Pain. Final score: 6-0 Panthers
As much as I’m usually the first person to get fired up about an Oilers game, it’s honestly been a struggle to settle in and get things done in terms of covering them right now. I mean, I’ve watched and written about a lot of losses in my decade here at Oilersnation, but this last month+ has easily been one of the most frustrating stretches that I can remember. It’s not just that the Oilers are losing, but the way they look completely defeated while it’s happening is enough to take the air out of anyone’s sails, and I can’t be the only one that saw Florida on the schedule and thought “oh boy, here we go again.” So when the Oilers started the game with plenty of piss and vinegar, I started to feel hopeful that the boys were going to play this game with as much rage as the rest of us are feeling. For the first time in a while, the Oilers were absolutely buzzin’ to start the hockey game and it was almost cruel that they weren’t able to get anything done with the amount of pressure they had going on in Florida’s zone. I don’t think I’m talking out of school when I say that this was easily the best period the Oilers have played in what feels like forever and the fact that the game was scoreless as they went into the intermission was a bummer to say the least. Goal or not, if they could keep this going for another 40 minutes then there was no reason to believe that they couldn’t win this thing and end their losing streak. Of course, keeping the pressure on against the Panthers was easier said than done.
Kicking off the second period, I was fully expecting the Panthers to push back a whole lot more than they did in the first and that’s exactly what we got as the play not only evened out but the early momentum swings afforded Florida their first real chances of the night. Unlike what we got early on, the Panthers had their own stretches where they buzzing with the obvious and major difference being that they were able to cash in on some of their chances whereas the Oilers could not. And for the 23rd time in the last 27 games, it was our side that gave up the first goal of the game on what was another deflating goal to crack the goose egg. But even with the Panthers scoring first, the Oilers were still very much in the fight until the frustration looked like it was creeping in that couldn’t buy a goal to save their lives. Despite plenty of quality chances, the boys could not get anything past Bobrovsky and it was so annoying to see Florida getting the kind of saves that we just couldn’t match at the other end. That’s not to hang everything on Mikko because he was left out to dry a bunch of times, but at the same time, it was hard not to notice what a guy standing on his head will do for you. Either way, it didn’t really matter because, just as we saw against the Senators, the wheels really fell off in the third period as the boys looked completely defeated and basically rode out the clock with about as little ‘give a shit’ as I’ve ever seen. The pain continues.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- The first period was probably the Oilers’ best period all season, and I really don’t think I’m exaggerating.
- I know nobody wants silver linings at this point but the Oilers actually played a pretty good game.
- I assume when Kris Russell is an old man, he’ll have his grandchildren throw rocks at him since he’ll miss blocking shots so much. Welcome back to the cowboy.
- I am proud to report that the Edmonton Oilers finished the night at 59% in the faceoff circle.
- At least the Oilers won the Corskis, outshooting the Panthers by a 40-28 margin.
- As for the real fancies, the spreadsheets actually liked the Oilers’ game as Edmonton finished the night with a 58.97 CF% and a 59.28 xGF%.
- Do me a favour and check out the latest episode of Better Lait Than Never and let me know what you think! Subscribe to Better Lait Than Never for FREE on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and wherever else you get your podcasts
THE FACE PALMERS
- It’s impossible to win when you don’t score.
- The Oilers gave up the first goal for the 23rd time in their last 27 games. Unbelievable.
- As good as the first period was for the Oilers, the second period was fantastic for the Panthers only they were actually able to score. Yikes.
- Aleksander Barkov opened the scoring (1-0) with a power play goal after Sam Reinhart found him with a cross-ice pass and he fired a shot that beat Koskinen between the pad and post. In my opinion, the goalie needs to have that one but your mileage may vary. Barkov added a second goal midway through the third period after he walked the Oilers defencemen back too deep into their own zone and ripped a shot from the slot that beat Koskinen low on the glove side.
- Only moments after Barkov’s opener, Carter Verhaeghe extended the lead (2-0) with a bullet of shot after he took a pass in the circle and had all the time in the world to pick his spot and shelf the puck up and over Koskinen. I have no idea how Verhaeghe had that much time in a scoring position but he was about as wide open as it gets.
- Anthony Duclair nailed the coffin shut (4-0) with the Panthers’ second power play goal of the night after he found a loose puck near the goalmouth and smashed it into the open cage on the backhand.
- If Duclair nailed the coffin shut then Sam Bennett put it in the ground as he added Florida’s fifth goal of the night after he had a wide-open lane to the slot that he made no mistake with.
- Just over a minute after Bennett made it a five-goal game, Owen Tippett threw sand in all of our eyes with another goal from the high slot that beat Koskinen down low.
- The special team struggles continued as the Oilers were unable to get anything done on three power play chances while also giving up three goals on five shorthanded situations. That’s about as ugly as it gets.
- I hate you, Sergei Bobrovsky. Goaltending makes a huge difference as Bob finished his evening with a 40-save shutout.
- Mikko Koskinen was back between the pipes for his 20th start of the season and all I was looking for was to have him play a steady flavour of goaltending that gave his team a chance to win. Unfortunately, he just wasn’t able to come up with that once again and his teammates didn’t help much either, and while I wouldn’t say he was terrible overall he still let in the kind of goals that leave you rolling your eyes. Koskinen finished the night with 22 saves and a .786 save%.
- Maybe we should hire an intern so that we have some kind of sacrifice to offer the Hockey Gords. At this point, we need to think about alternative tactics.
— Kennedy (@kennedystrash) January 21, 2022
— GB (@golifromczech) January 21, 2022
Thank you Jim Matheson for what has turned out to be the greatest pregame speech in history. Quality period of hockey
— Ryan (@IAmByks) January 21, 2022
— Alex (@Lakoustic) January 21, 2022
I feel so Beautiful todaaaaaay
(Ba ba ba ba ba bada ba)
— Ryan (@IAmByks) January 21, 2022
— dohfOs (Martin Lundén) (@dohfOs) January 21, 2022