Bring on the draft lottery! Final Score: 3-1 Golden Knights.
The last time the Oilers were in Vegas, we made our way down there with a crew of fine Nation citizens to watch the game and it was arguably one of the most fun weekends that I’ve ever had. Seeing them back there tonight makes me wish that I was getting blasted down on the strip again rather than being stuck here, but I guess, we’ll just have to wait until next season to do it all over again. In the meantime, I just wanted the Oilers to win the hockey game and even up the season series. Sure, another win won’t matter in the grand scheme of things and would actually decrease the Oilers’ draft lottery odds, but, at this point, I’d still much rather that over having to crush beets at midnight again. As I’d soon find out, my hope for a win vanished about as quickly as it appeared.
Early on, the Oilers started the game with the same rope-a-dope approach that we saw the last time the team visited Vegas and it worked about as well too. With 10 minutes passing before the Oilers were able to register their second shot on net, it seemed like we were in for the kind of night that fills the heart with sadness and that’s more or less what happened. While things got better in the second and third periods, it was clear that the Oilers struggled to get anything done when McDavid’s line wasn’t on the ice and that will be one of the biggest issues the next GM will have to solve before next season. At the end of the night, the Oilers got outplayed and the result wasn’t all that surprising. Vegas is deeper, they got more chances, they have more guys that can score, and their goalie outplayed Edmonton’s which, as we know, was/will always be the recipe for a winning cocktail.
With Colorado picking up a point and the Oilers dropping tonight’s game, the playoff dream has officially ended. On to the draft lottery.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Connor McDavid got the Oilers on the board and cut the Knights’ lead to one goal with a quick snapshot that beat Subban cleanly, and gave the team a burst of energy that they desperately needed. The goal was McDavid’s 41st of the season which ties his career high and adds more salt to the wound that Peter Chiarelli left open and infected.
- He didn’t score tonight, but Leon Draisaitl did add another assist to his pile tonight, and for that reason, we speak his name.
- Mikko Koskinen got his 23rd straight in the last 24 games for the Oilers tonight and I was watching to see how he would respond after getting shelled against Anaheim on Saturday. In that game, Koskinen got beat high and to the glove side for most of the Ducks’ goals and it’s becoming clear that it’s an area of concern for the Oilers moving forward. And while he’ll certainly want one or both of tonight’s goals back, Mikko Koskinen was not the reason the team lost tonight. He made varying flavours of saves all night long and it kept the team in the game, something they probably didn’t deserve based on the way Vegas controlled the play. Koskinen finished the night with 28 saves and a .933 save%.
- Zack Kassian’s production in the second half of the season has been impressive and I wanted to give him another shout out for seizing the opportunity to play on the top line. Kass got the primary assist on Connor’s goal tonight, giving him 11 on the season.
- Props to the penalty kill for battling through the two opportunities that Vegas had.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Colorado got the points needed to officially bump the Oilers out of playoff contention tonight. At least they made it to the last week of the regular season? Maybe? Anybody? *sigh*
- Outshot 31-19. What else do you need to know?
- Jonathan Marchessault extended the Knights’ lead to two goals after he picked up a turnover at the Vegas blue line and walked the puck into the Oilers zone, beating Koskinen through the legs with a backhand that probably should have been stopped. Initially, I thought the Oilers were in a decent spot to defend the play but the goalie has to make a save, something that clearly did not happen.
- With the goalie pulled, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare added an empty net goal to put the final nail in the Oilers’ coffin.
- Cody Eakin opened the scoring for the Golden Knights after he fired a quick wrister through traffic that beat Koskinen high over the blocker side. I don’t mean to pick on Koskinen, I really don’t, but it is fascinating how a dude that tall gets beat up high as often as he does.
- The Oilers’ power play was baaaaad tonight, in that they weren’t able to get anything done and it wasn’t really close. Over the course of their two PP chances, I’m pretty sure you could maybe give the Oilers one or two legitimate chances to score and I feel like that’s being generous.
- The NHL site has the giveaways as 7 to 6 (Vegas/Edmonton) and I don’t buy that for a second. I know the Oilers didn’t have the puck much but I feel pretty confident in saying that they had more giveaways than six.
- Do I want the Oilers to be winning more 46% of the faceoffs they take? Yes. Yes, I do.
- With the Oilers luck, Tobias Rieder is going to sign somewhere else for league minimum next season and go out and score 15 goals, right? You know it’s going to happen. I know he didn’t play tonight but I was thinking about it, and I’ve convinced myself that he’s going to torch us in the future somehow.
- Late night beets are the worst kind of beets there are, and I’m not happy about having to do it two games in a row. As always, you can join in on the #BeetCast conversation over on my Twitter account.
|15:27||Vegas||Cody Eakin (22) ASST: Brandon Pirri (6), Alex Tuch (32)||0-1|
|00:51||Vegas||Jonathan Marchessault (25)||0-2|
|04:01||Edmonton||Connor McDavid (41) ASST: Zack Kassian (11), Leon Draisaitl (55)||1-2|
|19:53||Vegas||EN – SHG – Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (6) ASST: William Karlsson (32), Brayden McNabb (12)||1-3|
Violin for national anthem seems fitting somehow. . .
— Robin Brownlee (@Robin_Brownlee) April 2, 2019
The oilers have never made the playoffs in Oilersnationalt history 😔
— Ryan (@IAmByks) April 2, 2019
Taco Bell Cantina
$3.69 CVS Tall boys
— Rick Weidemann (@RPW_1832) April 2, 2019
@jsbmbaggedmilk Vegas has lost 5 straight heading into this. Oilers did their thing and allowed Vegas to snap it
— Alex (@AlClemBee) April 2, 2019
You’re going to need something new next season. Last year it was funny, now I feel bad when you post this. pic.twitter.com/kHrNWPyoS7
— Ahmed (@AhmedYeg) April 2, 2019
SEASON ENDING ROAD TRIP
Based on the last two times we’ve done this trip, this is a weekend that you really don’t want to miss and to get a little silly with 50 of your fellow citizens while behind enemy lines takes everything to another level. And since I already know that you want to be there with us, let’s get to the details, shall we? Cool? Cool.
Give me the details, guy:
- When? Saturday, April 6th, 2019
- How much? The depends on how many people are coming with you. To put it another way, we’ve got a range of options including single occupancy ($335/person) up to groups of four ($250/person).
- Why? Because we love to party
- Where do you buy tickets? Right here, friend. But be warned, just like the last time we did this, the trip sold out quickly and procrastinating will be your enemy.
Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 4/1/2019 – 10:45 pm MT