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GDB 59.0 Wrap Up: A Connor-less existence is a painful one, Oilers lose 3-2 in the shootout

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?

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The wrap.

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.

SCORING SUMMARY

1ST PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
No Scoring

2ND PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
07:12 Arizona Josh Archibald (8) ASST: Derek Stepan (17), Jakob Chychrun (10) 1-0

3RD PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
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

OT PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
No Scoring

SHOOTOUT

TEAM DETAILS
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

#GOODCONTENT

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Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 2/19/2019 – 10:00 pm MT



    • rnj

      Silfverberg’s contract expires this summer, he’s affordable around 3.5M-4M.

      X-McD-Silfverberg
      Nuge-Drai-Gagner

      Klefbom-Larsson
      Nurse-Russell

      Decent dcore and strong top 6, not a cup contender but should be in the playoffs. Realistic too, nothing really crazy has to happen

        • rnj

          I agree on Russell I think he’s a strong #5, team would be much better with Nurse-Russell as their third pairing.

          Klefbom-Larsson
          Sekera-Jones
          Nurse-Russell

          Maybe halfway through next season. Jones looked damn good when he was up, and if Reggie’s in good shape you never know. He looked great tonight, was really aggressive on the puck and quick changing direction

      • btrain

        Silverberg is not a bad suggestion. Gagner amounts to another hope for me. One of the things he has proven over his career is that he cannot consistently produce at the NHL level. As a place holder, he can tread water, and I do think he helps on the PP with his right shot. However, I wouldn’t want him being counted on in the top 6. If they could also grab a guy like Ferland, who would land around the same price point as Silverberg, that is a top 6 that young prospects would not easily crack. So it would be some combination of:
        Nuge – McD – Silverberg
        Ferland – Drai – Benson/Yamo/Puljujarvi/Gagner/Khaira/Rattie
        You bring in those two capable bodies and suddenly you may have enough skill left over to have a 3rd line that can also produce. I think Ferland could be very Maroon like but with a lot more youth on his side. If they can move Russell and Kassian, they are probably very close to the dollars they need to sign both players.
        To cover the rest options could be: Lucic buyout, Benning trade/buyout/demotion, Manning, same thing, Kassian trade, etc.
        Short of somehow unloading Sekera’s contract and using the dollars to ink a Myers type (UFA) to a few years, I think you stay the course with the D for now. With prospects like Bouchard, Bear, Jones, Perssons, Legasson, knocking on the door, and not having the space to add another big contract, what other choice to they have? I think doing nothing they still have a reasonable chance of having one of these prospects grabbing the 2nd pair job.

  • Datsyukian

    I am surprised anyone still cares. The Oilers might never win again this season (and I am not even being facetious). The arena should be empty at this point and people should go about their business as if the Oilers never existed.

    • Steve26

      Real fans cheer for their team no matter wins or losses or how terrible things may seem at the moment… please never claim to be an Oilers fan again after making such comments as those.

    • FlamesFan27

      I originally cheered this comment, but then thought about it a bit more and I shouldn’t of. If my team was in this position (and it has been lots in the past decade), I’d still watch a little, just to look for hope for next year. I wouldn’t cancel other plans to watch a game, but I’d still care.

    • Datsyukian

      You gotta be kidding. All I saw was the chip and chase game, and even that was at or below AHL level. I don’t remember a single sequence of 2 or 3 sharp passes 5×5, just mindless running around, chipping and chasing.

    • cberg

      You caught fellow cellar-dweller Arizona on the 2nd of a back-to-back and you still lost and were vastly outplayed, and you think that’s relatively well? I guess the bar for “success” has dropped into the sewer along with the rest of the team?

  • madjam

    With each new loss , I wonder how hard it was over last few years with McDavid to get worse over that time ? Team has no depth at all , only a thin surface mirage at the best of times . Hitch should retire and force Nicholson to smarten up or resign , so as team can look for new directions . We need someone to downsize the organization managerially : to many chiefs saying/doing to much and wielding to much power , etc. .

  • rnj

    So 1 win in 12 games and 6 points out of the playoffs? I’m banking more on Bettman points and divisional losses than the Oilers winning their way in. The Oilers are literally the best at losing, they’re gonna lose their way into the playoffs

    • TKO

      7 pts out of the playoffs with 6 teams to jump, 3 points out of last place, with one team to jump… it’s anyone’s guess at this point. an 8 game winning streak would likely do it… or a 3 game losing skid might as well… lots left to cheer for this season, come on guys!

  • Prairiechicken

    Was odd watching without Connor. I wasn’t just biding my time waiting until he got out there. Thinking about this, I kind of wonder how much his teammates do this too.
    I only watched the third but it really did look like everyone was pushing the play rather than waiting. Especially Leon.
    It’s a good challenge to have I suppose … getting the rest of the team to push the pace whenever the best player isn’t out there. The secondary scoring is clearly not good enough, but you’d think if they’d push a bit more they could at least bang the occasional greasy one in. I almost wonder if playing him every other shift has been counter productive. It disengages the rest of the team and just gasses him.
    I’m totally stretching for answers and positives aren’t I.

  • Oilerz4life

    Who wants to bet me on 20 the Oilers make the playoffs, 5 to 1 odds? I bet they make the playoffs. If they don’t I pay out $20. If they do, you owe me $100. I will bet up to 5 ON fans. If I lose I pay out $100. If I win, I make $500.

    Gagner thinks they can make it, so I would have to be with Gags. It would be called the K.Gretz, Gagner trade resurrection sweepstakes. If they beat Calgary in the playoffs, Brownlee writes a book about it and sends it to a Hollywood script writer. LOL

    • Oilerz4life

      Cam would have been alright had he been given the chance to succeed because he’s a slow starter. He was never really given the chance to get in a rhythm. He needs to find his form and then be given minutes. In 2016 he would pull it back together after a loss and the team would rally around him. These last two years he had zero D and would get yanked after a loss. It’s called being set up for failure.

      The same thing is happening with JP. He should be on the farm. But his confidence is low and he is not really being given any minutes or chance to hone his skills. Oilers purgatory. Both could probably find success with a better run club IMHO.

        • Oilerz4life

          I’m not saying I’m absolutely right. Both could fall flat on their face for all I know. I’m just saying I believe in the player.

          You have to admit Talbs was playing behind zero D. Everybody knows players leave Edmonton to find success elsewhere. It’s the Oilers way.

          I see what you’re saying though, a rock solid goalie, but Edmonton doesn’t have that so it has to be a collaborative effort. It has to be. I’m not about to hang the season on Talbs and throw him under the bus. He did play poorly, but his confidence was gone, no D, deflated Edmonton goalie, no back check, shinny hockey Oilers.

        • Oilerz4life

          Oh ya right Todd so you’re saying you’re not frustrated with the way this team is run then or that Jesse should not be sent down? I’m getting angry just thinking about it, thanks for bringing that up.

          If the Oilers shipped every whipping boy out of town there would be no RNH. How many times have fans turned on Nuge, Hall, Ebs, Drai? Players slump.

          It’s not a straight line. You have to have player development. I simply believe he should be on the farm and if you don’t I agree to disagree. JP isn’t one of my favorite players anyway so I don’t really care and really don’t even want to think about it.

          It’s good to see Sekera back and Drai running the show. My take on the night is I want to see now how they respond when McD returns. That is all.

  • Spydyr

    I was not expecting much form Sekera he had a good uneventful first game back and it was good to see his face on the bench.

    I’m pulling for you Reggie but i’m not betting on you it is just so much to come back from.

  • Johnny Zylon

    Bagged milk: I enjoy your columns but I detect a flaw in your presumptions. You write like you truly believe the Oilers are not the worst team in the NHL. Give your head a shake man!

  • Heschultzhescores

    I can’t really complain about the way they played today. The final 6 or 7 minutes they played desperate hockey. The OT was crazy too, so tonite they lost but it really was either team’s game.

  • Oil_Thick

    “the Oilers should be able to look at the Arizona Coyotes… like they have a real chance at winning” ????? Because injuries? Rose coloured glasses? The Oilers should look at the standings and their own roster and realize that every game from here on out is a long shot for a Betman point and that they’d better be bringing 60 minutes of desperation hockey from every player or they’re gonna lose… just maybe not by as much with a team like the ‘yotes!

  • Sorensenator

    Gagner has been a pleasant surprise and a much more effective player then Spooner will probably ever be. Other then that, brutal second period.. I was yelling at the TV and of course they turn it on in the latter part of the third period but this team is offensively challenged, especially without McDavid.

  • Odanada

    Koskinen battled hard.
    Our shooters sucked. We miss open nets . How many shots hit Kuemper right in the chest?
    Rattie works hard, skates hard and puts his body on the line – but he shoots at the sweater every time.
    Cave is working hard and getting better with every game, but he doesn’t have much of a shot.
    You can’t fix guys that can’t snipe. When opportunities and setups either sail way over the net or hit the crest, you are going to lose.
    Edmonton has become the final destination graveyard for players who can’t bulge the twine.

  • I thought that the effort was there last night. But damn those bottom 2 lines need some production. Colby Cave played with some edge last night, first time i have seen him live i didnt think he was to bad. It was also the most empty seats ive seen at rogers place. Even though they call it a sellout we all know the difference. Maybe next season the tickets wont be sold and the management group will realize that they suck.

    • Odanada

      The OBC fashion themselves as keepers of the sacred fire and carriers of the torch, but if they actually had pride in the sweater, they’d step down.
      I don’t blame them. It’s a plush gig. Just don’t lecture me about “winning” because it’s obvious they have no idea what that even means anymore.

      • ---schadenfreud---

        Its true and it won’t end either.
        Calgary and Vancouver never bottomed out like Edmonton and have rebuilt faster and better. Their fans didn’t even have to sell their soul to the owners either.

  • Darcy yaceyko

    Again don’t blame the players!!!! They were brought here or drafted here!!! They can only play up to their potential. Fans stop going to the games, but u won’t because your all sheep and them bytch about it after. Until the ROT is gone get used to this. I mean it’s been going on for years why are u all acting so surprised?!?!?

    • ---schadenfreud---

      Please keep buying tickets. Please keep devoting your spare time to watching and thinking about the Oilers. Please keep throwing your jerseys on the ice and then buying a new one. It will never change.

  • Darcy yaceyko

    Oiler fans keep your health. Dont stress out about it. Maybe the NHL will finally come in and straighten it out. They will have to at some point because it’s becoming embarrassing. But then again we have teams that draw no fans and the NHL supports it so what was I thinking. Sorry.

    • ---schadenfreud---

      NHL is happy with the Oilers and won’t do anything.. The owner has a great arena deal and fleeced the city. That’s more important than the on ice product.

  • Darcy yaceyko

    Maybe Connors just plain sick of this team. I don’t blame him. Loves his teamates but would love to hear his take on this horrible management group.

    • ---schadenfreud---

      Connor hates the team. He hated them back when they won his draft lottery. The only time he didn’t hate the team was after the playoff run when he was convinced to sign for 8 years. Biggest mistake of his life.

  • Johnny Zylon

    Anybody else think it was odd McDavid misses a game just before the trade deadline? With the “flu” ? I still remember where I was when I heard they traded Gretzky. I hope I’m wrong.

  • Ted

    Too bad! …. Funny how to they decided to play in the last six minutes to get the tie with 11 seconds to go! … Too bad Gagner didn’t deek the jock strap off the goalie like he used to do, it would have lifted the roof off Rogers! …. Too bad that when you call up I guy like Josh Currie, a goal scorer in the AHL he gets puts on the fourth line for five minutes of playing time. Leave him in the AHL if this is how we are gonna treat our goal scoring prospects! Glad your getting some NHL money Josh! …. Too bad Kosky’s .943 save percentage isn’t enough. …. Too bad McD won’t win the scoring race this year! …. Too bad Nurse has to play 27 plus minutes and is no where near a number one D man! …. Too bad on another season! …. Management you guys look sooooo bad!