Weird game. Let’s take the point and move on. Final Score: 1-0 Jets in the shootout
I don’t think there’s any argument that the Oilers aren’t working through one of the easier chunks of their schedule right now, and that’s what makes the first seven wins they’d already put together all the more important. Beating teams that they should on any given night is a progression for our beloved Oilers, and it’s something we haven’t seen with much regularity over the years. Too often, we’d be going into a game that we all thought was winnable only to have the team drop trou’ and leave a turd at centre ice. Coming into Winnipeg, the boys had another chance to kick a team that’s down, the Jets had lost three straight games heading into this one, and I wanted to see the kind of relentless effort that wouldn’t let them up off the mat. I’ve talked about the Oilers developing a killer instinct many times over the years, and games like this are perfect opportunities to sharpen the knives. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be.
Through the first 10 minutes or so, both teams looked like they needed some time to figure out how the other side plays because neither was really able to really get much going. As the period progressed, the Jets found their legs and they were able to generate plenty of zone time despite their lack of shots on goal, but, once again, the Oilers were able to weather the storm. Heading into the second period, the pace of play increased as both teams did a good job of defending in their own end and transitioning the puck up ice the other way. Still, neither side was able to cash in on their opportunities when they did come or, in many cases, even generate a shot on goal. With limited shots and strong goaltending at both ends when needed, the game remained scoreless through two periods. Heading into the third with bagels on the board, the two points were still very much up for grabs and it felt like it was only going to take a single mistake or key chance to close this one out.
So when the game made it through the OT and ended up in the shootout, it was basically a coin flip as to who would take the extra point. Upsettingly, on this night, it was Winnipeg’s night in the skills contest as they got goals from both of their shooters whereas the Oilers were kept off the board.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Mike Smith got his fifth start of the season and he was, once again, rock solid between the pipes for the Oilers. Aside from a few times when his wandering out of the crease made me poo myself a little bit, I thought Smith was square to the puck, made the saves a starter should make, and he gave his team a chance to win. He was especially big on the penalty kill, making some huge saves on Laine and Wheeler with blasts from the hashmarks. Smith stopped all 23 shots he faced in regulation and OT and was, by my eye, the best Oiler tonight.
- Is it too early to extend Ethan Bear? The kid is an absolute unit right now and I hope this ride never ends. From the way he handles the puck to how he makes smart choices in his own zone, Bear has been an absolute pleasure to watch so far this season. With 25:32 in time on ice, I’d argue that Bear was the Oilers’ best defenceman tonight.
- Oilers took too many penalties tonight, but the good news was that they killed off all four of them.
- I know it annoys some people how we’ve beaten this Winnipeg airport thing to death over the past couple of years but I cannot stop laughing at how angry some folks get about it. It’s too funny and I love it.
- Shout out to Kris Russell for playing in game number 800 tonight!
- How about Dave Tippett being undefeated on his challenges so far this year? Of course, I’m talking about the huge offside challenge that cancelled out Carl Dahlstrom’s goal that would have opened the scoring for the Jets had the Oilers’ coaching staff not caught it for being offside.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Kyle Connor and Patrik Laine get goals for the Jets in the shootout.
- I hated how much the boys missed the net in OT. HATED IT. *sigh* It happens.
- I was really hoping that the Oilers were going to be able to accomplish more against a Jets defence that is seriously devoid of NHL experience. With Byfuglien, Trouba, and Meyers all out of the mix, their top-six does not look nearly as dominating as they once did and I thought the Oilers were going to be able to get more done.
- That said, I thought the Jets did a really good job of clogging the middle of the ice, which was effective in cutting off many of the Oilers’ passing lanes.
- Was Connor sick tonight? Didn’t seem like himself. I know he’ll be back, probably blowing our minds through our skulls in the next game, but he didn’t seem like his usual, dominant self.
- Leon too. Though, that said, his no-look, backhand pass to Connor in overtime was a thing of beauty. Wow.
- As a whole, I thought the Oilers tried to force too many passes tonight with not enough simple plays being at the front of mind. I didn’t see many shifts where they simply threw pucks at the net and crashed the crease to look for rebounds. Shots, screens, and garbage goals — make it happen.
- I was not a big fan of all of the late penalties the Oilers got, basically giving the Jets all the chances they needed to open the scoring. Frankly, the fact that they didn’t get burned for their time in the box is a small miracle and a problem they need to sort out ASAP.
- On the other side of the special teams, the Oilers couldn’t get much of anything done against a poor penalty killing team. Oilers whiffed on both of their PP chances.
- I need everyone to take a quick moment and pray to the Hockey Gords that the Oilers can eliminate the lulls in their game like the one we saw in the early portion of the first period. When the team is hot, they’re very good and damned near unstoppable, but when they get back on their heels they look too much like last season’s team for my liking. Let’s get rid of those ebbs and flows, yeah?
|Edmonton||Missed – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins|
|Winnipeg||Goal – Kyle Connor|
|Edmonton||Missed – Connor McDavid|
|Winnipeg||Goal – Patrik Laine|
— Scenic Route to Alaska (@scenicalaska) October 20, 2019
— William James (@William_J87) October 20, 2019
Our hearts will be in tiptop shape for the playoffs. He's doing us a favor.
— 🎃👻Frankencamper Dave👻🎃 (@The_Camper_Dave) October 20, 2019
It’s ok if the Winnipeg fans boo McDavid for drawing that tripping penalty. They don’t have an airport so they’re not used to seeing anything take off that fast.
— Puck Princess 🇨🇦 (@SportPrincess89) October 20, 2019
This new shirt is a steal of a deal and you won’t have to trade an overpriced fourth-liner to get one. Click the link here to buy
Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 10/20/2019 – 7:45 pm MT