Enjoy your eight-game losing streak, Ducks! Thanks for being such great hosts. Final Score: 4-0 Oilers
After last night’s trainwreck in LA, all I really cared about was that I wouldn’t be wasting two+ hours of my life again, and I don’t feel like that’s too much to ask. I don’t feel like it’s crazy to expect that the team with the best player in the world on its roster should be better than what we got last night, but I’m not sure that the organization feels the same way based on the head scratching moves we’ve seen lately. I mean, two of the most recent pickups they’ve made were healthy scratches tonight, one after being here for only three games, and that’s not a great look if the team honestly expected those players to be part of the solution. Outside of a weatherman, I can’t think of anyone who is allowed to be wrong as much as this GM and crew have been while still managing to keep a job. I know that’s a weird way to start the wrap up on a night when the Oilers closed out a 4-0 victory, but sometimes it feels like wins like this one come in spite of the roster and not because of it.
As for the game itself, I just wanted to be entertained. I know that’s a low bar to set but I just wanted to watch the team I love actually compete and look like they belong in the NHL rather than seeing them get Washington Generaled all over the ice. In the opening moments, I was getting nervous because things didn’t look good. The Ducks were buzzing and generated all kinds of chances in the Oilers zone, leaving Cam Talbot to either fold like a tent or man the fort long enough to hope that his team would get going. Fortunately, Dadbot was up for the task and he made some huge saves early that kept the Ducks at bay and that gave his team the confidence they needed to open the floodgates. Unlike last night in LA, the Oilers were able to weather the jittery opening, navigate the Ducks’ early onslaught, and follow it all up with some counterpunches that landed. They went from being back on their heels to locked in with a lead that would never be challenged, and that was a stark contrast to what we saw only 24 hours ago. They got the saves, they got the goals, and even though it wasn’t perfect the Oilers got two points that they desperately needed.
I don’t know that the Oilers will want their goalie making 39 saves every night and we know that they won’t score four either, but that’s a big win to keep a struggling Ducks team down on the mat rather than giving them life. Like I said this morning in the GDB, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a win against the Ducks.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- The Oilers really needed to get on the board first tonight, and they were able to do that thanks to the captain. Connor McDavid was able to find a loose puck and take a couple of whacks at it beside the net, eventually beating Gibson on the third or fourth try. Excellent puck persistence by McDavid. Thank you, Connor McDavid, for being you. On too many nights, you’re the only one that makes these games worth watching and I wanted to say that I appreciate you.
- Jesse Puljujarvi picked up his fourth goal of the season when he found a loose puck right in the slot and used that long reach of his to protect it and shovel a backhand through Gibson. That was a greasy goal for Puljujarvi and I think he’ll be able to score a lot of those once he learns that he can be a handful to handle in the slot.
- Kyle Brodziak put the Oilers up by three goals late in the first period with a shorthanded goal that came as a result of a wonderful steal in the neutral zone by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Nuge used his thievery to steal the puck and walk it into the slot where it was poked off his stick and right to Brodziak who made no mistake of burying the chance.
- Leon Draisaitl slapped home the fourth Oilers goal of the night and his 23rd of the season after Caleb Jones’ point shot deflected off a skate and right back onto Leon’s stick where he pumped it into the open net. Milan Lucic started the play with a huge hit in the corner that not only left his man crumpled in a heap but also freed the puck up for his teammates to wheel and deal. Lucic won’t get an assist on the play but, to me, that might have been his best shift of the season.
- Cam Talbot got the start tonight after coming in to relieve Koskinen in LA, and I really had no idea of what to expect. Frankly, had it not been for Talbot’s fine work then this thing could have gotten out of hand before the first period was even 10 minutes old. Even when the Oilers were shooting the lights out and build themselves a sizeable lead, Talbot kept making saves until the final buzzer went and the job was done. Great night for #33 as he finished with 39 saves and his first shutout of the season.
- Big congratulations to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on registering his 350th point on the first period goal by Jesse Puljujarvi, and he added another on Brodziak’s shortie a few minutes later. Sometimes, it’s wild to remember that Nuge is only 25 years old despite the fact that he’s been around for 100 years.
- A big shout out to Caleb Jones for registering the first two-point night of his young NHL career. I know there are some mistakes that will get ironed out with time, but for his first run in the league, Jones is doing a hell of a job considering he’s been thrown in the deep end light years before anyone would have expected. He finished the night with 19:08 and keeps getting better.
- Kris Russell made his first appearance in a while and it was nice to have him back doing his thing. As expected, Russell was throwing his body into harms way all night long, and you could tell the difference it made to have him back there. It was a solid night for Russell, and he kept Manning out of the lineup which was a double bonus. Russell finished his first game back with 22:39 on the ice, three blocked shots, and one shot on net.
- The penalty kill was a perfect 3/3 tonight with a shorthanded goal and it doesn’t get much better than that. Excellent job by the Oilers penalty killers.
- Mega props to John Gibson for being a trash boi between the pipes tonight. It really helped.
- Booze not beets. Booze Not Beets! BOOZE NOT BEETS! As always, you can join in on the win cast conversation over on my Twitter account.
THE FACE PALMERS
- I love me a 4-0 win but I don’t like seeing the Oilers get outshot 39-26, that’s for sure. Yes, Ca, Talbot was rock solid tonight and John Gibson was hot garbage at the other end, but having that many pucks thrown at your net will never be part of the plan.
- Yes, I’m going to complain about the refs but it’s because they allow crap like this to go on with players like Connor McDavid without calling it. How is it that the Ducks went a full 60 minutes with all of their nonsense and only get called once? That’s bullshit and everybody knows it.
- Both Brandon Manning and Ryan Spooner were healthy scratches tonight, and if it wasn’t Peter Chiarelli that acquired them you almost wouldn’t believe it.
- Tough night for the Oilers in the faceoff circle as they won only 43% of the draws they took. That said, the Ducks are the league’s third-best team on the dot so their dominance in the circle certainly makes sense.
|07:37||Edmonton||Connor McDavid (24) ASST: Zack Kassian (3), Caleb Jones (2)||1-0|
|16:05||Edmonton||Jesse Puljujarvi (4) ASST: Darnell Nurse (14), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (23)||2-0|
|19:49||Edmonton||SHG – Kyle Brodziak (4) ASST: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (24)||3-0|
|07:25||Edmonton||Leon Draisaitl (23) ASST: Caleb Jones (3)||4-0|
If the Oilers aren’t prepared to skate through a brick wall tonight then pardon my French but I will not be a happy camper
— Ryan (@IAmByks) January 7, 2019
— Riley Tubbs (@rye_tubbs) January 7, 2019
Don’t let the fact Ryan Kesler has four goals in 39 games distract you from him having a tattoo with a K in the Superman logo pic.twitter.com/LoRlCC1HuF
— Cam Lewis (@cooom) January 7, 2019
I see Ducks fans are just like Oilers fans ?. pic.twitter.com/w2Ng8oGveE
— HATRICK SWAYZE (@CountySlinger) January 7, 2019
Kesler should be forced to eat nothing but Capt Crunch with his teeth out for the rest of his miserable life.
— Matt Henderson (@Archaeologuy) January 7, 2019
Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 1/06/2019 – 8:30 pm MST