Blown opportunity there, boys. Final Score: 6-3 Devils
Given that the New Jersey Devils played last night, are generally terrible, and were stuck in the middle of a seven-game losing streak, I couldn’t see any reason why the Oilers shouldn’t have won this hockey game. Add in the fact that the Oilers are playing some of their best hockey of the season right now, I was coming into tonight’s matchup with the expectation of two more big points in the bank and another step closer to that second Wild Card spot, and anything less than that would be unacceptable. What I’m telling you is that I felt confident that we’d be celebrating a win with this wrap up. So when the first period ended with both teams trading a pair of goals, I wasn’t exactly feeling encouraged but I wasn’t necessarily worried either. The boys were getting plenty of chances on net and had it not been for Cory Schneider, the Oilers would have been able to put more than two on the board.
As the game moved into the second period, the Oilers needed to find a way to stop the bleeding that started when Travis Zajac was able to score a late tally with only seconds left in the opening frame. Unfortunately, that is the complete opposite of what actually happened. Instead of hitting the ice like possessed lunatics, the boys took their foot off the gas, got pushed around, didn’t get the saves needed to cover up mistakes, and found themselves down by a pair of goals with 20 minutes left to play. What once was a lead was now gone. Heading into the third, the Oilers had no other option but to cheat for offence to try and claw their way back in the game, but despite their best intentions, they couldn’t stop the Devils from scoring it’s pretty damned tough to win in the NHL when you have to convert a touchdown to make that happen.
From the crease outward, the Oilers were sloppy and outplayed by a team that they should beat every night of the week and that was extremely frustrating to watch given the importance of this hockey game.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Shortly after Agostino opened the scoring, Sam Gagner tied the game back up at one apiece after he made his way to the front of the net and had Matt Benning’s point shot deflect in off of him before slowly sneaking through Cory Schneider’s legs and into the back of the net.
- Alex Chiasson gave the Oilers the lead after he parked himself right in front of the net and perfectly deflected Connor McDavid’s pass past Schneider for his 20th goal of the season.
- Matt Benning pulled the Oilers back to within two goals at the end of the second after he unleashed a beautiful one-timer that Schneider had absolutely no chance of stopping. Up until this goal, the Devils were more or less running the show and all we could really do was hope that Benning’s late-period goal would have the same effect on the Oilers that Zajac’s did for NJ at the end of the first.
- A massive shout out to Connor McDavid for hitting 100 points for the third straight season after he finished his night with another two assists on the pile. There are so many nights when he is one of the only reasons to watch Oilers games and I really pray that the new GM can change that horrible reality as we move forward.
- I’m going to give Anthony Stolarz a shout out because he came into the game in a horrible situation. Unfortunately, he didn’t play enough minutes to count against the 10 appearances needed to maintain his RFA status. He finished his night with 15 saves and a .882 save%.
- After sitting out the last couple games with an injury, Milan Lucic made his mark early tonight with a hell of a scrap against Kurtis Gabriel that seemed to last forever before the linesmen eventually stepped in. As always, you can check out the fight again on Lucic’s fight page over on HockeyFights.com.
- Taylor Hall didn’t score against us! Sucker! Yes, I know he hasn’t played since December.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Did you guys know that the Devils had lost seven in a row? Surprised? You aren’t, are you?
- Kenny Agostino got the Devils on the board after firing the puck over a sliding Andrej Sekera that took a friendly bounce off of Koskinen’s blocker and into the back of the net. Tough goal against Koskinen to open the scoring.
- Travis Zajac tied the game up at two apiece with only 19 seconds left in the first period on a goal that never should have happened in the first place. Zajac was left alone in front of the net and got a pass fired into him with plenty of time to make a nice little deke to his backhand that beat a sprawling Koskinen. The Oilers had a couple of chances to clear the zone on the play, which made the goal extra frustrating to see.
- David Severson restored the Devils lead with the Devils’ second power play goal of the night after he fired a wrist shot through traffic that beat Koskinen on the blocker side. It looked like the puck deflected off of something on the way to the net, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Devils were able to manage two goals with the man advantage.
- John Quenneville got the Devils’ fourth goal of the night and ended up being the one that got Koskinen pulled from the game. To make matters worse, Quenneville hadn’t scored in 100 years and the goal he did score came from an angle that should not have beaten an NHL goaltender so it wasn’t exactly surprising to see this be the one that ended the goalie’s night.
- Kevin Rooney scored the fifth Devils goal of the night, and by the time this went in I was already in the kitchen trying to find the can opener. Sometimes a blogger knows when he’s beat.
- Can I just say that Blake Coleman’s shorthanded goal was one of the most annoying things I’ve seen all season? The Oilers desperately needed a power play goal, but, instead, they allowed a shortie against and looked like dickheads in the process.
- Mikko Koskinen was back between the pipes tonight and looking for his sixth straight win, but he was very shaky in the 34ish minutes he played. Of the four goals he allowed, there are easily a few that he would want to have back and it wasn’t at all surprising to see him get the hook. Koskinen finished the night with 14 saves and a .778 save%.
- Not a great night for the defensive group as a whole, but Larsson specifically because of the roasting he took on a couple of goals against. To me, the Sekera/Benning pairing was easily the most consistent the Oilers had tonight and that’s not a great look when that’s your third pairing.
- Would you guys mind if I say that the penalty kill was complete dogshit tonight? No? Cool. I knew you’d understand. New Jersey finished with two goals on four attempts tonight and those goals completely derailed the game for Edmonton.
- Speaking of special teams, I would normally give the Oilers a shout out for the power play goal they scored but since the Devils got a shortie to even things out, I don’t think it’s merited.
- Guys, I’m super cereal… Tobias Rieder may never score again.
- Eating beets because of the Devils for the second time this year is very upsetting. As always, you can join in on the #BeetCast conversation over on my Twitter account.
|07:34||New Jersey||Kenny Agostino (5) ASST: Andy Greene (18), Kevin Rooney (3)||1-0|
|09:37||Edmonton||Sam Gagner (5) ASST: Jujhar Khaira (14), Matt Benning (10)||1-1|
|14:22||Edmonton||PPG – Alex Chiasson (20) ASST: Connor McDavid (65), Oscar Klefbom (15)||1-2|
|19:42||New Jersey||PPG – Travis Zajac (17) ASST: Damon Severson (26)||2-2|
|06:23||New Jersey||PPG – Damon Severson (11) ASST: Drew Stafford (7), Connor Carrick (7)||3-2|
|12:49||New Jersey||John Quenneville (1) ASST: Kurtis Gabriel (2), Will Butcher (23)||4-2|
|16:32||New Jersey||Kevin Rooney (5) ASST: Kenny Agostino (14), Kyle Palmieri (23)||5-2|
|19:19||Edmonton||Matt Benning (4) ASST: Connor McDavid (66), Andrej Sekera (2)||5-3|
|12:06||New Jersey||SHG – Blake Coleman (21) ASST: Andy Greene (19)||6-3|
We just didn't know the question. #LetsGoOilers
— SenatorTheo (@SenatorTheo) March 14, 2019
bah god, that's alex chiasson's music!
— yung odell (@koreasuicide) March 14, 2019
"Sir this is a Burger King"
— Tyler Collin (@JimTheMonk) March 14, 2019
Bumped into Ray Shero and he's still really devastated about Peter getting fired. What a great friend!
— Keith Gretzky (@FakeOilersGM) March 14, 2019
The team is blowin it for ya
— Sarah (@Zogabogga) March 14, 2019
May all your beets be fancy
— Anthony Flynn (@anthonyjflynn) March 14, 2019
Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 3/13/2019 – 10:15 pm MT