One day the Oilers will beat backup goalies with regularity. You’ll see. Final Score: 3-1 Lightning
After cashing in three straight third period goals for a big comeback win against the Panthers, I wasn’t really sure what to expect from the Oilers today. When they had that back-to-back set earlier this week, the boys played well in the second game against San Jose but were unable to hang onto three separate leads, eventually costing them the win. It was a good effort that was ruined by lack of attention to detail. For today’s game, I was hoping that they would find a way to keep all the good stuff that happened against the Sharks – the hustle, goal scoring, balanced attack – but to skip all of the turnovers and laissez-faire defensive work that sewered a potential win. In today’s game, the Oilers got the start they wanted and managed to limit their turnovers, but it was the rest of the plan still needs some work.
As far as starts go, I don’t think this one could have gone any better for the Oilers. Ty Rattie opened the scoring only 14 seconds into the game to potentially (but unsuccessfully) set the tone for an Oilers team that needed a good start and got one. Unfortunately, the quick start was about all that went to plan as the Lightning were able to respond with a goal of their own before the period ended, and added another in the second and third periods respectively. Actually, the fact that the Oilers were only down by one goal heading into the third was almost lucky considering they were outshot by a 2:1 margin. Montoya takes the loss on this one but he kept his team in it for longer than they deserved — he just didn’t get any run support. Despite getting some very good chances at even strength and on the power play, the Oilers couldn’t score more than the one early goal by Rattie.
In the end, the Lightning were able to capitalize on their chances and the Oilers weren’t able to match. Tampa Bay outscored the Oilers at even strength and on special teams and those are the small details that matter and they ended up being the difference today. The chance to steal was there, but the offence to get it done was not.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Ty Rattie is certainly making the most of his opportunity to skate on the top line as he opened the scoring only 14 seconds into the hockey game after banking the puck in off the goaltender. Domingue got caught out of position and Rattie got a friendly bounce in off of the goalie, resulting in the fastest goal scored in the NHL this season.
- Despite not being able to score more than the one goal, I liked the look of the first line again today. McNuge and Rattie were scrappy again and generated plenty of chances. Not to mention, Gene interviewed Nuge in the intermission and RNH dropped the “Davo” nickname for McDavid. THEY HAVE PET NAMES ALREADY! That’s beautiful, man.
- Oscar Klefbom lead the team in ice today with 25:21 and he also lead them in shots on goal with five (Strome had five also). If he’s getting set to be shut down for the year then he’s trying to make something happen on his way out.
- I don’t know that anyone would have expected Ethan Bear’s recall to hit the 10 game mark but he’s only one away from making that happen. The thing I like most about Bear is that he’s not afraid to trust his offensive instincts, and he moves the puck well already for a guy that’s just getting his feet wet. Again, I still think they should be patient with him, giving him more seasoning in the AHL ideally, but he’s definitely making a case for himself to finish the season with the big club.
- Al Montoya made his seventh start of the season (11th appearance) and really needed to show that he could be the guy they needed him to be. In his last four outings, Montoya’s highest save% was only .900 and you’re not going to win a lot of hockey games with numbers like that. That said, today’s loss was no on Montoya at all as he kept the boys in it longer than they probably deserved. He finished the day with 37 saves and a .925 save%.
- Ryan Strome had all kinds of chances to score today but he’s just not getting any luck. He had five shots on goal and probably deserved to have one of them go in. The guy is still playing some good hockey, but he’s not having any of the bounces go his way. Keep grinding, son.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Victor Hedman tied the game up at one after his point shot got a lucky deflection into the top corner off of Ty Rattie’s stick. That puck changed angles like crazy and there was nothing that Montoya could really do about it. Tough bounce for the Oilers on this one.
- Nikita Kucherov gave the Lightning their first lead of the day after the Lightning were able to capitalize on their third straight power play. Kucherov found himself alone in close, the puck found him and he put it past Montoya in a hurry. Kucherov got a second goal in the third period that was the final nail in the coffin that was Edmonton’s chances of winning.
- Andrej Sekera left the game after blocking a shot and did not return. Sekera played only 6:54 today as his nightmarish season continues. Here’s hoping he’s okay.
- It’s that magical time in the Wrap Up where we take a look at the special teams. Excited? Of course you are:
- PK allowed 1/4 on the night. Not horrible, not great.
- PP went 0/5 on the night and really let the team down in this one. They had plenty of chances but couldn’t finish in a game when they needed their PP in the most.
- The Oilers lost the game and the Corsi.
- Only 44% on the dot today. It’s tough to beat the Lightning when you’re chasing more often than not off the draws.
- How can a professional sports league have inconsistent (read: horribly shitty) officiating in almost every game? It’s shocking.
- There’s something awful about doing a #BeetCast in the daylight hours and today’s edition was no exception. I’m unhappy, soon to be full of beets, and can use some company. As always, you can join in and follow along over on my Twitter.
- Milan Lucic played only 12:09 today as Todd McLellan stripped him of his power play ice time as the game went on. He was replaced on the first unit by Nugent-Hopkins and the PP started to look much better. The tough year for Looch continues. Thoughts and prayers.
- Seriously, though, Mike Cammalleri may never score again.
|00:14||Edmonton||Ty Rattie (2)||1-0|
|15:12||Tampa Bay||Victor Hedman (12) ASST: Brayden Point (31)||1-1|
|02:24||Tampa Bay||PPG – Nikita Kucherov (35) ASST: Steven Stamkos (56)||1-2|
|11:34||Tampa Bay||Nikita Kucherov (36) ASST: Steven Stamkos (57), J.T. Miller (32)||1-3|
Are we supposed to be wearing pants for this?
— I watch the Oilers so the children don’t have to! (@AhmedYeg) March 18, 2018
Anyone could do that to AHL defenseman Victor Hedman. Trade him! #spectorThoughts
— Marcel Schoenhardt (@mschoenhardt) March 18, 2018
That should be a 5 minute major and life in prison
— Ryan (@IAmByks) March 18, 2018
I thought that was just how you looked nowadays. #BeetPoisoning
— Draft Lottery Champs (@sportsjunkie007) March 18, 2018
That was so entertaining. We should put more guys out there all the time.
— Ryan (@IAmByks) March 18, 2018
Beet-free for [ 0 ] game(s)
— Anthony Flynn (@anthonyjflynn) March 18, 2018
WHAT YOU GET:
The bag: Exclusive 10th Anniversary Party tee, commemorative Nation poster, Pint GC, Oodle Noodle GC, stickers, and a ticket to enter all of the night’s draws
The giveaways: Signed jerseys, golf passes, our box for the Edmonton Prospects, a weekend in Jasper, FREE Oodle Noodle for a year, a weekend staycation at Crash Hotel, and more.
Anything else: We’ll buy a Nation Beer for first 100 people to show up, have special guests stopping by, and a silent auction from our friends at Pro-Am to raise even more money for charity.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Where: The Pint Downtown
When: April 7th, starting at 6 pm with the hockey game starting at 8 pm
Why: To celebrate 10 years together and raise money for Hockey Helps the Homeless
How much: Tickets are $30 each with net proceeds going to Hockey Helps the Homeless
How: Tickets are available here.
Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 03/18/2018 – 6:00 pm MST