It should have been a landslide victory but a win is a win. Final Score: 2-1 Oilers
After battling the urge to nap throughout much of the first three preseason games, I felt like tonight’s matchup against the Flames finally had something to offer as both sides had actual NHL players in their lineup. On our side, the Oilers had all of their top nine pieces on the ice with everyone you’d want to see taking twirls for the first time. Not to mention, this would also be the first time that we’re seeing Connor and Leon in those beautiful blue and orange jerseys after so many years of mediocre unis. My own jersey tastes aside, I was just happy that we got to watch the actual Oilers playing together for the first time.
As for the game itself, I found myself engaged more than expected as soon as I saw the boys buzzing around in the offensive zone and Connor McDavid doing Connor McDavid things. Even though the points don’t matter here, I cheered for Leon’s first-period goal like we need the points and it was fun to have that little rush of Draisaitl-powered adrenaline again. In fact, the boys gave us a bunch of stuff to cheer about as they were dancing all over the offensive zone, and had it not been for Dan Vladar standing on his head then the Oilers would have probably found themselves up by a field goal.
In the end, the Oilers played mostly how I expected them to apart from having Calgary’s goalie stand on his head. From start to finish, the boys dominated the play, and even though it would have been nice to see the offence put up the touchdown that their chances probably merited, I’m fine with seeing that a lot of the chemistry was still there. All four lines showed flashes of offence that could have put pucks in the back of the net, but that’s the way she goes sometimes. I mean, of course I’m happy that the boys still managed to squeak out the win, but I definitely wasn’t anywhere as stressed as I would have been if this game was for keeps.
Things Worth Mentioning…
- All Leon Draisaitl does is score goals and so it wasn’t exactly surprising to see him pop one (1-0) near the midway point of the first period after Kailer Yamamoto found him with a back door pass that left the former MVP with a tap-in.
- Dillon Dube tied the game (1-1) after a turnover behind the net by Nurse popped right out to his stick
- Brett Kulak gave the Oilers the lead (2-1) at the midway point of the third period with a blast from the point that beat Vladar up high after being fed a nifty little pass by Luke Esposito.
- It took Connor McDavid one shift before he did a Connor McDavid thing and that was enough for me to dub this game the most successful pre-season game by far, and I meant that without having seen the remaining 57 minutes. I missed him.
- Why the hell would Darnell Nurse fight TWICE in a meaningless pre-season game against an AHL plug? It makes no sense.
- Kailer Yamamoto rules. I love the kid’s hustle and he had plenty of it against the Flames even though we know he’ll be in the lineup when October 12th rolls around. The assist on Draisaitl’s goal? That’s all grinding, baby.
- I thought this was Warren Foegele’s best game of the pre-season and even though I know we’re still talking about a lot of AHL guys on the opposing roster, it was the kind of performance that would serve him well if he can do it consistently.
- I know I wasn’t the only one excited to watch Jack Campbell for the first time as an Edmonton Oiler, and from my side of the TV screen, it was hard to describe how happy he made me. As much as I know we’ll have rough times together over the next five years, the fact that he didn’t yell at Darnell Nurse when he made a mistake on Dube’s goal is enough to make me love him already. Campbell finished with seven saves and a .875 save%.
- Calvin Pickard replaced Campbell near the midway point of the game, and I thought he looked just as solid as he has been all pre-season so far. Pickard stopped all 14 shots he faced.
- Luke Esposito isn’t going to make the team but he was very noticeable on the fourth line.
- Was happy to see Cody Ceci get in the lineup after a groin issue kept him off the ice for a few days at the start of camp. I don’t think I’m talking out of school when I say that Ceci is going to be a huge part of this team’s success going forward.
- Jesse Puljujarvi made some really nice passing plays in the offensive zone to set up his linemates and he could have easily found himself with a point or two with a little luck.
- Late in the second period, McDavid and Kane ran into each other near centre ice, and when Connor went down as hard as he did, my heart fell into my diaper. McDavid didn’t miss a shift but that didn’t make me want to abandon the plan I was working on to wrap him in bubble wrap.
- Another strong night for the PK as they managed to kill off all three shorthanded situations they faced.
- I found it hilarious how much Stauffer was complaining about the refs on the broadcast. I know they were bad — this is something we’ve come to expect — but it was very funny to me how often the officials came up.
- I haven’t been impressed with Philip Broberg so far at all. For a guy that we’re expecting to contribute this season, I need more from him.
- If Broberg is going to play his way out of the lineup, then Ryan Murray has a wide-open lane to steal his job and I honestly think he’s been the better of the two so far.
- Oilers demolished the Flames on the shot clock, outshooting the visitors by a 38-22 margin.
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