McDavid-less Oilers come up short again, Canucks sweep the season series with 3-1 win at Rogers Place

21 days ago
Over the first three meetings of the season, the Vancouver Canucks outscored the Edmonton Oilers by an 18-6 margin and, unsurprisingly, they won every single one of them. Unfortunately, the boys didn’t fare much better in the fourth instalment of the season series, falling once again to the Canucks, this time by a 3-1 final score.


It’s almost a shame that the first three games of this season series were played in the first few weeks of the season because it could have been highly entertaining if these clubs had met while they were both rolling instead of what we had back in October. Those first three games were incredibly lopsided, and it feels like we all got robbed of what could have been a fun four-game set. Of course, the whole series was a pretty damned good time if you were a Canucks fan.
The Oilers were 10-0-2 in their last 12 home games leading into Saturday’s game against Vancouver, and it’s a shame that the streak had to end in a game that would have kept them within reach of the Pacific Division title. I know you’re not going to win every game you play, but it stings a little bit extra knowing that the team to end our streak was the same one the boys were chasing in the standings.
It’s been a long time since 1987 when the Oilers won their last division title, and when you look back on this season, it’s hard not to think of the eight points given up to the Canucks as a big part of the reason it didn’t happen again. Losing four straight to a divisional foe is a tough pill to swallow, especially when those games are what ends up costing you a banner in the rafters.


There is no game story I dislike more than when the Oilers start the game like a house on fire, only to have their opponent end up opening the score and/or taking the lead. Unfortunately, that’s what happened in the first period against the Canucks. Despite outshooting the Canucks 2:1 early in the frame — the shot clock ended up at 13-9 for Edmonton after 20 minutes – the Oilers couldn’t get anything done to show for it, allowing the Canucks an opening to wrestle the lead away.
The worst part, of course, was watching the Oilers get denied on some spectacular scoring chances for most of the period, only to have the Canucks open the scoring with 15 seconds left in the frame. It’s the kind of cruel joke the Hockey Gords like to play on us sometimes, and even though you hate to say the boys probably deserved better than being down by a goal after 20 minutes, it certainly felt that way. If only silver linings paid the mortgage, you know?


Now that the Oilers are five points back of the Canucks and the division title looks out of reach, I wonder what the conversation will be like in the room regarding what to do with Connor McDavid for the rest of the season. With the Oilers’ playoff spot locked up and home-ice dialled in for the first round, there really isn’t really much left to play for apart from getting him to 100 assists on the year.
Without Connor McDavid in the lineup, the Oilers are 1-3-1 and have been outscored 17-2 in those five games. I know numbers like that might lead you to believe the Oilers should get him back in the lineup on Monday against the Sharks, but we’ve got to think about the bigger picture. Outside of having our first round opponent set in stone, the other playoff details seem to be locked in, and allowing McDavid the time to get healthy is what matters most right now.
Get Connor McDavid to 100 assists, sit him for the rest of the season, and let him get ready for the playoffs. Thank you.


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-After a night off against the Coyotes, Stuart Skinner was back in the crease for his 57th start of the season. Despite facing fewer shots than his opponent, Skinner was still called upon to make 24 saves with many of them being from right in tight. Obviously, we needed Stu to make one more save than he did, but it’s hard to suggest he didn’t hold up his end of the bargain with a .923 save%. Unfortunately, Casey DeSmith was just a little bit better and that extra save made the whole difference.
-If the Oilers are going to have success in the postseason, they’re going to need Evander Kane firing on all cylinders, and lately, it looks like he’s a lot closer to getting there. When Kane is at his best, his knack for stripping pucks on the forecheck is second to none and I think he’s been doing a much better job of that lately. His second period goal gives him five points (3G, 2A) in his last five games, and think I can speak for all of us when I say that I hope this bump in production is only the beginning of a playoff time heater.
-Diving into the special teams, the simple story is that the Oilers got the job done on the penalty kill but not on the power play. Seeing as the night ended as a one-goal game, it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure out how badly we needed something to click on the man advantage.
-I know no one will want to hear it, but I was actually impressed with how much energy the Oilers had against Vancouver, given that this was their sixth game in the last 11 days.
-My weekend wouldn’t have been complete without knowing that the Oilers won only 46.4% of the faceoffs. Seeing as I love nothing more than faceoff wins, I might have actually been better off without this information. I haz sad.


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