That’s all she wrote… maybe for a while. Final Score: 4-2 Jets
After what can only be described as a disappointing run of games — I know that sounds weird considering the boys have picked up wins and points throughout this streak — I was really hoping that we’d see some signs of life from an Oilers team that has looked very flat over the past four nights. Since Nashville, the Oilers have been far too reliant on their goaltending to be able to compete and that’s a trend that simply cannot continue. With the Jets in town and busting their balls to try and get into a Wildcard spot, the Oilers were going to have to be at the top of their game if they wanted to get back in the win column and ensure that another team chasing them in the overall standings can’t get any closer. From where I blog, the first step and likely most important thing the Oilers could do for themselves was to get off to a faster start and try to build some momentum, something that hasn’t happened at all over the past week or so. They needed to show that they were able to compete when the games matter most and that the past week was a small blip rather than an ongoing trend.
Unfortunately, the Oilers looked flat again in the opening moments as they were heavily outshot over the first 10 minutes and struggled to string passes together. To be honest, I was nervous that we were in for another one of those nights. Fortunately, the boys settled things down in the back half of the period and started to get their game going a little bit despite not being able to find the back of the net. The point here is that there were signs of life. Heading into the second period, the plan had to be to keep the hammer down and fire as many pucks towards Hellebuyck as humanly possible. The good news is that the theory worked early as the Oilers were able to capitalize with an early goal that gave them a lead. The bad news was that this game was seemingly played with optional defending on both sides which allowed the Jets the time and space needed to put up a pair of goals of their own. But just when it looked like the Oilers were going to head into the intermission in a hole, their captain came up with a beautiful late goal to erase the Jets’ lead and get things squared up.
Heading into the third period with the game knotted at two apiece, the Oilers had an opportunity to keep their point streak alive, but that idea took a major blow after they gave up an ugly goal against in the opening minute of the frame. I don’t know how they so successfully shot themselves in the foot only 29 seconds into the period, but that’s exactly what happened and the boys were forced to chase once again. Frankly, it was another avoidable goal that should never have been close to happening but a couple of tough pinches resulted in the blown coverage. At the other end of the ice, the Oilers had plenty of chances on net from throughout the lineup, but they just couldn’t beat Hellebucyk who seemingly had a horseshoe up his butt or some kind of force field behind him that prevented any of Edmonton’s shots from making their way over the line. At the end of the day, this was a tough loss that could have been prevented by better choices with the puck and a little bit of luck, but that’s not how the cookie crumbled.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Tyler Ennis opened the scoring (1-0) after a being the beneficiary of a broken play that saw Hellebuyck lose the puck behind his own net only to have it dribble out in front and ready to be tapped in. Frankly, I don’t know if Ennis will score an easier goal than this ever in his career.
- Only a few minutes after the Jets took the lead, Connor McDavid tied things up (2-2) on a beautiful little deke that got Hellebuyck stretching from post to post, finding only a small crack to slide the puck into. The play started on a beautiful play by Zack Kassian in the neutral zone that saw him fight off a check before getting the puck to McDavid with speed. Were you guys as pumped as I was to see McDavid back on the ice and looking more like himself?
- Ethan Bear played a team-high 27:40 tonight, finishing the game with one shot on net, two blocks, and a takeaway.
- Tonight was a better effort than we’ve seen over the last four despite the result. I hope this is the start of something more positive… well… if there are games to be played, that is.
- I love Kailer Yamamoto. That is all.
- At least they outshot someone? (38-25)
- Oilers won 59% of the faceoffs tonight which warms my heart despite it not mattering much in the end.
- Boys were so disciplined that they didn’t take any penalties at all! Yay?
THE FACE PALMERS
- Blake Wheeler tied the game (1-1) after getting some very good luck on a weird bounce. Actually, James Neal should get credit for the goal as he was trying to make a defensive play and his deflection was perfectly placed in a spot that Mike Smith couldn’t get to it.
- Patrik Laine gave the Jets the lead (2-1) after Mike Smith got caught out of the net when the puck bounced off his stick and into the no-fly zone in the corner. Once there, Cody Eakin threw the puck out front to a waiting Patrik Laine who had all kinds of time and space to smash a one-timer into a mostly empty net.
- Only 29 seconds into the third period, the Oilers’ defence decided to take a quick breather for some reason which allowed Kyle Connor to walk in alone and rip a shot past Smith to reclaim the lead (3-2). Brutal coverage ended with a brutal result. C’est la vie, I suppose. Connor later added an empty netter at the end of the third period to put a final nail in the coffin.
- Unfortunately, the Oilers weren’t able to make anything happen on their lone powerplay opportunity of the evening. Obviously, that would have been nice.
- Mike Smith was back between the pipes for his 37th start of the season as he looked to get back in the win column after suffering what was only his first loss in nearly a month at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks last weekend. To this point in 2020, Mike Smith has been great for the Oilers and I was hoping that the team in front of him would be able to provide a little bit better support than they have over the last little while. Unfortunately, this was not Mike Smith’s night as he allowed three goals on 24 shots, finishing with a .875 save%.
- The NHL site had the giveaways as 13-7 for the Oilers and that feels about right to me. The boys played much better than they did against Vegas on Monday, but they still coughed up the puck far too often for my liking.
- The Oilers were outshot 9-2 through 10 minutes again. Tonight’s start was not a rerun despite feeling like one. I mean, I know the shots turned around drastically after this point but I will readily admit that I was nervous about it in the beginning.
- Tonight, the NBA suspended their season indefinitely as a result of COVID-19. I hope everyone enjoyed tonight’s game because we’re getting to a point where they’re no longer guaranteed. Stay safe, everybody.
|00:09||Edmonton||Tyler Ennis (16) ASST: Kailer Yamamoto (15)||0-1|
|09:25||Winnipeg||Blake Wheeler (22) ASST: Nikolaj Ehlers (33), Nathan Beaulieu (7)||1-1|
|16:28||Winnipeg||Patrik Laine (28) ASST: Cody Eakin (10)||2-1|
|18:23||Edmonton||Connor McDavid (34) ASST: Zack Kassian (19), Darnell Nurse (28)||2-2|
|00:29||Winnipeg||Kyle Connor (37) ASST: Blake Wheeler (43)||3-2|
|19:20||Winnipeg||EN – Kyle Connor (38) ASST: Mark Scheifele (44), Josh Morrissey (26)||4-2|
How will NHL players know when to shoot if there are no fans there to tell them
— Sam (@SamInYEG) March 10, 2020
— Matt Jones 🇨🇦 (@jonesymatt60) March 12, 2020
LAST GOAL WINS THE CUP 2020.
— BURGER BARON🍁 (@Burger_Baron) March 12, 2020
Because this is how Oilers play D lol
— Garry_B (@G_B24) March 12, 2020
Grandma says "This app is lit." You're trying way too hard @TimHortons
— Robin Brownlee (@Robin_Brownlee) March 12, 2020
Regardless of result, if that was the last game in a while, it was great.
— Woodguy (@Woodguy55) March 12, 2020
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