Capitals 2 – Oilers 1 (SO)
That tweet above sums it up pretty well, doesn’t it? I’m not sure where the average Oilers fan will come out following this recent 4 game road trip, but after a relatively strong game in the American capital this evening, I find myself in the half-happy camp.
On one hand, I am pleased that the Oilers were able to go out East on a crucial road trip, not have it turn into a disaster, and ultimately, keep their season alive. This is especially the case considering the brutal game against the Red Wings that preceded this trip. On the other hand though, it’s hard not to look at the last two games and note a missed opportunity.
Yesterday, the story of the game was a disastrous penalty kill that sewered the team’s chances of winning a game that they were very capable, and likely, of winning at one point.
Tonight was a different story. Despite being on the second half of a back-to-back, on their 3rd game in 4 nights, and playing in the building of a very good opponent, tonight’s tilt should have been Edmonton’s. This is considering that for much of the first half of the game… not a whole lot happened. Hell, with just a touch over 3 minutes left in the 2nd, the Oilers had only registered 10 shots on net, with only 24 shots in total.
It was after that point though, that the Oilers really took control, and never looked back. The only problem was, as has been the case in almost every single game this season, there was just no sustenance. Plenty of shots and scoring opportunities are good, but eventually, multiple pucks need to hit the twine. Which is why, when looking at the finally stats tally that shows a 30-19 lead in shots for the Oilers (and an estimated lead by 10 more in shot attempts), the game floats into the half not-happy side of things.
Unbelievably, even the Oilers lone goal scorer Jujhar Khaira could be summarized in this manner, boasting a dirty, effective go-ahead goal in one shift, but being a major culprit on Washington’s tying goal just a couple shifts later.
Sadly for the Oilers, despite going into overtime, McDavid and Draisaitl couldn’t work another highlight reel goal, leading to a shootout loss, with not one Oiler finding the back of the net.
Another night, another loss, albeit this time with a point. The Oilers exit their 4 game trip with a 2-1-1 record, and 5 points to show for it. Ending up above .500 is a positive step, of course, but Edmonton really could have done themselves a major favour with a win tonight. And for tonight, as it has before, the reason for the loss can be pinned primarily on the shoulders of scoring. May as well etch that into stone at this point.
It’s a half-happy evening. Good stride for a struggling team, but much more is needed if a serious run for contention will be held. Can it be done? Not sure. Could go either way. Half happy.
Player of the Game
Darnell Nurse gets the nod tonight, in what is becoming a regularity for this player. Since his promotion to the top pairing with Adam Larsson, Darnell has looked terrific. Tonight was no exception. He played over 25 minutes tonight, against Washington’s best, and came out even. Pair that with a couple hits, a few shots, and a potentially goal-saving shot block on Ovechkin, and you have a recipe for player of the game.
He just keeps on improving. Great news for the Oilers.
- Nuge was hosed twice tonight. One, on a goaltender interference call that ensured the Kesler pad-grab will continue to haunt your nightmares, and the other on a terrible penalty call in OT. Poor dude. Just a little bit of consistency in the officiating would be much appreciated.
- Puljujarvi wasn’t able to score tonight, but he did have a strong game with a very noticeable forecheck. If he keeps that up, Edmonton will have no choice but to keep him in the lineup.
- Laurent Brossoit had a fantastic game, giving his team more than enough of a chance to win. There was a bit of discussion this morning about whether or not Talbot should get the call, but Laurent did all he could to show that he was a fine choice. 18 saves, .947 save percentage, and some more confidence in his abilities.
- Patrick Maroon was much better this evening. He ended the night with 7 shots and a headache from thinking about all the chances he had to score. Big rebound effort from yesterday.
- Auvitu had a fine game and demonstrated his strong skating ability with numerous rushes throughout. Quite the change night in and night out when compared to the likes of Eric Gryba.
- Nice to see Khaira score his first of the season after having battled through the dreaded hellscape of healthy scratch eternity. SHould be enough to keep him in the lineup and Jokinen on the pine, for now.
- Last point, props to the Oilers PK tonight. In the first 10 minutes of the game the Oilers had taken 2 penalties, and with the way special teams have been, that could have been the end of it right there.
Up Next: Vegas Comes to Edmonton
The Vegas Golden Nights make their way to the snowy Alberta capital for the first time in franchise history on Tuesday night. Obvious, but that game is huge for the Oilers. The points have to keep coming, and they need to come in bunches.