Photo Credit: twitter.com/Canucks

GDB 37.0 Wrap Up: The Christmas fog falls the Oilers in 4-2 loss

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Period Three

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

  • slats-west

    A few thoughts…

    Some bad goaltending on 2 of the 4 goals and that’s all you need in the 3 Goal League which is the NHL. Talbot did well in relief and made two outstanding saves in relief. Hopefully the way forward for him.

    Man that Elias can shoot the puck when he’s not hacked or whacked before, during, or after he shoots – the guys an all star….vomit.

    Don’t know where to start on what’s allowed on McDavid, the breakaway hook to the hands doesn’t get a shot away, the interference on the dump and chase in play is simply not an allowable play for McDavid…it dint happen just once or twice but three times, then the drive with 4 minutes remaining he was hacked and slashed no fewer than 4x before getting a hook to the hands at the net and another shot to the corner. But as John Garret said in the second period “well Edmonton already HAD 3 penalties….” yes John they did ….and they scored on 2 of them so you’re right no way can you let Edmonton win this on the PP. That’s just not fair… John.

    But this the McDavid Jordan era – just foul him as many times as possible because no NHL will great 4,5 or 6 penalties by one player they just won’t.

    Time to play Nasty.- Hitch needs to put Lucic or Kassian on the first line and you take the instigator and beat the crap out of Roussel, Edler, etc whoever … just do it in period 1 and then play the game….. its the only way. Let the players take care of this.

    Cmon do it for Connor.

    • nijames

      only problem is that Lucic is a liability and is no longer an NHL calibre player so scrap that idea. In case you haven’t noticed the NHL has effectively done away with fighting so that tactic doesn’t work either. Its time the Oilers got some support players that can play the game. Can’t count on Connor to do everything. He is by far the best but only chance the Oilers have is if he wins the game or a goalie plays out of their mind. Its a sad situation and can’t blame the refs for that

    • Clayton

      Hey I am all for calling penalties more when connor gets mauled but the Oilers better be ready to kill off all the calls on them when they maul the other teams’ best players. It is a two way street. Try taking off your orange coloured glasses! Petterson got grabbed, slashed, punched and tripped throughout the night…his response…he got up and got back in the play. Didn’t pull the crybaby Connor routine! Connor’s antics are CLASSLESS, EMBARRASSING and unbecoming of a league superstar. Time for him to shut up, grow up and play the hockey!

        • Clayton

          Not a Flame, Oiler, or Canuck fan actually. Just get tired of all the poor Connor Talk, or Johnny shaking his hand in the air with the lightest tap to his arm. Both need to shut up and play.

      • Boba The Fett

        Connor’s antics? Are you serious? Last game the 2 teams played Petterrson took a blatant flop to draw a call. Today he got a call when connor hit him with a weak elbow. Yet Connor constantly skates through the hacks, whacks and obstruction and never once cries to the ref like Sid used to. Calling Connor classless has to be one of the most ignorant, biased, CLASSLESS things you can possibly say.

        • Clayton

          Classless as in disrespectful to the game. If I had a nickel for every time his head flipped back, he yapped at the ref or whined about a non-call I would be able to buy the team myself and fire Chia!

      • Randaman

        You got that wrong. Its not Connor whining! Its the coach, fans, media, etc. Everybody but the refs and the league. Go figure. It goes for all the stars in this league. LET THEM PLAY!!

        • Clayton

          Have you seen how many times Connor looks back at the ref ? How many times he yaps at them during a game? No wonder he doesn’t get calls, he has pissed of every ref. He is right…but going about it the wrong way. I hate Johnny Hockey but he has it figured out right. He took a vicious slash from buffoon lastnight and after the game his comment was “slashes are part of the game, won’t be the last time I get slashed.” Yes, there was a penalty call there, but his reaction was so mature. That is where Connor needs to evolve to. It took Johnny a long time…in fact this is the first time I can think of where his reaction was good.

  • Spoils

    so much loser talk on this site right now and I get it. but this team will make the playoffs this year, and with a little luck could go for a nice run. why? – once we get Klefbom, Russell, and Sekera back this team will be completely different. In today’s NHL you need to have the right D matchups.

    now, granted- this is not a cup contender. but matriculate a few more prospects – like Bouchard and Yamamoto, and make some FA / deadline moves and you have a cup in about three years.

    so – for all the Oilers fans out there that are bleating and whining, yes -PC is garbage, but get ready for 3 straight playoff runs and a cup victory over the next few years.

    drink that kool aid and giddy the eff up.

      • Clayton

        Hard to be critical of that pick at this point. Noone from the ’17 draft picked after him has really had an impact yet either. The most games played by a player drafted after him is Jokiharju at 32. I am skeptical too…but think this needs more time.

    • JasonY

      Spoils, explain how we’re gonna make the playoffs?
      Aside from Klefbom, we do not have anyone in the D that is a good passer. Our best D passer is in OHL/World Jrs. The game right now is about transition and counterattacks. The only other D that has a transition game is Nurse, but he’s more a skater that will skate the puck out of trouble.

      Even if we did have a passer, who do we have aside from the top line of Drai and McDavid to transition?
      I’m still not confident in our PK unit. Our powerplay will always remain in the bottom half as long as we keep piling up leftorium of skaters. Until we have someone that can one time on the left side we will always be one dimensional.

      The only way I see this team making it is Sekera comes back and becomes a solid 3-4 while our goaltending duo can maintain their strong showing consistently down the stretch.

  • Sorensenator

    The only thing more pathetic then the Oilers play lately is this Jackle and Hide fan base. Positive people bring positive results, and it’s a good thing non of you have anything to do with the Oilers… you’d be blowing everything up, trading this guy here, benching this guy, firing this guy, everytime it goes South. You’re all a joke.

  • JasonY

    This team is done. Chia will be fired and deservedly so and yes, I’ll bring it up again. The turning point imo is Hall trade. I strongly believe that this would have formed to formidable lines with Draisatl – Hall; RNH with McDavid ala Toronto Maple Leafs mold. I think articles written about Hall’s lack of commitment is our way of rationalizing the trade to make us feel better, like when a hot girlfriend breaks up with you.

    anyways, what concerns me the most is Edmonton’s ability to attract UFAs. This summer is a very interesting summer with with the potentials of Erik Karlsson, Myers, Doughty. (Chia was impatient and made his big moves). I do think we are one #1 Dman away from actually having a solid D-core as it would put everyone else in their rightful position.

    However, Edmonton is not the ideal city for millenials and falls in similar lines of Detroit. As much as I would hate to see it, I see players would rather sign with Calgary. The shiny object that is McDavid is losing its lustre given that this team can’t win even. It’s a huuuge mess. We had lost all of our strength which was the LW (Hall, Maroon, Pouliot remember). Did I mention that we are in capspace hell with buyouts and overpayment?

    Finally, I am beginning to re-examine whether we as fans should also be at fault. The general consensus is that we deserve a way better team. However, I am beginning to ask myself is do we really? We idolize these players and give them way too much credit as shown by selling out games despite a decade that one of the worst production from an organization ever in the NHL history. We continue to pay crazy amount of money and watch the team take players’ dads on these lavish road trips. We give them anything and everything they want. It’s like a cliche of spoiling rich kids to becoming soft. We have become so enamoured with them, that we’re now not scapegoating Lucic. IMO Lucic should be scapegoated. $6M for 2 goals in all of 2018? He hits but there is no longer any intimidation. He doesn’t pick a fight. He doesn’t harrass the other’s team’s players. Where is the sandpaper? How are we not putting him on the hotseat?

    • FlamesFan27

      The Hall trade was a big mistake. But, no one ever talks about the 2016 draft. The fourth overall pick has 5 points. I know Oiler fans hate Tkachuk, but he has 42 points playing with Backlund. Imagine him with McDavid.

        • FlamesFan27

          Who was ranked third by the Flames? I don’t think Pierre-Luc Dubois was ranked third. You are probably right that it wasn’t Tkachuk, who has been an excellent surprise for the Flames.

        • Randaman

          Funny, I didn’t. I was literally screaming at my TV for them to take Tkachuk. Jesse is a BUST!! He’ll be back in Europe eating Mom’s home cooking and speaking Finnish in no time. Do they have pizza there??

        • Clayton

          Yes, but a lot less than people think. He will become the highest paid Flame. He will break the Gio – Cap for sure. BUT…I think he will sign for the same %age of the salary cap Gio signed for at the time. Thus he technically stays in line with the Gio-Cap. Gio signed for 9.5% of the cap…so Tkachuk will sign for 9.5-10% of the current cap. So from 7.8-8.2 million per season. Still affordable under the cap.

  • Fuhr Satan

    I think Oiler fans have a unique relationship with the World Jrs, every holiday we can cheer for a team that doesn’t suck. Watch the prospects the Oilers are going to ruin and squander or both. Chia Pete must have read the GMing for dummies by Eric Tillman.

  • NeverWas

    Canucks just have a better roster and are doing the rebuild right… they havent been perfect but they win more than they lose from rebuilding efforts and over a couple years with Jim its resulted in a pretty solid roster that just keeps getting better.

    I think culture is a big part of it… canucks have worked hard to build this “meritocracy & character” culture and it seems to be working…. Oilers have a drinking/partying/losing culture, this is a fact.

    I honestly wonder how long it is until McDavid asks for a trade… 2 more seasons I think. Maybe summer of 2020 or 2021.

  • MrBung

    Posr Christmas fog?! The Canucks had a worse travel schedule and took to turkey meals too. Let’s not spray perfume on a tird. The Oil have an inferior roster.

  • TruthHurts98

    This franchise needs a reboot. Playoffs aren’t reality, only 8 points out of dead last in the league. Probably 6 after tonight. This is what PC got us. Zero depth and this team can’t score. Drafting top ten again this year.

  • Ted

    Hey Zach next game is against the Sharks. Could be a five game losing streak when new year’s Eve brings another beat down as the Jet’s will be full throttle on our a**

  • TKO

    Anyone else see the look on McDavid’s face as he sat on the bench? not sure how many years this guy is willing to give his best for a team that isn’t close to competing, and gives up so easily. Does Conner, at some point, start to mail it in too? or ask for a trade? somethings gotta give…

  • Natejax97

    Every game it is a different culprit that eats us alive. Tonight it was goaltending in the first period. Next game it will be a lights out performance by Jones. Then Winnipeg will beat us senseless because the team is lackluster and tired…same old same old. Still the old losing mentality with this team. Woe is me. But hey, I’m a big fan and not going anywhere. Hope we win the draft lottery or whatever…hopefully Chaisson stays healthy so we can get that second round pick at the deadline. Yaaaay

  • Datsyukian

    Has anyone noticed the amount of painful labouring it takes the Oilers to score a goal or win a game, or, for Pete’s sake, even hit the net? At the same time, the other team has a few tick-tack-toes, a couple of sharp snipes, and a couple of lucky breaks, and bang! – game over! I’ve observed this many times this season. Is it the lack of skill, lack of confidence, or both?

  • Heschultzhescores

    You cannot win with a bunch of plugs. There is basically zero talent after McD, Drai, and Nuge. The defense might even be more pathetic than the offense. I wont put Caleb in that pile yet, but the rest of the team are way overpaid and AHL certified.

    • cityofchampions

      Disagree on your assessment of the defence, and think you are kind of throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Larsson and Klefbom are both NHL capable dmen on salary-friendly contracts, and would make a solid NHL 2nd pairing at reasonable cost. Nurse is a good third pairing at this point in his development, with signs of pushing into the top 4, and is currently not a salary liability. That’s 3 NHL quality dmen that would find employment on any team. Jones and Bear are decent prospects pushing for bottom pairing time, and Bouchard may grow into a top-pairing role during the next 3 salary-protected years. That’s the good news, and it shouldn’t be overlooked because of the bad news…which is that we don’t have a top-pairing, which forces everyone to play higher than they should be playing. Sekara and Russell are serviceable bottom 4 guys, but not worth their contracts. I would agree that Wideman and Benning are AHL quality dman.