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GDB 13.0 Wrap Up: Oilers end up as slump busters in 3-2 loss to the Sabres

I’m upset. Final Score: 3-2 Sabres

This afternoon on Oilersnation Radio, we talked about whether or not the Oilers have a problem with playing down to their competition after the way things went in Detroit on Tuesday, and seeing as they were up against a god-awful Sabres team here tonight, I think it was understandable why some fans were nervous. On paper, there is absolutely no reason why this game shouldn’t result in two points for the good guys, but we’ve all been around long enough to know that things aren’t always so simple. Take the first period for example, which was arguably the strangest 20 minutes of NHL hockey that I’ve ever seen. Not only did it start with a disallowed goal for each team, but neither side was really able to get much of anything done. From an Oilers perspective, it’s not that they were playing poorly — they actually had a solid start — but rather their ability to execute was off by a few degrees. That’s why I thought that making it to the intermission with a scoreless game was almost a win because it would allow the boys to unplug the router and reconnect to the Wifi after whatever the hell it was that just happened.

With the game scoreless and the 12 fans in attendance eager for some action, the second period started off just about as sloppy as the first did but the important part was that our boys looked to be settling in. Despite giving up a breakaway marker in the first couple of minutes, the Oilers started turning the tides in their favour with each passing shift, making it seem like it would only be a matter of time before they got something done. Powered by a seemingly unending supply of power plays, the Oilers were able to not only climb back into a tie game but eventually grab themselves the lead after a pair of goals by Leon Draisaitl. That’s where the good news ended, though, because the Sabres were able to take advantage of some horrible turnovers by the Oilers that were basically gifts wrapped in rainbows, and in a matter of minutes, they watched their lead disappear. Heading into the third period down by a goal, the Oilers certainly have the firepower to come back and get the job but I wasn’t so sure they had the juice left to make it happen. What I didn’t necessarily expect, however, was that the Oilers would throw everything they had at Dustin Tokarski and it would be him that was the last man standing. As hard as they tried, the boys just could get anything past the guy and while this loss is incredibly frustrating, you almost have to tip your cap to the goaltender for standing on his head.

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After back-to-back games and three in four nights, the Oilers finished about as strong as they could have but it was their inattention to detail that got them in the end. Maybe they were tired or maybe they weren’t, the unfortunate part about this loss was that it was avoidable mistakes and lazy turnovers that cost them the game against a team they should beat, and that’s something that simply cannot happen again when they get back to work on Sunday in St. Louis.

The wrap.

THE BRIGHT SIDE

  • Leon Draisaitl tied the game (1-1) with a power play goal after a nice tic-tac-toe passing play set him up with a point-blank chance from the slot. Draisaitl added a second power play goal less than three minutes later when McDavid found him on the left boards with a no-look pass that left the former 50-goal man staring at an open net.
  • Connor McDavid’s point streak continues. All he does is produce.
  • Stuart Skinner got his second start of the season as he looked to rebound after a tough loss in Detroit on Tuesday night, and I was expecting him to bring the heat against the Sabres. But just like he got against the Red Wings, Skinner faced way too many high-quality chances and breakaway after breakaway, and it ended up being too much for the Oilers’ third-stringer. Even so, Stuart Skinner was not the reason the Oilers lost this hockey game because it would have been really great if the guys in front of him didn’t leave him hanging as often as they did. Skinner finished the night with 20 saves and a .870 save%.
  • I don’t know when Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will score another goal but he’s putting up assists at a rate that is absolutely ridiculous. I mean, he’s on pace for 107 points on the year and he has no goals. That’s mind-blowing to me.
  • I thought Warren Foegele had a nice game despite not getting himself on the scoresheet. All night long, McLovin was throwing his body around and creating turnovers on the forecheck and I thought the guy needed a little bit of love for his efforts.
  • After being held off the scoresheet for two straight games, the power play got back to work and tagged the Sabres with two goals on six chances with the man advantage. As much as it was almost annoying to see the boys not get anything done on the PP these past two nights, you knew that it was only a matter of time before the killers came back to play but I have to admit that it would have been nice to get more than two.
  • The PK was excellent again as the boys continued their hot run of handling shorthanded situations, discarding all three of Buffalo’s chances.
  • At least the Oilers won 65% of the faceoffs. Small victories, friends.
  • Oilers won the Corskis after outshooting the Sabres by a 35-23 margin.
  • Yesterday on the Real Life Podcast, Tyler Yaremchuk agreed to wear a romper to our Viewing Party if we can raise $1000 for the Edmonton Humane Society before November 27th. Well, as of this point, we’re already at $670 dollars in donations so I’m thinking we get there. Want to help? Make your donation here.

THE FACE PALMERS

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  • Anders Bjork got the Sabres on the board first (1-0) after he won a coast-to-coast foot race with Keith and Ceci that allowed him to break in alone and beat Skinner with a quick wrister.
  • Dylan Cozens evened things up for the Sabres (2-0) with a half-clapper from the high slot after Drake Caggiula (of course!) set him up with some time and space on the back of a brutal giveaway by Duncan Keith. Cozens restored Buffalo’s lead (3-2) in the final minute of the period when he beat McDavid to the crease for a rebound after Skinner made the initial save on a breakaway by Hinostroza.
  • We lost to the Buffalo Sabres. No bueno.
  • HOW MANY BREAKAWAYS ARE YOU GOING TO GIVE UP TO THE BUFFALO SABRES?!
  • What a disastrous finish to the second period for the Oilers as they gave up a pair of completely preventable goals that were caused by their own carelessness with the puck.
  • Drake Caggiula didn’t score! He did get an assist though.
  • The Sabres put on a shot-blocking clinic and it was incredibly frustrating to see how many pucks weren’t getting through.
  • I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a game with two disallowed goals to start a game before. That has to be a first.

SCORING SUMMARY

#GOODCONTENT 

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