At least they made it interesting? 🤷♂️ Final Score: 3-2 Leafs
As I wrote in the GDB this morning, tonight’s rematch against the Leafs offered the Oilers a chance to avenge what was a very ugly loss only nine days ago, and I was very curious to see how they’d respond to the challenge. Outside of that second period in Toronto, the Oilers have been playing well over their last eight games (6-1-1) and they were going to need to keep that ball rolling if they were truly planning on evening up the season series. Obviously, the task got a little bit harder after news came out that Mikko Koskinen was sick and wouldn’t be able to play. With a possibly rusty Stolarz getting the start, the Oilers were going to have to play an even tighter flavour of hockey to ensure that their backup wasn’t going to get shelled by grade-A chances.
Early on in the game, there wasn’t a whole lot of flow for either side as both teams looked like they were trying to feel each other out, registering the bulk of their shots off of the rush. Then, towards the end of the first period, the Oilers took a couple of questionable penalties which gave the Leafs the chances and time they needed to get themselves on the board. Had it not been for the pair of questionable PK chances to end off the first period, maybe we’d be talking about a different outcome. And while I’d agree that Toronto definitely played a fine hockey game, I didn’t think they walked all over the Oilers like the score might have suggested. The difference, for me, was that the visitors were able to get some timely goals from some of their key contributors while the Oilers weren’t able to counter and get anything past Freddie Andersen until it was too little too late.
At the end of the day, and I don’t think this is a surprise to anyone reading this, the Leafs were just a much deeper team that the Oilers weren’t able to handle and it was another showing of how badly Peter Chiarelli built this roster. Sure, you can say that Andersen stole the show a little bit, and you’d be right to an extent, but the Oilers have a lot of work ahead of them if they think they’re going be able to compete with the big dogs.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins got his 22nd goal of the season after picking the puck up in close and sneaking it through Freddie Andersen’s five-hole. The game looked to be over before RNH got the Oilers on the board and that goal seemingly triggered a comeback that fell just short.
- Only seconds after Ryan Nugent-Hopkins got the Oilers on the board, Oscar Klefbom pulled the boys to within one after he jumped into the play and sunk a perfect pass from McDavid through Andersen. Unfortunately, it was too little too late, but you have to like the fact that the Oilers didn’t quit until the closing buzzer sounded.
- Anthony Stolarz made his second appearance between the pipes after Mikko Koskinen was forced to miss the game with an illness. Coincidentally, Stolarz first game action with the Oil came against the Leafs in relief of Koskinen after he got the hook and even though he wasn’t expected to get in tonight, I was certainly interested in seeing how he was going to handle the surprise start. From where I blog, I thought Stolarz played a hell of a game and he mostly kept the Oilers in the mix for sixty minutes even when they didn’t deserve it, which is what you want from your starter. Stolarz finished the night with 37 saves and a .925 save%.
- We don’t have to see the Leafs or their fans anymore this season.
- The end of Happy Gilmore is on right now on AMC. Go, go, go!
- Despite not scoring tonight, I thought Leon Draisaitl played a hell of a game and I thought he was one of the few guys that was able to get anything going offensively. The dude had plenty of chances on net and it’s a bummer that he wasn’t able to convert. On the bright side, Draisaitl finished the night with two more assists on the pile.
- Two more assists for Connor!
THE FACE PALMERS
- Morgan Rielly opened the scoring for the Leafs with a knuckle puck from the blue line that beat Stolarz up high. If you’ve ever seen Mighty Ducks 2 then you’ll know just how tough it is to stop the knuckle puck and that’s exactly what happened on the play as Stolarz couldn’t handle the wobble.
- John Tavares put the Leafs up by two goals after he picked up the puck nearly the blue line and was given the space to walk in and make a few moves before sinking it past a sprawling Stolarz. Needless to say, that’s not the guy you want to leave alone in the slot and he found just enough space to make a play and grab himself a goal.
- Jake Muzzin made it three-zip for the Leafs on a perfect cross-ice pass by William Nylander that landed flat and gave the defencemen a perfect opportunity for a shot on goal. You have to like Stolarz’s effort on the play, but unfortunately, he wasn’t able to keep the puck out.
- How annoying was Freddie Andersen tonight? He was a major reason that this game didn’t finish closer than the score suggested and it was admittedly frustrating to see him pull clutch saves out of his ass all night long.
- The Oilers went 0/4 on the power play on a night when they really needed their power play to chip in with some offence. Not good enough.
- I really hate seeing that many Leafs fans in our barn. I know it happens every time the Leafs are in town, but it never gets any less gross to look at.
- Do you like when the Oilers win only 41% of the faceoffs they took? No? Didn’t think so.
- I know I started it as a joke but now I’m starting to feel like Tobias Rieder may never score again.
- Did the booger on the camera during the opening half of the first period bother anyone else as much as it did me?
- Did you guys know that Brandon Manning has only played four games with the Condors in the three weeks since being sent down? Fun fact, right? Thanks, Pete!
- Beets again, huh? Why not. As always, you can join in on the #BeetCast conversation over on my Twitter account.
|19:46||Toronto||PPG – Morgan Rielly (18) ASST: John Tavares (37), Nazem Kadri (21)||1-0|
|12:28||Toronto||John Tavares (38) ASST: Zach Hyman (16), Nikita Zaitsev (7)||2-0|
|03:00||Toronto||Jake Muzzin (6) ASST: William Nylander (12), John Tavares (38)||3-0|
|18:21||Edmonton||Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (22) ASST: Leon Draisaitl (44), Connor McDavid (62)||3-1|
|19:07||Edmonton||Oscar Klefbom (5) ASST: Connor McDavid (63), Leon Draisaitl (45)||3-2|
It's like 90% Leafs jerseys in here. Please Oilers, GIVE ME A WIN TONIGHT. Make these fans go home sad. You know, like you do so often when it's mostly YOUR fans in the building!
— Travis Dakin (@TravisDakin) March 9, 2019
Did someone hack your account? https://t.co/DsVf4ZIuNo
— FatDad69 (@fat_dad69) March 9, 2019
Fans need to start some Tavares chants if the Oilers are going to get back in this one.
— Rob Tychkowski (@Rob_Tychkowski) March 10, 2019
But seriously, Bob, if you DID want to move on we wouldn’t hold it against you or anything… pic.twitter.com/O8ALG5hB8N
— The Towel Boy (@TheTowelBoy) March 10, 2019
The name Hyman will always make me giggle.
— Shaan (@Shaansaysnow) March 10, 2019
The Leafs practicing the collapse for round one I see lol
— Mike (@mkmps_) March 10, 2019
Beet-free for [ 0 ] game(s). @jsbmbaggedmilk
— Anthony Flynn (@anthonyjflynn) March 10, 2019
Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 3/9/2019 – 7:45 pm MT