GDB 29.0 Wrap Up: Oilers drop first half of back-to-back set with a sloppy 2-1 loss in Minnesota
By baggedmilk1 year ago
Back at it tomorrow. Final Score: 2-1 Wild
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For the third time in only 12 days, the Edmonton Oilers were squaring off against the Minnesota Wild and I found myself both dreading the matchup and happy that the season series was almost over. Not to take anything away from Friday night’s 5-2 win — that was arguably the best game the Oilers have had in a while — but Minnesota has owned us over the last couple of years and I have an unfortunate predisposition to thinking of this as a scheduled loss. That’s why I needed the boys to give us a second straight win against this Wild team to prove to my broken brain that the win from three days ago wasn’t a one-off miracle. Quick to forgive, not so much to forget. So when the Oilers’ PK gave up the first goal of the night, I wasn’t so much surprised as I was expectedly disappointed. That’s also why I was so pumped and relieved to see Zach Hyman respond to the Wild’s opener with the tying goal on the power play only moments later, knotting the score as the period wound down.
Moving into the second period, I was eager to see how the Oilers would follow up what I thought was a very strong road period in the first. If they could keep their legs moving, get more bodies in front of Marc-Andre Fleury, and maybe even stay out of the box if I’m being greedy, then I saw no reason why they couldn’t be the ones to grab the next goal and take control of the game. Unfortunately, those hopes were dashed rather quickly as the visiting wasn’t even able to register a shot until the 11th minute of the period. I mean, it’s hard to get too excited if by the time your favourite team gets its first shot on net the other team has already scored a goal and had another disallowed. At the same time, it wasn’t like the Wild were so unstoppably good that they were just running the show and able to do anything they wanted. It was just that they were moving their feet and the Oilers weren’t until the frame was nearly over. Thankfully, Stuart Skinner was dialed in between the pipes and he kept the game within reach despite maybe deserving to be in deeper than a one-goal hole.
With only 20 minutes left to play and plenty of work to do if the Oilers were going to get a point or more, it didn’t take an NHL head coach to figure out they were going to need a better effort down the stretch than they got in the second period. At the very least, they needed to crank the urgency knob way up to the right because the boys looked way too passive rather than busting their asses to dictate the play. Anything less would be unacceptable. Yet, even with a loss staring them in the face, the Oilers couldn’t match the Wild’s intensity and spent large chunks of time pinned in their own zone and barely any time making something happen at the other end of the ice. I don’t know what it was but they just could not get themselves engaged. What’s weird is that the Oilers actually started this game off quite well, so to see them trail off without much fight as the game progressed was concerning to say the least. While I will absolutely buy that everyone in a white jersey is going to be pissed off about the way this game ended, I have to say that you wouldn’t have been able to tell based on the effort they put down on the ice.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Under two minutes after the Wild got on the board, Zach Hyman tied the game (1-1) with a power play goal after he found a rebound in front of the net and fed the loose puck up and over a fallen Marc-Andre Fleury. For some reason, the Wild challenged the goal for goalie interference — it was very obviously not — but the funny part was that it marked the third straight “goal” by Hyman that has gone to review. Thankfully, this one finally counted.
- Stuart Skinner is so good at hockey that it makes me infinitely happy to know that he’s a local kid that grew into being a starting goaltender for his hometown team. While none of that matters in the moment, it’s hard to forget as you see Skinner making big saves and giving his team a chance to compete, which is exactly what he did tonight against the Wild. Skinner finished the night with 28 saves and a .933 save%.
- I love the Oilers’ power play so much that I consider writing poetry and sonnets to express my affection. Even though we obviously needed more against the Wild, the boys still went 1-for-5 on the man advantage.
- JEREMY COUPAL FOREVER! The guy is really good at watching hockey.
- I can’t even enjoy that the Oilers won 61% of the faceoffs.
PRESENTED BY BETWAY
THE FACE PALMERS
- Matt Boldy opened the scoring (1-0) on the power play with a redirection in the slot that came off of a perfect shot-pass from Kaprisov along the boards. A set play to be sure, the Wild only needed seven seconds of power play time to get this goal done.
- Freddie Gaudreau restored Minnesota’s lead (2-1) on a beautifully executed play that saw he and Matt Boldy execute a give-and-go in tight before raising the puck up and over Skinner on the blocker side. As much as you have to tip your cap to the Wild on the execution, Connor McDavid looked lost on defending the play and that is not something you see very often.
- I’m going to go ahead and say that it’s less than ideal to stand around for most of the second period and register only six shots by the time the buzzer sounded.
- The Minnesota Wild scored one goal on three chances with the power play and I’m not even surprised anymore. Our PK is going to be the Achilles heel this season, I swear it.
- The Oilers didn’t have a single line that was rolling. Not one. It was like none of them had any mojo to speak of and it was almost inexplicable after the way this same lineup performed on Friday.
- I don’t know how the NHL site has the Oilers listed with three giveaways but I’m thinking the stat taker was snoozing.
- Not really a big fan of basically getting outshot by a 2:1 margin, ya know? Tonight it was 30-21 for the Wild, which is a season-low in output for Edmonton. The Oilers mustered only six shots in both the second and third periods.
- The Oilers were outhit 15-11 and normally I wouldn’t mention that stat but I felt it was a good one to bring up given that Edmonton rarely had the puck and thus had plenty of opportunities to use their bodies.
|Matt Boldy (11) (Power Play)
Assists: Kirill Kaprizov (18), Mats Zuccarello (20)
|Zach Hyman (10) (Power Play)
Assists: Tyson Barrie (15), Connor McDavid (30)
|Frederick Gaudreau (5)
Assists: Matt Boldy (10)
No Goals Scored
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