GDB 19.0 Wrap Up: The streak continues in New Jersey as Oilers fall 5-2 to the Devils
By baggedmilk4 months ago
Win one, lose one, win one, lose one. Final Score: 5-2 Devils
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When you’re going up against a team that has won 12 games in a row, the first item on the to-do list is to have a good start and make sure you have your legs going early. Not only do you need a good start, but you should probably sell out to grab the first goal too because the last thing anyone that’s cheering for the Oilers needs is for a Devils that’s already feeling good to get any kind of head start. So when New Jersey grabbed a power play goal only 2:25 into the hockey game on the very first shot of the night, my mind started to dart in and out of the darkest possible outcomes and I found myself praying to the Hockey Gords that the boys would get us back in this thing. And almost as if the Universe was answering me, the Oilers started to turn things around and even take over the play, pinning the Devils in their own zone for shifts at a time. When that started to happen, it wasn’t long before the Oilers earned a pair of trips to the power play with the second opportunity being converted for the tying goal. Not only did the boys erase that early goal against but they ended up responding quickly and putting in the work needed to grind out a fantastic road period.
Heading into the second period, the Oilers had plenty of positives to build upon, and they would need all of those lessons to prevent the Devils from bouncing back after a subpar opening. Despite the tie game, I don’t think anyone in red was pleased with their start, and that meant a storm was likely brewing that the Oilers would have to weather. And as expected, the Devils started the second period with all kinds of pace and as if that wasn’t enough to manage, they basically matched their first period shot total in a matter of minutes. Shift after shift, the Devils attacked the Oilers’ zone in waves and it truly felt like only a matter of time before they would get rewarded. So when they inevitably pumped a pair of quick goals past Skinner — the first as a result of a brutal giveaway, the second on the back of a pretty passing play — it wasn’t like any of us were overly surprised. Unlike what we saw in the first period, the Oilers spent way too much time hanging on for dear life and not nearly enough on the attack. What started as a night with plenty of promise quickly turned into an uphill battle that looked a lot less positive.
Staring down a two-goal deficit, the Oilers had a mountain’s worth of work to do and it was going to take a whole lot more urgency and execution to get the job done. At the very least, the Oilers needed to find a way to win the period to try and build up some positive vibes for the rest of the road trip. So when Ryan Nugent-Hopkins halved the lead less than five minutes into the period, I thought that maybe we were in line for a classic third period comeback that not only ended New Jersey’s streak but also left the home crowd silent and disappointed. The bad news is that those hopes were dashed just as quickly as they came when Tomas Tatar responded with a third Devils goal to give them back their insurance and basically squash our hopes of the Oilers rallying. Unfortunately, this was one of those matchups that demanded perfection and while the Oilers didn’t play poorly by any means, they simply didn’t do enough to defeat a team that’s on top of every detail of their game. There’s a reason the Devils have won 13 games in a row and we just got a front row seat to see it.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Leon Draisaitl tied the game with a power play goal (1-1) after Connor McDavid found him in his office in the circle. At this point, it’s amazing how many he’s able to get from the same spot on the ice and how each and every one of them is equally beautiful to me.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins pulled the Oilers to within a single goal (3-2) after finding a loose puck near the side of the net and burying it into the empty cage. Nugent-Hopkins also led the team with seven shots on goal.
- I love the Oilers’ power play. I really do. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as seeing the other team cheat only to have our beloved Oilers punish them for the indiscretion. Magic. Tonight, Edmonton finished at 1-for-4 with the man advantage.
- I liked Jesse Puljujarvi’s game again and was happy to see him rewarded with an assist on RNH’s goal because he was mixing it up all night long.
- I like the way Klim Kostin plays. He’s greasy and the Oilers need more guys like that.
- For the first time in nine tries, the Oilers actually outshot their opponent after registering 30 shots to 28 for the Devils.
- The boys also won 54% of the faceoffs but I’m not even allowed to enjoy it.
PRESENTED BY BETWAY
THE FACE PALMERS
- On the first power play of the game despite a questionable call, Jesper Bratt opened the scoring early in the first period with a one-timer from the slot after Nico Hischier found him with all kinds of time and space to hammer the puck.
- Dawson Mercer restored the Devils’ lead (2-1) with a tap-in from out front after a brutal giveaway by Stuart Skinner when he tried to play the puck and basically duffed it. Normally Skinner is calmer with the puck on his stick but this was a sequence to forget.
- Damon Severson put the Devils up by a pair (3-1) with a snipe from the slot after New Jersey flew into the offensive zone with too much speed for the Oilers to handle and carved them up with a passing play that led to the goal. Big yikes.
- As good as the Oilers were in the first period, they were not in the second period.
- Only moments after RNH made the game interesting, Tomas Tatar restored the Devils’ two-goal lead (4-2) after he was able to track a rebound that popped up into the air and bat the puck into the net before it landed. Sometimes you’ve gotta tip your cap.
- Yegor Sharangovich put the final nail in the coffin (5-2) with a nice individual play that saw him dangle the defenceman before sticking his shot perfectly in the top-left corner.
- Another game, another night where the Oilers gave up a PK goal against. Edmonton finished 1/3 on the PK.
- I have all the belief in the world in Stuart Skinner but this just wasn’t his night. Over and above the gaff on the second goal by Mercer, Skinner just didn’t look like himself but I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt because it’s the first time in a while that he’s had a start go this way. The good news is that Skinner is young, he’s talented, and I have no doubt in my mind that he’s going to learn from his mistakes. Skinner finished the night with 23 saves and a .821 save%.
- Late in the second period, Jack Campbell took a puck to the face while sitting on the bench and if that wasn’t a cruel metaphor for how his year is going then I don’t know what is. The scary part was that the puck hit him near the eye and he rushed down the tunnel pretty damned fast, making me worry about the damage the deflected shot may have caused.
- Ryan McLeod can’t buy a goal right now and it’s driving me nuts. I love the way he plays but dammit does he ever need some good news.
Talk to me, Twitter. Hit me up at @jsbmbaggedmilk and Wanye at @Oilersnation and you could find yourself landing in this very spot.
BETTER LAIT THAN NEVER
On the latest episode of Better Lait Than Never, I looked at why the Oilers should be sending Dylan Holloway back to Bakersfield and why playing Stuart Skinner right now is the right thing to do. Subscribe to Better Lait Than Never for FREE on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and wherever else you get your podcasts from!
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