The NHL regular season is less than a week away but, before we can get to that, the Edmonton Oilers were in Vancouver tonight to take on the Canucks. The final game of the preseason saw the Oilers ice an almost complete lineup, the only regular that didn’t see action was Zack Kassian. Some other notable lineup change was the reunion of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl on the top line (SPOILER: Magical) and the absence of Anton Slepyshev, who was initially pencilled into the lineup but was replaced with Puljujarvi at the last second.
The game was by no means a perfect one for the Oilers. The final preseason tuneup was definitely needed, as the team looked panicked and just downright sloppy at times. Let’s dive a little deeper in a complete recap of tonight’s matchup in Vancouver:
The team started with some jump after the opening whistle. That energy was sustained only briefly, however, as Khaira took a boarding penalty 6 minutes into the game. After this, things would even up.
Vancouver got on the board first after Eric Gryba missed an assignment on, Canuck preseason standout, Jake Virtanen. He would fire in a goal to give Vancouver a 1-0 lead.
The rest of the period would follow the same even flow between both teams until the dynamic duo of McDavid and Draisaitl combined for an absolutely beautiful one-timer goal with 1.4 seconds left in the frame. The German pure-bred would tie this sucker up at 1 after the first 20.
Early penalty trouble would plague the Oilers for the first 5 minutes of the second period but, they managed to escape these infractions unscathed. The tables would eventually turn in favour of Edmonton, as the team would eventually end up with a 5 on 3 later on. Who woulda guessed it!? Connor hooks up Leon for his second goal of the game.
With their first lead of the game and a power-play to work off of, it truly seemed like Edmonton was ready to take over. Markus Granlund, however, had other plans and was able to steal the puck off Matt Benning, go in on a breakaway, and immediately tie the game at 2 apiece. Edmonton only had the lead for a mere 21 seconds.
Vancouver wasn’t done there either, as Louie Eriksson potted a powerplay goal 12:41 into the middle frame. McDavid, Draisaitl, and Maroon would attempt to even things up with a 3 on 1 late into the period….but Jacob Markstrom wasn’t having any of it.
After 40 minutes, the Canuck’s had the advantage at 3-2.
This would be the best period for the Oilers. They came out with jump and had momentum for most of the period. Buzzing around the net and having good control for the final 20, it definitely felt like an equalizer was on the way. That was not to be.
Edmonton would fail to tie the game up and, despite getting a break on a disallowed Granlund goal, drop a 3-2 decision to the Vancouver Canucks.
- Anton Slepyshev was not in tonight’s game due to an illness. He is medically cleared to play and we should see him next Wednesday.
- Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl were absolutely phenomenal on a line together. They created opportunities every time they were on the ice and were just flat out fun to watch. The ideal situation would have Draisiatl anchoring the second line, but damn is it fun to watch these two play puck together.
- Jesse Puljujarvi took Slepyshev’s place for the matchup and did not stand out in any significant way. He looked nervous and indecisive most of the time…not a good showing.
- Cam Talbot was….meh. Wasn’t tested a whole lot and should have had at least one of the 3 goals scored on him tonight. He saved 14 of 17.
- Matt Benning also had a lot going against him tonight. He flubbed a bouncing puck at the blueline that allowed Granlund to pot a shorthanded breakaway goal. Was the least impressive of the Oilers defensive group against Vancouver.
- Is it just me or has Patrick Maroon been VERY quiet throughout preseason? Not reading too much into it but I miss me some greasy Big Rig goals!
- Lastly, the kid had another good game tonight. Kailer Yamamoto was with RNH and Lucic and did not look out of place at all. I liked his jump on a third-period power-play.
This was not a good regular season game by any means. Thankfully, this was in the preseason. The team does have some cleaning up to do and will have to be a lot better in their execution come next Wednesday’s Battle of Alberta.
Wash this one out of the system, watch some video, practice, and get hungry against the Flames! Hockey is back everyone, let’s not dwell on preseason negatives too long.
‘Tis The Season!
Thanks For Reading!
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