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GDB 54.0 Wrap Up: We’re gonna need a bigger boat, Oilers blow early lead and fall 6-3 to Sharks

We’ll always have the 2-0 lead. *remembers* Final Score: 6-3 Sharks

After a tough game in Arizona on Tuesday night, I think I can safely say that we were all curious to see how they’d be able to rebound. With the Pacific Division being as tight as it is right now, the last thing the Oilers can do is allow one loss to turn into a streak in the wrong direction, and they were going to have to get a much stronger effort against the Sharks than they did against the Coyotes if they were going to prevent that from happening. Against the Coyotes, the Oilers looked sloppy from the moment the puck dropped and it wasn’t until they were already down and out when they were finally able to start getting something done. It doesn’t take a scientist to figure out that the boys needed to be better in almost every aspect of their game if they were truly planning on winning, especially against a struggling team like the Sharks that seems to be limping their way towards the finish line.

As always, if the Oilers were going to get themselves back in the win column then one of the biggest favours they could do for themselves would be to set the tone with a strong start. Much to our collective delight, the boys did exactly that as they were able to pop in two quick ones in the first half of the opening period to give themselves the momentum and a sizeable lead to work with. Mission accomplished, right? Not so fast. The bad news was that the Sharks didn’t agree to just lay down and die, and they battled their way back into the game with a pair of unfortunate goals by Meier and Burns to negate the Oilers’ hot start. As the game moved into the second period, the Oilers weren’t able to stop the bleeding as they were seemingly satisfied with sitting back and watching the Sharks do their thing before promptly finding themselves down by a pair of goals. Despite finding the back of the net for a third time midway through the final frame, the damage was already done and the Oilers now find themselves losers of two in a row, which was exactly where they didn’t want to be. That said, they got the result they deserved.

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At the end of the day, the Oilers’ lack of overall effort and execution beyond the opening 10 minutes of the game was incredibly frustrating to watch and it truly seemed as though they were unable to figure out how to defend after the Sharks started to counterpunch. This league is simply too good to play this poorly and expect to win, and the boys got another free lesson to prove that point. Looking ahead to Saturday, the Oilers will need to find a way to pull themselves out of this funk because life doesn’t get much easier with the suddenly surging Nashville Predators in town to pay them a visit.

The wrap.

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THE BRIGHT SIDE

  • Sam Gagner opened the scoring for the Oilers after he picked up a rebound right in the slot and hammered it into the open net with a well timed backhander. Tippett was taking a bunch of heat on social media today for having Gagner slotted into the top six but Sammy made him look like a genius with his early goal.
  • Only 1:16 after Gagner got the Oilers on the board, Connor McDavid followed it up with a highlight reel marker that saw him blow past the Sharks defenceman and roof the puck over Dell and into the top corner. The captain had his rocket legs going on the play and it was another goal that we’re likely to see on replays for a while.
  • Midway through the third period, Ethan Bear scored a beauty after he walked the puck down the boards and made a nice move towards the middle of the ice where he was able to roof a perfectly placed wrist shot over Dell’s glove and into the top of the net. It was Bear’s first goal in 28 games and had it not been for the final score, it was the kind of goal where we’d all be pumping his tires for the next couple of days.
  • Big shout out to Tyler Benson for making his NHL debut tonight in front of a hometown crowd that was very excited to see what he can do. While he didn’t have an overly flashy game, he did have a few moments where you really recognize how smart of a player he can be.
  • Another assist for Yamamoto as he continues to produce offence since being recalled from Bakersfield.
  • At least we can be happy about winning 59% of the faceoffs, right? RIGHT!?

THE FACE PALMERS

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  • Timo Meier pulled the Sharks to within a single goal (2-1) after he got his stick on the Brent Burns point shot and deflected it perfectly past Mikko Koskinen. Not much chance for the goaltender on the play as the Sharks executed the shot/pass/deflection perfectly. Meier added the Sharks’ fifth goal early in the third period which all but nailed the coffin shut.
  • Evander Kane tied the game up at two apiece after parking himself in front of the net and having Brent Burns bank the puck in off him with a double-deflected point shot. The Sharks got a little bit of luck on the play as the puck changed directions a couple of times before going in, but you have to admit that they earned the opportunity with some strong choices with the puck.
  • Would you be surprised if I told you that Maxim Letunov scored his first NHL goal tonight on a broken play that should have been easily cleared? You wouldn’t be, would you? No, I didn’t think so.
  • Stefan Noesen put the Sharks up by two goals (4-2) after he was able to find a loose puck at the side of the net and bank it in off Koskinen from a bad angle. By this point, the Oilers had completely let the wheels fall off and it was incredibly disappointing to watch them go from being up by two goals to down by two as a result of four straight goals.
  • Kevin Labanc netted the Sharks’ sixth goal of the night and by that point, I was so angry about the way things were going that I was barely able to watch anymore.
  • After having a very strong start to the hockey game, the Oilers took their foot off the gas and allowed the Sharks to crawl out of the hole they had dug for themselves. To put it lightly, the final 50 minutes was incredibly frustrating to watch as the boys looked like a completely different team in the first 10 minutes as they did in the last.
  • After a strong showing against both the Blues and Coyotes, Mikko Koskinen was back between the pipes for his 28th start of the season. Despite not getting any run support in Arizona, Koskinen was easily the best Oiler on Tuesday night and I was looking forward to seeing if he could build upon the work he put in. Unfortunately, Koskinen wasn’t able to make the saves needed from preventing the wheels from falling off on this game and the team in front of him wasn’t much help either. I wouldn’t necessarily hang all six goals on Koskinen but you’d have to think that he’d want at least half of them back. Koskinen finished the night with 25 saves and a .806 save%.
  • After being on fire for weeks, the second line had a tough night as they couldn’t seem to keep the puck out of their own net.
  • The Oilers lost both ends of the special teams battle tonight as they went 0/1 on the powerplay and allowed one goal on three shorthanded chances against.

SCORING SUMMARY

1ST PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
04:04 Edmonton Sam Gagner (4) ASST: Darnell Nurse (19), Kailer Yamamoto (6) 0-1
05:20 Edmonton Connor McDavid (30) ASST: Darnell Nurse (20) 0-2
11:01 San Jose Timo Meier (17) ASST: Brent Burns (24), Brenden Dillon (13) 1-2
18:19 San Jose PPG – Evander Kane (21) ASST: Brent Burns (25), Joe Thornton (21) 2-2

2ND PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
07:07 San Jose Maxim Letunov (1) ASST: Erik Karlsson (33), Marcus Sorensen (6) 3-2
12:31 San Jose Stefan Noesen (5) ASST: Alexander True (1), Melker Karlsson (5) 4-2

3RD PERIOD

TIME TEAM DETAILS SCORE
05:05 San Jose Timo Meier (18) ASST: Kevin Labanc (16), Marc-Edouard Vlasic (6) 5-2
06:33 Edmonton Ethan Bear (5) ASST: Jujhar Khaira (3), Riley Sheahan (7) 5-3
12:19 San Jose Kevin Labanc (13) ASST: Timo Meier (18), Joe Thornton (22) 6-3

#GOODCONTENT

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