82-0 here we come! Final Score: 5-3 Oilers
I love opening night of a new NHL season. No matter what happened the year before, the first game of a new campaign gives us all a dose of hope that this will be the year that our favourite team finally has what it takes to win the Stanley Cup. And after drinking the sweet, sweet pre-season Kool-Aid for months on end, it was finally go-time on a very important season for the Edmonton Oilers. So when the boys kicked things off by allowing two goals on the first four shots, it was not quite what I had in mind for the first few minutes of this hockey game but, at the same time, it oddly felt like home. How many times have we watched the Oilers fall behind by a pair in the opening minutes before rallying with a comeback in the back half of the game? Can an Oilers season even really begin without this kind of shitacular start? I might be onto something here.
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In a hole and backing themselves into a corner, the Oilers had plenty of work to do to get back in this game and it was going to take a much higher level of execution and effort if they were going to get the job done. So when the Canucks added a third straight goal to start off the second period, a lot of us were wondering what it was going to take for the Oilers to wake up and get their legs moving. Then, just when I was ready to check for a pulse, the boys got themselves on the board with a controversial power play goal (sorry, Quinn) by Leon Draisaitl and the tides began to turn. From there, Edmonton took over the play and started generating chances at the rate we were expecting from the jump, and when that started to happen, the Canucks found themselves in a world of trouble. By the time Darnell Nurse scored to tie the game at three apiece in the dying seconds of the frame, Vancouver was lucky to have the buzzer go because they could have easily found themselves down if the Oilers had another few minutes.
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Heading into the third period with the score knotted at three, the Oilers had a very good chance to steal a win provided that they could stay out of the damned penalty box. Yeah, the PK had been pretty good all night but having to rely on it this much was not part of the plan. I don’t know what their deal was or why the boys were feeling so generous, but the endless supply of Vancouver power plays definitely had to stop. And even though you’d think that plan would be simple enough, the Oilers just could not stop taking penalties. It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure out that being shorthanded for almost an entire period makes it pretty tough to win hockey games, and the fact that the Oilers had a chance to win this game despite their lack of discipline was almost incredible. The fact that they won the game is a miracle.
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The wrap.

THE BRIGHT SIDE

  • Leon Draisaitl got the Oilers on the board (3-1) with a power play goal after McDavid’s pass attempt bounced to him at the side of the net and he buried it through a fallen Demko.
  • Connor McDavid pulled his team to within a single goal (3-2) on the back of a beautiful passing play and power play finish that we are so blessed to see on a regular basis. As far as tic-tac-toes go, this one was a beauty. McDavid gave his team the lead (4-3) on his 700th career point after he picked up his own rebound in front of the net and fired it past a flailing Demko. McDavid completed the hat trick (5-3) with an empty-net goal after Evander Kane passed up the chance to shoot in favour of getting his captain the trick.
  • Darnell Nurse rushed up into the play and tied the game (3-3) as the business end of a beautifully executed 2-on-1 with Leon Draisaitl. Perfect pass, a deadly shot, shorthanded goal.
  • I know some people are going to be upset that Jack Campbell allowed three goals in his Oilers debut, but I actually think he played pretty damned well. In the early going, the guy wasn’t getting any help from the team in front of him but when they needed a big save, Soup was up to the task. For my money, he was one of the best Oilers in this game and I say that knowing full well that I’m going to get roasted in the comments. Campbell finished the night with 33 saves and a .917 save%.
  • The power play was fantastic and crucial to this win as the boys were able to cash in three of four chances with the man advantage.
  • Jesse Puljujarvi was tied for the team lead with three shots on net with one of them being a grade-A chance in the slot that Demko denied with a flash of the glove. My point here is that this was a nice game for Jesse and even though I know he won’t get much credit around town for his efforts, I wanted to make sure to say something here in the wrap up.
  • A big shout out to the Oilers for paying tribute to Ben Stelter and to the fans at Rogers Place for chanting his name. Thank you again to the Stelter family for sharing him with us.
  • That intro video kicked ass. I loved the edit, I loved that they used Muse, and I loved it all.
  • Don’t ever make us wait for these jerseys again. Never. No. Don’t do it.

THE FACE PALMERS

  • Elias Pettersson opened the scoring early in the first period (1-0) with a nice little deke in tight after intercepting a Dylan Holloway pass that didn’t get anywhere near its target. It was the kind of ‘Welcome to the NHL’ giveaway that Holloway will figure out sooner than later because guys in this league are too good to be chucking gifts up the middle.
  • Less than a minute later, J.T. Miller gave the Canucks some insurance (2-0) with an absolute snipe from the left circle that beat Campbell high on the glove-hand side. Not sure there’s much Campbell could have done about this one.
  • Andrei Kuzmenko got his first NHL goal (3-0) on the power play after J.T. Miller found him with a backdoor pass that he just had to redirect into the open cage. That’s what Ken Holland gets for taking him to Joey Bell Tower when he was trying to lure him to sign in Edmonton.
  • Canucks outshot the Oilers 36-25 which isn’t exactly surprising given how many power plays they had.
  • The NHL site had the Oilers listed with 17 giveaways, which I find to be incredibly generous.
  • The Oilers took way too many penalties and it’s tough to get a rhythm going when you’re gifting the opponent free power plays. Amazingly, the Oilers killed off seven of eight shorthanded situations.
  • Only 48% in the faceoff circle. Tsk, tsk.
  • Not gonna lie to you, not having both Kailer Yamamoto and Warren Foegele in the lineup to start the season is not ideal.
  • Those digital board ads are horrible and they’re going to give people acid flashbacks.

SCORING SUMMARY

#GOODCONTENT

Talk to me, Twitter. Hit me up at @jsbmbaggedmilk and Wanye at @Oilersnation and you could find yourself landing in this very spot. 
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THE SEASON LAUNCH PARTY

For the first time in three seasons, we’re throwing a Season Launch Party at SOHO and you’re all invited to join us! What’s going on? I’m glad you asked.
  • Date: Saturday, October 15th, 2022
  • When: 5:00pm
  • Location: SOHO YEG (11454 Jasper Ave)
  • What’s Included: Entry to the event, Swag Bag (complete with w-shirt, stickers, GCs), entry to the giveaways, after party with RIFF/RAFF
  • How: GET YOUR TICKETS HERE!
As always, we will also be including a charity component with the event where a portion of all ticket sales will be donated directly to Sport Central to help with their mission of providing equipment and bicycles to children in need.