Pain. Final Score: 3-0 Leafs
The nice thing about the weirdness of the 2021 season is that the schedule gives you opportunities to rebound against opponents very quickly and that’s exactly what the Oilers got tonight after a tough loss to Toronto on Saturday night. While I will maintain that loss from the series opener wasn’t as bad as the score probably suggested, that doesn’t make getting shutout on home ice any easier to swallow and I was expecting the boys to come up with a much better effort here in round two. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened. In fact, that’s not even close to what happened. Instead, what we got was a team that appeared to be unprepared, was sloppy in their own zone, and a goaltender that struggled to save much of anything, and I don’t think I need to explain how this a combination that will send you on a long walk down the short road to a bad time.
Down by three goals with 40 minutes left to play, all I was looking for was the Oilers to chip away at the lead as best as they could to try and make things interesting without embarrassing themselves in the process. And while the boys did their best to try and put something together, their execution didn’t get any better than what we got on Saturday and, for the second straight night, they made a backup’s backup look like a Vezina nominee. Honestly, it’s shocking to watch. It’s like their offensive swagger has vanished and that the team we watched pump goals home for over a month existed only in our memories. I mean, I don’t think the Leafs played like showstoppers by any means so trying to find an explanation for where the offence has gone is a mystery that needs to be solved in short order.
At the end of the day, the Oilers were outplayed, outduelled, outgoaltended, and deserved the result they got, making this ‘battle of first place’ more of an idea than a reality right now. Needless to say, that’s pretty a disappointing place to be considering how hyped we all were for this series to start.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- At least the game is over now.
- Mike Smith made his way back between the pipes even though this was supposed to be a night off, and he was tasked with the very tough job of trying to stop the bleeding that was Toronto’s three-goal lead. Unlike everyone else on the roster, Smith handled his job and stopped all 13 shots he faced in relief of Mikko Koskinen who couldn’t make it past the first period.
- Would a wrap up be complete without me talking about the Oilers winning 58% of the faceoffs? No, no it would not.
- Oilers outshot the Leafs by a 32-23 margin. Goaltending matters.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Zach Hyman opened the scoring for the Leafs after he somehow got lost behind the defensive coverage, picked up a pass in flight, and made a nice move to his backhand that beat Koskinen down low. Normally, one would say that this goal was the result of a nice passing play but since it also happened on the first shot of the game, it was hard not to laugh a little bit.
- William Nylander extended the lead (2-0) ON THE SECOND SHOT OF THE GAME after he broke into the zone with speed and fired a backhander up high over Koskinen’s glove. Good lord.
- Think the Leafs were done with two first period goals? No, friends. Not tonight. Morgan Reilly added a third (3-0) after his shot from the point made its way through traffic to beat Koskinen through the five-hole with the puck trickling its way over the line in slow motion.
- After a few nights off since his win over the Flames, Mikko Koskinen was back between the pipes for his 15th start as the Oilers looked to rebound against the Leafs. Unfortunately, getting back in the win column becomes progressively more difficult when your starter allows two goals on the first two shots of the game, three in the first period, and can only make it to the first period before his night is over. Koskinen finished with seven saves and a .700 save%.
- Down by a trio of goals, the Oilers desperately needed their powerplay to come up with something and they just couldn’t get the job done, often looking disjointed an unorganized rather than lethal or deadly.
- Unfortunately the PK wasn’t perfect either, killing off only four of the five chances they faced.
- Making more than two or three consecutive passes was a real problem again as the Oilers seem to have lost their sharpness with the puck. Getting anything going offensively was a struggled to say the least.
- According to Reid Wilkins, the Oilers were shutout in back-to-back games for first time since October 20th and 22nd, 2019, against Winnipeg and Minnesota.
a 100% shooting percentage isn't sustainable
— zach laing (@zjlaing) March 2, 2021
Commercial Confessions: I’ve been lying about knowing the bride when she used to rock n roll at weddings for years
— Bumblebee tuna (@sstrumy) March 2, 2021
Went to the bathroom and missed the opening save dammit
— Oilers Nerd Alert (@OilersNerdAlert) March 2, 2021
Smith to Tipps pic.twitter.com/2gBjt1Ebsw
— Wendo (@WendolynLamchop) March 2, 2021
Me watching the Oilers game tonight pic.twitter.com/PetDbNmqNq
— Michelle Jean (@_Michelle_Jean_) March 2, 2021
— David Shortt (@AdMan0828) March 2, 2021
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