GDB 39.0 Wrap Up: New year same result, Oilers lose 4-3 to Winnipeg on NYE

Maybe 2019 will be better. Final Score: 4-3 Jets

With the year winding down and the Oilers toiling away near the bottom of the Western Conference standings yet again, all any of us could have ever hoped for was one more win to finish up 2018 on a positive note. With the anger from the five-game losing streak, yesterday’s bizarre trades, and Chiarelli’s press conference from this morning still boiling over, I felt like the universe owed us a solid and needed to throw a little luck our way to help brighten the mood a little bit. Besides, with so much venom flowing in Edmonton right now, would it really have been all that surprising if the Oilers were somehow able to pull off the old switcharoo and close out the year with an unexpected win against the Jets? I didn’t think so. So when McNuge opened the scoring late in the first period, I thought we were on way to not only ending the five-game drought but also the NYE winless streak that’s been going on for more than a decade.

Unfortunately, as is often the case, I got too excited too early and ultimately ended up disappointed after watching what was once a lead turn into a deficit in the snap of a finger. I don’t know what it is about the Oilers and giving up quick goals right now, but it’s a trend that’s been punching holes through their dinghy for weeks and one that cannot end soon enough. When you combine tough goals against with a lack of secondary scoring that the Oilers have been suffering all season, then you’re not exactly setting yourself up for success. With another loss now on the board, the fact that the Oilers are crashing towards the bottom of the Western Conference standings is starting to sink in and is absolutely mindblowing. For the second straight year, we’re heading into January with the Oilers on the outside of the playoff picture with seemingly slim hopes that things will get turned around in time to make a difference. Even worse is that the organization is trying to save the season with the exact same people steering the ship into the group. For me, that’s worse than the loss we just watched.

For the last time in 2018, we wrap. Happy New Year, everyone!

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  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins opened the scoring for the Oilers after he broke into the offensive zone with Connor McDavid and slipped a wrist shot through Hellebuyck after the captain found him with the puck. Nuge finished the night with two points after he was in on Leon Draisaitl’s power play goal as well.
  • Leon Draisaitl scored his sixth power play goal of the season midway through the second period after Darnell Nurse set him up on a tee from his favourite spot along the boards. He scored another on the backhand at the halfway mark of the third period after Connor McDavid found him behind the defence and he got it off his stick in a hurry.
  • Thank you for another year, Connor McDavid. You’re one of the only reasons to these games on so many occasions and I wanted to end off 2018 with a quick note of appreciation. Thanks for being you, and for adding another couple of assists to the McPile. Please don’t leave us.
  • Caleb Jones, I see you. The guy has gotten better and better since being called up and has, all of a sudden, become one of Hitchcock’s most trusted options. I don’t think he’s necessarily ready yet, but I certainly am having a good time watching him figure it out. Jones finished the night with 23:56 which was second to only Darnell Nurse.
  • I thought that Petrovic (20:21) and Manning (12:54) both did fine tonight considering this was their first game with the team without so much as a formal practice to help them get into the swing of things. Neither guy leaked chances and neither of them looked out of place, and for the first game with a new team that’s all you can really hope for. Not only that, Petrovic got his first assist as an Oiler on RNH’s first period goal.
  • I don’t know why the Oilers only got one power play chance tonight but they scored on it! Not only that, but they were also able to keep the Jets off the board on both of their power play opportunities which won them the special teams battle for the first time in a while.
  • Shout out to Joe Gambardella for making his NHL debut tonight and getting out there for 5:27 worth of ice and a memory that will last a lifetime. We tip our caps to you, sir.
  • The Oilers’ blue jerseys are so much better than the orange ones and I don’t care what anyone says. Personally, I wish for the Oilers to go back to these as the full-time uni in 2019.
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  • Jacob Trouba tied the game up at one apiece after the Jets were able to cause a turnover in the Oilers zone and get it back for a point shot that made its way through traffic. Matt Benning could have made a better choice with the puck and it ending up costing the team the lead.
  • Less than 90 seconds after Trouba got the Jets on the board, Brendan Lemieux gave Winnipeg their first lead of the night after he found a loose puck in the crease that he was able to sneak over the line. Giving up two quick goals has been a serious problem for the Oilers on this losing streak and these two markers by Trouba and Lemieux could be used as a case study. Lemieux scored a second goal late in the third period after he set up in the slot and got his stick on a shot from the point, deflecting it perfectly past Koskinen and into the top corner.
  • Only 29 seconds after Leon Draisaitl tied the game at two apiece, Blake Wheeler restored Winnipeg’s lead with a sharp angle shot that made its way through some bodies and in past Koskinen.
  • According to Sportsnet, the Oilers are now 0-13-3 on New Year’s Eve. I don’t know what kind of paperwork we need to fill out to get these games removed but I’m going to go ahead and spend some time looking.
  • Outshout (36-24) once again. Brutal.
  • Tough to win when only three guys on your team can score/contribute. More points for McDraiNuge and not many for anyone else.
  • The NHL site had the giveaways listed at 17-12 against the Oilers but I feel like that’s light. Anyone else?
  • Mikko Koskinen got the start tonight after imploding against the Canucks on Thursday night, and I was ready to forget about that loss and watch the big man get back to playing the lights out flavour of goaltending we were seeing from him on the winning streak. Unfortunately, Koskinen lost is fourth straight start for the first time all year after he was unable to keep things completely locked down. Personally, I thought the Oilers had a good chance to win this hockey game but couldn’t get that one extra save they needed. Koskinen finished the night with 32 saves and a .889 save%.
  • Matt Benning has been struggling lately and I wonder if he’ll stick in the lineup over Petrovic once Russell gets back?
  • Second straight New Year’s Eve game against the Jets, second straight #BeetCast. As always, you can join in on the #BeetCast conversation over on my Twitter account.
  • We’re nearing the end of 2018 and Peter Chiarelli is still the GM somehow.
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14:50 Edmonton Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (14) ASST: Connor McDavid (36), Alexander Petrovic (2) 0-1


04:39 Winnipeg Jacob Trouba (4) ASST: Josh Morrissey (18), Adam Lowry (6) 1-1
06:02 Winnipeg Brendan Lemieux (2) ASST: Andrew Copp (3), Jack Roslovic (6) 2-1
18:03 Edmonton PPG – Leon Draisaitl (20) ASST: Darnell Nurse (13), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (22) 2-2
18:32 Winnipeg Blake Wheeler (6) 3-2


07:23 Edmonton Leon Draisaitl (21) ASST: Connor McDavid (37) 3-3
14:02 Winnipeg Brendan Lemieux (3) ASST: Joe Morrow (1), Andrew Copp (4) 4-3


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Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 12/31/2018 – 10:45 pm MST

    • nijames

      Get serious, injury excuses are for losers! Oh wait that’s why you mentioned that, the Oilers are losers. Thank god McDavid is worth watching even when they lose.

      • MrBung

        The terrifying prospect is that ownership and management crush his spirit and will to win. We Oil fans will eventually realize this … soul crushing… McDavid wants to win a Stanley Cup that is not happening here. It hurts to way that. Buy any hockey fan knows it to be true .

      • rnj

        Not sure if you’re trolling here. Take the three top dmen and a top 4 forward out of any team and there’s maybe 3 or 4 teams who would still perform well. The injuries are absolutely a factor. You think it’s a coincidence that our playoff run was the least injured year the Oilers have had since McDavid?

        • TKO

          they may be misssing 3 defensemenn, but they are not top 4 defenseman anywhere but edmonton. if that is the case, then the Flames were (are) missing 3 top-4 defensemen – Hamonic, Stone, Valamaki.
          Not trying to pile on, but winger depth aside, the biggest hole on the team has been defense all along. Russell is a great depth defender, but if a team is relying on him to play top 4 minutes night after night against the other teams 1st and second lines, your in trouble.
          it really seemed like this was the year that the battle of alberta became meaningful again, and to be honest, i wish it was. The team needs to fire CHia immediately… something wrong with the owner; if he can’t do it, he needs to hire a president of hockey ops to keep it real in edmonton. I think the fans need to send a message – it worked last time when the jerseys started hitting the ice, but i heard rumours that the Oil will ban for life anyone throwing Jerseys n the ice

    • CityofWhat

      Taylor Hall is one of my favourite Oilers of all time. The guy showed passion but most Oiler fans seen that as him whining. Besides the obvious 3 where is the passion on this team?

  • percy

    If it wasn’t for 3 of our best def and Chas out things would be different. Things will get better when they return. Just have to be patient. Pet and Manning might be enough to win us some games and keep us in the running until klef, Russ and Chas return. We would have won that game if so.

    • Serious Gord

      Patience? After twelve-plus years of this travesty, this abuse of fans, this waste of opportunity and talent you are counselling patience?

      Are you the president is Venezuela?

        • Serious Gord

          My plan has been long stated – twelve years long. Nothing will be accomplished until the org is gutted of fok and fog.

          The leafs org didn’t truly get serious until they hired Tim lywicki – 45 years after they last won the cup. By that measure we have another decade to wait.

  • CityofWhat

    Remember all the hate Hall got for not winning anything when he didn’t have a #1 goalie, #1,2 or 3 D-men, or a #1 centre ( love Nuge but was too young at the time) or any decent veterans on top of a revolving door of coaches. Well, now what?

  • TruthHurts98

    6 games and counting, so easy to predict. Sigh. Top 5 pick upcoming… oh wait. NO!!!! PC traded it for a player no one’s ever heard of and promptly signed him to infinity for the salary cap max.

    • FlamesFanOtherCity

      I don’t think it’s Flames fans trolling you.
      Every team has battled injuries this season.
      Hitch comes out and whines about reffing.
      Chia does squat to change the team for the better.
      Chaisson is not a top 4 payer on any team, but is a decent depth player.
      Blame the coach all you want, but the team is not constructed to win.
      No top 4 D-men available? I’m sure if you asked you would find one.
      Or perhaps do that looking in the summer.
      The holes in scoring and defense were there.

      Hockey fans feel bad for seeing McDavid play on an unept team, but are happy to see Chia manage them from a playoff capable team with multiple first overalls to a lotto team. Keep up the good work Chia.

  • Butt-head

    Lucic is even worse than just not scoring. Almost every time the puck touches his stick he either bobbles it, gives it away, or gets rid of it quickly because the bumbling oaf can’t skate and stickhandle at the same time. He was painful to watch tonight. I doubt he would even make the roster for the Condors playing like that.

    • nijames

      Lucic is a player that is built for the big slow NHL, that game went away about the same time Lucic signed his 7 year $42 million contract. I don’t blame him for signing that deal any one would have. Chia just threw away $42 mill of Daryl Katz’ money, oh no wait actually taxpayer money with the deal Katz has on that arena.

  • Ol_OneNut

    The eight starting wingers had 11 goals all season. They finished the game still with 11 goals all season.

    Pontus Aberg has as many goals as all eight guys tonite! SMFH!

    Doing a great job Chia! Keep it up!

  • slats-west

    Saw some very good play. 3-4 posts but alas no goals from non-McDavid Drai Nuge players. Certain players are over passing #44, #97 and #8 especially – shoot from everywhere and crash the net! Lines 3 and 4 play on periphery way too much while the Jets everyone goes to the net – they scored two garbage goals that way – Oilers NIL!

    Jones played well but that give away coupled by lack of effort by Brodziak on that chip pass was horrible – does a forward ever dive to block a puck any more?

    Russell back will be the end Benning’s days and then eventually waived.

  • ellebee

    The Lucic thing is no joke anymore. He isn’t just ineffective, he is a detriment. He looks overweight, old, slow & tired. You can’t ask more out of a line and then weigh them down with Milan. There’s no solution to the Milan situation, but we at least need to stop the bleeding.

    • Serious Gord

      Lucic looks like he has to think to skate fast. And if he has to do that then he probably has to think to make a quick pass or be in the right place to make a play or tip a puck.

      The NHL game moves to fast to allow a player to think.

    • The future never comes

      It’s sad to say as he used to be a force of nature, but if we are dealing in reality and not fantasy here, his time is up. He should not be on the ice anymore, not in the NHL at least. The fact he was on the ice with three minutes left is unimaginable. I thought Hitch was going to make the tough decisions when he came in, that tough decision would be healthy scratching Lucic for the rest of the season. His career is over, that’s a fact.

  • JasonY

    I’m curious what the board has to say about Lucic. I’m perplexed why he’s even playing. He coughs up the puck everytime. The play dies on his stick. He’s weak on the boards. He’s too slow and always late to the play to have any effect. It perplexes me that he is on the 2nd line. I’d rather have Kassian up there as he can at least skate and keep up with the play.

    Is he there as a reminder to the other teams to not run at McDavid?

    • Serious Gord

      Lucic was the kind of player who used to be coached against. Opposing teams and players used to strategize and devise tactics to neutralize the threat he posed. And he was a threat because he had enough speed and good enough hands to play on a top line and hurt you both physically and offensively.

      That was what “earned” him the big contract with the oil. But even in his first year one could see he was losing those capacities. His points were almost all on the power play. And he quickly got moved off of mcdavids line which – if you will recall- was where everyone expected him to play. And then he completely lost the plot in game six.

      Now, if opposing teams spend any time thinking of leaving lucic it’s his to convert his deficiencies into goals.

      It’s quite sad to see him scowling on the bench – mad at himself I guess – he only has himself to blame. Clearly he is incapable (or unwilling?) to convert that emotion into higher on ice performance.

      At this point a trade seems unlikely or impossible or only able to return more harm than help to the lineup.

      An off-season buyout seems to be the only answer. By then likely several other players and the GM and godwilling most – hopefully all – of the head office will be packaged out as well – likely drowning out the news of this final unfortunate chapter of this once hugely entertaining and impactful player (once the apple of every GMs eye).

      • JasonY

        It’s frustrating to see any value. He does make some big hits. But there’s no sandpaper. There’s no “torres” or even a “cagiulla” where he pisses off the other team. He reminds me a lot of Laraque whereby he lives by a code and only when provoked will he stand in there. He’s no Kassian or Thachuk to get under the opposition’s skin.