That’s a big comeback win, boys. It may not have been pretty but I like it. Final Score: 3-2 Oilers in the shootout
The Hitchcock homecoming tour continued in St. Louis tonight as the Edmonton Oilers were looking to get themselves back in the win column after dropping a tough game in Dallas on Monday. From where I blog, this was a must-have game for the Oilers as the Blues have really struggled this season, tail spinning their way to the bottom of the Western Conference standings. This was another one of those games where the Oilers needed to handle their business and get two points from a team that is really spinning their wheels, and anything less than that would be a complete disappointment. The problem, of course, is that we’ve seen the Oilers fail to step up in games like this before so as much as a win seemed likely, there are certainly no guarantees in life. Not with this team.
Fitting nicely into the ‘of course they did’ universe we’re living in, the Oilers dropped a fresh turd on the ice in the first period and they let the Blues build a two-goal lead and look like a team that hasn’t been playing terrible hockey all season. If I’m being honest, the Oilers looked like an AHL team at the start of this hockey game and they deserved to be in the hole they dug for themselves. And frankly, they were lucky they did allow more than the two goals. Even with Connor McDavid back in the lineup, the Oilers looked overmatched early and it was tough to watch. The good news is that they settled things down in the periods that followed and ended up battling their way to a win that looked almost impossible after 20 minutes. It was a comeback win that I certainly didn’t see coming after the way they started but I, along with every Oilers fan, will happily take it.
It may not have been the prettiest ‘W’ they’ll ever get, but we’ll gladly take the two points and roll out. Sometimes you just need to take the money and run.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins got the Oilers on the board and back to within one after he put his hard hat on and got to work in the St. Louis slot. RNH parked himself in front of the net and took a couple of hacks at Nurse’s centring pass before finally getting it past Jake Allen for his seventh goal of the year. To me, Nuge was the best Oiler and it wasn’t really close.
- Oscar Klefbom has decided that he only wants to score big goals this year. Last week, he had back-to-back game winners and tonight, he smashed the tying goal past Allen when the Oilers had the empty net. That doesn’t normally work for our boys, so seeing them tie it up late was a welcomed surprise.
- I don’t think I’ve ever been as excited to see Connor McDavid in my life. Frankly, with him out of the lineup on Monday, the Oilers lacked the sense of spontaneity and flash so I was thrilled to see the McFlow back out there. McDavid finished his night with another assist on the pile and a shootout goal. Here’s to infinite health for you, sir!
- Cam Talbot was making his first start in a while and he needed to be a good one. Not only was he still looking for his 100th win with the Oilers, but he’s also looking to get himself back in the rotation to play in net. Mikko Koskinen has straight up stolen Dadbot’s job and I was looking forward to seeing how he’d respond with tonight’s start. Talbot responded with a fantastic effort that not only kept his team in the mix when they needed him but kept things locked down at two goals. Dadbot finished the night with his 100th win with the Oilers, 28 saves, and a .933 save%.
- I liked the way Nuge’s line looked and I thought they were the best trio by far. I also liked bumping Jujhar Khaira up there and giving him a chance in the top six.
- I take a shot at Nurse and Russell’s first period in the ‘Face Palmers’ but I’ll also give them credit for calming things down in the following 40 minutes. I liked Nurse’s rush into the zone and assist on Nuge’s goal.
- I can’t believe I forgot to mention the disallowed goal call. The Oilers got lucky on that one and obviously they needed it. Praise be to the ref? Still feels weird.
- Pat Maroon and David Perron didn’t score! Small victories, friends.
- Huge booze not beets wincast is coming up in a few minutes! As always, you can follow along and join in the chat over on my Twitter.
THE FACE PALMERS
- That first period was as bad as I’ve seen the Oilers play in a while. Brutal start that probably cost them the game.
- Ivan Barbashev opened the scoring for the Blues after he found himself WIDE OPEN in the slot after both Oilers defenders (Nurse and Russell) decided that covering that area was not all that important. Barbashev couldn’t have had any more space on the play and it wasn’t overly surprising that he was able to score. Brutal coverage.
- Brayden Schenn put the Blues up by two goals after he corralled a hard rebound off the backboards and put it into the empty net behind Talbot.
- The first period of this hockey game was a disaster for the Nurse/Russell pairing. They were on for both of the Blues’ first-period goals and they completely spaced on their coverage both times. Fortunately, the duo got better as the game went on, but the start was almost detrimental.
- The powerplay was horrible tonight. I know the Blues were running a pretty aggressive PK, but the Oilers couldn’t get anything done tonight when they needed it the most. Disappointing 0/5 night with the man advantage, including the 4-on-3 opportunity to end things in overtime. This game could have been over long before OT if the PP had gotten anything done.
- Only 40% in the faceoff circle tonight which is not near good enough. Yeah, yeah I complain about this a lot and I know fancy stats guys don’t care about faceoffs all that much, but I’m of the opinion that it’s a good thing to start with the puck as often as you can.
|06:05||St. Louis||Ivan Barbashev (3) ASST: Oskar Sundqvist (2), Jordan Nolan (1)||0-1|
|13:32||St. Louis||Brayden Schenn (6) ASST: Chris Butler (1), Vince Dunn (7)||0-2|
|04:04||Edmonton||Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (7) ASST: Darnell Nurse (5), Kris Russell (6)||1-2|
|19:04||Edmonton||Oscar Klefbom (3) ASST: Connor McDavid (22), Jujhar Khaira (7)||2-2|
|St. Louis||Goal – Tyler Bozak|
|Edmonton||Goal – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins|
|St. Louis||Missed – Vladimir Tarasenko|
|Edmonton||Goal – Connor McDavid|
|St. Louis||Missed – Brayden Schenn|
— VisuallyBetter (@Isuckatpicking) December 6, 2018
“I won’t cheer for Edmonton but if Darnell scores I’m going to give a little fist pump secretly because he’s my boy” -Anthony Maroon #Anthonyscommentary
— Francesca Vangel (@FrancescaAnna) December 6, 2018
“THE PUCK IS…RIGHT AT THE OUTSIDE OF THE BLUE OF THE…PAINT OF THE GOAL CREASE.” – Kevin Quinn
— Ryan (@IAmByks) December 6, 2018
— deesh (@dMcQn) December 6, 2018
I think I just heard @jsbmbaggedmilk let out a moan of pure pleasure after that shootout goal by Nuge
— Griddin? (@GriffinPosynick) December 6, 2018
A new week means a new episode of Oilersnation Radio and this episode is chock-full of Edmonton Oilers content that you can slip right into your earholes. This week, we cover the Valentin Zykov waiver claim, whether the Strome for Spooner trade is worse than Eberle for Strome, the “retro” jersey debut, and another look at the Milan Lucic goal bet. Subscribe to Oilersnation Radio for FREE on Soundcloud here and on iTunes.
Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 12/05/2018 – 9:30 pm MST