Random Thoughts: 90 seconds sunk the Oilers’ ship in Game 5

Photo credit:Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
11 months ago
Needless to say, it was a tough night for the Edmonton Oilers as the boys turned a 2-1 lead into a 4-2 deficit in a matter of minutes, culminating in a 4-3 loss. As a result, your ol’ pal Baggedmilk is back with another round of Random Thoughts to try and figure out what the hell happened here.


I’ll just go ahead and get this out of the way: the call on Philip Broberg for holding when Jack Eichel was holding his stick was garbage. It was a brutal call, gave Vegas the chance they needed to climb back in the game and ultimately win the thing. That said, the refs weren’t the reason the Oilers lost. The Oilers are. While I absolutely agree the penalty on Broberg was junk, what followed that bad call was nothing short of devastating. Instead of handling their business and killing off the penalty, they imploded with an avoidable high stick by Janmark and two quick ones by Vegas. What’s obviously frustrating is that the call on Broberg really seemed to shift the momentum of the game, but I also think that’s a lazy take because the Oilers simply weren’t good enough, especially in the second period.


I know we’re all hung up on the Broberg penalty that should have been holding the stick on Eichel, but the reality is that it’s pretty damned hard to win in the playoffs when you put yourself in the box seven times. There were avoidable holding penalties, stick infractions, and pretty much anything else you could imagine as the Oilers did what they could to basically gift the Golden Knights the momentum they needed to get the job done. I don’t care if some of those calls were weak or not, it’s nearly impossible to win when you’re in the box for nearly a period. In Game 6, the Oilers will absolutely have to clean that nonsense up because coming back from 3-2 is going to take every detail to be as finely tuned as possible. Put simply: STAY OUT OF THE BOX.


In a run of just under 90 seconds in the second period, the Golden Knights were able to wrestle the lead away from the Oilers and put them in a hole that was too deep to climb out of. As I mentioned before, I know that the first call against Broberg was garbage but what happened after that call was made almost reminded me of the old #HereComeTheOilers days. What started off as a bad call by the refs turned into the series’ first 5-on-3 penalty, two power play goals against, and a floater from Nic Hague from the point that arguably should have been stopped. As far as collapses go, that 90-second stretch was as bad as we’ve seen from the Oilers all year and the fact that it came in Game 5 of the second round was as painful as it was costly.


Leon Draisaitl has been the Oilers’ best player since the playoffs started, but last night he looked human. Normally that wouldn’t be too big of an issue if the rest of his teammates were able to support him on an off night, but that hasn’t been happening at all so far and it’s a huge problem. And listen, I’m not going to be critical of a guy that’s been everything to this team since this run started, but rather to point out that Leon Draisaitl can’t be the one to carry to the Oilers every night. Sometimes the guy won’t have his A-stuff and that means someone else needs to find a way to chip in. So far, outside of Connor McDavid, we just haven’t received that support.


Last night’s game was another chapter in the same story of having too many passengers and not enough drivers. When I think to last year’s run, I think of not only McDavid and Draisaitl’s brilliance but also the performances by Evander Kane, Zach Hyman, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. This year, these three haven’t been nearly as effective or as consistent. Between them, the trio has seven goals compared to 30 a year ago, and it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon mathematician kinda guy to figure out that’s nowhere near good enough. If the Oilers are going to come back and win this series, they’ll need those three guys to be the players we all know they are. All three of those boys have the skills to make a difference and we need all of them if the Oilers are going to win this series in seven.


As I was leaving Greta last night, the question on everyone’s mind was whether the Oilers should start Stuart Skinner or Jack Campbell in Game 6. For those of us at the watch party, there wasn’t necessarily an easy answer to the question. On one hand, Campbell has been rock solid in relief every time he’s been called upon in the playoffs. On the other hand, Stuart Skinner is the reason the Oilers made the playoffs at all, and he’d also shown the ability to bounce back after a rough night. So what’s the answer? I don’t know. If I were to bet on it, I’d put Gregor’s money on Woody going back to Skinner because he’s been the guy all year and has shown he can bounce back after a tough night. But when I asked the question on Twitter, however, the decision was pretty evenly split down the middle. Some of you think that Stu should get the call while others point out that he hasn’t been great during the playoffs while Jack Campbell has been excellent in relief. With over 60 responses coming in, it wasn’t hard to tell that this is a decision we’ll all be thinking about until tomorrow when it’s time to keep this series alive.


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