Photo Credit: isuckatpicking

GDB 21.0 Wrap Up: Undefeated in the Hitchcock era, Oilers win 4-3 in OT

Two. Big. Points. Final Score: 4-3 Oilers in OT

What a day, right? I don’t know how many of us woke up this morning expecting to see Ken Hitchcock behind the bench, but here we are in a brand new era. As I said this morning in the wrap on Chiarelli’s press conference, I refuse to heap all of the blame on Todd McLellan for the way things have gone lately, especially when you consider the cards that the GM gave him to play with. That said, the guy certainly shoulders part of the blame, especially when you consider the weird lineup choices and his tendency to, in my opinion, favour certain guys over others when it didn’t necessarily make sense. Since tonight was only the first of the Hitchcock era, I was excited to see how he handled the bench or if he sat back to watch things play out. While we definitely saw some changes to the line combos and overall deployment tonight against the Sharks, I know it’s only the beginning. Over the next few weeks, it will be very interesting to see how he handles some of Todd’s favourites and continues to put his lines together.

Back to tonight’s game, I legitimately burst out laughing when the San Jose Sharks opened the scoring only 45 seconds into the first period. Right after Donskoi scored, Sportsnet cut to a shot of Hitchcock on the bench for a reaction shot and it was absolutely hilarious. I would have loved to know Hitchcock’s first thought at that moment because his face said WTF. The bright side, obviously, is that tragic start to the hockey game wasn’t enough to derail the Oilers’ entire night as they finding solutions to any problem that was thrown their way. On three separate occasions, Edmonton found ways to tie the game up after the Sharks took a lead and that’s the kind of resilience that has been non-existent over these last couple of weeks. Rather than lay down and die, they kept their feet moving and kept fighting until the job was done. Call it the new-coach-bump or a whatever you want, but that’s a big win over a divisional opponent that they’re trying to catch in the standings.

The wrap.


  • First game as the Oilers head coach, first win in the bank. Nice start for Hitchcock.
  • Remember when a certain media member said that Connor McDavid’s offence might go down a bit with Hitchcock as his coach? Connor remembers. He always does. Midway through the first period, Connor McDavid tied the game up at one with his 100th career goal after finding space in the slot and beating Jones with a quick snapshot. Nice way to give his new coach a taste of what he can do.
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored a huge shorthanded goal that tied the game at two apiece after he and Kyle Brodziak broke away on a 2-on-1 chance. Brodziak sent over the pass to Nuge and he roofed it. But then after he scored, all I could think about was how Nugent-Hopkins is 25-years-old and Ken Hitchcock is already his sixth NHL coach (7th if you count the few days he had with MacT).
  • Drake Caggiula scored a huge goal early in the third period, answering back after Logan Couture gave the Sharks the lead late in the second period. Caggiula charged towards the net with his stick on the ice and tipped home a perfect centering feed from Connor McDavid.
  • Are you surprised Leon and Connor closed the game out in overtime? Of course not. On what seemed like a broken play, McDavid got the puck out to Draisaitl in the slot and had it bounce in off his skate and past Jones. It may not have been the prettiest goal those two will ever score, but they all count and for that I’m grateful.
  • After allowing a pair of goals in the first four shots against, Mikko Koskinen did a really nice job of settling things down and made the saves the team needed from him to get the win. It wasn’t necessarily a perfect game, but I liked the way he battled through the early adversity and never let the Sharks pull away on the scoreboard. Koskinen finished the night with 22 saves and a .880 save%.
  • Darnell Nurse played a team-high 25:04 tonight and did a nice job with it. He was physical, moved the puck well, and rose to the challenge against a tough San Jose offence.
  • Speaking of the defence, the entire top four played over 20 minutes with only Benning and Gravel finishing under 15 in total. Will be interesting to see how Hitchcock spreads the minutes around as we move forward.
  • Solid night on the PK for the Oilers as they killed off all three chances they faced. More efforts like that, please.
  • Booze not beets wincast is coming up! As always, you can follow along and join in the chat over on my Twitter.


Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
  • Did anyone else burst out laughing when Donskoi scored only 45 seconds into the hockey game? I sure as hell did. Welcome to the Oilers, Ken!
  • Marcus Sorenson restored the Sharks’ lead after he took a perfect pass from Joe Thornton into the slot and roofed it over Koskinen’s shoulder. For a guy that’s 12 feet tall, Koskinen gets beat upstairs a fair bit. Just me?
  • Logan Couture gave San Jose the lead going into the third period after he absolutely walked past Adam Larsson (embarrassingly actually) and scored with under a minute left in the second period. For the second time tonight, the Sharks were able to beat Koskinen upstairs which will never cease to amaze me since he looks like he’s on stilts, but this one is on Larsson for losing his jock on the play.
  • Only 40% in the faceoff circle tonight which is not good enough.
  • The Oilers got blanked on the power play tonight, though they did only get the one chance. Personally, I find it hard to believe that the Sharks only cheated one time tonight but I guess the always consistent NHL referees saw it differently.
  • Kris Russell left the game in the first period but I couldn’t tell exactly what was up. The report from Twitter was that he left for concussion protocol but, as you’d expect from the Caroline native, he was back in the game shortly after.
  • I’m going to miss Todd McLellan’s suit game. The threads were always sharp and the haircut was always tight. Sail on, good sir.



00:45 San Jose Joonas Donskoi (5) ASST: Joe Pavelski (4), Brent Burns (20) 0-1
08:09 Edmonton Connor McDavid (13) ASST: Leon Draisaitl (12), Adam Larsson (8) 1-1
10:32 San Jose Marcus Sorensen (4) ASST: Joe Thornton (3), Kevin Labanc (10) 1-2


01:46 Edmonton Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (5) ASST: Kyle Brodziak (1) 2-2
19:04 San Jose Logan Couture (7) ASST: Tomas Hertl (12) 2-3


03:32 Edmonton Drake Caggiula (7) ASST: Connor McDavid (17), Leon Draisaitl (13) 3-3


00:51 Edmonton Leon Draisaitl (13) ASST: Connor McDavid (18) 4-3


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Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 11/20/2018 – 11:45 pm MT

    • GK1980

      It’s been one game and hitch is already a saviour. Come on guys haven’t we learned yet? This is still an awful ten apart from McDavid and Drai. Koskinen actually looks solid though. This team is still a long shot to make playoffs.

      • jesse says yep

        Some of us dont think that the Oilers are that far out of it is all. Not that Hitch is the saviour. And if you look at the tire fire that the pacific division is, nobody in it are a long shot to get in the dance. one good or bad stretch could take you from first to last and back again.

      • Towers-of-dub

        by that reckoning isn’t every other team in the western conference other than Nashville an awful team? SJ is 2nd in the conference with 25 points. Anaheim is 11th with 21. The Oilers are 9th with 21 points. Are they really that awful?

        • jesse says yep

          huh? Not sure I am following you but as I see it, pacific conference teams are going to have an artificial boost in the western conference standings simply due to playing other pacific division teams more often. Worked for the Canucks for at least 4 years

  • Rufio Barcoli

    TSN is so bias and corny.
    The two broads they got on the broadcast tonight are wack as puck, their acting is giving the teleprompter a bad name.

    I don’t understand why TSN and the rest of the media are trying hard to sell the “job saving” move for Chia angle and that Todd was a scape goat. Todd was worse as a coach than Chia was as a GM.

    It’s very delusional and disrespectful to believe Chia could have and should have gotten more for Taylor Hall. I believe getting Larsson for Hall was heck of deal.
    Hall, in reality, didn’t have or hold the value that some think he did. It would be a safe bet to say that more GMs at the time of the trade would have chose Larsson over Hall for their team. If Hall was some respectful, hardworking, elite competitor he would have at least been invited to Team Canada roster-at least once.
    If Chia could have got more for Hall he would have. Other GMs knew Hall’s worth, as a player, teammate and competitor, and they also knew Oilers wanted to and needed to trade him.

    Larsson was the best Chia could have got for Hall.#changemy mind

    Hitch is a gangster. He said his main goal was to stay awake cause it was past his bed time. There was also a player who didn’t know who he was so kept him on the bench.

    • rnj

      Change your mind? Check his points per 60. On an awful Oil team he was consistently top 3 LW. Thats worth more than a #3 dman. I’m not sure if you’re just being contrarian but if you genuinely believe it was a great deal you’re the only guy on the planet

      • Rufio Barcoli

        Who cares about his Pp60?
        He was never the top 3LW! If he was he would have been on one of the Team Canada rosters. Who are the other 4LW Canada chose over him and why?

        You saying that team was awful, plays into favor of Hall getting those points.
        Hall was gifted the team and plenty of ice time.
        How many of his points came while milking ice-time(late in a lost game), gifted PP time and exclusive line matching?
        Its not like Hall got most of his points sweating and playing hard to win in important times of games.

        I’m not the only guy on the planet.
        You’re just another guy on the planet.

      • Freddie the fog

        Horrible trade but check Halls point total before Connor got hurt that season, and check again when Mcdavid got back. His point total plummeted and he didn’t look very good when Mcdavid returned. Is this the point he ” tuned out ” coaches ? Their is something there. I believe Hall’s value was probably at an all time low at that time. Which is a terrible time to make a trade. However Chia thought and somewhat rightfully so that the hole on RD could no longer be ignored. But it was a horrible trade . If more than Larsson wasn’t coming back, you just don’t make that trade .

    • McRaj

      I don’t like to resort to name calling but you are actually a loser. Hahahaha, wow you are a loser. There were gms anonymously on record saying had they known Hall was available, the starting offer would have been a Top 4 D-Man, a prospect, and a first. Man what are you smoking. What a moron.

    • Oilersrule

      Change the variables,the paradigm shifts, hindsight 50/50 and all,the fact was the team dynamic was not getting results, something had to change ,we all knew we needed defence at the time ,you can’t force other GM’s to deal with you ,he took a nasty stay at home defencive defencemen and saved some cap ,chose to sign a player who hat limited shelf life in today’s NHL but he took the chance ,the first year it sure looked good and half the media had us winning a cup ,that’s why you can’t listen to the fickle media,they know very little and regurgitate most ideas to each other,I’ll listen to Hitchcock for now ,he seems to know the game well and have a few wins in this league,so for now if he thinks he can turn this ship why doubt him

    • Big Nuggets

      Hall was certainly more valuable than Larsson. My first reaction, and probably most people’s, was that the return was a bit light. Other details made the trade more agreeable, such as Larsson’s contract and the Lucic signing. At the time Lucic was the type of player most fans were clamourong for. Big and mean with some scoring ability, it was later that Kassian and Maroon were added, and later that Khaira earned a spot, this making Lucic redundant. The Hall trade wasn’t great, but it wasn’t Chia biggest mistake.

  • Ted

    I’m sorry but even though Larson’s jock was left in the third row this was not on him! His lame assed side kick left him hanging out to dry! After a extremely poor effort to dump the puck into the zone and then slowly go for a change it’s only then the jock ended up in the third row! Check the replay! It was embarrassing as Todd would say! … I love the new Lucic Kassian Brodziak line they had jump! Carry on Hitch! The dream is alive!

  • Gravis82

    I’m not sure that just because you are from small town Alberta means you have a tougher brain? Anyone should be able to sit out as long as they want in concussion protocol, coming back earlier just means he passed and had nothing to do with perceived toughness or grit. This is a narrative that needs to change in the nhl, at every level.

  • GK1980

    Wins a win but if they keep playing like that I expect more losses. First and third goals against were gross. D totally messed up and if Koskinen didn’t make some huge waves this game would be gone. Still not impressed, sorry guys.

    • OnDaWagon

      :”Only 40% in the faceoff circle tonight which is not good enough

      We won. It’s good enough for me. Frig the faceoffs. More goals than the other team. That suits me fine.