GDB 3.0 Wrap Up: A hot goalie and early mistakes ruin the night, Oilers fall 4-2 to Sabres
By baggedmilk5 months ago
Pain. Final Score: 4-2 Sabres
No point in sugarcoating it, the Oilers haven’t been very good early in their first two games. Pretty awful, in fact. And it doesn’t take a sage wizard to know that something needed to change. That’s when I heard about what could be the spark this team needed. After the morning stake, I read that Stuart Skinner shaved his moustache but it turns out that he just gave that baby a trim, and I think a good sharpening up both physically and metaphorically is exactly what this team needs so why not start with the goaltender? Even though Skinner was lights out on Saturday in his first appearance of the year, the team in front of him could use a dose of whatever Stu is cooking because, as a whole, they just haven’t been good enough. So when the Sabres opened the scoring on the power play only four minutes into the game, you could almost hear the collective groan across the city if you listened carefully enough. Thankfully, the Oilers were able to respond with a quick goal from Darnell Nurse to knot the score back up, but the run of giving up the first goal continues.
As the game wore on, the Oilers started to take over the game in the way that you’d expect when facing a rebuilding team like the Sabres. They were producing quality chances, firing pucks from everywhere, and buzzing around the ice like Nail Yakupov’s bees, and had they been able to finish on even half of their opportunities then Buffalo would have been down by a field goal. That said, you’ve gotta finish and the Oilers had a bunch of guys that couldn’t cash their cheques. So when the Sabres restored their lead in the first couple of minutes of the second period, all you can do is laugh at the absurdity. The problem is that the chuckle didn’t last long as the Sabres were able to extend the lead to a pair of goals and the Oilers found themselves chasing again. All of a sudden, those missed goals in the first period started to look a whole lot uglier. Toss in the fact that Buffalo outworked the Oilers quite handily over much of the middle frame and you’ve got the makings of a painful loss and real reason to be concerned.
Down by two goals with 20 minutes to play, Edmonton needed to be better in basically every facet if they were going to fight their way back into the game. They needed to crank up the urgency and find a way to score some ugly goals because nothing they were trying was working in terms of getting pucks in the net. And in the early going, the Oilers were doing everything they could to try and cut the lead in half, but as we saw in the first, they just couldn’t get anything past Eric Comrie. As much as I hate to admit it, the guy stood on his head and gave his team the kind of performance that steals wins and frustrates the opposition. That’s not to say that the Oilers should get a pass for losing just because they ran into a tough tendy. They were still sloppy with the puck way too often and having them give up three goals in the opening minutes of the first and second periods was yet another example of this team not being ready to play. I know it’s only the third game of the season, but the Oilers need to find a way to get going.
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THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Only 23 seconds after the Sabres opened the scoring, Darnell Nurse tied the game (1-1) on a beautifully executed 2-on-1 with Leon Draisaitl that left Comrie flailing and helpless. Perfect pass by Leon, and a great job by Nurse to jump up into the play and finish it off through the five-hole.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins pulled the Oilers to within a single goal (3-2) in the dying moments of the third period after Connor McDavid dug the puck out of a pile of bodies and RNH sniped a shot up high.
- Connor McDavid was buzzing and probably deserved more than a single point if anyone on his line could score.
- The Oilers had plenty of chances to score and it was extremely frustrating to see them unable to get anything past Comrie. It wasn’t for a lack of effort but rather an inability to finish and I’m not sure there’s much you can do about that when a goalie plays as well as Comrie did.
- I missed Markus Niemelainen because he gives the Oilers a flavour of defence that they don’t really have anywhere else.
- At least the Oilers outshot the Sabres by a 48-24 margin. Normally when you outshoot a team 2:1 you’re going to win.
- I’m happy about 56% in the faceoff circle. I need a silver lining here.
- I love a good Gene Principe game intro and I don’t care what anyone thinks. Team Gene forever.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Rasmus Dahlin opened the scoring (1-0) on the power play with a snipe from the high slot that beat Skinner clean over the blocker side.
- Tage Thompson (if that’s even a name) restored Buffalo’s lead (2-1) with a beautiful individual effort that saw him carve through the Oilers defensive zone before finishing the play with a nifty deke on Skinner. Unfortunately, that’s the kind of goal that we’ll be seeing on the highlight reels for a little while.
- JJ Peterka extended Buffalo’s lead (3-1) after the Oilers coughed the puck up at the opposing blue line, allowing a breakaway that Skinner wasn’t able to stop. Another garbage start to a period leaves the Oilers trailing again.
- Alex Tuch put the final nail in the coffin (4-2) with an empty net goal in the dying seconds of the period.
- We need to get a whole lot more from Evander Kane, Zach Hyman, and Kailer Yamamoto. Those are three boys we need to produce and they were quiet against the Sabres. There were lots of chances among this group but no one could find a way to beat Comrie.
- I’m not saying Stuart Skinner was bad — Gord knows he faced breakaways and odd-man rushes aplenty — but I would certainly say this isn’t going to be a game to remember. Skinner finished the night with 20 saves and a .870 save%.
- Why is it that the Oilers struggle so mightily to make a five-foot pass? Why? Not to mention, what was the deal with the endless drop passes? None of them worked so what was the strategy here?
- The NHL site had the Oilers listed with 18 giveaways but that number seems about as real as unicorns or goblins.
- Dylan Holloway is still a very young player and it’s important to remember that as he navigates the early days of his NHL career. He was tentative early before getting blown up by Lysbushkin in the second period, and I’d love nothing more than for something good to happen to him so that he gains a little bit of confidence. We’ll get there, I just hope he’s okay.
- Did anyone else hear the echo that was coming from the ice mics early in the game? It was driving me insane.
- Oilers got beat on both sides of the special teams battle, giving up one goal on four shorthanded situations while also going scoreless on their three opportunities with the man advantage.
- The digital board ads remain awful.
Talk to me, Twitter. Hit me up at @jsbmbaggedmilk and Wanye at @Oilersnation and you could find yourself landing in this very spot.
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