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Bruins 4, Oilers 1 post-game Oil Spills: It looks like nothing has changed

It was better than the completely flat season opener, but it still wasn’t good enough. Last night’s 4-1 loss to Boston looked a lot more like the disappointing 2017-18 Oilers than the hungry and determined Oilers we were supposed to see fly out of the gates this season.

What happened…

Things started out nicely for the Oilers. Ty Rattie grabbed the puck at the blueline and hit Connor McDavid with a cheeky spin pass that had Zdeno Chara looking like he was on rollerblades. McDavid ripped past the future Hall of Famer like he was a turnstile and buried his first goal of the season between Jaroslav Halak’s pads.

But things quickly went south after that. Much like last season, Edmonton’s penalty kill got picked apart and the momentum totally flipped. I will give Boston credit, they have a very good top power play unit, so it isn’t like the Oilers allowed a bunch of scrubs to pick them apart. Adam Larsson took a penalty and David Pasternak proceeded to break Matt Benning’s ankles before tying the game.

The go-ahead goal came shortly after that when JJ Khaira went to the box for boarding. Boston got a little bit lucky here as Drake Caggiula had Brad Marchand’s cross-ice pass go off his stick and past Cam Talbot for the go-ahead goal.

The Oilers turned on the jets in the third period and had a few nice chances to close the gap. The McNuggie line did work down low and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins fired one past Halak that bounced off the post and danced along the line.

But Boston ended up icing the game on this ugly sequence. Matt Benning collected the puck after Brandon Carlo wiped out trying to hit the open net, but he passed it right to Patrice Bergeron who isn’t going to miss with that opportunity.

By the numbers… 

The Bruins held a heavy 37-25 edge in unblocked shot attempts as it took the Oilers until the third period to really get going. And, of course, part of Edmonton “getting going” was Boston sitting back and defending their lead. The Bruins were, through and through, the better team last night and the score reflected it.

Thoughts…

  • Like I alluded to at the beginning, that game was better than the lacklustre showing against New Jersey in Sweden. But still, that’s an extremely low bar to set. We were told prior to the season that the Oilers were hungry and wanted to prove everybody wrong after their miserable season in 2017-18, but we simply haven’t seen that in their play so far. It was the same old story as last season. Long lulls in which the Oilers couldn’t get anything going, a penalty kill that got totally outclassed, and a too-little-too-late wake up in the third period.
  • The penalty kill continues to be an issue for the Oilers. It’s easy to write Boston’s second goal, the one Caggiula deflected into his own net, off as a fluke. But Boston was having an easy time working around Edmonton’s box formation penalty kill, finding open space, moving the puck quickly, and getting themselves high-danger chances, so it isn’t surprising they ended up getting a lucky bounce. You have to be good to be lucky.
  • Yet another problem from last year that appears to be an issue this year is play without Connor McDavid on the ice. The bottom-six was invisible when it came to generating offence, though they didn’t get scored against, which is ultimately their goal. Leon Draisaitl’s second line with Kailer Yamamoto and Milan Lucic had occasional flashes, but they couldn’t get any kind of consistent attack going against the Bruins. When there aren’t any threats after Connor McDavid, it becomes a lot easier to shut him down.
  • Jesse Puljujarvi is a hot topic of conversation right now. He played just 10:26 and saw no time on the man advantage. Many are calling for him to get a chance in the top-six. I don’t know if he can actually help in that role, but Puljujarvi simply needs more ice time to work out warts in his game. He isn’t going to develop as a player seeing 10 minutes of ice time in a game.
  • Todd McLellan whipped out the blender in the third period again last night. Leon Draisaitl was put out on the top line with Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The coach needs to do something to stack a line behind McDavid because, as I said above, it’s shockingly easy to shut him down when the team has virtually zero offensive firepower behind him. Why not try Nugent-Hopkins and Draisaitl together? That would open up a spot on the top line for Puljujarvi or Kailer Yamamoto, two young players who could use the boost.
    • puckle-head

      I’m honestly okay if they are out of the playoff race by November if it means Chiarelli and McLellan get the axe. I am convinced those two will never build a contender together, so the sooner we get new management in to start cleaning up the mess, the better. Go Rangers. Ugh.

      • GK1980

        Clean house with what? Chia trader all the grade A assets already. This team is broken and will need to figure it out themselves. A new coach or GM isn’t going to help. We have all been through this before.

  • CRONENBERG

    If we replace Todd MacLellan I really hope it’s with someone young. Someone who sees the direction the game is heading and now how it used to be played. Bring in someone who doesn’t care what worked in the past.

  • Soccer Steve

    If they lose tomorrow, calling it now, this year is done. That isn’t the worst thing in the world IF they nutup and do what needs to be done. First things first: FIRE the man/men who approved the Hall for Larsson deal. They must be gone immediately. Second, play Drai with McD and move the earth to offload anything that doesn’t start with Leon and Connor. No one should or can be safe. A competent, fast rebuild needs to begin immediately. Easier said than done but this nonsense cannot continue.

      • Soccer Steve

        Would you? At this point we know exactly what we have in RNH. A decent player. Not great, not Bergeron certainly, and never will be. He’s decent. In Drai we have a potential star, certainly a great player.

        RNH is bait for a team that thinks they’re buying low. But we don’t have the GM to pull that off. RNH is exactly the kind of player the Oilers would get fleeced in trying to trade for.

      • puckle-head

        I understand the frustration with Draisitl, but I think we should be cautious about souring on a 22 year old 6 ft center with 2 consecutive 70+ pt seasons under his belt. I get that he’s maybe a little overpaid, but the Oilers biggest issue isn’t that they’re paying a million or two too much for their 2nd best player.

    • the reasonable person

      Maybe it’s almost time to give up on this, but I’m repeatedly amazed that the Hall for Larsson trade is what people are mad about. They probably lost slightly, but addressed a massive need. Got a young, right shot, top-pair, very solid defensive minute muncher on a long-term, team friendly contract, and freed up cap space. Any team needs someone like that to have any shot at all, the Oilers, hilariously, had nothing close to that in their organization at the time.

      You were not getting something like that for anything less than Hall.

      The worst move is the Reinhart trade by a country mile, then probably signing Lucic instead of making Maroon a cheaper Lucic, then trading Eberle for Strome.

      The Sekera injuries suck a lot, out D would not be that bad with him in the lineup. It’s not having anyone to play with Drai on the second line that hurts so so much.

      • Soccer Steve

        My main point is getting rid of the people responsible. Hall-Larsson in my comment is the mere tip of the iceberg. You expanded on the Titanic disaster that is Oilers upper management. It’s bizarre they are still employed. It makes no sense to me. The rewards for incompetence is shocking.

      • The Beej

        @the reasonable person

        You and the oilers fans that think the Hall for Larsson trade was not an absolute disaster must stop deluding yourself.

        You cant overvalue Larsson becausr he shoots right. Or maybe you can.

        Taylor Hall is not just top line. He is elite top line.

        Larsson is not a top pair D. On your team maybe but objectively he is not and he does not bring top line results. He does an ok job of playing against the best and not completely getting his head kicked but thats about it.

        You got fleeced 100% in this deal.

        Also this crap about Hall having to go because he was a problem in the room is just an excuse for a poor job by Chiarelli and more delusion that stops you from facing the truth.

        This author whines about a lack of offense past McDavid. How is that possible after a decade of drafting and development starting with Eberle in 2008?

        Well the horrible trades play a big part in that.

        If this franchise is to change both the fans and owners must face some unpleasant truths and must stop the lies and delusions. Stop making excuses for this BS because its really not much different than supporting it.

    • percy

      I don’t think it’s the fault of Larsson, like klef, nurse, banning he got thrown into the fire, no vets to help them build. I don’t lay the blame on any of our players. You can thank the management from the last 10years for this. If you notice on the better NHL teams they have a few quality vet def helping these younger players along. Always talking to them on the bench, teaching them position etc. Especially with def. This management clown act has screwed this team badly. I can’t see it getting fixed for a long time. The biggest problem is the owner isn’t any smarter. That my take.

  • Wiggleswag

    Oilers looked better. I found myself complaining about the refs far more than the Oilers. I think they won the blocked shot battle. Bring on the next game.

  • Towers-of-dub

    It wouldn’t be an NHL season if the Oilers didn’t spend at least part of it dead last in the league. There’s only one team in the league with 0 points on the board. Surely that is of concern to at least 1 or 2 people who collect a pay cheque from that organization. anyone???

    • hammer313

      Haha, they don’t care, they pack that arena and laugh all the way to the bank. All I hear on the radio and management is what a tough schedule they have. Are they not supposed to compete because they have a tough opponent, are they not already supposed to be out of the decade of darkness? They look disinterested and lost, too many players that were given their jobs because of no competition and poor management decisions. Is it okay for the fandom to be satisfied with excuses once again? Line juggling, why even have preseason if you can’t set lines in it? Players playing where they have no reason being played, Lucic is a joke, backup goalie overpaid and a joke, Benning a joke and so many others either overrated or overpaid! Against the cap with this debacle, out by November. Yeah, already tuning out!

  • Captain Stubing

    I went to the game in Sweden and have only watched the highlights from the Bruins game. But holy hell, for the love of Christ, what’s it going to take for these monkeys to wake up and fight for their team? Except Mcdavid from the players all the way up nobody should be safe.
    Living in Sweden I wake up every (gameday) morning with a glimmer of hope that the scoreboard will be tilted in the Oilers favour. I truly feel bad for the fans who have to watch this dumpster fire game in and game out back home. Talked to many of them at the NJ game and there was a slight bit of optimism until the 2nd period, now it’s back to last years feeling
    Honestly it’s only 2 games in and I’m no longer excited about the season 😞

  • Archie45

    Tomorrows game is Coach TM’s biggest game of his Oiler career.They come out flat,look out.The mindset of this team looks fragile,they need to get some points.All through the start of last season we were saying,they will turn it around… Didn’t happen,this could go south really fast….Team looks overcoached.

    • Dallas Eakins Hair

      Trust me you weren;t the only one having a WTF moment seeing that, guy is playing a horrible game, hey lets put him on the PP. It’s like TM has a case of the bizaaro world of George Costanza and he is doing everything opposite of what instinct in anyone else’s mind would do with Benning

      • Don't mind me

        Touché but Puljujarvi needs more ice time and opportunity. He has the skill set. Come on 10mins of ice time, we all know he’s capable of producing. It looked like Draisaitl only had Yamo to work with in the Ozone last night, Lucic turned it over way to much and doesn’t look like he can handle the puck very good either.

        • Intent was not to disparage your comment, just mean that as long as management stays in place it will be groundhog day forever, regardless of whom the players are or which combination. I dont follow basketball, but if I recall correctly, the Raptors just had their best season ever, but the head coach was sacked for failure in the post season. ACCOUNTABILITY. There is none of that and I mean 0 in this organization. Names and faces have changed, results are the same, even with McDavid on the roster. He probably has his agent working on an exit strategy already, and who in their right mind wouldn’t? Owner&Management team are a set of complete fools , safe to wager McDavid is smarter than all of them combined.

        • Dallas Eakins Hair

          Lucic needs to come off the 2nd line period, the second line got no traction, having JP play only ten minutes after the preseason the kid has is nuts, Lucic isnt getting it done,. JP was starting to click with McDavid when he was paired with him for that stretch and then T,M took him off that line, didnt understand it then and dont understand why he has JP down where he is no, the guys is killing JP’s confidence instead of building on it, the kid came in with a great attitude in camp and the preseason and they dont build on it…baffling to say the least

    • the reasonable person

      Makes sense to me too. It’s pretty much the only option they have right now of trying to address the need to have 2 threatening lines. Todd won’t do it so maybe he does have to go right now, even though this is 90% management’s fault.

  • TKB2677

    Can someone explain to me what the hell happened to Kassian? The guy was a wrecking ball when he came to the Oilers and was extremely effective. He sucked last year and looks just as bad this year. He had 1 hit. The rest of the stats were zeros. How does a guy who’s a bottom 6 player and who’s role in the NHL is to run around, stir the pot and hit people have 1 hit? Yamamoto who’s a dwarf had 2 hits. I used to really like Kassian but he is a waste of money and a roster spot. I wouldn’t play Kassian next game. I would put Chiasson in his place.

    • Dallas Eakins Hair

      Who knows, what happened last year, I dont know if he was hurt or their maybe issues out of the rink going on personally that took his mind off the game, but that Kassian is missed, so far other than a few brefi flashes of being testy, he just sisnt playing up to his abilities, if you ask me I say sit him for a few games, let Chaisson play and light a fire under his ass. If Kassian bangs and crashes and uses his speed he is a handful, but if that Kassian doesnt appear soon I think he gets traded

  • Mitchvar9412

    I understand the first time Benning killed a penalty with Larsson in the box but they put him back out there after he gets burnt by Pastrnak on the next penalty kill and look what happened.
    How about Bouchard. He moves the puck far superior to any of the other defencemen and right now I’d be letting him run with PP time because hes that good with the puck. Keep him on the third pair but lets get some goals and run our best puck skilled d-man on the PP. I also agree with another comment down here that said I was complaining more about the refs than the oilers. I myself am an official and I was shocked at the overlooked calls the Bruins get and the week calls that the Oilers get. Khaira pins a guy hard, gets a board. Benning gets ran from behind through the glass, no call. Klefbom on the powerplay gets a slashing call for a stick on the pants. Yet later in the game Reider has a shorthanded breakaway and cant get a call when he’s harassed all the way up the ice. Cagguila is hit without the puck by Backes along the boards after he laid a good check on Backes, then after that Backes two hands him, hard I might add, in the back of the legs, and all that comes out of the play is a minor each way. To me, the Oilers should have had a four minute powerplay on that shift.

    • Beer_League_Ringer

      I would be playing Bouchard ahead of Benning in the lineup at this point. At least until he (probably) goes back to the OHL. Sorry Matt, but you have been a tire fire in every game you’ve played in this year. His defensive play and puck handling/passing have been so glaringly bad that I believe he might need to sit for a game.

    • IRONman

      Effect lines:

      97 and 29

      27 93 98

      Oilers look slow. Boston was on them before they got the pass. Put Yamo in ahl. Benning in ahl. Bouchard back to jr. Develop young players. Oilers need to play to strengths not weaknesses

  • Towers-of-dub

    I’m sure another slow start on a matinee game come saturday will be prevented by a friday night out in Manhattan, and a few oxy’s to kill the hangover.

  • mikel

    the schedule for the oil is absolutely ridiculous…3 games in 2 weeks? without consistent game experience, this team is still in preseason mode…by the time they get rolling, they could be 1-7..

  • bwar

    We condemn the blender that two sentences later suggest more blender.

    I really feel that the second line needed to be sorted out in preseason. Preseason should have been the blender time. Instead we now have to waste the first 10 games of the season trying to find some scoring depth and some chemistry between players.

    And can we get rid of Benning yet? Dear lord he looks terrible on that second pairing.

    • Dallas Eakins Hair

      I think the people condem the blender because of the way TM uses , when lines were starting to gel and clikc last year Tm stuck them thru the blender. In the preseason lines were starting to click and TMN got the Blender out, TM was even musing about sticking the first line thru the Blender. I dont think it is that TM uses the Blender it’s how and when he uses the blender that has people frustrated

  • Connor's Girlfriend

    What did Einstein say? Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
    Good job Charelli. You keep adding boys where men should be playing and ignoring the fact you are missing Sekera again this year. Nothing will change until you change the GM. The Oil weren’t going to make the playoffs before the first game was played.

  • chezzychez

    Didn’t the oil lose their first 6 or 7 games in 2006? I know it’s a stretch but I’m still gonna watch every game this year so I’m looking for any kind of hope. Tough times in oil country. Haven’t seen the fans so low since we traded smytty

  • hammer313

    Charelli is a complete idiot! He has brought in substandard signings and nothing to help this team. If anything he has made it much worse. He disgusts me and should be fired, along with McClelland, another idiot!

  • E-Mac

    I don’t see the NYR game as an easy win. Lundqvist is sporting a 2.03 GAA and a .942 SV% through three games and appears to be back to his old self. Meanwhile the Oilers have scored 1.5 goals per game.

  • ed from edmonton

    A shout out to one of the most trashed on this site, the little loved Drake C. I know he scored an own goal. But he played like his job is on the line. Standing up to Backes was impressive.

    • Dallas Eakins Hair

      I think Cagguila at least showed he cared about being in the line up, he wasnt scoring but he was letting people know he was out there, the Oilers have too mnay not doing that right now