Hey guys! Emergency recall goalie and game recapper Cat Silverman here again.
The Edmonton Oilers took on the New Jersey Devils at home at Rexall on Friday night – which should have been a battle of the bad, but the Devils have been surprisingly resilient this year. They’ve looked even more dominant than the Arizona Coyotes (who sit third in the Pacific Division), and they came into the game boasting a 10-7-1 record.
The Oilers had a 6-12-1 record coming into the matchup, in comparison; in theory, they should have had trouble making things happen, even with a battle of the backups and a pretty healthy Oilers roster.
So what happened?
The Oilers zamboni’d the ice with the Devils and skated away with a resounding 5-1 victory.
The Bright Side
WHERE DO I START??????? *gazes longingly at a photo of Leon Draisaitl*
The young guns added to the roster this year have been, for the most part, lights out – and not just from a talent perspective, but from an actual cohesion perspective.
The youth in Edmonton’s lineup has always had talent. We’ve been watching talented young guys on the ice at Rexall for a decade now – that’s nothing new; what IS new is seeing them add something to the lineup that it was missing before.
Darnell Nurse has just enough edge to his game to look defensive when it’s important, but when he breaks out offensively it’s pretty incredible to watch. He’s fast, he’s slick, and he’s most of all smart.
Then, of course, there’s Leon Draisaitl, who seems to make literally every single skater on the ice with him better when he plays on their line. He’s second on the Oilers in scoring, and he’s TEN GAMES BACK ON EVERYONE ELSE.
Oscar Klefbom is slowly looking more confident, Jordan Eberle is continuing to be my secret favorite player in the NHL ever, and Anders Nilsson – who, like Eberle, is not exactly a ‘young gun’ in the strictest sense of the world – has continued to be solid. Is he starter material? I still don’t think so, but he’s looking like a proficient 1B. I saw him when the Oilers came to Gila River Arena just last week, and I was reasonably impressed.
The fourth line put in work, and the goaltending was good enough to make up for whatever happens on defense when Darnell Nurse isn’t on the ice. As a result, the unsustainably good Devils got curbstomped in Alberta, and the Oilers almost overtook Calgary in the standings. The other Alberta club beat the Blackhawks in overtime, but who cares? The Oilers had a good game too.
The Face Palmers
During second intermission, the talking heads from the broadcast pointed out that Matty Hendricks wasn’t happy with Edmonton’s special teams over the last few games, and from the first power play unit’s perspective, that’s certainly understandable. Whether Taylor Hall was just having an off night on special teams or the PP unit itself isn’t clicking yet, things on the man advantage looked pretty sloppy.
To be honest, though, there wasn’t much to facepalm about tonight. The defense still needs a whole lot of work – Kyle Palmieri ran the show in the Oilers’ zone on more than one occasion – but Nilsson put in the work to keep the Oilers in the game and the usual suspects got things done the way they were supposed to.
My Three Stars
First Star: Leon Draisaitl and his three point game
Second Star: Anders Nilsson, who looked like anyone but the Anders Nilsson I remembered from years past.
Third Star: YOU GUYS! Thanks for reading this. Again. I promise I’ll keep trying my best!
*note: the scoring summary wasn’t being updated for the Oilers game on GCL, which is why we have our new section. I’m sorry that I’m not sorry; you guys still rock.*
Best of the Tweets
Thanks again for letting me do my emergency recall thing, y’all! I love you guys.
I’m here so BaggedMilk can spend some much-needed quality time with JeanShorts, and so you all can get some great Nation Gear over at the Pint.
If you guys loved me (or even if you didn’t and want to hear me get made fun of a good bit), check out the North by North Gretz podcast released this upcoming Monday; I’ll be in it, talking more about Nilsson and the baffoonery that is the world wanting to change goaltender equipment.
Later days, buddies!