The Coyotes are dry toast. Final Score: 3-2 Coyotes in OT
After watching the Oilers (specifically Mike Smith) steal two points @from the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday morning, I was very curious to see how they were going to respond against the Arizona Coyotes. To say that the Oilers were outplayed in Pittsburgh would be the understatement of a lifetime, and while it was incredible to watch Smith practically will his team to a win on his own, I don’t particularly like seeing the rest of the team get dummied up and down the ice regardless of the end result. Don’t get me wrong, I want the Oilers to win every single game the can and the fact that they were able to pull that one off is amazing, those two points could be huge when April rolls around, but I don’t think it’s a great look to lean so heavily on your goaltending just to make it happen. Needless to say, the team needed to be much better against the Coyotes if they realistically expected a third-straight win, a task that is easier said than done when facing a team that has stolen Edmonton’s lunch money far too often over the past five+ years.
With the lines freshly blended and Mikko Koskinen minding the net, the Oilers got about as good of a start as they could have hoped for when Connor McDavid blew the roof off of Rogers Place with an all-world goal that we’ll be seeing on TV for weeks. But before our heartrates had the time to settle down, the Coyotes tied the game up with a weak one on Koskinen the likes of which we haven’t seen all season. From there, the Oilers struggled to navigate through the trap the Coyotes had set up in the neutral zone, and the lack of flow really seemed to screw with their ability to get anything going offensively. As if they were trekking through deep snow, our boys had to battle for every inch of ice they got and it was a battle for which they had few answers. Moving into the third period down by a goal, the Oilers had to find a way to open the game up so that they could establish some kind of forecheck and cycle in the Coyotes zone. The good news is that they stuck to their gameplan and found a way to chip away at Arizona’s defences, eventually tying the game up with a greasy goal from in tight.
Unfortunately, a happy ending was not in the cards as it was the Coyotes who were able to finish things off in heart attack time, ending the Oilers’ winning streak in their return to Rogers Place.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- I love when Connor McDavid goes full McDavid just like he did when he blew around Oliver Ekman-Larsson like he was some kind of plug, opening the scoring with a highlight reel goal that we’ll be watching on Sportscentre for weeks. The way the guy handles the puck at full speed is incredible to watch and a true gift from the Hockey Gords.
- Gaetan Haas tied the game up (2-2) with a third period deflection after he slid into the slot just in front of Darcy Kuemper at the precise right moment when Matt Benning’s point shot was coming through traffic. Originally, the goal was giving to Kassian but it was later given to Haas who was credited with his first in the NHL.
- Leon Draisaitl has been so good for the Oilers this season that I can’t help but wonder how much better he can possibly get. Leon wasn’t able to keep his goal streak alive tonight but he did extend his point streak to seven games with his assist on Connor’s first period marker. Draisaitl’s offensive game is dialled in, his defending is getting much better, and he seems to make something happen on almost every shift which makes me wonder how many more levels are left for the guy.
- The penalty kill was perfect again tonight, killing off all three power play chances it faced.
- Ethan Bear continues to impress on the Oilers blue line with his nifty little passes, active stick, and willingness to shoot any chance he gets. As far as feel good stories go, Ethan Bear has to be at the top of the list of wicked storylines that no one could have expected heading into this season. Bear played 24:19 tonight, had three shots on goal, two hits, and a takeaway.
- Oscar Klefbom led his team in ice time again with 27:35 to go along with his six blocks, two takeaways, hit, and single shot on goal.
- Oilers won 56% of the faceoffs tonight with Draisaitl leading the way at 75% followed by Nugent-Hopkins at 71%.
THE FACE PALMERS
- I’m not going to lie to you guys, Michael Grabner’s game-tying goal (1-1) was a puck that Koskinen has to stop every single time. You know it, I know it, Mikko knows it. Let’s all forget this ever happened and move on.
- Carl Soderberg gave the Coyotes a lead (2-1) after blocking Joel Persson’s pass attempt at the far blue line and walking the puck down the ice, ripping a wrist shot high over Koskinen’s glove. To that point in the second period, the Coyotes were attacking with all kinds of pressure and I started to wonder how long the Oilers would be able to bend without breaking.
- Derek Stepan hadn’t scored a goal in 13 games so did it surprise you to hear that he was the hero in OT? It didn’t surprise you, did it?
- Remember when the Oilers’ power play was about as automatic as the promise of a new day? Pepperidge farm remembers. I don’t know what’s happened between now and then but I can tell you that the PP does NOT look the same. Until someone proves it to me otherwise, I’m going to assume there’s a witch involved.
- The NHL site had the Oilers with 17 giveaways tonight but that seems light by my eye. To me, it seemed like the team was giving up the puck like Christmas presents, especially in the second period when Arizona really had the trap locked in.
- Mikko Koskinen got the start tonight which was a curious move considering Mike Smith standing on his head against the Penguins on Saturday. That’s not to say that Mikko didn’t deserve the start, he has certainly played very well so far in the young season, but it’s just that Smith played so well against the Penguins that he seemed like the default option for another game. So when Koskinen allowed a weak goal early in the game, it opened the door to question whether or not it was the right decision to give him the start. To his credit, he was able to settle in as the game progressed and made plenty of quality saves, but had it not been for that first one then perhaps we might be talking about a different outcome. Koskinen finished the night with 21 saves and a .875 save%.
- Joel Persson only played 10:08 tonight and we didn’t see him after he gave the puck up to Soderberg on the Coyotes’ second goal of the night. At first, I thought he might be injured but then it seemed like Tippett was not happy with the play and decided that the rookie had seen enough for the night. In his post-game presser, Tippett called out both Mikko Koskinen and Joel Persson for their costly mistakes that ended up costing the team a win.
- Speaking of Tippett… WE WANT THE TIPSTACHE!
- The Oilers led on the shot clock (28-24) but I still feel like they passed up on far too many opportunities to fire the puck on net. The boys love to look for the perfect pass out there and sometimes I wish that they would be a little bit more selfish when given the chance.
|01:31||Edmonton||Connor McDavid (7) ASST: Leon Draisaitl (14)||0-1|
|03:30||Arizona||Michael Grabner (4)||1-1|
|08:52||Arizona||Carl Soderberg (4)||2-1|
|15:19||Edmonton||Gaetan Haas (1) ASST: Matt Benning (4), Kris Russell (2)||2-2|
|02:01||Arizona||Derek Stepan (2) ASST: Nick Schmaltz (9)||3-2|
— FlamesNation (@FlamesNation) November 4, 2019
McDavid doing his thing against Mathews future team
— Doug Deboo (@dougdeboo) November 5, 2019
Blue Jolt Cola used to be an all-night-game-sesh-with-the-boys staple in the dank, dark basement I spent my early teen years in.
— Scud (@ScottBiggsify) November 5, 2019
I’m not sure how I missed that the Oilers are showing the 50/50 pot as the total rather than the winners share this season. This annoys me far more than it should.
— Ryan Batty (@ryan_batty) November 5, 2019
BREAKING NEWS: It appears Connor McDavid may be growing a stache and the flow. That duo would be like Connor and Leon in overtime.. UNREAL pic.twitter.com/UxkZmAEnnB
— 𝗔𝗱𝗮𝗺 (@OilersAdam) November 5, 2019
— OILERZ (@oilerzmedia) November 5, 2019
Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 11/04/2019 – 10:00 pm MT