There are no silver linings tonight. Final Score: 7-2 Hurricanes
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Even though we knew that the Hurricanes were coming into this game on the second half of a back-to-back set and found out earlier today that they would be playing their third-string goaltender, I still wasn’t feeling very confident. It’s not that I don’t believe that the Oilers can beat Carolina — they already did it a few weeks ago — but rather that I get nervous any time I see a situation that should mean a win for our side. Gord knows we’ve seen the Oilers get bamboozled by “tired” teams before, and when you mix in the absence of Evander Kane (long-term) and Kailer Yamamoto (day-to-day) then you’ve got the makings of a tougher outing than maybe we expected. The good news is that the boys had their legs moving early and Jack Campbell was looking sharp (more on that later), giving them one of the better starts we’ve seen on this road trip despite being unable to grab an early goal. Yet, despite the lack of results, I thought the Oilers had a decent enough road period up until the dying seconds of the frame when Svechnikov got the Canes on the board with a lucky bounce that changed directions in the crease and slid past the goaltender.
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Heading into the second period down by a goal, the biggest adjustment the Oilers needed to make was to recognize the times when the Hurricanes were slipping behind them in coverage. Any time the boys turned the puck over, Carolina had people rushing the other way with one or two guys ending up behind the coverage with a clear lane to the net. Unfortunately, the period did not start off the way we needed as the Hurricanes found themselves with a run of power plays that they were eventually able to capitalize on, extending their lead to two. Even after the Oilers were able to get it back with a power play goal of their own, the momentum never really shifted our way and it truly felt like only a matter of time before they would restore their two-goal lead. What I didn’t expect, however, is that Campbell would have another shot hit him right in the glove only to let it slip through and into the back of the net. For the second time in three starts, this shot hit Soup right in the leather but it just could not lock it up. The bad news didn’t end there, though, as the Hurricanes were able to cash in a third goal in the frame with one second left on the clock. It was a mess out there. Turd in the punchbowl kinda stuff.
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When you’re down by a field goal and not really looking like a comeback is in the cards, the only the to do is go out and win the third period. Yeah, maybe you’ve got a loss coming but at least you can wrap the night up on even the smallest of highs. At a bare minimum, the goal from an Oilers’ perspective had to be firing more shots on Kochetkov who had only three NHL appearances on his resume before tonight’s contest got going. Surely, the kid had an ugly goal or two in him, ya know? So when Connor McDavid put a little dent in the Hurricanes’ lead, I thought that maybe there was a chance that the boys could make it interesting. Of course, those hopes only lasted for a shift or two as Carolina pumped two quick goals home to not only close out the game with time left on the clock but throw a handful of sand in our eyes for good measure. No matter how you look at it, this loss was more of a beatdown than it was even a contest, and that’s a tough outcome to swallow for a team that’s supposed to be better than this. Three games in four nights on the road is tough, but this one was uglier than most.
The wrap.

THE BRIGHT SIDE

  • The game is over now.
  • Zach Hyman got the Oilers on the board (2-1) with a power play goal after posting up in front of the crease and having the puck take a lucky bounce off the back of his leg and into the net. It wasn’t the prettiest goal Hyman will ever score but it was pretty damned beautiful to me.
  • Connor McDavid chipped away at Carolina’s lead (4-2) midway through the third period with another stunner of a goal that saw him carve up the defence before going shelf on Kochetkov. McDavid is NBA Jam on fire hot right now. Ridiculous.
  • At least the power play scored on one of their two opportunities with the man advantage.

PRESENTED BY BETWAY

THE FACE PALMERS

  • Andrei Svechnikov opened the scoring (1-0) in the dying seconds of the first period after his pass attempt to Aho took a friendly bounce into the net off of Tyson Barrie’s stick. Up until that point, I thought the Oilers were playing a solid road period but they could not capitalize on their chances whereas the Hurricanes found a way. Svechnikov added another one (3-1) midway through the second period as he walked over the blue line and ripped a wrister past Campbell on the glove-hand side. For the second time in as many games against the Oilers, Svechnikov completed the hat trick (6-2) with a backhand chipshot from the site of the net that he was able to get up and over the fallen goaltender.
  • Brent Burns extended the lead (2-0) with a blast from the circle just as the Oilers were getting a man back on the PK. I didn’t know the refs were the main characters in this league, but it really seems that way considering the garbage call on Derek Ryan for delay of game led to the goal in the first place.
  • Jordan Staal scored (4-1) at 19:59 of the second period. What the hell, man? Sure, you give the guy some credit for a tricky backhander, but that is an absolute killer of a goal that close to the buzzer.
  • Jordan Martinook gave the Canes back their three-goal lead (5-2) with a wild goal that saw him chop the puck out of mid-air while he was falling only to have it pop up in the air and drop into the net over Campbell. Does that even make sense?
  • Jesper Fast converted the touchdown (7-2) after a brutal giveaway by Jack Campbell that basically put the puck on the guy’s stick with an empty net to shoot at. Awful.
  • The Oilers must have thought they were running a bakery or something because there were turnovers happening everywhere. The NHL site has their giveaways listed at four but I’m not buying it.
  • Remember how fun it was to see the Oilers kill off every penalty against the Tampa Bay Lightning? Good times. That didn’t happen against Carolina. Instead, the boys allowed one goal in four shorthanded situations.
  • I gotta say that I’m legitimately surprised that this is the way it went for Jack Campbell after looking so good against Tampa Bay on Tuesday night, but maybe I shouldn’t be. In that one, Soup was calm between the pipes and looked confident no matter what was coming his way, but that wasn’t the case against the Hurricanes. Instead, he looked more like the goalie we saw against Dallas and I guess the inconsistency is what’s most puzzling about what’s happening with him right now. Either way, this was a game to forget for Jack even though I will absolutely say that the team did not look great in front of him in support. Campbell finished the game with 25 saves and a .781 save%. It doesn’t get worse than that.
  • Darnell Nurse was on the ice for three even-strength goals and we just need more from him. When the walls are closing in, Nurse has to be the guy that settles things down and he couldn’t get that done tonight.
  • Oilers got dummied on the shot clock by a 32-22 margin. Participation ribbon at best.
  • Only 44% in the faceoff circle. Nowhere near good enough.

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. 

BETTER LAIT THAN NEVER

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On the latest episode of Better Lait Than Never, I looked at the Evander Kane injury and how that is a devastating loss for the Oilers. Who will step up in his absence? Someone has to do it. Subscribe to Better Lait Than Never for FREE on SpotifyApple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts, and wherever else you get your podcasts from!