We’ll always have those three-straight goals. Final Score: 6-3 Hurricanes
Does anyone else still hold a grudge against the Carolina Hurricanes from the Cup Finals in 2006? Can’t just be me, right? I think back to sitting silently in my best friend’s basement, holding what was left of my beer as I stared in disbelief at what had just happened. To put it lightly, I was shattered and it took me a while to get over the heartbreak that came with being so close to a championship while also being so far away. Flash forward 13 years and I feel like I’m still hiding out in the jungle, waiting patiently to fight a war that’s long been over. My point here is that I haven’t forgotten the heartbreak from 2006 and I don’t care if the Canes are the fun team that does the Storm Surge after wins, I’ll despise them forever for the way they hurt a 21 year old Baggedmilk. Never forgive, never surrender.
So when the Hurricanes found the back of the net in the opening and closing minutes of the first period, the quiet rage that simmers within me after years of following this hockey team started to boil. Down by three goals after only 20 minutes, I could feel myself scowling and eyeballing the bottle of rum that’s sitting on my counter, staring back at me like a sweet temptress. To put it another way, I didn’t exactly feel hopeful about the team’s ability to claw back into this one and so I may as well get drunk and enjoy my night. With cooler heads prevailing, I decided to stick it out and hope for the best. So when Kassian scored his first of the night to get the Oilers on the board, I wasn’t yet thinking about a comeback but more so that I hoped the boys could make it close. And when Nuge scored on the power play and Kass added his second of the game to tie things up at three apiece, I felt like my decision to keep my rum on the counter was exactly what the universe needed me to do in order to help the team. The comeback was real, and it was happening.
Then, with the sting of a swift kick to the junk, the Hurricanes responded with three straight goals to restore their lead, and the Oilers’ incredible comeback was left for dead in the hellish gutter from which it came. And with a whimper, the homestand was over.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Zack Kassian got the Oilers on the board with a hard working goal at the front of the net that saw him fight off his man, track down Caleb Jones’ rebound, and hack the loose puck across the goal line. Up until that point, the Oilers looked dead in the water and all I could do was hope that Kassian’s goal would give his team a little bit of life. Midway through the third period, Kassian wasn’t finished as he banged home a second goal, again as a result of his own hard work and positioning. Unfortunately, Kassian’s night ended early after he ended up taking a dumb penalty in the third period and getting himself ejected, leaving his team down a man that they desperately needed.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins pulled the Oilers to within a single goal on the power play after the Oilers had some wonderful puck movement around the Hurricanes’ zone that got them moving out of position. It was RNH’s first goal after coming back from the hand injury that kept him out of the lineup for a couple of weeks, and I’m hoping that it will open the floodgates for him a little bit.
- Connor McDavid factored in on all three of the Oilers goals and took over the league lead in scoring. It’s a shame that we’re unable to celebrate a strong offensive performance because of a total disaster around him.
- Caleb Jones got his first point of the season with an assist on Zack Kassian’s second period goal. By my eye, Jones has played relatively well this season and I was happy to see him get another chance with Joel Persson being re-assigned to Bakersfield early this week. I know there are times when he looks like a rookie and that he still makes the odd mistake or two, but I can’t help but feel like there is a tonne of potential with this kid.
- I’m looking for silver linings so I’ll just mention Ethan Bear’s puck skills because they make me happy.
- We outshot them? Yay? (36-32)
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THE FACE PALMERS
- Sebastian Aho scored for the Canes early in the first period when Teuvo Teravainen gave him a one-touch pass to the side of the net where he had a wide open corner to sink the puck in. Koskinen did the best to get across, but even his 12-foot legs weren’t enough to handle this one. Aho added a second goal in the third period, this time a power play marker, that acted as the final nail in the coffin that was the Oilers’ chances.
- Nino Niederreiter put the Hurricanes up by a pair with a power play goal that, once again, featured a fine display of puck movement that ended up with a perfectly placed shot-pass to the front of the net.
- In the dying seconds of the first period, Ryan Dzingel put the Hurricanes up by three goals after his snapshot beat Koskinen low to the blocker side (3-0).
- Local boy, Jordan Martinook, added the Hurricanes’ fourth goal of the night and gave his team back the lead (4-3) that they dropped after the Oilers came roaring back from a 3-0 deficit.
- Are you surprised that Dougie Hamilton scored from centre ice? By that point, I wasn’t.
- Mikko Koskinen was back between the pipes tonight for his 17th start of the season, and I was looking forward to seeing him keep the good times going. I was at the game on Friday night and Koskinen was fantastic, so I was hoping for the same level of performance from the big man against the Canes. Unfortunately, that is not what we got from ol’ Mikko on this evening. Instead, Koskinen was tagged for six goals, including an embarrassing fake dump-in attempt from Dougie Hamilton that caught him cheating towards the corner. Needless to say, this was not his night in net and a game that he’ll want to forget as soon as is humanly possible. Koskinen finished the night with 26 saves and a .812 save%.
- Leon Draisaitl did not look like himself tonight and I would like to know what that’s about. I know he got an assist, but someone else had to notice it too, right? While with Nuge on the second line, he looked nothing like the guy that was ripping the league up early in the season and I’d like for him to get back on track… please.
- I’m curious what Sam Gagner has to do to stick in the lineup? For a team that is starving for secondary scoring, you’d have to think that having him in and playing offensive minutes would be a boost over some of the other bottom six guys, no? I’m just throwing that out there.
- The Hurricanes went 3/4 on the power plan and that special teams success was the difference. The Oilers’ PK has been great all season, but tonight was not one of those nights.
- Along those same lines, the Oilers needed more than a 1/5 effort on the power play. I know it’s weird to complain when they ended up with a special teams goal, but they needed way more than the one to counter the lack of kills they were getting at the other end.
|04:15||Carolina||Sebastian Aho (17) ASST: Teuvo Teravainen (23), Dougie Hamilton (19)||1-0|
|17:58||Carolina||PPG – Nino Niederreiter (4) ASST: Jake Gardiner (6), Lucas Wallmark (6)||2-0|
|19:56||Carolina||PPG – Ryan Dzingel (6) ASST: Nino Niederreiter (9)||3-0|
|07:45||Edmonton||Zack Kassian (10) ASST: Caleb Jones (1), Connor McDavid (34)||3-1|
|02:51||Edmonton||PPG – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (6) ASST: Leon Draisaitl (35), Connor McDavid (35)||3-2|
|05:40||Edmonton||Zack Kassian (11) ASST: Connor McDavid (36), Joakim Nygard (3)||3-3|
|09:27||Carolina||Jordan Martinook (2) ASST: Andrei Svechnikov (20), Warren Foegele (8)||4-3|
|12:16||Carolina||PPG – Sebastian Aho (18) ASST: Andrei Svechnikov (21), Teuvo Teravainen (24)||5-3|
|15:19||Carolina||Dougie Hamilton (11) ASST: Jordan Staal (7)||6-3|
They should do the World Cup of Hockey but instead of the U-21 Millennial Squad the gimmick team is Players Traded Away By Peter Chiarelli
— Cam Lewis (@cooom) December 10, 2019
This is why Oilers fans can never fucking relax and enjoy this team. pic.twitter.com/UXExGMlXwC
— Big Kiwi (@kiwi_pfitz) December 11, 2019
There's nothing wrong with our fourth line that Dean McAmmond couldn't fix.
— StevenX (@StevenX_DFA) December 11, 2019
— Rusty Shackleford (@AdmiralRusty) December 11, 2019
Hope you didn’t throw out those beets.
— John Epler (@eplerjc) December 11, 2019
This is cruel and unusual punishment.
— The Mad Hatter (@samakehurst91) December 11, 2019
That was the most Oilers game ever. Start terribly, tie it up, then suck again.
— 𝗔𝗱𝗮𝗺 (@OilersAdam) December 11, 2019
Hopefully Lucic keeps scoring. If Neal keeps scoring 2 in every 15, he’ll get to 21 goals. Lucic has to get 12 in that scenario for the Oilers to keep their 3rd rounder and fully win every aspect of that trade. https://t.co/ypMlgfP5kI
— WheatNOil (@WheatNOil) December 11, 2019
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