That was way too close for comfort. Final Score: 7-5 Oilers
Coming into tonight’s game, all I could think about was how badly I wanted the Oilers to actually show up and be ready to play. Over the past month, we’ve had far too many evenings where the boys have hit the ice with some kind of laissez-faire attitude that’s resulted in mistakes aplenty, goals against, and ultimately with a pile of losses on the board that wiped out their strong start. And even though there is still plenty of time left on the season, plenty of damage has already been done and I really wanted the boys to kill off the calendar with a win to send us all into the new year on a high note. Is that really so much to ask? I didn’t think so. Before getting started, I was looking at back at some of the Wrap Ups I wrote at this time last year and it was honestly disheartening to see that we’re basically watching the same movie again, struggling with a flawed roster that, at times, looks like it may not be good enough to maintain pace in the Western Conference. Am I wrong?
We’re at a critical junction in the season right now and the only thing the Oilers can do to quiet the chatter surrounding the team and the horrible December they had is get back to winning games. Thankfully, the boys got the start they needed with a trio of first period goals that set them up with the kind of headstart that we haven’t seen all month. With a three-goal lead on the books and 40 minutes to play, the Oilers needed to keep the hammer down and make sure that the first period wasn’t a fluke. And while the middle frame started out a little bit slower than the first, the boys cranked it up as the period progressed and tacked on another three goals to extend their lead to a devastating six goals. Should have been over right? And just when we thought the game was in the books, the Oilers stopped competing and let the Rangers off the mat with five straight goals to make this game much closer than it ever should have been.
At the end of the day, this was easily one of the best starts to a game that we’ve seen from the Oilers in a month or more and it was exactly what we all needed after what was a very tough month. That said, they also paired the amazing start with a horrible third period that almost sunk the ship and ended up being very lucky to walk away with two points that they desperately needed.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- James Neal gave the Oilers the start they wanted when he opened the scoring in the first few seconds of the game. The Oilers got the puck in deep, moved it around effectively, and got it to the crease where Neal was waiting to bang it home. A little bit later on, the Real Steal added a power play goal to his totals midway through the first after he parked himself in front of the net and got a stick on Oscar Klefbom’s point shot, deflecting it perfectly past Georgiev. Neal wasn’t done with two, though, as he completed the hat trick in the second period after bombing a one-timer past Georgiev when Connor set him up on a tee.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins added the Oilers’ third goal of the opening frame after he wandered into the slot at the precise moment that Ethan Bear’s point shot was coming through, deflecting it past Georgiev and into the top half of the net. RNH finished the night with a goal and three assists and now has six points in his last four games.
- Leon Draisaitl got himself back on the scoresheet with a powerplay goal midway through the second period when he banged home a loose puck near the front of the net. The Oilers needed to get a big game from Leon Draisaitl tonight, and I was pumped to see him get a goal that will hopefully kick off another run for the big man.
- Only seconds after James Neal’s hat trick goal, Josh Archibald added a sixth goal when Riley Sheahan found him in the high slot and he beat Georgiev through the five-hole and ended the goaltender’s night.
- I liked the way Kailer Yamamoto played tonight and I was happy to see him get the empty-net goal to close out the game. Word from Bakersfield is that Yamo plays in all situations and it was nice to see him visibly looking to take care of his own end before trying to make something happen offensively.
- Mikko Koskinen got the start tonight as he was looking to rebound after a tough outing against the Flames in which he allowed at least two goals that had no business beating him. Much to our collective delight, the big man was steady tonight and provided the kind of goaltending that we’ve seen from him for most of the season. Even when the team in front of him stopped skating in the third period, Koskinen made the saves he needed to close out the game and I was very happy it was him in net and not Mike Smith. Kostco finished the night with 28 saves and a .848 save%.
- I want to give a big shout out to William Lagesson on his NHL debut. By my eye, I thought he was quietly steady for the most part which is a nice compliment for a kid that was probably battling some heavy nerves ahead of his first shot at the bigs.
- The Oilers were 3/10 (???) on the powerplay tonight. Weird, right?
THE FACE PALMERS
- Chris Kreider got the Rangers on the board late in the second period, but, at the end of the day, do we really care? No. No, we do not.
- Were any of you really surprised that Ryan Strome scored a goal? You weren’t, were you?
- Marc Staal scored the Rangers third goal of the night after Strome hit him with a ridiculous cross-ice pass that opened up the ice and caught Koskinen moving from post to post.
- Honestly, when Artemi Panarin scored the Rangers’ fourth goal of the night, I could feel myself starting to panic because I thought Edmonton was going to blow it. At that point, the Oilers had completely stopped skating and it was painful to watch.
- When Mika Zibanejad scored the Rangers’ fifth goal I truly believed that they were going to complete the comeback and I could feel the rage inside me bubbling over.
- Why did it take so long for Dave Tippett to take a timeout? Does that bother anyone else?
- I really hated how the Oilers stopped moving their legs in the third period. Even though the game was all but done, they could have really made things ugly had they kept pushing but, instead, they seemed to be content with riding the clock out until the game was over. Needless to say, they were incredibly lucky that they didn’t get burned for it.
- I just want to take a minute here to say thank you to Connor McDavid for being him and to apologize for the mediocrity he’s been surrounded by over the past four+ years.
- Boys went 44% in the faceoff circle. Some of those lost draws mattered in the third period imo.
|00:11||Edmonton||James Neal (17) ASST: Zack Kassian (14), Oscar Klefbom (20)||0-1|
|08:46||Edmonton||PPG – James Neal (18) ASST: Oscar Klefbom (21), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (14)||0-2|
|11:13||Edmonton||Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (8) ASST: Ethan Bear (9), Jujhar Khaira (1)||0-3|
|13:11||Edmonton||PPG – Leon Draisaitl (23) ASST: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (15), James Neal (8)||0-4|
|13:23||Edmonton||PPG – James Neal (19) ASST: Connor McDavid (42), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (16)||0-5|
|15:04||Edmonton||Josh Archibald (3) ASST: Riley Sheahan (2)||0-6|
|19:34||New York||Chris Kreider (12) ASST: Artemi Panarin (31), Brady Skjei (12)||1-6|
|04:38||New York||Ryan Strome (11) ASST: Adam Fox (13), Artemi Panarin (32)||2-6|
|11:29||New York||Marc Staal (2) ASST: Ryan Strome (26), Artemi Panarin (33)||3-6|
|12:07||New York||Artemi Panarin (22)||4-6|
|16:15||New York||Mika Zibanejad (16) ASST: Adam Fox (14), Tony DeAngelo (21)||5-6|
|18:53||Edmonton||EN – Kailer Yamamoto (1) ASST: Jujhar Khaira (2)||5-7|
Don’t forget to add Happy New Year
— Real Steal 18 (@RPW_1832) January 1, 2020
Is Slim Shitty going to start wearing pooka shells and an inside out Club Monaco sweatshirt next? https://t.co/1pyyjfVnCz
— BURGER BARON🍁 (@Burger_Baron) January 1, 2020
Dear Connor, I wrote you but you still ain't callin,
I left my cell, my pager, and my home phone at the bottom pic.twitter.com/d7vvodoQ4J
— Chevy 🌋 (@ThatTommyCkid) January 1, 2020
— David Smitten 🇨🇦 (@DavidSmitten) January 1, 2020
I guess Lucic bleaching his hair was exactly what Neal needed
— Corey (@corn_cwm) January 1, 2020
HATTY FOR NEAL !!!! 🚨🚨🚨 pic.twitter.com/HXrnMvPuJI
— Yamamoto97 (@Yamamoto97) January 1, 2020
If 3-0 is the worst lead in hockey, then 6-0 is…twice as bad??
— Kûrtį́š Bąkäńėč (@K_Bakanec) January 1, 2020
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