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Photo Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

GDB 1.0 Wrap-up: Can’t save ’em at the Scandinavium

Final Score: New Jersey Devils 5, Edmonton Oilers 2

THE RUNDOWN

The New Jersey Devils are one of a handful of teams around the NHL that are going through an existential goaltending crisis. Starter Cory Schneider is still out recovering from an injury that reportedly plagued him for well over a year, leaving them with hilarious Twitter personality (but mediocre starting goaltender) Keith Kinkaid and the maligned Eddie Lack.

Given that Kinkaid’s career has been characterized more by his emoji-filled game recaps than by his stellar play, this should have been a significant tactical advantage for the Oilers. Between Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl alone, the speed and offensive skill should have been totally elusive for a guy who allowed four goals the last (and only other) time he faced Edmonton.

In a game ripe with recent controversy a la blockbuster trades and excited Swedish fans, though, things… didn’t go quite as planned.

FIRST PERIOD

It didn’t take long for the Devils to get things started.

Just under a minute into the game, Kyle Palmieri managed to walk right in on Cam Talbot, going top shelf to make it a 1-0 game:

The Oilers seemed to get things going briefly after that, with a beautiful sequence from McDavid giving Milan Lucic an easy net-front goal on their first power play of the game. It was an incredible individual effort from the captain, who nearly went end-to-end before circling behind the net to feed Lucic out front.

The Oilers would manage to maintain their 1-1 score for the rest of the period – but in the following two frames, the wheels really came off.

SECOND PERIOD

Hoo, boy.

The Oilers had only managed seven shots on goal in the first period, despite getting three different power-play opportunities.

When Jesse Puljujarvi took an interference minor just prior to the two-minute mark in the second, though, the Devils took no time pulling back out in front. Kyle Palmieri scored his second of the day after the Devils took control of the face-off, getting a feed up high from Will Butcher to rifle one past Talbot again.

From there, the Oilers would allow their first of two more consecutive goals from the same player, with the 33-year-old Travis Zajac scoring just over a minute later to put the Devils up 3-1.

Despite now being down by two goals, the Oilers managed just four shots all period, which about sums it up.

THIRD PERIOD

Travis Zajac would score his second of the game five minutes into the period, joking after the game that youngster Miles Wood’s speed helps him compensate for now being so slow.

Not all hope was lost, as the Oilers managed to get one more goal in before the game ended. Milan Lucic corralled the puck after a save by Talbot, turning the play back up the ice for an ominous-looking 3-on-2 by himself, McDavid, and Leon Draisaitl.

His pass to McDavid moved the play up the ice, then McDavid passed it quickly to Draisaitl in the offensive zone to beat Kinkaid cleanly in order to pull back within two goals.

Ultimately, though, the slight burst of offense from Edmonton in the final period of the game was still lukewarm at best. With just eight recorded shots on the period in their desperate bid to stay in the game, the Oilers allowed one final goal by Stefan Noesen in the final two minutes of the game to close things out.

TAKEAWAYS

  • It wasn’t Talbot’s best showing, but there’s a small consolation in that it wasn’t exactly a lights-out performance from Keith Kinkaid on the other side, either. The Oilers still fundamentally lacked the defensive support to really give Talbot a helping hand, but it wasn’t like their back end play was somehow letting down an elite offensive drive. Like last year, it looks like there’s still a concerning lack of secondary offensive support on the roster – and that’s not Talbot’s fault.
  • The power play wasn’t enough to stymie New Jersey’s defense, who shut down the man advantage every time Edmonton got a chance to get something going. Although their first power-play was ultimately successful, New Jersey managed to prevent another goal for the remaining three power-play chances; if Edmonton had managed to get things rolling there, the game could have gone quite differently.
  • I’m not exactly optimistic about what Mikko Koskinen can do, but that becomes an even bigger problem if Talbot continues to struggle like he did last year. The entire team lacked playoff presence (excluding Connor McDavid, obviously), but Talbot’s play for large stretches last year was a big contributor to their low season finish. It’s only the first game, but his performances will likely come under scrutiny if he continues to lack that game-changing edge Edmonton saw his first year with the team.
  • It was pointed out by Jason Gregor on Twitter already, but the Oilers need to up their communication if they expect to hang with… well, anyone this year. Their passing looked disjointed and lacked much of an air of confidence or completion, which could leave the team scrambling when they face some of the even more dominant opponents out west. New Jersey wasn’t the easiest opener, but Edmonton’s going to find even more trouble trying to navigate through Nashville’s defense or suppress San Jose’s impressive arsenal.

TWEETS

 

  • PleaseWinOilers

    What an abysmal performance. The Oilers had zero answers for the Devils… And that’s just New Jersey. What about Boston or Nashville or one of those teams?

    How are they still putting Benning in the top 4? How does this defense never get addressed? Unless there are tangible improvements to the roster this team isn’t going to be anywhere near a playoff spot.

    • OilerForLife

      This didn’t look like the Oilers wanted to win very bad.

      I don’t know what just happened, but this better not be what the season is going to be like.

      This trip looks like a mistake, waiting this long to play the next game is just creating anxiety, players like to fix a bad game like this right away. This road trip is going to be difficult. Last year we dug a hole early, but at least we had depth on D, we are one injury away from being a draft lottery team. This stinks!

  • FanBoy

    First line looked good, Lucic, Drai, and Puljujarvi should be second line. Switch rieder and khaira. Klefbom and Larsson looked like a bona fide pairing in the NHL. Terrible game from Nurse and Benning. Bouchard and Russell were OK. Only 1 bad goal by Talbot.

    Good thing is it’s only one game and we’ve got 5 days to bounce back

  • Usually it’s Baggedmilk doing the post game. Did he weasel out of the beetcast?

    Devils were the better team.
    Lucic looked more interested than usual. Oilers D is insufficient. This is gonna cost the Oil a visit to the post season. If Draisaitl smiles, his face will break, thus the perma frown.

    • Clayton

      D was insufficient? More like non-existent! Or Abysmal. Once again Chia screws up another year by failing to shore up the D. Still no bonafide #1/2 pairing. Over the past two seasons we have seen many D traded and available but all Chia has done is grabbed Griffin Reinhart! Anyone of Glass Jaw Hamonic, Hanfin, Suban, Hamilton, Shea Weber would all have looked better than the group the Oilers iced tonite.

      • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

        Yeah? And what would you give up for Subban? Need I remind you, Montreals ask was this:

        Draisitl
        Klefbom
        Nurse
        4th overall pick
        A piece

        You want to gut our team for PK?

          • RexHolez

            Lol like anyone knows what the ask was for PK. Who cares what the ask was anyways? Bottom line is the oilers have been rebuilding for a decade a still suck. Nothing more needs to be said. They’re simply a horribly managed team… one of the worst managed organizations in the history of the league. I just feel sorry for Connor

        • Peplinski's Thunderbird

          A package of Hall, Eberle, a 1st Rd pick and a 2nd Rd pick probably gets you Karlsson. Instead you got Larsson, Strome, and 30ish games from a defenseman who is no longer in the NHL. The Oil were gutted, the problem is they still suck.

          • Beut

            Why should we need to give up Hall, Eberle, plus picks etc for Karlsson. San Jose got him without giving up any impact players. That’s a GM. I’m glad we weren’t on Karlsson’s list or we’d have given up a ton again.

  • Drinking my Oilers problems away...

    Zero urgency so nothing has changed. Could have got off on the right foot with a good start this season but back to same old again. I’ll be keeping expectations low but hope they can do well this season. There’s still quite a bit to fix by the looks of things…

  • percy

    To do list would be; trade Dri for nu1 Dman, if you could find a team willing to trade. Save Bouchard and send him back down so he can fully develop. save him from this def mess.

  • KMA

    It really pays to have a sense of humour about this game and especially with the Oilers. It is difficult to know where to start, suffice to say the coaches and players have some work to do. Hopefully the teams return to North America will help to rehabilitate their game.

  • corky

    Five days to figure it out. Bruins are beatable. T Mac should coach like he’s playing with house money this season. Lay it all out on the line. He’s a dead man walking anyways.

  • percy

    Watched Was and Pit the other night, looked like playoff hockey. Watched EDT and NJ looked like pre season play. Still have a lot of work to do. Not even in the same league.

  • match16

    What’s wrong with our broadcasters? Remenda defending Palmieri on his roughing penalty on Bouchard, then telling Kris Russell how he should be blocking shots? Then I switch over to CHED and Jack is telling us how he’s jet lagged while the play is going on. FFS

    • serlio

      I mean i did agree with him on that shot blocking thing, If you let point shots through and they arnt tipped and the goalie isnt screened they should be saved every time. Just step up to him, block the far side of the net with your shinpads and let Talbot cover the close side while giving him a good view of the puck. Seems like a better and easier move altogether, cuts down on the shooters options, makes the goalies job easier even if the puck does get through and the defender can actually stay on their feet.

  • Heschultzhescores

    It’s basically the same team, the same coach and the same “plan” There is something always lacking on this team and it has been for a long time…INTENSITY AND DESIRE TO WIN. They seem content with just coming in second every game.

    • Kevwan

      The lack of intensity was disheartening. It’s like they don’t really care until they are down by 3 in the third. If they’re not competitive in Boston then Tmac has to go. Enough.

      And Chia as well.

      Just please no Gulutzan as an interim head coach.

      • Kevwan

        Were the castoffs in Vegas the best players in the West last year? I think that was good coaching and effort from the players.

        To many times last year the team either didn’t show up to play or had long stretches of low intensity, crappy play.
        So to start this in FIRST game is unacceptable. Either TMac’s game plan is flawed or he’s lost the ability to motivate the players. Doesn’t matter which – this is his 4th season and he’s out of chances.

        As for the players – yes they need to be better. Once the coaching/GM change happens the players are put on notice that they’re next if they don’t step up. That’s the way it works in pro sports.

        As Lowtide said last year after a 5-0 loss to Buffalo – I DON’T CARE – IT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH

    • MrBung

      The Oilers are the league embarrassment for the reason.

      This outsider preview of the Oilers sums it up quite accurately:
      ” They completely suck except they also have one of the best players in the world, Connor McDavid, as well as his extremely good sidekick Leon Draisaitl. It’s kind of depressing. Scratch that, it’s very depressing. Last year was supposed to be this team’s breakout season, after making the playoffs for the first time since 2006 and pushing the Ducks to seven games in the second round. Instead, it all went to hell, because even though McDavid had a transcendent 41-goal, 108-point year that would have won him MVP if only his team made the postseason, the Oilers finished closer to last place than playoff position because their GM makes almost exclusively bad decisions and their defense could barely stand up on the ice.” – Lauren Theisen, Deadspin

  • Svart kaffe

    Saw these guys for the first time ever in person tonight. While it was a blast for sure I can’t imagine what it’d be like living in Edmonton and shelling out this kind of cash over and over throughout the years to see them come up short every night.

    • MrBung

      It is brutal. And the in arena experience is stale and lame. If I have to hear Jespersen drone on about racing cars for some piece of pizza or the f-ing kiss cam, I am going to puke up my overpriced beer and hot dog.

  • Dapper Dan 3099

    I just figured there would be more fire and drive to open the season and prove some people wrong about last year…. guess not…. and the rest of the month’s schedule doesn’t bode well for them going forward…. so I guess the real question now is how many games before heads officially start to roll?

  • Armchair genius

    Leon needs to stop coasting and start playing on the right side of the puck! Also these guys for whatever reason are holding on to the the puck for 1:2 a second too long. Move it move it move it down the ice! It’s a simple fn game.

  • Karl Canada

    Time for this lazy team to get bag skated! Getting beat to puck like they did today is inexcusable. Same old lack of hard work and intensity, and the same old excuses.

  • Chainsawz

    Are we really doing this for another season? Bless your hearts, Oilersnation, getting up for another season of this craptastic play when there is no reason to be this terrible has to be taxing.