Not the start we wanted. Final Score: 4-1 Jets
Doesn’t it seem like we had to wait forever for this series to start? After wrapping up the regular season on Saturday, we’ve all spent the last few days brimming with anticipation and I’d imagine that not a whole lot of work got done today in the hours leading up to puck drop. Based on the vibes coming through on social media all day, Oilers fans were about as jacked up for puck drop as we ever could be and the obvious hope was that the Oilers would be able to match that energy and use it to get a quick start. But in the early going, neither side could really get much going offensively as there wasn’t a whole lot of room to operate with both sides checking tightly and trying to figure each other out. For our boys, however, their start was definitely more tentative than we would have liked and it took them the bulk of the period before they were able to get their legs going and look engaged in what was going on out there. The good news is that the Oilers picked up the pace as the frame wore on, which was exactly what they needed to do because the intensity started to crank up before breaking off into intermission.
Moving into the second period, the Oilers needed to be the team that finished off the first with energy rather than the one that started the game sluggishly. The good news was that the boys started rolling shift-by-shift and often found themselves leaning on the Jets and running effective cycles in the offensive zone, allowing them to manufacture a lot more chances than they were getting early on. Thankfully, those efforts paid off near the midway point as Edmonton was able to get on the board first, but the lead was short-lived because of a costly defensive miscue that allowed the Jets to respond quickly. Despite heavily outshooting the Jets through 40 minutes, the Oilers were looking at a tie game heading into the third period and that meant the margin for error became that much smaller, making the game feel like the next goal was going to win. And as if the moment was pulled from my nightmares, allowing the Jets to hang around gave them the exact window they needed to grab the go-ahead goal on the kind of greasy play that I was begging for the Oilers to make all night. And with Hellebuyck dialled in, the boys needed to play with a hell of a lot more urgency than we got from them down the stretch and the fact that they couldn’t make it happen was incredibly disappointing.
The good news is that the Oilers haven’t lost consecutive games in a couple of months now. See you on Friday.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Jesse Puljujarvi opened the scoring with a quick wrister after he picked up a loose puck in the circle and fired it through a few legs before beating Hellebuyck on the glove side.
- Mike Smith got the call to open the series against the Jets and I was looking for him to offer the same stability we’ve seen from him all season long, and that’s exactly what we got from him. Whether he was asked to make routine saves or those that maybe he shouldn’t, Smith stepped up in a big way and matched up reasonably well with his opponent at the other end. Put another way, I don’t think it was our goaltending that was the reason the Oilers lost this hockey game. Smith finished the night with 18 saves and .900save%.
- I loved the way Josh Archibald played in game one. From start to finish, the guy was buzzin’ around out there and throwing his body like a missile at any target that was within reach.
- At least the Corsi Gords will be happy when they take a peek at the box score on the ol’ Internet machine because the Oilers outshot the Jets by a 33-22 margin.
THE FACE PALMERS
- The Jets depth scoring beat ours. Simple.
- Only a few minutes after the Oilers opened the scoring, Tucker Poolman tied things up after driving to the net and knocking a Blake Wheeler rebound past an outstretched Mike Smith.
- Dominik Tonintato gave the Jets the lead after he was able to get a stick on Logan Stanley’s blast, deflecting the puck off the post and middle bar before bouncing out quickly. At first, the play continued for a moment until the buzzer sounded shortly after the play left the zone, confirming all of our fears that the puck had gone in.
- Kyle Connor added the empty netter (3-1) and that’s all she wrote.
- Blake Wheeler added a second empty netter (4-1) to really piss me off.
- Connor Hellebuyck was incredibly annoying and there is no better example of this than the .970 save% he finished the game with.
- Having Ehlers and Dubois out of the lineup was a massive opportunity for the Oilers and they did nothing with it. That’s not how you win a series, my friends.
- I thought the Oilers had a slow start and didn’t like seeing that it took about nine minutes before getting their first shot on net. I know they picked things up a bit as the period went along, but I was hoping for more juice for the first playoff game after a three-day break.
- Quiet night for Connor and Leon.
- Even quieter for Zack Kassian and I honestly don’t know if there was anything he did that was noticeable.
- The Oilers only got one opportunity with the man advantage but they were unable to get anything done with the chance. Obviously, that one hurts.
- Speaking of penalties, I have no idea how a full NHL game can be played with only one call. It was prison rules out there.
- How could we move forward with the rest of our weeks without knowing that the Oilers won only 40% of the faceoffs? Not nearly good enough and we should all be upset about it.
- Where the hell is Hunter?
That one nurse looked awfully like a masked Wanye….
— x-William James (@William_J87) May 20, 2021
— Adam Laskaris (@adam_la2karis) May 20, 2021
Imagine tweeting that about a man who torched your team for 22 points in 9 games.
— Marcel Schoenhardt (@mschoenhardt) May 20, 2021
McDavid sure is falling over sticks by accident a lot, eh? So clumsy
— Oilers Playoffs Alert (@OilersNerdAlert) May 20, 2021
— X-Kennedy (@kennedystrash) May 20, 2021
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