Those are points left on the board. Final Score: 6-4 Flames
For a big part of my life, the Battle of Alberta didn’t really mean a whole lot because the Oilers were so bad for so long that they would lose more games than they’d win. Flames fans would have fun, we’d maintain our levels of annoyance and indifference. But over these last few years, the BOA has gotten a lot more evenly match and that’s resulted in some of the most exciting and angriest hockey that we’ve seen in years. Who doesn’t love meaningful hockey with a healthy dose of rage? Everybody, that’s who. I’ll tell you one thing, though, nothing kills a day-long Oilers boner quite like a first shot goal against that Koskinen definitely should’ve stopped to give up an early lead. I was upset, but thankfully, the Oilers were not. Unphased, the boys stuck to their gameplan and really pushed the pace, peppering Markstrom with shots until he gave up the tying goal to Jujhar Khaira and the eventual lead to Connor McDavid. Frankly, outside of the weak goal against, this was one of the best opening periods the Oilers have played all season and I was hopeful that they’d be able to carry the momentum forward.
Moving into the second period, the Oilers had the opportunity to build upon their lead provided that they could continue with the offensive pressure while also limiting the Flames’ ability to counter. In the early going, that plan looked like it was coming to fruition — Edmonton’s skaters kept manufacturing chances and throwing pucks at Markstrom — but the problem was that their goaltender took a little bit more time to get on board. Despite the relatively routine chances, the Flames were able to cash in two early goals, reclaiming the lead they lost and swinging the game’s momentum back into their favour. Down by a goal with only 20 minutes to play, the Oilers needed to get back the simpler, smarter plays that got them the lead in the first place and stop trying to force things through that weren’t there. And while Puljujarvi’s quick tying goal filled our hearts with hope, Edmonton’s inability to get a save was their ultimate undoing. Even though this wasn’t a banner night for either goaltender, Calgary was still able to get a few more saves from their starter and I can’t help but feel like this was another night where the team left points on the board.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Jujhar Khaira drew back into the lineup for the first time in a minute and he made an immediate impact with a game-tying goal (1-1) that came on the back off some hard work and a well-timed deflection. Up until Khaira’s goal, the Oilers were being outscored 16-3 at even strength when McDraisaitl weren’t on the ice, which is an ugly stat to hear when Friedman brought it up in the intermission.
- Connor McDavid gave the Oilers the lead (2-1) with a powerplay goal after taking a cross-ice pass from Nugent-Hopkins and ripping the puck high over Markstrom’s glove hand. All night long, McDavid was rushing the puck with all of the speed in the world and it was a handful for the Flames defenders to handle.
- Jesse Puljujarvi tied the game (3-3) with a perfectly executed give-and-go with Connor McDavid that saw the big man flying into the Flames zone with speed and pumping a quick wrister past Markstrom. Aside from the goal, I thought this was one of Puljujarvi’s best so far as he was flying all over the ice and seemed to be involved in all kinds of chances. I especially like the way he parks himself in front of the net and is damned well impossible to move.
- With more than half of a period left to play, Darnell Nurse pulled the Oilers back to within a goal (5-4) after taking a pass in the slot and firing a quick wrister that caught Markstrom moving and past him on the blocker side.
- Evan Bouchard is so much fun to watch when he has the puck on his stick. It seems like every time he has it, there’s already a plan in motion or a passing coming that we don’t even notice while watching on TV. The dude is already the best moving puck-mover this team has on its back end and he’s only played in nine career games.
- William Lagesson picked up his first career point with an assist on Jujhar Khaira’s first-period goal, and it feels like it was long overdue. Good for you, sir.
- I was happy to see the powerplay get something done, but it would have been great to get more than one on five chances.
- I like that the Oilers won 51% of the faceoffs but it doesn’t make me particularly happy tonight.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Elias Lindholm opened the scoring on the first shot of the game for the Flames with a wrister from high in the slot that Koskinen needed to have.
- Are you surprised the Milan Lucic scored a goal against the Edmonton Oilers to tie the game up in the early minutes of the second period? I kinda was, to be honest. LOL. BYE, LOOCH!
- Only moments after Lucic tied the game, Mikael Backlund restored the Flames lead (3-2) with an off-wing shot that beat Koskinen between his body and arm, trickling over the line in what was another episode of “Can We Get a Save Please?”
- Dillon Dube gave the Flames their third lead of the night (4-3) on the powerplay with a one-timer blast that beat Koskinen clean. The tough part about this goal was how the penalty to Puljujarvi came such a short time after he tied the game.
- As much as I want to rip Koskinen for the Johnny Gaudreau goal (5-3) that beat him up over the glove, I have to give the goal-scorer credit for a perfectly placed shot.
- By the time Sam Bennett scored (6-4), I had already stopped paying attention so this update is just going to be another complaint about goaltending.
- According to Reid Wilkins, the two goals from Lucic and Backlund was the eighth time the Oilers have given up a pair of goals in under two minutes. Not good. Not good at all. Those two goals completely shifted the tone of the game, and to make matters worse, I thought that Koskinen probably should have had at least one of them.
- I was thinking today how wild it is that we’re nearly a month into the NHL season and Mikko Koskinen has played in all but one game for the Edmonton Oilers. I mean, I know a lot of us wanted him to be the go-to guy this season but I don’t think that any of us would have expected that the team would need to lean on him this much. The problem with that plan, however, is when he has a night like this one that completely derailed his team’s chances of winning. I’m not saying that the guys in front of Kostco were perfect — they weren’t — but the guy got tagged with a handful of goals that should not go in at the NHL level. Koskinen finished with 22 saves and a .786 save%.
- I did not like Tyson Barrie’s game tonight and felt like his roaming style of play was a disaster on multiple occasions.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had about three or four really good scoring chances but was unable to bury any of them. He got an assist but we really needed one of those goals tonight, my man.
- I’m not a big fan of when the Oilers throw out backhanded passes to no one in particular. I counted at least four or five times where they got caught with this and they were lucky that only one of those avoidable turnovers wound up in the back of their net.
- At only 73.2% effective, the Oiers’ penalty kill is a major concern for me and I was worried about how many times the team would need it in this first game against the Flames. While they only took three penalties, the PK was still on the hook for one and that means our kill percentage is set to fall again. Not good.
- The Oilers were heavily outshot over the final 40 minutes and I can’t help but feel like a big part of that was a result of the endless supply of goals against taking the wind out of their sails.
I don’t know how you can take Bouchard out of the lineup when all he does is transition the puck up ice
— Arch (@Archaeologuy) February 7, 2021
Even CGY players think Giordano should have been called for hooking/holding on JP pic.twitter.com/9ER76EhafY
— Woodguy (@Woodguy55) February 7, 2021
When Jesse Puljujarvi decides he's camping in front of the net, there's not a damn thing the Flames can do about it. Tough way to play, but he's continuing to do it.
— Robin Brownlee (@Robin_Brownlee) February 7, 2021
193 lb of McDavid rage gonna come out of that box…
— MrSmith (@IIMrSmithII) February 7, 2021
Like one of those "Choose Your Own Adventure" books
— Onion on My Belt (@arrrdeecee) February 7, 2021
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