Third straight loss at Rogers Place. Final Score: 3-1 Kings
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Remember how much fun it was when the Oilers knocked the Kings out of the playoffs in Game 7 at Rogers Place? I was at the game and it was incredible. When Connor McDavid scored that second goal to put the Oilers by a pair after a dominant shift that only he can provide, the place erupted as I’d never heard before. Electric. Even though we all knew that squaring off with the Kings for the first meeting since that night wouldn’t be anywhere near as exciting, I was still hopeful that our side would be able to channel some of those good vibes. Instead, what got was a mixed bag of effort and blocked shots and sloppy play and an inevitable goal against that put the boys behind as per tradition. To put it lightly, the Oilers had a hard time with the trap-style defence the Kings roll with and it was going to be interesting to see how or if they could adjust their attack to get through the congestion because it wasn’t like they were terribly outplayed or anything.
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Heading into the second period, the Oilers simply had to find a way to get more pucks through to the goalie because the Kings threw their bodies in front of 16 of Edmonton’s attempts. As frustrating as LA can be, the boys had to find a way to get through the quicksand, gain some zone time, and start putting a few plays together. Unfortunately, what we got was another round of clogging the neutral zone by the Kings, and watching the Oilers struggle with how to deal with it. And with each passing shift, the Oilers got more and more frustrated until Alex Edler’s cheap shot on McDavid brought that anger to a murderous boil. On the scoreboard, both sides traded goals which left the hole the same and the need to find offence intact, but the real story from this period was how spicy it was and how the Oilers looked so ineffective offensively. I’m not trying to say that the boys were distracted at all, but they certainly got more done with the hacks and slashes than they did in the offensive zone.
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Down by a goal without much in the way of answers, the Oilers still needed to figure out how to get more of their shot attempts through to the goaltender. Despite the Corskis favouring the boys heavily, Cal Petersen really wasn’t all that busy because of the blocked shots and you have to give the Kings credit for the way they basically erased any offensive mojo the Oilers had going for them. We can call LA’s 1-3-1 trap boring all we want but the reality of the night was that it worked out for them perfectly. In a game the Oilers needed to have against a team they’re chasing in the Pacific Division, they were simply outmatched on a tactical level. For a team that’s expected to score a lot of goals on most nights, the Oilers looked like they didn’t have a Plan B when things started going sideways and it was frustrating to see them unable to adapt or find a way to break through. I know not every game can be a masterpiece but this was one where the Oilers need to chuck the blueprint out and get back to the drawing board. Not many silver linings in this four-point divisional loss, ya know?
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The wrap.

THE BRIGHT SIDE

  • Zach Hyman tied the game (1-1) with a backhander from in tight that beat Petersen as he was falling. The whole shift leading up to the goal was chaos as both Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid were throwing their bodies around like they’re Georges Laraque in 2001.
  • Stuart Skinner has earned the net for the Oilers right now and regardless of how this night went, I still felt like he should also get the start on Saturday against Vegas. Without seeing a second of tonight’s game, I had already made the decision in my own mind that playing Skinner was the right move for this team right now and so it was nice to see him follow up the support with another solid performance. Even though the Oilers lost, I’m pretty sure we can all agree that goaltending wasn’t the major issue here. Skinner finished the game with 29 saves and a .935 save%.
  • I don’t generally want Darnell Nurse fighting but I certainly appreciate the way he jumped in for Connor after the dirty kneeing play by Alex Edler. If I’m being honest, I’m annoyed the linesmen jumped in.
  • I… I think I like Klim Kostin. If the Oilers end up sending Holloway back to Bakersfield — that’s not a thing at all just something I think they should do — then having Kostin as that 4LW may not be the worst idea. Anybody else? I just think he adds some size to a lineup that desperately needs it.
  • On the bright side, the Oilers killed off all three penalties they took.
  • I didn’t mind the reverse retro jerseys but I do think they would look better if the team had gone with the OG colour scheme.

PRESENTED BY BETWAY

THE FACE PALMERS

  • Trevor Moore opened the scoring (1-0) with a low shot from the point that made its way through some light traffic and under Stuart Skinner even though I thought he had a clean look at it. Moore added a second goal (2-1) in the seconds following McDavid’s penalty after receiving a cross-ice pass in the circle and quickly ripping a shot on net before Skinner could slide across. Trevor Moore completed the hat trick (3-1) with an empty-net dagger to close the night out.
  • Make Moore’s hat trick the fourth (Svechnikov x2, Benn, Moore) the Oilers have given up already this season. Gross.
  • Alex Edler should be suspended for blatantly trying to injure Connor McDavid with that kneeing idiocy. He hurt Zach Hyman with the exact same play a couple of years back and it kept him off the ice for a while. Garbage.
  • I don’t even remember the last time I saw a game where McDavid and Draisaitl combined for only two shots on net. RIP point streak.
  • Let me start this off by saying I’m a big Evan Bouchard guy so I don’t want anything thinking I’m on team ‘trade Dad’ or anything like that — I think he should be on the third pairing and power play at this point in his career but that’s a different conversation — but how many blocked shots did our guy have tonight? Feels like hundreds.
  • Please send Dylan Holloway to the Condors. He only played 8:06 and I’m finding it hard to believe that he’s getting more value in practice than he would if he was playing big minutes in Bakersfield.
  • The power play only got one opportunity tonight but the boys couldn’t get anything done with the chance.
  • If you love a good CF% then this game was for you but the shot attempts did not translate to pucks on goal as the Oilers were outshot by a 32-23 margin.
  • The NHL site had the Kings listed with 29 blocks. Just ridiculous.
  • Oilers won only 39% of the faceoffs and I’m personally offended by how bad that is.

SCORING SUMMARY

#GOODCONTENT

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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 SpotifyApple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts, and wherever else you get your podcasts from!