GDB 55.0 Wrap Up: Oilers sloppy, sluggish, and slow in 4-3 OT loss to the Blackhawks
By baggedmilk1 year ago
That one hurts. Final Score: 4-3 Blackhawks in OT
I don’t know how many times and in how many places I need to say that the Blackhawks are terrible and that the Oilers should beat them, but I wanted to do it again now because of how important these points are. For as tough as last week was against some very good hockey clubs, I thought the Oilers needed to win all three games against the Flyers, Blackhawks, and Canadiens because the standings are simply way too tight to lose points against teams that have no chance of making the playoffs. The Oilers started off on the right foot with a win against the Flyers on Tuesday night, but I’m very much in ‘what have you done for me lately’ mode as every point is crucial to keeping pace with the rest of the pack. So when the Oilers gave up a goal on the first shot against after a brutal defensive zone coverage gaff, I can’t exactly say that I was brimming with confidence about the way this started. Unfortunately, the boys didn’t look much sharper as the period wore on and I actually felt like they were lucky to escape the frame with a tie game after having to come back two separate times.
Moving into the second period, the Oilers needed to play with a whole lot more urgency than they offered in the beginning because they were far too often late to arrive and a step behind when they got there. I understand that this was the fifth game of a 10-day road trip, but the Oilers need to find a way to get their legs moving and start dictating the play rather than always reacting to it. Yet, once again, the visiting side was sluggish and sloppy in the opening few minutes and it gave the Blackhawks plenty of time and space to create opportunities in the offensive zone. I mean, the number of quality looks they had on net was shocking and I actually think the Oilers were lucky that they weren’t back in a hole instead of tied and in the mix. Had it not been for Koskinen standing on his head, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where the Blackhawks wouldn’t have claimed their third lead of the game since they were basically responsible for the bulk of the chances and attacking time. To be honest, the Oilers looked more like they were hanging on for dear life rather than pushing for the lead, and I don’t know that I’ve ever been so grateful to hear the buzzer sound as I was in that moment.
With the game tied and a win still on the table, it was no secret that the boys had to close out this game with a whole lot more chutzpah than they’d provided to that point. With second place in the Pacific Division on the line, the Oilers needed to dig deep and finish off strong, giving themselves the best possible chance at points that they could get. I didn’t want to watch them sitting back anymore, I wanted to watch them come out swinging. Instead, what we got was another round of sloppiness that paved the way for the home side to make something happen, but it wasn’t until a costly mistake by Koskinen with the puck that they were able to take advantage. Thankfully, that goal against seemed to wake the team up some, but it took until the final second of regulation to get anything else past Marc-Andre Fleury. If I’m being honest, I was already writing out an angry finish to this wrap up just as Kane potted the equalizer with less than a minute to play. And even though it was nice to steal a point when they probably didn’t deserve one, I still see this as a loss we’ll be looking at down the line if we end up talking about missed opportunities.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- @Leon Draisaitl tied the game (1-1) with a power play goal from his office along the right side of the ice after McDavid found him with a perfect pass to his wheelhouse that the German goal machine teed off on to beat a sprawling Fleury.
- In the dying moments of the first period, @Evander Kane tied the game for a second time (2-2) with a one-touch shot that beat Fleury down low after Draisaitl found him with a pass as he was charging towards the goal. Kane added another goal in the dying seconds of the third period (3-3) after the Oilers pulled the goalie to try and even things up with an extra skater. Normally, this never works but miraculously, Kane was able to get the goal and steal his team a point.
- We always cheer for two McPoints!
- @Mikko Koskinen was back between the pipes and looking to build on what has been an extremely effective stretch of games for the big man. Over his last eight starts, Koskinen has posted a sparkling .934 save% and it’s given his team all kinds of confidence to go out and get the job done, and the boys desperately needed him in this one too. For most of this hockey game, I thought Kostco was the best player on the ice for the Oilers and had it not been for him then we would probably would have been talking about a blowout instead of walking away with a loser point. Ironically, it ended up being his own mistake that nearly cost his team at least a point on the board and I’m having a hard time trying to articulate the disappointment I felt when that puck went in. Koskinen finished the night with 28 saves and a .875 save%.
- If you’re looking for a Corski update then you’ve come to the right place, but unfortunately, I must report that the Oilers and Blackhawks each had 32 shots on goal.
- At least I can advise that the Oilers won 60% of the faceoffs.
- Shout out to Cody Ceci for playing in his 600th NHL game!
- Once again, I bring you a report from the spreadsheets which states that the Oilers finished the night with a 50 CF% and a 50.54 xGF%.
- Sign up for the new ON Newsletter! It’s a weekly thing I’m doing and I’ll have some giveaways, etc happening in there.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Out-hustled, out-hit, out-chanced, and ultimately out-scored.
- Are you surprised that Sam Lafferty scored only his second goal (1-0) in his last 70 games played and that it happened against the Oilers? You’re not, are you? Did I mention the goal came on the first shot? Mmhmm.
- @Patrick Kane restored Chicago’s lead (2-1) after a lost board battle near the hash marks prevented the Oilers from clearing the zone, which turned the puck around and gave the Blackhawks an odd-man opportunity down low.
- @Dominik Kubalik gave Chicago their third lead of the night (3-2) after Mikko Koskinen passed the puck directly to him at the hash marks. I was honestly dumbfounded.
- Alex DeBrincat potted the winner (4-3) on the power play after Patrick Kane fed him with a cross-ice pass that left him with a wide-open net to shoot at and he made no mistake of finishing the game off.
- As much as it was nice to see the Oilers score a power play goal, they really needed to get more done on their four opportunities than they did and I’m especially frustrated with the lack of finish now that we’ve got another loss on the board.
- Another game, another PK goal against.
- The second period was a rough one for Edmonton as they looked like they were running on fumes and barely able to keep up. Not only did they look like they were skating through sand, but the boys were also giving out turnovers like it was a charity bake sale.
- I know the NHL site had the giveaways list at 11 for the Oilers but I’m thinking that number is a little light based on what my eyes were telling me.
- @Warren Foegele is in a hole so deep that I wonder if there is enough rope in the world to be able to pull him out. The play is absolutely dying on his stick and it’s tough to watch.
- @Tyson Barrie left the game in the second period with an upper-body injury and did not return.
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LISTEN TO BETTER LAIT THAN NEVER
On this week’s show, I looked at Mikko Koskinen’s resurgence for the Oilers and how his fine play may affect Ken Holland’s trade plans as we head into the deadline. Subscribe on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts.
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