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GDB 30.0 Wrap Up: Edmonton Oilers lay beatdown in Battle of Alberta rematch

Oh Baby!

On a Sunday night where hockey fans nationwide got to listen to the legendary Bob Cole, the Edmonton Oilers shutout the Calgary Flames 1-0.

Almost a month after the Flames beat the Oilers 4-2 in what was a physical affair accentuated by Matthew Tkachuk’s now infamous “turtle” against Zack Kassian, the fieriness seemed to die down beyond a first period fight between Milan Lucic and Anthony Peluso.

The Oilers worked hard and took advantage of the Mikael Backlund and Mark Giordano-less Flames limiting their opportunities to get themselves into the game.

While that is in due part to them having played Saturday night toppling the Nashville Predators 5-2, Edmonton played a tight 60-minutes.

The win gives Ken Hitchcock his seventh-win in only ten games behind the Oilers bench.

This game, however, could’ve been a lot different had the Oilers been able to capitalize on any of the five power-play opportunities the Flames handed to them.

A 1-0 shutout could’ve easily been a three-goal affair for the Oilers.

It’s the tip of the iceberg on what has become a problem for the Oilers. In the month of December, the Oilers have yet to score on any of their 15 power-play opportunities.

The trend is one I’m sure that coach Ken Hitchcock and co. will look to nip in the butt as the Oilers prepare to take on the Colorado Avalanche Tuesday.

THE FIRST FRAME

A good scoring opportunity for the Oilers second line came minutes in, when Jesse Puljujarvi slide a nice cross-ice pass to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins driving the net. A smart play by Sam Bennett, who managed to get his stick on it, deflected the puck away.

Moments later, Matt Benning laid a big hit on Anthony Peluso — the Flames tough-guy the team called up specifically for tonight game, given the physical, fight filled match-up on Nov. 17.

Connor McDavid showed flashes during the Oilers first powerplay haflway through the first frame, but some great passing between he, Leon Draisaitl and Alex Chiasson led the Captain to the back of the net.

The play was truly made by Chiasson, who took a wobbly puck from Draisaitl and flipped it across the ice, off one foot, flush onto McDavid’s stick.

Before the puck even dropped, Zack Kassian and Peluso exchanged pleasantries that would eventually result in Peluso taking the worst of it fighting Milan Lucic.

Lucic laid out Travis Hamonic, which as you could imagine, resulted in Peluso doing the one thing he was in the lineup to do. Peluso took a two-minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the play leading to the fight.

The subsequent power play didn’t result in anything, beyond the Oilers firing a few pucks on net.

Period Duex

The second period started with the Oilers building off the moment them built in the first frame with two great breakaway opportunities. Flames tender David Rittich came up big negating the Oiler chances.

Adam Larsson had a sneaky-dirty play taking out Johnny Gaudreau then laying on him — karma came back minutes later when Darnell Nurse got dinged for a holding call behind the net.

Edmonton’s penalty killers stoned the Flames offensive hopes and dreams limiting them to only one shot on net.

Not long after, a long wrist shot from the blue line deflected off Peluso and into the back of the net. Ken Hitchcock threw the challenge flag and it paid off as the war room found Peluso to be impeding Mikko Koskinen’s ability to make a save on the play.

It makes the Oilers 2-0 challenging goals in the Hitchcock era, with the other being a win challenging a Tyler Toffoli goal.

The Oilers really buzzed afterwards. Lucic make some key plays to keep play in the offensive zone leading to direct shots.

Calgary came back with some strong chances of their own and Koskinen managed to shut the door with two impressive saves on the Flames with seconds left in the period.

Period Three

The game seemed to have begun to slow down early into the third as neither team was able to gain much prowess in the respective offensive zones.

Kyle Brodziak took a hooking penalty as Gaudreau attempted to gain entry into the offensive zone and the Oilers penalty kill shut down the Flames once again, allowing a mere single shot on goal.

Matthew Tkachuk got into it a bit with Nugent-Hopkins on the kill as both players looked to get off the ice, but nothing much came of it.

Things heated up around the 15-minute mark as Sam Bennett steamrolled Koskinen after making a move around Darnell Nurse. Lucic and Kassian came in and had words for Bennett, while Tkachuk gave Koskinen a few shoves. It was weird.

None the less, it gave the Oilers a power-play opportunity with Bennett sitting for goaltender interference. Sloppy penalties contineud to plague the Flames, as they gave the Oilers another opportunity not long after when Dalton Prout gave an illegal hit to the head of Ty Rattie, who was already down on the ice.

Elias Lindholm took a dumb slashing call as he two-handed the stick out of Puljuarvi’s hand with just over five minutes left in the third.

Edmonton only had a few shots between the power-play chances — not exactly what you want to see from a team looking to close out a game they’ve largely been in control of.

On Twitter: @zjlaing

  • MrBung

    As much I would like to rub it into Flames fans. Reality check. Goo and Backlund were out. Also. They are still much higher in the standings. The Oil are forced to play a trap like style because lack of talent given a collection of Chias poor moves. Hitch has to play. The hand he is given.

    • jesse says yep

      I really dont think you are surprising anyone when you say “As much I would like to rub it into Flames fans. Reality check. ”
      You only come on here to sling $hit at everything Oilers. Bet you complain about blowjobs too.

    • Bills Bills

      If that’s what you have to say after this game, you should be quiet. BTW, they are not playing a trap. If that’s what you think the trap is, you know zero about hockey.

    • Boba The Fett

      Last I checked a trap involves a minimal forechek with 4 guys clogging the neutral zone. We are playing an aggressive forechek, with 2 guys deep on many occassions and limiting chances with smart stick usage and good back checking. Just because teams are scoring less does not necessarily mean we are playing a trap. Teams are still able to get zone entries on us but we are keeping them to the perimeter.

        • Bills Bills

          Not missing the point at all. A trap consists of exactly what boba mentioned. Clothing the nuetral zone with limited to zero forecheck. Literally four players in the nuetral zone with one deep or a 1-3-1 with one man deep, three across the middle and one man back. What the Oilers are doing is called zone defence. They don’t chase the player with the puck, they keep them to the outside and lead with their sticks blocking the middle of their own zone. It is not at all a trap. Not even close. The fact that you have zero clue about that, should be a point of realization for you. You need to go back to study hockey 101. This is not splitting hairs, it is a fundamental difference.

          • MrBung

            Dude. The style they are playing is reflective of their lack of talent and the poorish roster Chia put together. After all of this the Oil are still not in a playoff position.

          • Boba The Fett

            Bung the reason we are not in the playoffs after our recent run is primarily due to what was very recently looked at as the weakest division in the league looking recently like one of the stronger divisions. The top 5 teams in the division have gone 34-12-4 in the last 10 games, tough to gain ground when the teams in the division are all playing well. I cannot see all 5 teams keeping this pace especially since we still have a lot of divisional games to play. The key for the Oilers will be to control what they do and keep putting up points, regardless of how they have to play. Who cares if they have to play defensive hockey or if Connor has to put them on his back many nights. Connor is paid 12.5M because he can/will put a team on his back. As far as the defensive gamee goes, who cares.

          • Bills Bills

            Of course the way they are playing is because of the roster. That’s what good coaches do. They use a system playing to the strengths of the team. They don’t expect players to do things they are not capable of. That is I was such a strong proponent of bringing in a coach like Hitch. It’s not rocket science. It also doesn’t mean they are playing a trap game. Get over it. The Oilers are winning. And if they went 52-0 in 1-0 games for the rest of the season. I would end 52 nights happy with a win.

    • lol a win is a win and I’ll count em any way they come. Our best D is also out (and has been for a long time). Shutting out the most offensive team in the west is nothing to scoff at. There were long periods of the game where the offence looked great and Rittich made some good saves. I know you probably have some whining about Backlund being out but I dont feel like hed have just tipped the scales. Chia sucks, yes I agree, but lets see some positive here. Id like if every game was 7-2 as well. If our team can hang around in tight games who cares? Most offensive team shut down COMPLETELY. Whine later.

    • Yea you’re right. I guess the Flames are the first team in the nhl to have injuries. Basically makes the games not count, right? Might as well not even count the points. Oh wait, you’re an idiot.

    • ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      So last week when McDavid was out for the Dallas game you were going on about how bad the Oilers are because they can’t win without their captain, yet this week when they beat the 1st place team in the Conference it’s because of how bad the Oilers are and really only won because they’re playing a team without their captain.

      That’s some really trenchant analysis there, scholar. Top shelf.

      I guess what you should really be doing is going onto FlamesNation and telling the faithful there that they suck and have no depth if they can’t beat the lowly Oilers just because their captain is out. I’ll wait here until you post that, otherwise go for a skate on a lake where the ice is thin.

    • sweetweb

      This just confirms that you don’t know what the trap is. Go watch any old games on Jacque Lemaire led teams like the Devils. I guarantee you won’t finish the first period because it’s so boring.

  • Boba The Fett

    I jumped over to FN for a minute just to see how they were taking the loss and I found it quite funny.

    They claim the Oil were mauling them all night with the refs being Oiler biased, yet the Oiler penalties were holding and hooking and the Flames penalties were blatant slashing(snapped jesses stick), checking to the head, goalie interference (extremely obvious), unsportsmanlike (peluso going after Looch) and interference (blatant by Neal on Gravel). The only call I think we really got away with was a clear too many men in the 3rd.

    They also like to chirp about Hitch’s “trap” hockey. I have yet to see us playing a trap. We are forechecking heavy and limiting chances by playing a smart zone and using our sticks to clog the middle of the ice in our dzone and limit chances.

    Finally as far as the Flames playing 3 in 4 nights, they played 2 at home and travelled 45 mins for tonights game. The Oil have played 3 in 5 nights with ttavel from St. Louis mixed in. Don’t think the schedule is much of an excuse.

    The Oil just played a smart game and kept the flames to the perimeter, nothing wrong with that.

    • ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      Over the last ten games (Hitchcock era), the Oilers are playing at .750, which would be 2nd in the NHL right now, just below Tampa’s .758. Over the season to-date, the Oilers are playing at .567, which puts them ahead of San Jose (.565), the Wild (.552), and Vegas (.547)–while they’re right behind Anaheim, who’s at .578.

      If the Oilers continue to play Hitch hockey, all things being equal, they should start to catch and pass each of these teams.

  • ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Flames fans before the game: the Oilers suck and have no depth. They won’t be able to keep up with our four lines that are all rolling (because the Flames have such great depth).
    Flame fans after the game: the Oilers were lucky because two of our key players were out and we don’t have any depth beyond those two guys to win a game like last night’s game.

    Oilers fans before the game: the team’s defensive game has improved significantly over the last ten games (look it up), the Lucic line can forecheck any top line into the ground (check the tape) and we have McDavid (can you say Ted Lindsay Award winner, 2 years running). This should be close, but there’s no reason that the Oilers can’t win this one if they play disciplined hockey. You can kinda see this one coming.
    Oilers fans after the game: The Oilers played a disciplined game, McDavid is McDavid (watch the tape), Lucic’s line forechecked Johnny Jockey into the ground, and from the goalie out, the Oiler D was sound. It was close but you could see this one coming. In terms of points%, the Oilers are ahead of the Sharks, Wild, and Knights, and nipping at the heels of the lucky Ducks. Check your rearview Calgary, objects are closer than they appear.

  • OilRider

    So… Did the refs just have it out for McLellan before, and none of us knew about it? I mean, it used to be that every call went against the Oilers. The 14 straight failed challenges, etc.

    With Hitch it seems like we’ve been getting way more even reffing. I for sure thought that GI challenge would go against us, because Oilers. I was pretty shocked when they called it back. Not to mention the other team actually getting penalties called against them in the 3rd period.