LEARN WHEN THE GAME STARTS! Final Score: 4-3 Kraken
When I looked at the schedule this week, I saw tonight’s game against the Kraken as another one that the Oilers should win more often than not. I don’t care that the defence is held together by tape and gum at this point, Seattle is terrible at the best of times and they were also coming into round two of the season series with both of their leading scorers on the shelf. Even so, the Oilers still couldn’t find a way to get going from the opening faceoff and found themselves down by a goal before the game was even a minute old. And while the power play was able to tie the game shortly after, I can’t even begin to express how frustrating it is to watch the Oilers continuously shoot themselves in the foot with an early goal against that forces them to chase. Not only that, the Oilers found themselves down by a goal for the second time when former friend, Adam Larsson, gave Seattle back the lead that they would carry into the intermission. The most frustrating part was that the boys weren’t playing poorly but that it seemed to take them a handful of shifts before they realized the game had started. Bah.
Down by a goal with 40 minutes to play, the Oilers needed to do a better job of sustaining pressure in Seattle’s zone rather than trying to get everything done on the rush. They needed to get their cycle game going to try and keep the pressure cranked up so that they could try and turn the tides in their favour. And things looked promising enough as the boys were able to even the score up for a second time on a goal by Evan Bouchard that came midway through the frame, but that’s where the fun stopped because Seattle basically took over the rest of the period from there. Disorganized and often a step behind, the Oilers were completely outmatched and almost lucky to wrap up the period down by only two goals. In the third, Edmonton, to their credit, played significantly better in all three zones and managed to pull themselves back within striking distance, but it was too little too late as there was simply too much ground to make up and not enough time to get the job done.
At the end of the day, I can handle watching the Oilers lose provided that they put in the effort and things just didn’t go their way. That wasn’t the case in this one as they were outworked, outshot, and outhustled at every turn by a Seattle team that looked like they were fighting for the division lead rather than the one that’s well back of the pack. We can blame the defence/injuries all we want, but the reality is that the Oilers didn’t play with nearly enough urgency until it was too late.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Leon Draisaitl tied the game (1-1) with a powerplay goal after being the business end of a beautiful passing play that saw both Nugent-Hopkins and McDavid moving the puck with extreme precision. My point here is that there was nothing the Kraken could have done differently because those three dudes executed the play perfectly.
- Evan Bouchard tied the game for a second time (2-2) with an absolute bomb from the point that blew past Grubauer before he even knew what happened.
- Connor McDavid pulled the Oilers back to within one (4-3) with a perfect deflection in front of the net after he got his stick on Bouchard’s point shot and had the puck slide through Grubauer.
- Ryan Nugent-Apple tree picked up a pair of assists on the night, but the one he got on Evan Bouchard’s second-period goal gave him 500 points in his career and I could not be prouder. Actually, I thought Nugent-Hopkins was the Oilers’ best forward and he always seemed to be making things happen when he was out there.
- I like the way Markus Niemalainen throws his body around. I know the kid is going to get sent back to Bako when guys start getting healthy, but I do appreciate his willingness to make a big hit.
- The power play was held off the scoresheet against Pittsburgh, but that was not the case in this one as the Oilers were able to cash in one goal on four chances with the man advantage. As much as it was nice to see the boys get one — it was a beauty — we really needed more than that and it’s too bad it just couldn’t happen.
- The PK, on the other hand, was brilliant again as they were able to handle all four of Seattle’s power play chances.
- Shout out to all 60 of Kailer Yamamoto’s friends and family that made it to Seattle for the game.
THE FACE PALMERS
- WHY CAN’T THE EDMONTON OILERS FIGURE OUT HOW TO START ON TIME FFS?!
- Yanni Gourde opened the scoring only 49 seconds into the hockey after taking a cross-ice pass and ripping a one-timer from the top of the circle that beat Skinner clean. Once again, the Oilers had another horrible start and found themselves chasing the game in the opening minute.
- Adam Larsson (of course!) restored Seattle’s lead (2-1) after taking a pass near the blue line and walking the puck past Kassian, down into the slot, and ripping a low wrister through Skinner. I was thinking that I should bet on Larsson scoring but I didn’t because I thought it would just be throwing my money away.
- Less than five minutes after Bouchard tied the game, Colin Blackwell gave Seattle their third lead of the night (3-2) after he split the defence (Russell/Barrie) and pulled off a pretty little deke to his backhand before lifting the puck up and over Skinner. The play started with a tough giveaway by Kassian at the blue line, which was, by my count, the second goal you could probably point your finger at him for in one way or another.
- Alex Wennberg extended the Kraken’s lead to two goals (4-2) after the Oilers got caught with some shoddy defending that gave Seattle the time and space needed to capitalize.
- I MISS YOU, DARNELL NURSE!
- I was wondering what Dave Tippett was going to do with his goaltending seeing as Koskinen played so well against Seattle and Pittsburgh, but as we found out this morning, it would be Stuart Skinner that would be minding the crease and tasked with extending the streak. This was Skinner’s sixth start and seventh appearance so far this season, and I was very much looking forward to watching him do his thing in the hopes that he would continue this mini heater that’s seen him register a save% over .930 in three of his last four appearances. Unfortunately, this was not Skinner’s night as he wasn’t as sharp as we needed him to be, especially with the way his teammates were unable to defend any at all. Skinner finished the night with 30 saves and a .882 save%.
- The Oilers simply couldn’t defend in their own zone and that deficiency gave Seattle all kinds of opportunities and extra looks on net that they really shouldn’t have had. To take that a step further, the back half of the second period was painful to watch and I don’t ever want to see the Oilers get run around like that by a bottom feeder again.
- The defensive pairings were a nightmare and I couldn’t believe it took Dave Tippett as long as it did to figure it out.
- I blame everyone that mentioned how bad Grubauer has been this season. All of you are responsible. All of you.
- Unfortunately, I must report that the Oilers won only 45% of the faceoffs. A bad night gets even worse.
- Edmonton got outshot 34-32 by Seattle. Think about that for a second.
Overheard Zach Hyman going through the Climate Pledge Arena tunnel just now.
"It's like SeaWorld in here!" 😂
— Sound Of Hockey (@sound_hockey) December 3, 2021
Just a wiggle
— McOil Fan Chaddo (@oilfanchaddo) December 4, 2021
— zach laing (@zjlaing) December 4, 2021
There's a group of 4 glass bangers inside the zone and that many glass bangers together is called a clowder or a glaring
— Machine Gun Ryan (@IAmByks) December 4, 2021
— Sid (@NHL_Sid) December 4, 2021
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