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Calvin Pickard showed up but nobody else did, Oilers lose 3-2 in Game 5

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baggedmilk
1 month ago
After a massive win in Game 4 at Rogers Place, the Oilers were back in Vancouver and looking to grab their first series lead and put the Canucks on the brink of elimination. Unfortunately, it was the Canucks who showed up to play in Game 5, defeating the Oilers 3-2 in a very disappointing Game 5 loss.

CALVIN PICKARD WAS THE OILERS’ BEST PLAYER

There’s no argument that it was a bit of risky business to have Calvin Pickard start Game 4, but after he gave his team steady goaltending in that win, the decision to play him again was pretty obvious to me. I know this isn’t the ideal situation, but the reality is that he’s been the better of our two netminders in this series, which meant he earned the chance to go again on Thursday night.
The problem with Pickard’s night was that he was apparently the only one who showed up to play. Pickard was easily the best Oiler on the ice from start to finish, and I don’t think I have to explain why that’s a problem when you’re in Game 5 of a second round playoff series. Frankly, had it not been for Pickard, this game would have been as lopsided on the scoreboard as it was on the ice.
Calvin Pickard faced 35 shots and stopped 32 of them, which was good for a .914 save%, and it’s hard not to think about what it would have been like to get this goaltending early in the series. After the performances he gave in both of his starts, it’s hard to imagine that Knoblauch will turn to anyone other than him with the team’s backs against the wall. For as bad as the team in front of him played, Calvin Pickard stood tall and was one of the few bright spots to talk about, and for that, I salute him.
The real shame is that the guy put in a game like that, and his teammates couldn’t give him a win for his effort.

TOO MANY PASSENGERS

After the Canucks lost Game 4, Rick Tocchet told the media in his post-game presser that he had too many passengers on his team that night, and I feel the exact same way about the Oilers in Game 5. Outside of a few guys here and there, most of the Oilers’ skaters looked like they were skating in sand and could not execute on even the basics of their game.
Their breakout was a mess, they couldn’t connect on 10-foot passes, and for the most part, the Oilers couldn’t generate much of anything on the offensive side of the puck. They looked like they were waiting for something good to happen without doing much to actually make it happen. Outside of the first period, the Oilers stopped skating and allowed the Canucks to basically do as they pleased.

OILERS ON THE BRINK OF ELIMINATION

Does anyone else feel like we’re watching the same movie over again? From my side of the computer screen, this series feels a whole lot like what happened in Round 2 against the Golden Knights a year ago. The Oilers were up against an opponent that they should match up well against, but when the biggest moments were happening, our boys ended up as their own worst enemy.
The mistakes that cost them the game were clear as day in two of the three losses we’ve seen. In Games 1 and 3, Edmonton couldn’t get a stop to save their lives, and it cost them in games that they absolutely could have won. But there are no silver linings in the playoffs. Last night, they had Calvin Pickard standing on his head on a night when the rest of the team left their legs at home. As much as it pains me to say it, the Canucks were so much better on both sides of the puck that it felt like a car crash just waiting to happen.
Now the Oilers head home for a do-or-die game at Rogers Place that will see them fight their way to Game 7 or get eliminated at home in Game 6 for the second straight season. I was at that final matchup with Vegas last year in the 2022-23 playoffs, and it was as painful to be in that arena as you could ever imagine when we were forced to watch the handshake line in our own barn. On Saturday, we’ll find out if the Oilers can apply a lesson from last year’s failure or if we’re doomed for history to repeat itself.
I’m hoping for a new chapter in this story, but we’ll have to wait to see which version of the Edmonton Oilers shows up to accept the challenge. All I know for sure is we’ll need a whole lot better than the team that got wrecked in Vancouver on Thursday night because that kind of effort ain’t gonna get the job done. The Oilers are a better team than what we watched, and they need to get back there if they plan on play more hockey than these next 60 minutes.

THE BIG BOYS WERE QUIET

When your best line of the night is Janmark – Ryan – Brown, it’s probably not the best news, you know? It’s rare when the big boys are all off at the same time, but it’s even worse when the entire top six didn’t get much done over the final two periods. I loved seeing Kane pick up his first of the series early in the first period, but that whole group went quiet after that. We can’t even say that the Oilers didn’t get their chances on the power play because they certainly did, and they pissed them all away.
I’m not going to harp on them much because our best players are the ones who have carried us this whole season, but in last night’s contest, they weren’t good enough when we needed them to be. It’s one thing when games like that happen in the regular season, but it hurts much more when you’re in the midst of a best of seven series. I’d bet the farm on McDavid and Draisaitl being better on Saturday, but they, along with their linemates, weren’t at their best in Vancouver.

OTHER THINGS WORTH MENTIONING…

-Evander Kane picked up his first goal of the series early in the first period, and it was nice to see him rewarded for his strong play in the offensive zone after getting bumped up into the top six. He did, however, get bumped back down to the third line in the final frame, but that was because Knobby tried to put Connor and Leon together to find some kind of momentum.
-Tought night for Connor McDavid, and I can probably count on one hand how many times I’ve said that. I’d bet money on him being hurt, and that we’ll find out when all is said and done that he’s been dealing with something. His shot is way off, and I think that’s the detail I’ve been most focused on.
-I know there are plenty of folks who don’t appreciate Mattias Janmark because he doesn’t score a tonne, but he came up with a big one late in the first period on the perfectly executed 2-on-1 with Connor Brown. At the time, that goal gave the Oilers a 2-1 lead heading into the first intermission, and it had all of us down at Greta feeling pretty good about their start. I thought Janmark had a really solid night despite playing only 9:41.
-Where are you Warren Foegele? I see a guy that looks like you. Maybe you’re hiding behind the guy that looks kinda like Corey Perry.
-Should we talk about the Evan Bouchard giveaway that led to Vancouver’s second and tying goal? Dad has been so damned good with the puck on his stick in this series that seeing him duff it that badly was jarring. Tough night for Bouchard on a detail that he’s usually so good at.
-The Oilers won the special teams battle again in Game 4, and it certainly didn’t seem crazy to think they would have to do it again if they were going to grab Game 5 behind enemy lines. The bad news was that the Oilers’ power play looked as bad as it ever has — I was stunned how ineffective they were — going 0-for-5 on their opportunities with the man advantage. The Canucks were incredibly aggressive on the PK, and the Oilers failed to make adjustments. If anything, that PK dominance by Vancouver was a major factor in that win. On the penalty kill, however, the Oilers were very good and killed off all four shorthanded situations they faced.
-The Oilers were outhit 42-20. For Gords sake, stand up for yourselves out there.
-I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed to see that the Oilers won only 42.9% of the faceoffs in Game 5. It’s one of those stats that only I seem to love, and it’s been a bummer that our boys haven’t been able to win nearly enough of them. I know what the stats squad says about faceoffs, but I personally believe that it’s better to start with the puck when you can.

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