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GDB 23.0 Wrap Up: Twas not our night, Oilers start Leafs series with 4-0 loss

Can’t win ’em all, but we can get them back on Monday. Final Score: 4-0 Leafs

After the elation of wrapping up a sweep against the Canucks on Thursday night had subsided, my next thought was about tonight’s game and three-game series against the Leafs. Coming into this first of three meetings, the Oilers were four points behind Toronto with an excellent chance to pull themselves to within a single game of first place. And with the Leafs missing some key players due to injury, this was almost a gift of a chance to keep their streak going and I was hoping would get the boys fired up like nerds at a Pokemon card unboxing. As hoped, Edmonton hit the ground running with all four lines finding ways to manufacture chances to score of varying quality with the obvious problem being that they were unable to cash in on any of them. At the other end, the Leafs were able to convert on a pair of their opportunities and it allowed them to build themselves what turned out to be an insurmountable lead before the first period had ended.

Heading into the meat of the game with a hole to climb out of, the Oilers need to keep pushing for scoring chances while ensuring that they were also taking care of their own end. They basically needed a variation of the same story that played out against Vancouver and they needed to find the back of the net with a quick goal to get the snowball rolling. Unfortunately, on this night, finding the perfect mix required to complete the comeback was too tall of an order to execute as the Oilers’ push to draw nearer on the scoreboard actually resulted in avoidable mistakes that the Leafs were able to turn in shots on goal and unearned zone time. What I would say, though, is that the final score does make the game look a little more lopsided than it actually was, in my opinion. Yeah, the Oilers lost by four goals which is a tough pill to swallow, but I also think this thing could have easily ended at 4-2 or 4-3. The biggest difference, obviously, is that one side was able to make the most of their opportunities to score whereas our boys were unable to match.

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At the end of the day, this is obviously a tough loss to take to start the series but it’s certainly not the end of the world either. For me, this game should act as a reminder that things won’t always go our way but is nothing more than a speed bump on the road to bigger things. Let’s get ’em back on Monday.

The wrap.

THE BRIGHT SIDE

  • Monday’s bounce back game will be fun!
  • Connor McDavid may not have scored but I did want to include a note to give him some love for the way he was flying around out there, especially in the first period. I know he ended this game filled with frustration, but I can’t wait to see him turn that energy into dominance on Monday.
  • I thought Caleb Jones had his best game of the year so far and it was nice to see him progress a little bit from his first game back.
  • Darnell Nurse had another big night for the Oilers on the back end, finishing up with 27:20 in TOI, a career-high seven shots on goal, and a -3 rating. Does that deserve to be in the bright side section? I dunno. I’m reaching.
  • More Gaetan Haas!
  • The Oilers outhit the Leafs by a 41-21 margin. Sure, you could suggest that means the Oilers didn’t have the puck all that much but I’m trying to fill up the bright side section, alright?
  • Outshot the Leafs 30-29. YAY!

THE FACE PALMERS

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  • William Nylander opened the scoring (1-0) with a powerplay after taking a pass high in the slot and ripping a shot past a falling Mike Smith. Once again, I thought the Oilers had a decent enough chance to clear the zone but they couldn’t make it happen and got burned for it once again.
  • Shortly after Nylander got the Leafs on the board, Mitch Marner picked up the puck with some time and extended the lead (2-0) with a quick wrister from the slot that beat Smith between the arm and body.
  • Jason Spezza further salted the wound with a transition goal (3-0) that came immediately after the Oilers gave the puck up at the opposing blue line. With all the time he could ever hope to have, Spezza entered the zone and pulled a magic trick on Mike Smith as he froze him with a fake slapper before taking a step to the side and finding the open net.
  • Can I be honest? By the time Zach Hyman scored (4-0) in the third period, I had already shifted focus to watching TikTok videos.
  • The goals by Nylander and Marner came in a span of under two minutes which makes that the 11th time the Oilers have allowed that to happen this season. Weird, ugly stat.
  • Not a big fan of the Oilers making third-stringer, Jack Campbell, look like a Vezina candidate if I’m being honest.
  • Mike Smith was given the net again for a third-straight start and looking to keep his perfect run going but it was simply not meant to be. We all knew Smith’s Herculean string of games would end eventually and while I’m not saying he was horrible, it would certainly be fair to say this wasn’t his night either. Smith finished the night with 25 saves and a .862 save%.
  • Hard to believe that Toronto didn’t do a single thing to merit a penalty all night. Weird.
  • Unfortunately, the Oilers weren’t as lucky as to not get any penalties and, unfortunately, they weren’t able to kill it off either.
  • I can’t be the only one that doesn’t understand why Evan Bouchard was scratched.
  • Speaking of which, anyone else think that Tippett used his players oddly tonight?
  • You knew with absolute certainty that I would write about the Oilers winning only 48% of the faceoffs. You knew the stat was coming and here it is.

SCORING SUMMARY

#GOODCONTENT

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