GDB 5.0 Wrap Up: The Blues are painfully boring but ultimately effective, Oilers fall 2-0 in Saturday matinee
By baggedmilk1 year ago
Tough to win when you can’t score a goal. Final Score: 2-0 Blues
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The great thing about matinees is that they have an amazing way of setting the tone for the rest of the day. If the boys pull out a win, we’ve got most of the day to celebrate however we please, and that’s always a magical feeling. If they lose, the general annoyance roars in as normal with a major difference being that we have the rest of the day to build a bridge and get over it. Obviously, we’re always shooting for the win but we needed the boys on the ice to handle their end of the bargain. So when the Blues opened the scoring just over five minutes into the game on the power play, I wasn’t exactly surprised but certainly not brimming with joy. For the fourth time in five tries, the Oilers gave up the first goal of the game and were forced to chase once again. To make matters worse, the boys mustered only five shots on goal through the opening 20 minutes and it’s extremely obvious to say that they’re going to need a whole lot more than that if they’re planning to come back.
Down by a goal with plenty of time left to play, the first step for the Oilers would be to crank up their urgency levels to try and put the Blues back on their heels. Let’s be honest, St. Louis had a pretty casual start to this game and if the Oilers were going to grab the next goal, they needed to cause some chaos in the offensive zone. Instead of looking for the perfect play, I wanted the boys firing pucks from the parking lot and getting greasy near the crease to actually test Jordan Binnington rather than giving him an easy afternoon. Clearly having shots on goal as a point of focus, the Oilers threw as many pucks on net in the first half of the second period as they had through the entire first, and that small upgrade was already enough to lift my spirits. The problem, of course, was that they couldn’t get anything past the goalie. A more defensive game than we got against Carolina, chances came at a premium, and if ever there was a time to go fishing for garbage goals, this was the time. But even though the Oilers did a decent job of manufacturing opportunities for themselves, the boys just couldn’t solve Binnington and the one-goal hole remained.
Heading into the third period, the Oilers needed to up the pace to another level because even though they were only down by a goal, the Blues’ trap style of play meant that getting that one back wasn’t going to be easy. Just as importantly, Edmonton had to find a way to cash in the next goal while also not giving up too much defensively since going down by a pair would probably be too much to overcome. Of course, the problem with this plan is that the St. Louis Blues are one of the best teams in the league at shutting things down, and that meant the Oilers needed to find a way to cash in a goal while sinking in quicksand. So when the boys finally got a power play chance at the midway point of the period, it seemed like a do-or-die moment where they needed to take advantage of the opportunity. Unfortunately, we didn’t even get a shot on a net, and with the clock winding down, the need for a miracle was becoming apparent but it was just not meant to be. In the end, today’s contest was low-event and highly boring, and it was the team that thrives in those kinds of games that walked away with the win. Flush it and forget it, see you Monday.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
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- I’m going to go ahead and say that this was easily the best start of the season so far for Jack Campbell. From start to finish, he was very good between the pipes for the Oilers, and he gave his team a chance to stay in the mix even though he was asked to come up with some huge saves. Hands down, he was the best Edmonton Oilers in this hockey game and it would have been really nice to see this effort rewarded with a win, but that’s pretty tough to do when the squad can’t even get a single goal. Campbell finished the game with 20 saves and a .952 save%.
- Ryan McLeod was buzzing all game and I feel like it’s only a matter of time before he breaks out offensively. Given the wheels he’s got, McLeod is going to find lanes and spaces that other players simply can’t, and I know deep in my heart that this skill is going to result in more offence for the guy. I love him.
- Darnell Nurse played a team-high 26:03 and I like the way he’s been picking his spots to jump into the play.
- I liked Markus Niemelainen’s game again today. Even though he only got 9:25 in TOI, his steady play and physicality were noticeable and I appreciate that he plays a different style than basically anyone else on the depth chart.
- At least the Oilers outshot the Blues by a 23-22 margin. Anybody?
THE FACE PALMERS
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- Torey Krug opened the scoring (1-0) with a blast from the point that made its way through a couple of bodies before beating Jack Campbell upstairs. Obviously, allowing Krug’s goal was not the start the Oilers wanted to have, but my bigger concern is that they’ve now allowed a power play goal in all five games played.
- Justin Faulk sealed the deal (2-0) with an empty netter and Rogers Place emptied out in a hurry. Le sigh.
- Special teams matter and the Oilers lost the battle as they gave up a goal on the lone PK chance they faced while also failing to register a shot on their only power play chance. Not good.
- I find that the Oilers are trying to be too generous with each other or something because there were plenty of instances in this game where they passed up, what I thought to be, clear chances to shoot. Sometimes it’s okay to be selfish, ya know?
- Brett Kulak was fighting it a little bit today, wasn’t he? Not only did he trip over the red line and give up a wide open lane to the net for the second time in a week, but his passes were also often off the mark and that’s very unusual for a guy that’s been steady since the day he got here. Early season rust? That’s my bet.
- Not to make too much of a deal out of this, but Evan Bouchard’s puck-handling skills still look to be at a pre-season level. He was bobbling the biscuit all over the place, and a bunch of those mishandles ended up going to the other team.
- The Blues are sooooooo boring. I get why that style of play is effective, but man is it ever boring to watch. They also block a tonne of shots, which made it difficult for the Oilers to get shots through from any distance.
- Oilers won only 42% of the faceoffs. Nowhere near good enough.
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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