It’s been said many, many times. The key to success for the Oilers is success within the division. Finally, after a month-and-a-half, the Oilers played their first two games against Pacific Division opponents over the weekend. They lost both games.
The Oilers got off to a nice start in Calgary. Alex Chiasson scored a short-handed goal to give the team a 1-0 lead and then Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid hooked up to extend the lead to 2-0.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) November 18, 2018
A little before the Oilers went up 2-0, Matt Tkachuk did his thing. Mikael Backlund and Connor McDavid got into a bit of a scrap in the Oilers zone and then Tkachuk jumped into the mix. Later on, Zack Kassian hunted Tkachuk down, dropped the gloves, but Tkachuk turtled.
Zack Kassian trying to fight Matthew Tkachuk pic.twitter.com/xMmhFRotsH
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) November 18, 2018
As a result, Todd McLellan pulled out the blender and threw Milan Lucic on the top line and Kassian on the second line to get some sandpaper at the top of the lineup. The Flames would go on to score four unanswered goals to take the game 4-2 as the Oilers looked completely out of it in the third period.
E l i a s pic.twitter.com/AYM94gMGSt
— FlamesNation (@FlamesNation) November 18, 2018
The Sunday game was similar to Saturday’s game. Connor McDavid scored under a minute into the game, Vegas scored later in the first to tie it up, and then Alex Chiasson restored the lead with a goal on the power play.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) November 19, 2018
But in the second period, the wheels completely fell off. Cody Eakin scored a short-handed goal, Max Pacioretty scored just over a minute later, and then Jonathan Marchessault scored on the power play under a minute after that. Vegas would go on to win the game 6-3 after adding a couple more goals in the third period.
just like we drew it up ?? pic.twitter.com/Dgu9s2kb2b
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) November 19, 2018
The shot attempt chart kinda shows it all. It was a tightly-contested game for the first two periods, but then the Flames took control of the game in the third. Calgary pounded Edmonton in even-strength shot attempts 24 to 10 in the third and they had six high danger chances while the Oilers had none.
At least the Oilers played 40 minutes on Saturday. On Sunday, they only played 20. The first was back-and-forth, but then only one team came out for the second. Vegas carried play in the second, getting 18 shot attempts to Edmonton’s 10, and they converted on their chances, scoring three goals in a matter of a few minutes to completely take control of the game.
- Overall, that wasn’t the weekend anybody was hoping for. Saturday’s game was frustrating, Sunday’s game was disappointing.
- I’ll talk about Saturday first because I felt there was more to that showing. It was frustrating how the Oilers completely disappeared in the third period of the game against Calgary given how intense and emotionally-charged things were in the first part of the game. That’s supposed to be Edmonton’s bread and butter. They’re supposed to be a tough team that thrives in games like that. Unfortunately, it worked to Calgary’s advantage. Matt Tkachuk got into everyone’s head — including Todd McLellan. McLellan made lineup adjustments that effectively guttered the Oilers’ offence as plays endlessly died on Milan Lucic’s stick while on the top line. Despite that, McLellan continued to send Lucic out there even at the end of the game when the team badly needed a goal. I get having him out there right after that Backlund/Tkachuk nonsense, but it didn’t need to go on for the whole game. McLellan got badly outcoached in Calgary. Simple as that.
- And then the Sunday game, which was just disappointing. With the Oilers on the second leg of a back-to-back, everyone knew the game was going to be tough, but they completely folded after 20 minutes. The effort in the second period was non-existent and the game got out of hand in just a matter of minutes. That was a 2017-18 loss in which a few goals go in and the team just gives up.
- It’s difficult not to think Mikko Koskinen is the starter after that weekend. He played a solid game in Calgary, stopping 33 of 36 shots, then Talbot got shelled for six goals on 31 shots. Talbot now owns an .888 save percentage for the season and he’s had more bad starts that good at this point.