Which team played last night? Final score: 4-1 Rangers
To take you behind the scenes a little bit, the first week of the month is a pretty heavy one at Nation HQ because the first few days/entire week is spent wrapping up the previous month with all kinds of reports and it can make for a couple of long days of staring at spreadsheets. Normally, having an Oilers game to watch after spending the day staring at spreadsheets is a nice way to decompress, but after the way this road has started, I’ll readily admit that I wasn’t exactly fired up to watch this hockey game in the first place. So when the Rangers opened the scoring on a gimme into an empty net, I could almost see my hockey spirit swirling the bowl of a metaphorical toilet. I’ll give everyone a minute to let the visual sink in. Got it? Good. Even though hope will never die, the candle isn’t burning so brightly these days, ya know? Add in that the broadcast team was hitting us with some hard truths and the fact that the Oilers have yet to win a hockey game when trailing at the first intermission and my general mood rivaled that of Sideshow Bob as he smashed his face with rake after rake.
Moving into the second period, the Oilers needed to be better in almost every way because it is tough to win hockey games when you’re only getting six shots on goal through 20 minutes of play. And in the first couple of minutes, I actually thought the Oilers looked like they were starting to build something. They were getting some zone pressure, shots on goal, and putting in the kind of work they needed to fight their way back. Then, as if the Hockey Gords were looking to keep us humble, the Rangers extended their lead with a goal off the rush that left the Oilers looking foolish as they got caught puck watching. Thankfully, the boys kept their hard hats on and were able to respond with a goal of their own to halve New York’s lead and give themselves a chance. Down by a goal with a period to play, there wasn’t much room for error if the Oilers were going to get a point or more, but that plan took a serious hit after the Rangers were able to give themselves some insurance with an early power play goal. And when you’re struggling to score, being down by a pair with time running out is the last thing you need. Though, I suppose it didn’t really matter in the end because it was only a few minutes later when Ryan Strome scored to not only ice the game but also throw a handful of salt in our festering wound.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- The game is over now.
- Ryan McLeod got the Oilers on the board and cut the Rangers’ lead in half (2-1) after he drove to the net with his stick on the ice and tapped in the beautiful centering feed from Tyler Benson.
- I know I just mentioned it but I don’t have many bright sides to write about so I just wanted to give Tyler Benson another shout out for the assist he picked up on McLeod’s second period marker. That backhander went from the corner right to McLeod’s tape and shows the kind of skill that Benson can bring to the table if given the chance.
- At least the Oiler won 62% of the faceoffs even though I can’t really enjoy it.
- Oilers outshot the Rangers by a 34-28 margin which was kinda cool, I guess.
- To be honest, I kind of like the dose of facts the New York broadcast team was throwing out there because I think there is a chunk of Oilers fans that needed to hear it.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Make it 11 of their last 12 games where the Oilers have allowed the first goal of the night.
- Alexis Lafreniere opened the scoring for the Rangers (1-0) on a wide-open net after Koskinen left his crease to make a play and completely flubbed the attempt.
- Barclay Goodrow extended the Rangers’ lead (2-0) after being fed a pass right in the slot and ripping a quick wrister on net that beat Koskinen up high. Make that another horrible start to a period.
- Chris Kreider restored the Rangers’ two-goal lead (3-1) after picking up a power play marker in the opening moments of the third period that just squeaked through Koskinen.
- Are you surprised that Ryan Strome scored? (4-1) You’re not, are you? Here he is scoring goals against the Oilers while Ryan Spooner struggles to keep up with orders at the Arbys drive through.
- With Mike Smith still on the shelf, Mikko Koskinen was back in net for his 19th start of the year and all I was looking for was Kostco to give his team a chance to win with some steady play. Instead, what we got to start was a Koskinen adventure as he picked up a delay of game penalty on the first shift and a gimme goal that gave the Rangers an early lead only a few minutes later. To be honest, things didn’t really get much better from there so I’ll just finish up by telling you that Koskinen finished the night with 24 saves and a .857 save%.
- The Oilers were outhit 29-12 and it was honestly tough to watch them be so soft and easy to play against. Embarrassing.
- I know the Oilers only started playing in the second period but I still find it hard to believe that the Islanders didn’t do anything to merit more than a single full-length power play. There must be some kind of CAD-USD exchange thing going on with the boys not getting any calls on this road trip. Either way, the Oilers finished the night at 0/2 with the man advantage.
- The PK crew hasn’t been able to keep teams off the boards consistently over the past few weeks and that didn’t change tonight at MSG as the Rangers were able to cash in one of five PP chances.
- The Rangers had 22 blocked shots and that was the last thing the Oilers needed as they’re already struggling to get pucks in the net.
oilers hockey isnt real it cant hurt you
— Kennedy (@kennedystrash) January 4, 2022
these rangers broadcasters about the oilers pic.twitter.com/mHDkdZDS8e
— s🏒 (@oilygifs) January 4, 2022
This is just relentless pic.twitter.com/iemltUzGJD
— Ryan (@IAmByks) January 4, 2022
— Tyler Collin (@JimTheMonk) January 4, 2022