When I woke up this morning and dragged myself to the office, it was clear the post-Christmas fog was real.
Not even a double-shot espresso, or any of the million other caffeine drinks could clear the fog I felt.
Apparently, I was not alone.
The post-Christmas fog was real for the Edmonton Oilers Thursday night, as the team allowed four goals on the Vancouver Canucks first six shots — a feat the team would never overcome.
The Canuck goals all had a similar taste. Sloppy Oilers play led to turnovers and they made Edmonton pay chasing Mikko Koskinen out of the net after the first frame.
Edmonton tried to get back into it with power-play tallies in the first, and second frame. It was the one nice spot in a game that otherwise wasn’t and the Oilers best efforts were for naught as the deficit was too large.
Hitchcock Hockey, mixed in with some solid goaltending from Cam Talbot to shut the door, came to play in the second and third.
The effectiveness of the Oilers Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl power-play came to fruition with them scoring a power-play marker in the first.
The sidewall and down low play of Draisaitl and McDavid drew the four Canucks penalty killers in, allowing for a lane to open up for the McDavid cross-ice pass to a wide open Nugent-Hopkins.
Draisaitl let a huge shot go in the second, as the Oilers scored on another power-play chance.
The game, however, was largely boring, methodical, numbing hockey. It was the type of Hitchcock Hockey that limited the Canucks ability to pile up any more markers while, in the same breath, Jacob Markstrom shut the door.
Edmonton will have a day to reset before the San Jose Sharks on Saturday then a tough New Years Eve matchup with the Winnipeg Jets.
A four-game losing streak will look to be broken against a strong Sharks team ranked second in the division. Everyone knows how important divisional matchups are, moreso now for the Oilers as they sit two points out of a wildcard spot.
On NYE, the teams meets a very good Jets team sitting atop the Western Conference. It will be no small task, and the Oilers will need to come out strong to start the games against both opponents in order to have any hope of being in it to win it.
The First Frame
Vancouver got themselves on the scoreboard early on in the first frame. A failed attempt at exiting the zone resulted in a turnover at the Oilers blueline.
Antoine Roussel got the assist on Tyler Motte’s goal, which saw him walk right into the high slot firing a wrist-shot up and over the shoulder of Mikko Koskinen.
Much like the first goal, the second Canucks score saw their goal come off a turnover this time in the neutral zone. Elias Pettersson was able to make a very nice move standing in line with Koskinen wiring a pass to Brock Boeser, who made no mistake burying it past the Oilers netminder.
Edmonton was granted their first powerplay chance of the game after Connor McDavid actually drew a penalty. Crazy concept, but I saw it happen with my own two eyes.
Making no mistake, the Oilers powerplay clicked with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scoring early on against a Canucks penalty kill that has been red hot.
The Oilers gained momentum off the goal, generating some good scoring chances. However, Pettersson did more Pettersson-esque things scoring on the Canucks first shot in nearly 10 minutes.
Not much could Koskinen have done to save the shot that was perfectly placed over his short-side shoulder.
Roussel notched a late goal, making it 4-1 Vancouver after one.
Alex Chiasson left the game in the first after taking a shot off the knee. He was listed with a lower-body injury and didn’t return.
The Slow Second
After saving only 33 per cent of his first period shots, Koskinen got pulled after the first frame in favor of Cam Talbot.
The Oilers had an early power-play opportunity, however, they weren’t able to muster up much against a Canucks team that kept Edmonton to the outside all night.
The period, which was rather uneventful to start, suddenly got interesting when the Oilers scored on their second power-play opportunity. The ting of the post was all you could hear on the broadcast as Draisaitl ripped his 18th goal of the season top shelf.
Things got a little heated not long after when McDavid got two-minutes for elbowing Roussel. Our beloved captain and worldwide superstar finished a check on Roussel right along the Oilers bench, but got his elbow up a bit high, catching the Canuck in the back of the head.
Roussel took exception giving McDavid a few shoves, before Draisaitl came in and leveled him from behind.
Edmonton killed off the penalty and thus, the period continued.
It really was a methodical frame. Ken Hitchcock must’ve laid a licking on the players during the first frame, as the Oilers played a much better period than in the first, limiting Vancouver to five shots.
Well, the Oilers had nothing to lose entering this period. Down 4-2, it was time for them to leave everything they had on the ice.
The Oilers showed a valiant effort in the third. They generated chances, but were unable to capitalize on any.
Much like they did in the second, they played a tight third frame allowing the Canucks to only get nine shots on goal.
There wasn’t much notable action in the third, but rather the grindy, slow paced game continued until the seconds ticked away.
On Twitter: @zjlaing