From first in the NHL in points percentage to out of a playoff spot in six games. Wow. Final Score: 5-1 Leafs
I’m not going to lie to you guys, I was about as excited for this game as I would be for a swift kick to the shin because the boys have not been playing well and there is nothing worse than watching them lose with our barn half-filled with Leafs fans. It’s a nightmare scenario, people, and I wasn’t feeling great about it. That’s not to say that I was hoping for Edmonton to lose — I’ve been an Oilers fan since I was six years old and there’s no quitting now — but I will be totally honest and say that I wasn’t exactly expecting a date with the Leafs to be the night that would turn this thing around either. Yet, as the game got started and you heard the back and forth between in the crowd, I found myself getting excited and hopeful that the vibes at Rogers Place would help power the boys out of this slump. The first step, of course, was actually scoring the first goal, which is something the Oilers have yet to do on this losing streak or really all that much in general. It was a small dream, but I thought it was a good one. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be as the Oilers ended up giving up the opener in the dying moments of the first on the back of some very shoddy PK defending after what was otherwise a pretty solid period for the home side.
Moving into the second period down by a goal, the Oilers need to keep doing what they had been because they were putting in the kind of work that made it seem like the goals would follow. Call me an optimist, but I actually thought the first period was one of the best the Oilers have played over these last couple of weeks and if they could follow it up with another strong 20 minutes then I thought we may be in store for a comeback. And just as we saw in the first, the Oilers were dominant early on in the frame and produced all kinds of offensive chances for themselves, but just couldn’t manage to score. They shot, they hacked away, they skated hard, but they were ultimately left wanting. At the other end of the rink, however, the Leafs had no such trouble finding the back of the net as they were able to tack on a pair of goals to extend their lead to three goals, a total that seemed insurmountable for an Oilers team that can’t score to save their lives. Needless to say, I wasn’t exactly brimming with hope that the boys would be able to make this one interesting let alone come back and win. Even with the early(ish) goal by Sceviour, we basically had no time to get excited as the Leafs were able to respond almost instantly and further rub salt in the festering wound that is this homestand. From first place to outside the playoffs in the blink of an eye. Yikes.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- The game is over and Scrooged is on AMC.
- Colton Sceviour got the Oilers on the board (3-1) on the back of some hard work by the fourth line after they were able to outmuscle the Leafs in front of the crease and knock the loose puck into the open cage. The goal marked the first time in nine games where the Oilers actually got a goal from their bottom six. They were still brutal, but at least they scored.
- I’ve said it a bunch of times since he’s been called up, but I love the way Markus Niemalainen throws his body around. Give the kid another two hits to go along with one shot and 10:35 in TOI.
- At least we won the Corskis? Oilers outshot the Leafs by a 36-25 margin.
- I can’t even enjoy the fact that the Oilers won 53% of the faceoffs.
- Looking at the fancies, the Oilers fared well in the spreadsheet department as they finished the night with a 57.58 CF% and a 54.34 xGF%. Spreadsheets, however, don’t pay the bills.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Are you surprised the Oilers gave up the first goal of the game? You’re not are you. Six straight games, six straight losses.
- Auston Matthews opened the scoring (1-0) with a power play goal at the end of the first period after a scramble in front of the net led the puck to squeaking out of the pile and right onto the sniper’s stick. Honestly, it was some pretty awful penalty killing by the Oilers that result in that goal, and it was a very tough way to end off what was otherwise a strong period. Matthews added a second goal in the third period (5-1), but if I’m being honest, I had already stopped watching by that point.
- Wayne Simmonds extended Toronto’s lead (2-0) midway through the second period after a soft play by the Oilers’ defence allowed him to walk right to the front of the net and bury a loose puck. The Oilers were dominating the period up to that point but couldn’t buy a goal to save their lives, and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t deflating to see the team not get rewarded when they’re actually playing well.
- Leafs made it a three-goal game (3-0) after TJ Brodie’s point shot changed direction on its way to the net, rising up and over Koskinen as he tried to readjust.
- Only 1:07 after Sceviour got the Oilers on the board, Morgan Rielly restored Toronto’s three-goal lead (4-1) with a bullet shot to the top corner after he was set up with an open look from right in the slot.
- The Leafs are now 9-0-1 at Rogers Place. Gross.
- Mikko Koskinen was back between the pipes and looking to put in the kind of performance that would end the five-game losing streak and silence a very potent Maple Leafs offence, and while I wouldn’t say that this loss was all on Kostco, I will absolutely suggest that he didn’t help matters much either. I mean, what can you say when your goaltender gets tagged with five goals on 25 shots against? No matter how you slice it, that’s just not good enough from your starter. Koskinen finished the night with 20 saves and a .800 save%.
- The power play continues to struggle as the Oilers went 0/2 on a night when they desperately needed a goal to try and pry open the floodgates.
- The penalty kill wasn’t much better as it allowed a costly goal (1/3) at the end of the first period to negate what could have been a positive start for the team.
- Make it six straight games without a shot for Kailer Yamamoto. Not a great stat for a guy that plays all of his minutes in the top-six. Es no bueno.
- Did not like seeing that Ryan McLeod was taken out for COVID protocol nor was I thrilled to see that Dave Tippett wouldn’t be coaching for precautionary reasons. On a day when so many teams had to deal with players going on the COVID list, it’s a real bummer to see that our squad was also affected by the bigger things going on outside the rink.
you are so welcome
— Netflix Canada (@Netflix_CA) December 14, 2021
oilers fans getting ready to sit down and watch them play the leafs pic.twitter.com/e03whnxstf
— zach laing (@zjlaing) December 15, 2021
— Ryan (@IAmByks) December 15, 2021
So, it's Jack Campbell's turn to look like the best goaltender to ever play the game. Sure.
— Robin Brownlee (@Robin_Brownlee) December 15, 2021
— WheatNOil (@WheatNOil) December 15, 2021
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