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GDB 56.0 Wrap Up: About as disappointing as it gets, Oilers fall 5-2 to the Montreal Canadiens

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baggedmilk
8 months ago
Brutal. Just brutal. Final Score: 5-2 Canadiens
This morning in the GDB, I wrote about how this game against Montreal was a must-have for the Edmonton Oilers as the playoff race in the Pacific Division is as tight as it gets, and I’d rather not have to spend the rest of my weekend thinking about how they blew it against a bottom-feeding team. Sure, new coach Marty St. Louis has the Habs playing better over the last couple of weeks — they had won six of seven games with him behind the bench — but that shouldn’t be enough to deter a team that’s fighting for their playoff lives. At least, not from my side of the TV screen anyway. But in the early going, it was the Habs that were playing with some jump and it allowed them to work their way into a handful of quality chances before our side had even registered a shot. Thankfully, the play evened out as the period wore on but that didn’t stop the fact that I was annoyed by the way things started. Yet, even though the boys were playing better they still couldn’t get more than the one goal past Montembeault and that gave the Habs a window to restore their lead, which is exactly what they did in the final minute leading into the intermission. Slow start, bad finish… no bueno.
Down by a goal but with plenty of time left to play, the way forward for the Oilers had to include limiting the turnovers in their own end because the Canadiens were basically feasting on the bonus chances their hosts were giving up. I know it’s probably the polite play for the Oilers to make, but giving the opposition free chances like they were Derek Jeter gift bags wasn’t going to work. But just as we saw in the opening frame, Montreal was once again ready to play and they hit the ice with all kinds of energy and hustle, which gave the Oilers fits as they struggled to handle the pressure. Yet, despite the early storm, the Oilers were able to work through those rocky seas before eventually finding their legs and producing a few chances of their own. That work resulted in Ryan McLeod knotting the score up for a second time with a greasy goal that came on the back of some hard work and hustle by him and Hyman. When that goal went in, I thought the tides were finally turning in our favour. But then, almost as if the Hockey Gords wanted to keep us humble, the Oilers coughed up another power play goal to give the visitors their third lead of the night, and our heroes were trailing once again.
With only 20 minutes available and a seemingly sizeable hill to climb, the Oilers needed to up their urgency levels significantly from where they were at through the first two periods. Instead of fighting tooth and nail for every inch, the Oilers seemed content to sit and watch rather than trying to dictate the play. To make matters worse, they looked nothing at all like a team that was fighting their way back into a tie game. Instead, what we got was yet another lacklustre effort that was ripe with poor execution, and it almost felt like the Oilers were trying to avoid mistakes rather than playing to win. They were just extremely jittery, ya know? Either way, they looked completely uninspired on a night when they absolutely needed to get these points, and it was unbelievably frustrating to watch the train wreck unfold. All night long, the Oilers were outworked, out-hustled, and outmatched by one of the worst teams in the NHL and if that’s not a stone’s throw from rock bottom then I don’t know what is. To be honest, this is the most annoyed I’ve been by a loss in a long time, and to make matters worse, I have zero confidence that the management in place has any ideas on how to fix it.
The wrap.

THE BRIGHT SIDE

  • Only moments after Caufield opened the scoring, @Evander Kane tied things up (1-1) with a spinning shot from the slot that caught the goalie off guard after Draisaitl found him with a pass and just enough space to make a play. As we’ve seen his entire time with the Oilers so far, Kane was very good against the Canadiens and I especially like the way he seems to drag his linemates into the fight.
  • @Ryan McLeod tied the game up for a second time (2-2) after he drove to the goalmouth and picked up a rebound created by Hyman’s drive to the crease. At first, the Habs actually challenged the play for goalie interference but the goal was ultimately confirmed after a lengthy delay.
  • @Leon Draisaitl has 14 points (5 G, 9 A) in 11 games under Jay Woodcroft
  • Give the video coach an edible arrangement for the way he battled out there.
  • If you’re a fan of the Corskis, you’ve finally landed at the point in the wrap up where I report that the Oilers outshot the Canadiens by a 30-29 margin.
  • At least, I can report that the Oilers won 58% of the faceoffs.
  • Once again, I bring you a report from the spreadsheets which states that the Oilers finished the night with a 56.34 CF% and a 56.79 xGF%.
  • Loved seeing the Axios men’s Ukrainian choir performing the Ukrainian and Canadian anthems.
  • 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

  • @Cole Caufield opened the scoring (1-0) after he picked up the puck in the high slot with enough time and space to pick his spot with a snipe to the top corner.
  • @Brendan Gallagher restored Montreal’s lead (2-1) with a power play goal in the dying seconds of the first period that came from right in the slot after the Habs did a really nice job of moving the puck around the zone effectively.
  • @Nick Suzuki gave the Canadiens their third lead of the night (3-2) with a power play after he walked the puck down broadway and ripped a shot over Mike Smith on the glove-hand side. This was actually the second time the Canadiens scored on this power play but the Oilers were able to negate the first with a well-placed coaching review.
  • Artturi Lehkonen threw some sand in our eyes with a shorthanded goal (4-2) that came on the back of a disastrous sequence by the Edmonton Oilers that almost looked like this was the first time they’ve ever had a power play before. Truly abysmal.
  • By the time @Mike Hoffman got the empty-netter (5-2), I had already given up hope and could feel myself dying inside.
  • I’m not going to say that @Mike Smith is fully responsible for this loss but I will absolutely say that he didn’t help his team out very much at all, and a major reason the final score was even close as it was is that he got bailed out by a pair of coaching challenges. Smith finished the night with 24 saves and .857 save%.
  • Can I just say that the entire forward group looked like they had next to no confidence with the puck?
  • Once again, the PK was unable to keep their opponents off the board — they finished 2-for-4 on the night — and it’s a trend that’s about as annoying as it possibly gets.
  • Not to be outdone, the power play was a herculean disaster that was both unable to score (0/4) or even keep the Canadiens off the board despite being down a man. Absolutely atrocious. Horrible.
  • Sometimes @Warren Foegele will dance through an entire lineup with some silky mitts and other times he looks like he’s never played hockey before. I hate to say it because the dude clearly works hard, but it’s just that he’s a very confusing player to me.
  • The Oilers announced in the third period that @Evan Bouchard left the game with an illness, but I think the real answer is that he couldn’t stop vomiting when he realized they were about to lose to the Montreal Canadiens.
  • I really, REALLY dislike hearing the Canadiens fans doing their chants in our building, and I hope they were all grossly overcharged for their tickets.

SCORING SUMMARY

#GOODCONTENT

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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 SpotifyApple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts. 

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