At least the first period was decent. Final Score: 5-2 Islanders
What a weird 24 hours for the Edmonton Oilers. Late last night, the team finally pulled the trigger on the trade that sent Cam Talbot to the Philadelphia Flyers, and then this morning, they followed it up with another move to clear out Ryan Spooner in exchange for Sam Gagner. While it’s going to take some time to process what’s happened, we have to admit that Keith Gretzky is going out and doing exactly what he said he would when he took over the job. KG told us he wanted to clear out some salary, a feat he accomplished with the Talbot trade, and that he would also be looking to add character, something Sam Gagner brings in spades. And yeah, you could look at these trades as lateral moves if you want, but I think you’d be hardpressed to find too many people that hate these moves the way we all did when Pistol Pete was manning the fort. Is that enough of a bright side? I don’t know for sure, but I’m already bracing for impact with most things the Oilers do and I’m looking forward to seeing how this plays out.
As for the game itself, what happened on the ice was almost an afterthought as compared to the moves made over the last 24 hours. With all the excitement of Sam Gagner coming back, Talbot moving on to Philly, and Gretzky actually being able to get a real-life human back for Ryan Spooner, Oilers fans were understandably distracted. On the bright side, the Oilers were able to work through tired legs and battled their way to a pretty decent start. Unfortunately, and this is nothing new to anyone that’s been paying attention, the Oilers took their foot off the gas in the middle frame and, as a result, found themselves down by a pair of goals. Even after Nuge scored to get the Oilers back to within one, they couldn’t help but make a costly mistake that erased the momentum they were building and ruined their chances of a comeback. As we’ve seen many times over the last little while, the Oilers wasted a promising start by not scoring any goals and that allowed their opponent to work their way back into the game and eventually take it over.
I don’t know what it will take for more than three guys on this team to be able to score, but we desperately need it to happen.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins got the Oilers on the board with only seconds left to play in the second period after he parked himself in front of the net and beautifully deflected the Kris Russell point shot past Lehner for his 18th goal of the year. RNH had a great game tonight and it was fun to watch him do his thing with a rotating cast of wings on either side.
- Leon Draisaitl got his 35th goal of the season on the power play after Connor McDavid set him up with a wide open net that he was never going to miss. Connor almost lost the puck at the blue line but then managed to gather it up, draw a pair of Islanders towards him, and feather a pass over a waiting Draisaitl that absolutely smashed the puck into the open net.
- I’m just here for the McPoints.
- How weird was it to see Sam Gagner back in an Oilers jersey? I mean, I liked it a lot on a few levels but that doesn’t make it any less strange to think about the return fo Jordan Eberle ending up as a player we had here before. Know what I mean? Regardless, I thought Samwise looked pretty good in his second Oilers debut, and I look forward to seeing how he finishes out the year.
- Quick shout out to Kyle Brodziak for playing in his 900th NHL game. That ain’t no joke for a former seventh-round pick, ya know?
- The Oilers outshot the Islanders 36 to 24 which should have been enough to pull out a win, but here we are. The Corsi failed us again.
- Oilers finished at 56% in the faceoff circle. Yay? I can’t even get excited about faceoff wins anymore and that’s a tough spot to be in.
- At least Eberle didn’t score? Yay? Anybody? *sighs*
THE FACE PALMERS
- Ryan Pulock opened the scoring for the Islanders after he had the puck set up on a tee for him to blast off on, beating Koskinen high over the glove side. The Islanders pulled the draw back clean and within seconds the puck was moved over the Pulock at the top of the circle and he clapped it past the goaltender for a 1-0 lead.
- Valtteri Filppula extended the Islanders lead to two goals after he parked himself in front of the net and deflected Nick Leddy’s point shot perfectly into the top corner. Not much Koskinen could do on that one outside of asking his defencemen to not leave a man wide open in net. Le sigh.
- Matt Barzal restored the Islanders two-goal lead after he got his stick on Devon Toews’ point shot as it made its way through traffic and past Koskinen. The goal couldn’t have come at a worse time as the Oilers were working their way back into the mix only to have their efforts halted entirely.
- Anders Lee, a guy that probably should have been kicked out for his slash to Nurse’s face, made the game 4-2 Islanders after he was the business end of a 2-on-1 with Leo Komarov that they executed perfectly.
- Brock Nelson made it 5-2 by sinking the empty netter.
- What the hell was going on with the linesman getting into the mix during the Nurse/Lee fight and holding Darnell while Lee was able to keep throwing punches? Not only should Lee have been kicked out of the game for that slash to the face, but that was no way to split up a fight. Absolutely disgusting officiating on the play on so many levels. Brutal.
- Tough night for the Oilers on the power play as they finished the game at 1/5 with the man advantage. Obviously, the Oilers need their PP to cash goals in if they have any hope of winning and while they did get one, it just wasn’t enough.
- With Mikko Koskinen getting the start in back-to-back games, I was really curious to see how he was going to handle the extra weight on his shoulders. With Cam Talbot gone to Philly, Koskinen no longer has a safety net underneath him and the starting role is now squarely on his shoulders. I felt like tonight’s game was going to be a big test for him and he needed a statement game to prove his worth. While I wouldn’t say that he was terrible or anything, he couldn’t come up with enough saves to keep his team in the mix. Koskinen finished the night with 19 saves and a .826 save%.
- I still can’t help but get annoyed when I think of the weird moves Peter Chiarelli was allowed to make this season. I never thought I would be as happy as I am for a guy getting fired but here we are, and I’m not sorry about it.
- Gross. As always, you can join in on the #BeetCast conversation over on my Twitter account.
|03:02||New York||PPG – Ryan Pulock (6) ASST: Devon Toews (4), Josh Bailey (30)||0-1|
|13:30||New York||Valtteri Filppula (12) ASST: Nick Leddy (18), Johnny Boychuk (11)||0-2|
|19:57||Edmonton||Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (18) ASST: Kris Russell (8), Tobias Rieder (10)||1-2|
|05:09||New York||Mathew Barzal (17) ASST: Devon Toews (5), Josh Bailey (31)||1-3|
|10:20||Edmonton||PPG – Leon Draisaitl (35) ASST: Connor McDavid (52), Oscar Klefbom (14)||2-3|
|17:44||New York||Anders Lee (19) ASST: Leo Komarov (13)||2-4|
|18:16||New York||EN – Brock Nelson (18)||2-5|
RNH will still be here when we get Gagner for the third time in 2023.
— StevenX (@StevenX_DFA) February 17, 2019
“You miss 100% of the trades you don’t make.”
— Bradley (@brad_pops) February 16, 2019
Can’t you see the car in the stands? What a stupid question. It’s cheering
— CommanderShift (@CommanderShift) February 17, 2019
it’s too bad that these hockey games have to have a second period
— ellebee (@ellebeeZzz) February 17, 2019
— Ryan (@IAmByks) February 17, 2019
Well R.I.P oilers playoffs hopes and @jsbmbaggedmilk Dog frank win streak
— MAD FAN CALEB ?????? (@CalebSpellman94) February 17, 2019
Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 2/16/2019 – 8:00 pm MT