*remembers when we were winning 1-0* Final score: 6-2 Leafs.
I’m not going to lie, I was a little anxious watching this first period. Leafs fans are one of my least favourite to play against and losing to them makes my skin crawl. The second whistle of the game finally came with twelve minutes left in the first period so having the play go so long made me EXTRA anxious. Both teams seemed pretty cautious initially with a lot of neutral zone play in the first half of the period. The Oilers faired very well and maintained some good offensive pressure against the Leafs. The Leafs didn’t get their first shot on net until there was 11:40 remaining in the period. Granted, it was a breakaway off of a bad neutral zone giveaway, but still, good defence!
The Leafs took the first penalty of the game halfway through the first period, and Leon Draisaitl made them pay. Skating the puck in from the red line, Draisaitl undressed the entire Leafs defence and put the Oilers up on the board with McDavid assisting him. The Oilers continued the offensive pressure for the rest of the period until the Leafs capitalized on a powerplay after an Alex Chiasson slashing penalty. The Oilers bounced back with a strong shift and went into the dressing room leading in shots 16-8.
The second period didn’t start the way we wanted to and the Leafs came out buzzing. Mitch Marner scored early to give the Leafs a one-goal lead and no more than two minutes later, the Leafs danced right into our zone and Andreas Johnsson finished off a nice passing play to make the game 3-1. Just a couple minutes after that (does it sound like I’m repeating myself?), William Nylander sniped one above Koskinen’s shoulder to make it a 4-1 game. Koskinen was quickly pulled and replaced by Anthony Stolarz. It didn’t take long after that for Stolarz to give up his first goal as an Oiler, as the Leafs capitalized on a penalty taken by Cave to make the game 5-1 halfway through the game.
It’s killing me to have to type all this nonsense out. The only good thing about the remaining of the second period was that we didn’t give up any more goals. We levelled out our game a little bit but still didn’t create any decent scoring chances. The Leafs had a couple of their own, but at the end of the period, it remained a 5-1 game with the Leafs leading in shots: 24-23.
I’d love to tell you that the Oilers got an ass-kicking in the dressing room after that atrocious period and came out flying the third, but that’s not what happened. I mean, they might have got an ass-kicking, but they didn’t come out flying. Instead, they came out giving up another shorthanded goal in the first minute of the period. I wish I could tell you things got better, but they didn’t. Honestly, I was pretty much just looking at my watch for the entire third period. It was incredibly boring and depressing that we were five goals back and needed a miracle comeback for anything good to happen. Nuge ended up potting a goal at the end of the game which gave me a half smile, but any chance of a comeback was far behind us.
The Oilers are back on the ice tomorrow night in Ottawa, and I can only dream that they will put up a better performance then they did tonight.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- The Oilers started the game very strong. They didn’t come out flying with a lot of scoring chances or anything like that, but they played very well defensively and didn’t give up a shot until 11:40 left of the period. It was a breakaway, so Mikko Koskinen had to be strong.
- Leon Draisaitl has been playing out of his mind lately. He scored the first goal of the game tonight after making some beautiful toe drags through the Leafs defence. It was his 39th goal of the season and he is well on his way to 50. Absolutely nuts! Draisaitl is now leading the league in goals during the month of February and has 15 goals in his last 15 games.
- Nuge scored! In a broken play with four minutes remaining in the game, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins refused to give up on the play and tucked the puck home around the post. The play was challenged for goalie interference as Zack Kassian knocked down Andersen a little earlier, but the NHL let it stand. *blows kisses at NHL* This was Nuge’s 20th goal of the season and he has now tied his career high in points.
- Anthony Stolarz saw his first half game as an Oiler tonight and stopped 19 of 21 shots. Obviously, these aren’t the circumstances he wanted to have when playing in his first game but he played fairly solid throughout it. I’m curious who will get the start now tomorrow in Ottawa.
- Even though the top line was quiet tonight (all lines were quiet), seeing Gagner, Nuge, and McDavid together intrigued me. We never really got to see them play a normal offensive game, so hopefully, they’re back together tomorrow to see if they can piece together any further offense.
THE FACE PALMERS
- The Oilers first period was almost flawless, but with only a few minutes left in the period, Alex Chiasson took an unnecessary slashing penalty, and it didn’t take long for the Leafs to capitalize on the power play opportunity. An unlucky bounce in the slot made Mikko Koskinen lose sight of the rebound, and Patrick Marleau buried it.
- The Leafs began the second period with a hop in their step and the Oilers didn’t. It took them just over a minute for Mitch Marner to deflect a pass passed Koskinen giving them a one-goal lead.
- Just a 1:17 after Marner’s goal, the Leafs executed another beautiful passing play finished off by Andreas Johnsson to give the Leafs a 3-1 lead. I’m not sure what was said in the intermission, but it wasn’t enough, and we needed to come out MUCH stronger on the road than that. I sort of expected Hitchcock to call a timeout after the third goal to slow things down but we never got one.
- Just minutes after the Leafs third goal, Nylander sniped one up above Mikko Koskinen to give the Leafs a three-goal lead. This was an extremely sharp angle shot that Koskinen should have saved (especially being such a giant man). Sure enough, Koskinen was quickly pulled and replaced by Anthony Stolarz, who saw his first game action in an Oilers jersey.
- Brad Malone left the game in the second period after sliding hard into the boards. I’m not exactly sure what was injured but it was definitely a lower-body injury. Maybe an ankle or a knee? Thankfully he ended up returning to the game in the third.
- Halfway through the second period, Colby Cave took an accidental interference penalty in the neutral zone. I want to call it a soft call, but either way, a penalty was the last thing we needed after giving up four unanswered goals. As you probably can assume, the Leafs scored on that powerplay to make the game 5-1. As usual, we went from standing on top of a mountain to being buried alive in under ten minutes of gameplay.
- Aaaaaaaand surprise surprise, the Leafs score in the first minute of the third period. After running into penalty trouble at the end of the second, the Leafs began the third with a 5-on-3 where John Tavares slapped home a shot past Stolarz to make it a 6-1 game. *sighhhhh*
- Besides the first period, Connor McDavid was extremely quiet tonight and the Leafs did one hell of a job shadowing him and shutting him down. He was also a -3 on the ice which I’m sure McDavid won’t be happy about. Toronto has always done a good job of this and I only wish the rest of our team could have had a little more success for Connor.
- As always, the Oilers penalty kill was awful tonight and played a big part in the loss. They went 2 for 5 and took far penalties too many tonight.
|11:06||Edmonton||PPG – Leon Draisaitl (39) ASST: Connor McDavid (54), Darnell Nurse (23)||1-0|
|18:02||Toronto||Patrick Marleau (14) ASST: Jake Muzzin (23), Connor Brown (17)||1-1|
|01:09||Toronto||Mitchell Marner (22) ASST: Zach Hyman (15), Ron Hainsey (13)||1-2|
|02:26||Toronto||Andreas Johnsson (18) ASST: Kasperi Kapanen (22), Auston Matthews (29)||1-3|
|04:50||Toronto||PPG – William Nylander (5) ASST: Tyler Ennis (5), Patrick Marleau (19)||1-4|
|08:09||Toronto||PPG – Andreas Johnsson (19) ASST: John Tavares (32), Mitchell Marner (51)||1-5|
|00:25||Toronto||PPG – John Tavares (36) ASST: Mitchell Marner (52), William Nylander (11)||1-6|
|16:06||Edmonton||Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (20) ASST: Darnell Nurse (24)||2-6|
Leon Draisaitl may be the most underpaid player in NHL history
— Adam (@OilersAdam) February 28, 2019
Leave him Sweetie! He’s not worth it!! pic.twitter.com/oh1pyyy5UK
— Christa (@EdmOilers19) February 28, 2019
I will be using this hashtag #L50N as the official hashtag for Draisaitl’s push to 50
— Dustin Nielson (@nielsonTSN1260) February 28, 2019
Rebuilds are fun
— Matt Henderson (@Archaeologuy) February 28, 2019
On the plus side… Stolarz gets 30+ minutes for the first time of his 10 required games.
— ?????? ??? (@TheNationDan) February 28, 2019
Anyone keep the receipt on the Koskinen contract?
— Baggedmilk – Oilers Beet writer (@jsbmbaggedmilk) February 28, 2019
And also the game will be over around 7:30 so we can all go do more things afterwards
— Ryan (@IAmByks) February 28, 2019
Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 2/27/2019 – 7:30 pm MT