Fun plot twist in that one! Final Score: 6-2 Oilers
With a fresh round of cuts to the roster coming down this morning, the Edmonton Oilers are inching their way towards what the opening night roster will look like and I’m looking forward to watching it all take shape. While my excitement for the new season has not wavered whatsoever, it’s been interesting to see where Oilers fans are falling on the spectrum of being pumped for a new season and raising their guard in anticipation of more heartache. Personally, I don’t really put too much stock into how the preseason goes as a general rule, but I can certainly understand why some fans are feeling nervous about how this team stacks up against its competition. After getting pumped 6-1 by the Canucks last night, Dave Tippett and his staff thinned out the roster by cutting 13 guys and the move brought us a step closer to the opening night lineup we’ll see on October 2nd.
If I’m being honest, I was excited about the idea of watching more NHLers in the lineup anyway because I want to actually see what we have going on here… that was until I realized that the funkin’ game wasn’t being televised. After my Sportsnet/TV rights-related rage subsided, I found the game streaming on Twitter and settled in for another gander at what’s going on here. Despite opening the scoring with a quick goal from Alex Chiasson, the Oilers found themselves chasing for what seemed like the bulk of the evening until the momentum swung wildly in their favour near the end of the second period. Powered by the back-to-back goals coming from Nuge and Nurse that flipped the game upside down, the Oilers went from stumbling along to grabbing complete control of the ship and steering it into a lopsided win.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Alex Chiasson opened the scoring with a nice little deflection from the slot that made its way through traffic and beat Rittich on the glove side.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins tied the game up at 2-2 with a shorthanded goal that his team desperately needed. Up until RNH’s goal, the Flames had been getting all kinds of powerplay time which seemed like it was going to strangle the life out of the Edmonton’s game. Fortunately, Edmonton’s favourite son was there to bail us out with his second goal of the pre-season.
- Only moments after Nuge tied things up, Darnell Nurse gave the Oilers their first lead of the night after he was able to sneak a bad-angle goal through Gillis’ body and the post. Nurse also led all Oilers with 25:38 worth of ice time.
- Zack Kassian made the game 4-2 with a power play goal after he fired a low wrister from the right circle that beat Gillies on the glove side. As someone that’s seen his share of spotty glove work in his time as an Oilers fan, I can really appreciate Gillies’ brutal catching hand as an opponent.
- Leon Draisaitl finished off a perfectly executed give-and-go with Sam Gagner and it left the 50-goal man with a wide open net to sink the puck into for his first marker of the preseason.
- Sam Gagner had himself a hell of a night as he not only scored the Oilers’ sixth goal of the night but he also added a pair of assists to go along with it.
- After allowing four goals on 23 shots last night, Mikko Koskinen needed to have a decent start tonight against the Flames. I’m not necessarily saying that this was a must-win situation for the goaltender, but I am saying that allowing a bunch softies was completely out of the question. While you could argue that he’d probably want the rebound back on Lomberg’s goal, but outside of that, Koskinen made the saves you’d want him to make and he kept his team in the game until they were able to grab a lead.
- Got a note in the comments section of the GDB to focus on the defence a bit more tonight so I wanted to pay specific attention to the young trio that Dave Tippett had in tonight – Ethan Bear, Evan Bouchard, and William Lagesson:
- Bear: Remember when everyone assumed that Caleb Jones would be the one to stick with the team through camp, essentially writing Ethan Bear off before the pre-season had even started. Clearly, Bear had other ideas as he still finds himself in the mix for a gig on the third pairing. In tonight’s game, Bear was very steady in all three zones and found himself landing on the scoresheet with a pair assists. If anything, Bear showed that he’s fully able to defend, attack, and play within the structure that Tippett wants him to play and not look at all out of place. And I know that may not necessarily be all that sexy of a review, but that steadiness could be the difference between him or Evan Bouchard claiming a spot on the final roster. Bear finished the night with 16:48 TOI
- Bouchard: We already know that Evan Bouchard is going to be good offensively, and so the question really becomes whether or not he can improve his defensive game enough this season come in and truly make an impact. In tonight’s game, I was looking specifically at how he handled his own backyard because we already know that he can make crisp, clean passes 99 times out of 100. As expected, his passing was tight and I have no concerns when he’s on the offensive side of the puck, but there are still times in his own zone where he looks like the rookie he is and I can’t help but feel like some extra time in the AHL would do him some good. Dad played a good game tonight, but I think Bear did too and I wonder if that means the more seasoned prospect would get a chance first. Bouchard finished the night with 16:08 TOI
- Lagesson: William Lagesson actually played the most minutes of the three youngsters tonight which was powered by his very stead, quiet style of play. I will say that he did make a bad pinch in the first period which led to Calgary’s second goal, but as I said before, he was mostly steady. Lagesson finished the night with 18:56 TOI.
- Jon Gillies is A-okay in my books.
- Outshot the Flames 29-20 after having it be 16-9 the other way almost halfway through the second period.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Sam Bennett tied the game up at one apiece when he grove to the net and had the rebound bounce right to his stick off of Koskinen’s right pad. By my eye, Koskinen probably could have done a better job of controlling the rebound but Bennett probably shouldn’t have been able to get past the defenceman either.
- Ryan Lomberg gave the Flames a 2-1 lead with a shot from in tight that the beat the Koskinen on the blocker side after William Lagesson made a tough read and pinch that gave the Flames plenty of time and space to attack the Oilers’ net.
- Brandon Manning is an adventure sometimes, man. The word I’d use to describe him is scrambly. Does that work? Scrambly.
- The Oilers could NOT stay out of the penalty box tonight but they were fortunate to get some rock solid penalty killing that kept the Flames off the board in each of their four PP opportunities.
- Oilers went 43% in the faceoff circle which is meh considering how the score ended up.
- I miss Connor McDavid.
- Why was this game not on TV? It’s like Sportsnet teased us with the last two games and then wanted to put us right back in our place.
|02:44||Edmonton||Alex Chiasson (1) ASST: Adam Larsson (1), Colby Cave (1)||0-1|
|07:01||Calgary||Sam Bennett (1) ASST: Michael Stone (2), Mikael Backlund (1)||1-1|
|13:30||Calgary||Ryan Lomberg (1) ASST: Zac Rinaldo (2), Oliver Kylington (1)||2-1|
|14:59||Edmonton||SHG – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (2)||2-2|
|17:08||Edmonton||Joakim Nygard (1) ASST: Darnell Nurse (1), Leon Draisaitl (1)||2-3|
|04:26||Edmonton||PPG – Zack Kassian (1) ASST: Ethan Bear (1), Sam Gagner (1)||2-4|
|10:09||Edmonton||Leon Draisaitl (1) ASST: Sam Gagner (2), Ethan Bear (2)||2-5|
|19:56||Edmonton||Sam Gagner (1) ASST: Zack Kassian (1)||2-6|
— William James (@William_J87) September 21, 2019
Draisaitl Kassian Gagner and Nuge entering Rogers tonight = pic.twitter.com/m612DlANRa
— Yamamoto97 (@Stephane774) September 20, 2019
His teammates and even ex-teammates would agree. pic.twitter.com/dzVsSlfg4t
— Tesia Bennett (@tg_bennett) September 21, 2019
Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 9/20/2019 – 9:45 pm MT