At least we won the Corsi? Final Score: 3-1 Penguins
As much as it bums me out to say, we’ve reached the ‘Jesus take the wheel’ portion of the 2018-19 season where all we can really do is sit back and brace ourselves for whatever twists and turns come next. After taking a peek at the schedule, it’s hard to not to look this upcoming road trip and realize that it’s kind of finish line for the Oilers’ playoff hopes. If they could somehow find a way to lock up six points then we’d be right back in the mix with a chance to make something happen, but anything less than that points to selling at the deadline again and there lies the rub. At this point, if we’re really being honest with ourselves, which scenario is more likely to happen? Playoffs? Sellers? If I was a betting man, I’d be putting Gregor’s money on ELPH being back on the menu once again.
As for the game itself, I was admittedly nervous about how things would play out from the moment the puck dropped. I was worried that the Oilers would sit back and allow the Penguins to do their thing, but that’s not at all what happened. Instead, the boys hit the ground running and pulled out one of the better starts that we’ve seen recently, and they were able to use that jump to build themselves an early lead. Unfortunately, that’s where the good news stopped. As the game progressed, the Penguins were able to settle their own game down and start poking holes in the leaky ship that is the Oilers’ defensive zone coverage. It’s not that the Oilers played poorly, they actually kept themselves in the fight much better than I expected, but the mistakes they made were glaring and they couldn’t get the saves needed to cover them up and that just can’t happen against a team like the Penguins.
This loss is especially frustrating because the Oilers probably played well enough to get at least a point out of this game, but we’re well past the point where moral victories do anything for us. Such is life in Oilersnation.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Leon Draisaitl opened the scoring after he and Connor worked their magic on a 2-on-1 that Matt Murray had absolutely no chance of stopping. McDavid set Draisaitl up on the tape and Leon wasted no time of ripping the wrister past Murray to give the Oilers an early one-goal lead.
- I’m here for the eight-game McPoint streak.
- Mikko Koskinen got his first start in a little while and I was very curious to see how he’d match up against the Malkin-less Penguins. Koskinen had allowed 15 goals over his last four starts and it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure out that he needed to be way better than that against Pittsburgh. What I’ll say is that I thought Koskinen played reasonably well, but there’s no way that the Bryan Rust shorthanded goal should have gone in. Had Koskinen stopped that shot, we’d likely be talking about a different outcome rather than adding another loss on the pile. That said, I thought he made plenty of saves to make up for the gaff but it’s the kind of goal that sticks out on a loss night, ya know? Koskinen finished the night with 31 saves and a .939 save%.
- Oscar Klefbom got his first point after missing nearly two points with broken fingers and I was happy to see him get it. That dude is so important to the Oilers’ defence that I almost had a heart attack when he took a slash to his injured hand early in the game, but was very happy to see him come back and finish things up.
- There’s always something spectacular about when Connor and Sid go up against each other. Both guys seem to crank their games up a little bit and it’s always fantastic to watch. As a hockey fan, this is the individual matchup that I look forward to the most.
- Getting 39 shots against the Penguins is no joke and it’s a shame that the boys weren’t able to cash anything else in past Murray.
- Oilers finished the night at 57% in the faceoff circle. Yay?
THE FACE PALMERS
- This loss hurt because it, again, shows that the Oilers are able to keep up with a very strong team in this league but that they can’t prevent the mistakes that turned this game from finishing with points in the bank to another loss on the board.
- Bryan Rust got the Penguins on the board with a shorthanded goal after Pittsburgh was able to cause a turnover at the blue line in their own zone. From there, they walked down the other way and Rust was able to finish off the play with a weak goal to the short side that Koskinen will surely want back.
- Teddy Blueger (????) gave the Pens the lead after he found some space for himself right in the slot with no Oiler covering him whatsoever. Letang fed the puck into the slot/crease area and Blueger timed it perfectly as he found his way into the area to knock it past a sprawling Koskinen. As it turns out, momentum is a real thing and it was a problem.
- Jared McCann added the empty-netter to close the game out and add another dagger into our collective hearts. Le sigh.
- Oilers finished 0/2 on the power play on a night when they desperately needed to make something happen. Instead, they gave up a shortie that ended up tying the game and turning the momentum in Pittsburgh’s favour.
- If you think Leon Draisaitl is the problem with this hockey then please take a fork and stab it into your temple because you don’t know what you’re talking about. Is he a perfect player? No. Is he the problem with this team? No. Don’t be ridiculous.
- WHY IS PULJUJARVI IN EDMONTON AND NOT WINNING IN BAKERSFIELD? Why is Yamamoto able to develop slowly but Jesse is not? What the hell is going on with this organization?
- How about a loss to the Penguins to kick off this road trip? Why not? This bet is going to haunt me forever. As always, you can join in on the #BeetCast win cast conversation over on my Twitter account.
|04:45||Edmonton||Leon Draisaitl (33) ASST: Connor McDavid (51), Oscar Klefbom (13)||1-0|
|02:30||Pittsburgh||SHG – Bryan Rust (16) ASST: Matt Cullen (11), Brian Dumoulin (18)||1-1|
|06:10||Pittsburgh||Teddy Blueger (3) ASST: Kris Letang (36), Sidney Crosby (42)||1-2|
|19:00||Pittsburgh||EN – Jared McCann (11)||1-3|
I hate how Draisaitl is becoming the talking point on what’s wrong with the Oilers.
NEWSFLASH HE IS NOT WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE OILERS
— Travelling Knuckleberry (@RustyKnuckler) February 14, 2019
How will I learn about ice flow then?
— 🥃☕️ TCD ☕️🥃 (@The_Camper_Dave) February 14, 2019
We’ll be dead before they retire. They’ll be alive a la the head jars in Futurama spewing their garbage for all of eternity.
— Dani (@penalty17) February 14, 2019
Tyler Benson is older than Jesse Puljujarvi (by a couple months). Kailer Yamamoto is only a few months younger.
One struggled to score in the NHL so is building confidence in the AHL.
One has 0 NHL games & is building confidence in the AHL.
And one is apparently a bust. https://t.co/pNocU8kbUg
— WheatNOil (@WheatNOil) February 14, 2019
Beet-free for [ -2 ] game(s).
— Anthony Flynn (@anthonyjflynn) February 14, 2019
REAL LIFE PODCAST
Welcome, welcome, welcome to yet another brand new episode of the Real Life Podcast! With the Oilers’ season sinking like a rock, the boys spent this week trying to figure out how we can turn the narrative around to something a little more positive. Can it be done? The boys certainly tried their best.
Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 2/13/2019 – 8:00 pm MT