Two down, six to go. Final Score: 3-0 Kraken
When I saw the lineup and who would be playing for the Oilers in tonight’s game against the Kraken, my hope for a second straight win wasn’t all that high but that didn’t mean there wasn’t plenty to be excited about. The good part about having these early pre-season games without basically any NHL veterans is that we get a chance to look at some of the prospects from deeper in the system and how they match up against their peers. As for the guys we know will be Oilers when October 12th rolls around — specifically the pairing of Tyson Barrie and Philip Broberg — I wanted to see whether they’d be able to keep the ship afloat even though their teammates for the evening may not be as skilled as they’re used to having.
As for the game itself, it basically played out the way I expected given the limited NHL talent on either side of the ice, and yes I say that knowing that Seattle went with way more veterans in their lineup. See what I did there? Anyway… It’s not that last night’s game against Winnipeg was any kind of Picasso, but tonight’s round of pre-season play seemed to feature an extra dose of sloppiness. Not only that, I was honestly expecting that Seattle would sorta run away with this game given that they had twice as many NHL regulars on the ice, but that assumed advantage just didn’t really materialize. In fact, I thought the mostly baby Oilers did a fine job of hanging in there and trading punches. Yet, despite their best efforts, the mighty Oilers were unable to claw their way back in the end, but should probably still feel satisfied with the way they played.
From my side of the TV screen, this was a game that the Kraken were supposed to win based on the lineups so I personally wasn’t all that surprised to see the game play out this way. That said, I thought the young Oilers played well and it will be interesting to see what comes next in terms of roster decisions.
Things Worth Mentioning…
- The Oilers disallowed goal in the first period should have counted but who really cares since a video review would have been just as annoying having the goal called back. It’s the pre-season, after all.
- Matty Beniers opened the scoring (1-0) with a perfectly placed wrister that beat Rodrigue over the shoulder from a tough angle. Even though I’d assume that the Oilers’ netminder would probably like to have that goal back, it was a hell of a shot by Beniers.
- Ryan Donato extended the lead (2-0) on the back of a nifty little wrap-around that saw him take advantage of a long-range pass from Joey Daccord that sent him into the Oilers’ zone with all kinds of time and space.
- Morgan Geekie added a third Kraken goal (3-0) while shorthanded after he punched home Tanev’s cross-ice pass to complete what was a perfectly executed 2-on-1 rush.
- I thought Philip Broberg had a nice game on the back end paired with Tyson Barrie. As I wrote in the intro, watching how those two worked together was at the top of my to-do list and it was nice to see some strong moments from that pairing as a whole and Broberg individually. I mean, I’d prefer if he didn’t take pucks to the face, but outside of that, I felt like things went pretty well.
- Markus Niemalainen loves to hit and I love him for it. A little more seasoning and I don’t think it’ll be long before he makes the full-time leap.
- When I was in LA for the first round of the playoffs, we took a picture with Olivier Rodrigue and the guy was thrilled. Honestly, I think he was stunned that anyone would recognize him in the wild, but that’s what we do, baby. I hope he carried the thrill of that meeting into tonight’s performance. Either way, Rodrigue finished up with eight saves on nine shots and a .889 save%.
- Replacing Rodrigue at the midway point was Ryan Fanti, the college UFA that the Oilers picked up in March of this year, and he did an okay job of coming in to finish the game off. A newer player on the Oilers depth chart, Fanti will be an interesting prospect to follow as he navigates the waters of his first year of pro hockey down in Bakersfield. Fanti finished with 16 saves and a .889 save%.
- Oilers went a perfect 6-for-6 on the PK, but struck out on all four of their power play chances.
- Even though I’m betting on Reid Schaefer staying in Seattle after this game — he does play for the Thunderbirds, after all — I wanted to say that I wish him well in his draft +1 season in the WHL. As our latest first round friend, a lot of Oilers fans will be watching him closely and I hope he puts up a monster year that gives us all even more reasons to be excited about our hometown boy.
- I know the box score said that Jake Virtanen played last night and tonight, but my eyes couldn’t confirm that. Guy was invisible.
- What the hell was Jacob Melanson thinking with that textbook hit to the head on Hamblin towards the end of the second period? Just a brutal hit all around and he deserved the five-minute penalty.
- ICYMI: Check out the article I wrote earlier about the new website relaunch that’s coming tomorrow.
Next up, the Oilers will make their way to Calgary to take on the Flames for their first meeting since our boys knocked them out of the playoffs. The game will be at 7:00 PM on Wednesday and will again be streamed on the Oilers website.
- When: On Thursday, January 12th, we’re jumping on a flight at the Edmonton International Airport and making our way to Vegas. On Sunday evening, we’ll fly back from Vegas to Edmonton. So the dates that you need to block off for this trip are January 12th to 15th.
- Where we’re staying: After landing in LV, we’ll jump on the free shuttle and make our way to the Park MGM before settling in for a good night’s sleep. 😉
- What you get: Your roundtrip flight, hotel, shuttle, viewing party (Friday night), game entry — we got seats this time (Saturday night), and exclusive entry into our pre-trip ‘get to know everyone’ event.
- How Much: The total cost for the trip, flight, hotel, and entry to the game is $1499 per person (based on double occupancy)
- Tickets: Ready to dive in? Click this link.