Two points in the bank and we can all enjoy the rest of our Saturday. Final Score: 2-1 Oilers
I don’t think I’m talking out of school when I say that the Oilers absolutely had to win this hockey game. Starting the season with two straight losses was bad enough but adding a third on top of that by a rebuilding Rangers team would have been like throwing gas on the fire. Adding to the intrigue was the surprise storyline that Daryl Katz was in attendance, something that we don’t see all that often. Is there more to that story? Maybe. Unfortunately, the owner’s presence wasn’t enough to prevent another slow start and an early goal that came after the boys decided to run with a swarm-remix in their own zone. For parts of the first, the Oilers looked sluggish and they were lucky to keep the game close while they worked to get their legs going. The bright side was that the Rangers’ lead didn’t last long, with RNH managing to even things up before the intermission.
As the game moved through the second period, the Oilers were able to settle in a little bit and they looked a lot more comfortable making plays at both ends of the rink. The problem was that even though they were playing better, Henrik Lundqvist was being his usual annoying self and kept the Rangers in it longer than they should have been. Another issue that needs to get cleaned up is that the Oilers got caught in transition far too often for my liking. They’d be heading into the offensive zone give up the puck at key areas of the ice and the Rangers would turn it around, often for a wide open scoring chance. Fortunately for the team and for all of us that were watching, the Oilers kept managing to escape without getting burned by their mistakes. Sometimes Talbot had to be brilliant and sometimes luck was on our side, but at the end of the day, a win is a win and I’m damned relieved that they got it.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins got his first goal of the season after he planted himself in front of Lundqvist, leaving himself available to knock home a McRebound. This was the kind of greasy goal the Oilers haven’t been getting yet this season, and I was pumped to see Nuge get it. RNH finished the game with two points which was a nice rebound effort after suffering some horrible puck luck in Boston on Thursday night.
- Connor McDavid gave the Oilers a 2-1 lead in the third period after scoring a ridiculous angle power play goal. The Oilers moved the puck nicely around the Rangers zone and Draisaitl fed through a cross-seam pass to McDavid on what seemed like an impossible angle, but he found a way to cash it in anyway. His reaction time (and hair!) is ridiculously good and it’s pretty amazing to see what she can do with the puck. Winning goal aside, Connor was everything for the Oilers today as he made a massive difference at both ends of the rink.
- Cam Talbot was solid today and made the kind of saves that you need your starter to make. One thing I will say, though, is that we may need to put some sandpaper on Dadbot’s pads because he was sliding all over the place and it nearly gave me a heart attack. That said, he was great from start to finish and a huge reason the Oilers were able to get their first win of the season. Dadbot finished with 23 saves and a .958 save%.
- I like the way the Strome line looked today. It seemed like they were able to get something going almost every time they were on the ice and, to me, it was almost bad luck that they weren’t able to cash one in. It definitely wasn’t because of a lack of effort.
- I thought Darnell Nurse had a really nice game today. He was rushing the puck well, made smart decisions at both ends of the ice, and was a lot more steady in general than we’ve seen in the first two games.
- Quick shout out to Evan Bouchard. The guy is looking more and more comfortable with each passing game and he’s making the kind of corrections that will ensure he stays in the lineup. Is he perfectly polished yet? Of course not, but he’s looking better than I necessarily expected. Bouchard played 11:15 today and was mostly effective in those minutes, but did get caught flat-footed a couple of times.
- Jason Garrison made some very nice, calm plays in his first regular season appearance and I wonder if that will keep Benning out of the lineup? It will be interesting to see if they ice the same lineup in Winnipeg.
- The special teams may have let the Oilers down on Thursday night but they were a bright spot today. The boys finished at 1/4 on the power play and 0/2 with their PK. Baggy likey. Still plenty of room to improve on the power play, though.
- How about Darryl Katz being today’s game? It’s not very often that he’s actually at the building the Oilers are playing in. Maybe there is something to the Friedman report from yesterday? Or, then again, there’s always the possibility that he could literally just have been in New York and wanted to watch his team play. Depends what your tinfoil hat situation is like right now.
THE FACE PALMERS
- The Oilers tried to run with the swarm in their own zone and got punished for it on Mika Zibanejad’s first period goal. Frankly, the whole sequence was ugly as Puljujarvi gave up the puck at the blue line and the Rangers walked it down the other way, moving around the Oilers’ zone with ease until scoring.
- The Oilers were pretty badly outhustled in the first period and it was frustrating to watch. While both teams had some fantastic scoring chances, the Rangers were the ones that actually looked like they were ready to play.
- I have to call Adam Larsson out for completely mailing it in on the backcheck on the McDavid defensive highlight they kept showing. He stopped skating at the top of the circle and if it had not been for Connor’s rocket skates the Rangers would have had a tap-in.
- I don’t know how many times the Oilers missed the net from prime shooting areas but it was driving me nuts. Too many wide open looks on the net got wasted by an inability to hit the net and we really need those fortunes to turn around in a hurry. The Oilers aren’t playing well enough to waste those opportunities.
- Oilers went 47% in the faceoff circle today. Not great, not bad, but definitely an area that can be improved.
- Even though the Oilers scored on the power play today, I still think they’re too stationary with the man advantage. There was a lot of perimeter passing again today and it was almost like the Rangers didn’t have to move all that much. That thing needs to evolve imo.
|12:49||New York||Mika Zibanejad (1) ASST: Marc Staal (1), Brendan Smith (1)||0-1|
|14:17||Edmonton||Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (1) ASST: Darnell Nurse (2), Connor McDavid (3)||1-1|
|06:23||Edmonton||PPG – Connor McDavid (2) ASST: Leon Draisaitl (2), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (1)||2-1|
If Darnell is Darryl, can Daryl be Darnell? #DarnellKatz
— Ryan S. Pumpkins (@IAmByks) October 13, 2018
— Doug McLachlan (@DougHMcLachlan) October 13, 2018
— D. (@rockstar_baby) October 13, 2018
— Jesse Goddard (@Jessekgoddard) October 13, 2018
NATION ROADIE TO CALGARY
Just like last year, it was important for us to try and make this trip as cheap as possible and to announce it as early as we could to give you as much time as possible to get your life in order. Based on last year’s trip, this is a roadie that you really won’t want to miss — it’s an absolute blast and a good chance to get ridiculous behind enemy lines. And since I already know that you want to come, let’s get to the when, where, and how much, shall we?
Give me the details, guy:
- When? Saturday, November 17th, 2018
- How much? The depends on how many people are coming with you. To put it another way, we’ve got a range of options including single occupancy ($329/person) up to groups of four ($249/person).
- Why? Because we love to party
- Where do you buy tickets? Right here, friend. But be warned, just like the last time we did this, the trip sold out quickly and procrastinating will be your enemy if you want to come.
Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 10/13/2018 – 1:30 pm MST