At least we got a point? Final Score: 3-2 Coyotes in the shootout
Generally speaking, the Oilers should be able to look at the Arizona Coyotes and the injuries they’re dealing with, feeling like they have a real chance at winning the hockey game. This is a team that does not have the high end talent that the Oilers do at the top of their roster, but they are comprised of a bunch of guys that refuse to quit and consistently fight above their weight class. The Coyotes are the kind of team that have to outwork you to beat you and they’ve done a pretty damned good job of it. Frankly, the way the Coyotes have managed to navigate through this season despite all of their injury troubles is impressive and I couldn’t help but wonder what it would take for the Oilers to accomplish the same thing. Is it a miracle? A genie? As it turns out, the Oilers would get the chance to show what they can do without their best player as Connor McDavid was forced to miss tonight’s game due to illness. Needless to say, having another McAbsense was not the pre-game news any of us ever want to hear, but I couldn’t help but feel intrigued to see what the rest of the squad could do without him.
With both of these teams gagging for points as they try to maintain pace in the Western Conference, I was interested in seeing how intense this game would be. Early on, both teams looked like they were feeling each other out as neither was able to generate much in terms of sustained pressure, depending more on chances to come off the rush. Heading into the second period, the Coyotes really started to open things up offensively and had it not been for Koskinen’s fine play in net, this game could have easily gotten out of hand. To make matters worse, the Oilers spent too much of the game looking like they were going through the motions, pushing back only when it was absolutely necessary. If they had been able to play with the same kind of urgency that we saw in the third period then we’d probably be talking about a win right now. Instead, we’re here breaking down another loss in a game that they probably could have won had they actually started on time. Then again, are you surprised that the team Chia built could only muster a period worth of pressure? You’re not, are you?
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Adam Larsson tied the game up at one apiece after his point shot made its way through a screen and beat Kuemper high over the glove side. In the third period, Hitchcock put Nuge up with Draisaitl and Kassian and it paid off quickly as that line was able to generate some sustained pressure in the offensive zone which directly led to Larsson’s game-tying goal.
- How about Ryan Nugent-Hopkins tying the game up with only 11 seconds left in the third period? The Oilers had the goalie pulled and it seemed like they were going to run out of time, but then Nuge found the loose puck at the side of the net and buried his 19th of the year.
- Leon Draisaitl added two more points to the pile tonight even though I thought he could only get points playing with Connor. Weird.
- Mikko Koskinen got another start tonight and I was really hoping that he was going to be able to put in a full game between the pipes. In his last start against the Islanders, things were going well for the big Finn through 40 minutes but then the wheels kind of fell off in the third period. That’s not to say that the loss was all on Koskinen, it wasn’t by any means, but one thing I think we can all agree on is that he was going to have to be a lot better tonight against Arizona. With that all said, I’d suggest strongly that Mikko Koskinen was the best Edmonton Oiler tonight and had it not been for him then this game would have ended earlier than it did. Koskinen finished the night with 33 saves and a .943 save%.
- Big night from Darnell Nurse as he played a team-high 27:06, finishing with an assist, two shots on goal, two hits, and two blocks. I also liked the way Darryl was rushing the puck up the ice whenever he saw an opening. He needs to figure out a better plan with the puck when he rushes, but I also think that will come with more at-bats.
- One thing that I was most excited about in terms of Andrej Sekera’s return was his ability to make clean first passes out of the zone, and it was a pleasure to see him do that again. No, it was by no means a perfect game for the 32-year-old defender but you can absolutely tell how he inflates the team’s overall skill from the back end and it was a sight for sore eyes.
- The Oilers did a really nice job on the PK tonight, killing off all four Arizona chances. More of this, please.
- Do you like when the Oilers win 57% of the faceoffs taken? Of course you do. I mean, it didn’t matter in the end but it is a bright side.
- I thought it was nice of the Oilers to pay tribute to the Coyotes by having all of those empty seats at Rogers Place tonight. That’s friendship!
THE FACE PALMERS
- I want to start the Face Palmers section by saying how unimpressed I was with the the first half of the game. Had it not been for Koskinen then who the hell knows how this game would have ended up.
- Josh Archibald opened the scoring for the Coyotes at 7:12 of the second period after he was able to find a rebound laying at the side of the net with no Oiler around to stop him from pumping it home. The Coyotes started the second period by firing everything they could at the net and it wasn’t really surprising to see them grab a lead.
- Vinnie Hinostroza restored the Coyotes’ one-goal lead when he was able to beat his man to a loose puck in the slot and slide it past a falling Koskinen. Matt Benning was a little bit of a space cadet on the play and RNH couldn’t make it to the net in time to bail him out and the result was the game-winning goal. Hinostroza also scored the winner in the shootout which cemented him as the winner of most hated Coyote of the night.
- Can I go on record as saying I hate when Connor McDavid is not in the lineup? I don’t know what kind of illness he’s battling right now but I would like to formally offer him all of my white blood cells if he thinks it will help.
- The Oilers really needed to get something done with their power play tonight (0/3) but they came up empty handed again. They had an extended 5-on-3 and were barely able to do anything with it, which was, obviously, disappointing on every level.
- Brandon Manning cleared waivers this morning. I know that had nothing to do with this game per se, but it still irritates me that Chiarelli traded an NHL player to get a guy that’s now going to be one of the highest paid players in Bakersfield.
- Beets again? Why not. As always, you can join in on the #BeetCast conversation over on my Twitter account.
|07:12||Arizona||Josh Archibald (8) ASST: Derek Stepan (17), Jakob Chychrun (10)||1-0|
|03:27||Edmonton||Adam Larsson (3) ASST: Leon Draisaitl (35), Zack Kassian (8)||1-1|
|10:37||Arizona||Vinnie Hinostroza (10) ASST: Niklas Hjalmarsson (8), Mario Kempe (5)||2-1|
|19:49||Edmonton||Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (19) ASST: Leon Draisaitl (36), Darnell Nurse (22)||2-2|
|Edmonton||Missed – Sam Gagner|
|Arizona||Missed – Nick Cousins|
|Edmonton||Goal – Leon Draisaitl|
|Arizona||Goal – Alex Galchenyuk|
|Edmonton||Missed – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins|
|Arizona||Missed – Clayton Keller|
|Edmonton||Missed – Alex Chiasson|
|Arizona||Goal – Vinnie Hinostroza|
With McDavid beings out tonight, I think they should give the captain C to Sam Gagner just for their biggest fan, @WanyeGretz
— Rick Weidemann (@RPW_1832) February 20, 2019
My Dad is famously *good* with names. Literally the only one I've ever seen him struggle with is Lucic…and I assume it's because everybody in the media…well, Sportsnet…calls him something different. "Luke-itch" "Looch-ik" "Luke-ick"…
— Daniel Schloss (@5chlo55) February 20, 2019
I just checked the score and the Oilers were immediately scored on. I am Orpheus turning around to watch my wife get dragged to hell.
— Alice Moran (@Alice_Moran) February 20, 2019
your poo would be less red
— MoreThan2PointsOut (@dashate24) February 20, 2019
— Bakersfield Condors Fan maX (@ILovePulju) February 20, 2019
Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 2/19/2019 – 10:00 pm MT