At this point, we might be able to call the second half of the season ‘The Death March of 2018’. No matter what happens, the Oilers lose and they make it look painful. At least tonight there was an effort for forty minutes, something that was sorely lacking in Dallas and Chicago in a pair of embarrassing weekend losses.
Before we get into the game, I’d like to rant for a second. Video review is KILLING professional sports. The review that took away Edmonton’s tying goal with five minutes left in regulation time is absolutely laughable. Jujhar Khaira’s skate was, at most, a centimeter over the ice. The Oilers then proceed into the offensive zone, a full play developed, and the Oilers scored on a second chance opportunity. Said off-side, which was questionable to begin with, legit had ZERO IMPACT on the play.
The fact that a league like the NHL, which bitches and complains on a yearly basis about a lack of goals, allows that review to happen absolutely blows my mind. If you have to stop the game for five minutes, break down a single shot and zoom 1000 times, it probably doesn’t need to be changed. One view in real time, that’s all you should get.
Video review, and I’m talking to you too NFL and MLB, should be used for egregious errors only. Obvious blown calls should be looked at but that is it. What we saw tonight is an absolute disgrace and the NHL should be ashamed to let that happen in any game. We want more offense, not more 2-1 games Gary.
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly:
So, back to the game. The death march continues for the Oilers, who failed to show up for the first period and fell in this game 2-1. It’s their seventh loss in eight games as the club has completely flushed their playoff hopes down the toilet following a ‘decade of darkness’ like post-Christmas stretch.
The frustrating part about tonight, outside of the stupid review? Edmonton failing to show up for the first period cost them. I thought the Oilers were the better team in the final forty, but it mattered not as they spotted the Predators the game’s first two goals in the opening period. Rinse, wash and repeat with this Edmonton group I suppose.
Connor McDavid, we are not worthy. McDavid was by a country mile the best player on the ice tonight and singularly kept Edmonton in the game at points. His goal early in the second period was a stunning individual effort, while he created at least four or five other chances on his own. Seriously, this kid deserves so much better than the group around him.
Cam Talbot didn’t look good on the first goal against, but I thought he played pretty damn well after that. I can’t fault him on the second goal, while he made some pretty big saves to lock it down after that. Overall, I thought Talbot gave the Oilers a chance to win tonight, and really that is all you can ask for.
I liked Ryan Strome’s game tonight (credit where due) and Jujhar Khaira as well. They both played with speed and physical ability. More of that, please.
Well, the penalty kill gave up another goal tonight so that isn’t good. They had a nice kill in the third period, but once again surrendered a tally so they end up here. It’s amazing how bad this unit is and equally amazing how a single change hasn’t been made to the group. Hell, even bringing Iiro Pakarinen back up to help in this spot would count at this point.
Andrej Sekera and Kris Russell looked poor tonight. Sekera struggled moving the puck and was slow on the night. Not overly surprising, however, as he is still working his way back from his torn ACL. It’s going to take some time for Sekera to get back up and running, hell we might not see the real Rej until next season. As for Russell, well he made a few bad pinches tonight and wasn’t strong with the puck. This pairing was the worst on the ice to my eye.
Matt Benning wasn’t much better. It’s important to remember that young defenders do not develop in a straight line, but Benning has struggled mightily this season. You wonder if he’ll survive the upcoming purge. I, for one, would keep him and let him work things out, but he’s gotta be better than this.
Milan Lucic is being paid like a top-six forward that should be having an impact on the game. The spine zone shows he had an impact tonight, but for Nashville more than Edmonton. Lucic took a dumb penalty in the first period that resulted in a goal against. Seriously, there is no other way to describe his penalty, the NBC announcers used the word ‘stupid’ to describe it.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Nashville would score on the powerplay to add insult to injury. The play died on Lucic’s stick often tonight, and even when it didn’t he found a way to fire the puck wide. He did punch a guy who was giving Talbot trouble in the third period, but that was the only positive contribution number 27 made on this night.
Edmonton’s powerplay in the third period, their only of the night, was laugh out loud bad. Not only did the Oilers take a penalty of their own, they allowed Nashville to hold the puck for 50+ seconds before we got to four-on-four. I expect some Yakety Sax to be played over it next game.
The officials were absolutely horrible. That’s being nice.
The Oilers have a golf outing with Daryl Katz tomorrow that should be fun for everyone…..Seriously though, how miserable does that have the potential to be?! After that, it is a game in Arizona on Friday night. You think people are pissed now? Watch what happens if they lose that one.