The Day After: It was bound to happen…

Photo credit:Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
1 year ago
The rich have gotten richer in recent days and for an Edmonton Oilers club rich on a six-game point streak, it was bound to end at some point.
But I don’t think there’s any way to sugarcoat the sloppy game leading to a 3rd-period implosion and eventual 5-3 loss at the hands of the Dallas Stars.
Darnell Nurse, set to make $9.25-million and become the seventh highest-paid defenceman next year, made two of the worst reads imaginable late in a 24-second span that crushed the Oilers’ spirit.
With ample opportunity to call him out by name, Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft didn’t. While noting there were some individual mistakes, he also highlighted the fatigue that has set in after a taxing few days.
“There’s some individual errors that lead to those goals, and then there’s some teams things structure-wise we got away from,” said Woodcroft. “I think if you look at some of them, I would say some of them came from fatigue error. That’s no excuse. We can be better.
“Part of the reason you have a structure in place is to protect you in times like that. Like I said, we’re going to learn from that experience and move on.”
There were some positives to draw on. At 5×5, Edmonton controlled 58.89 percent of the shot attempts, 54 percent of the scoring chances and 50.48 percent of the expected goals. The Oilers once again controlled the pace of play for most of the game and that’s a good thing.
But when it mattered most, mistakes cost the Oilers. Getting a big 3-2 lead with two early goals in the third, Edmonton had a chance to put the game away on the powerplay, but they couldn’t get it done.
While the Oilers took four sloppy penalties, it was that aforementioned 24-second sequence that was the true dagger. Roope Hintz cut through the defence like a hot knife through butter, and then Nurse went down too soon trying to block a pass on a two-on-one.
“We’ve been pretty good in those situations all year,” said Nurse. “When you’re up one with five minutes left, you have to find a way to get points and we didn’t tonight. We find a way to regroup and not let it happen again.”
The Oilers catch a late-night flight back home to Edmonton and on Wednesday, meet the new guys Brett Kulak and Derick Brassard, both of whom await their teammates.
And on Thursday, the Sharks come to town. Edmonton’s seen them once already this year beating them 3-0, but they’ll be feeling good after securing a 4-3 win over the Calgary Flames last night.

What they’re saying…

24 seconds: Back-and-forth 3rd period sees Stars turn loss into win, jump back into playoff position
In the span of 43 seconds, it looked like the Stars unraveled on Tuesday night.
It took the Stars 24 seconds to unspool the Oilers.
Roope Hintz and Denis Gurianov scored 24 seconds apart in the third period, transforming a one-goal deficit into a 5-3 Stars win over the Oilers on Tuesday night at the American Airlines Center.
“That’s a playoff game and we’re getting ready for the playoffs,” Gurianov said. “I liked that game, that was fast.”
The two goals erased the Oilers’ own quick strikes, when Evander Kane and Leon Draisaitl scored 43 seconds apart to give Edmonton a 3-2 lead earlier in the period.
The win was the Stars’ third in the last four games, and vaulted them back into a playoff position over Vegas, which lost 4-0 to Winnipeg on Tuesday night.
Kailer Yamamoto also scored for the Oilers, tipping an Evan Bouchard point shot to give Edmonton a 1-0 lead in the first period. Jason Robertson, Joe Pavelski (power play) and Seguin (empty net) scored for the Stars.
Hintz scored with 5:22 left in the third period, cutting through the middle of the Edmonton defense before finishing past Mikko Koskinen. Less than a minute later, Tyler Seguin slid a backhand feed to Gurianov, who stuffed home the game-winning goal with 4:58 left in the third period.
“That was a great hockey game,” Stars coach Rick Bowness said. “Fans got their money’s worth tonight. That was a fun game to be a part of. It was back and forth, it was fast, a lot of good chances at both ends. It was a good hockey game.”

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@oilersnation.com.

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