-Edouard Vlasic, one of, if not the best shutdown defenceman in the league, stapled to his ass all game but still managed to score two goals at even strength. But, again, without McDavid, Edmonton was only able to bury one goal and that came in the first period. A crazy stat: In the 14:49 even strength minutes Vlasic played against McDavid, the Oilers captain had a 42.8 per cent shot attempt differential. In the other four minutes when the Sharks didn’t have Vlasic on against McDavid, the Oilers controlled 100 per cent of the shot attempts. Both of the McDavid line’s goals came in that window without Vlasic on the ice.
- McDavid and Nugent-Hopkins are one hell of a duo. But on a more negative side of that same coin is how bad Leon Draisaitl was last night anchoring his own line. Obviously carrying around Milan Lucic and Mike Cammalleri isn’t easy, but Draisaitl was on the ice for all three of San Jose’s even strength goals. Two of them were gifts from his stick to the Sharks and his effort on the Hertl goal in overtime was terrible. I said yesterday in jest it looks like he’s actively trying to look bad to get back on McDavid’s wing but maybe I’m actually right.
- Al Montoya had himself a very solid game, stopping 36 of 40 shots. At this point he’s auditioning to be Edmonton’s backup next season. He’s signed for one more year but the Oilers might want to find somebody who can play in more of a 1B role after how much they’ve taxed Cam Talbot the past few years. Montoya will have to show over the next month he can be that guy.