Fresh off the heels of a very impressive 3-1 win against the LA Kings on Thursday night, the Oilers walked back into a rockin’ downtown Edmonton on New Years Eve, looking to send 2016 off with a bang.
For the Oilers, 2016 has been a remarkably two-faced year. The second half of last season was yet another end to an incredibly disappointing season and after an offseason highlighted with a move that still ignites the online community with fiery debate, many folks in Oilerville had expected a back half to 2016 that closely resembled the first.
And yet, tonight, the final night of 2016, the Oilers were coming into the game looking to capture their 20th win of the season, a feat that took the team until February 2nd of last year. A pretty damn decent turn north.
Could the Oilers place a pretty bow on 2016 and kick start the party with a massive win against the vilified Vancouver Canucks?
Let’s take a look.
- The power play continued to hum with an excellent chance coming half way through the period. They did just about everything but score, generating 6 shots. It’s pretty great to see the PP continue to hum after the early woes.
- Something that does boggle the mind though is Eberle’s struggles, especially after his talk of working on it in the offseason.
- Thank heavens for the rare call in favour of the Oilers on the non-goal by Vancouver. I figured that it could have gone either way, considering the inconsistency of the calls that come from the command centre, but was very glad to see the Oilers get a big break.
Replay of Granlund's no-goal goal. 😡 pic.twitter.com/gNcOwfvzJe
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) January 1, 2017
- After a long stretch of fast paced, no-whistle hockey, the Oilers ended the period with a near-complete penalty kill (10 seconds remained on the clock after the buzzer).
Aside from the called-off goal, this period was a lot of back and forth, fast paced, not-so-dangerous hockey. No fireworks yet.
- Early in the 2nd, the Oilers had yet another strong power play. Lots of pressure, a couple dangerous chances, and yet… no goal. A strong, accurate shot from the point would really put this PP over the top.
- Failing to capitalize on the PP would come back to bite the Oilers after a goal by the Canucks off a poor series of events fro Edmonton. A turnover by the Oilers resulted in the goal and it was 1 in a long string of some pretty brutal giveaways.
- The second Coach’s Challenge used to try and overturn the Canuck’s goal would be unsuccessful. The standard for overturned calls remains a mystery, however, as Talbot actually received more contact on this one, than the last.
- You’ve got to looooooooooooooove the Drake! Thank the lord for a successful power play, an excellent eye by the Nuge, and a sure-fire shot by Drake Caggiula. His second of the season tied the game just over half-way through. Props to Maroon for his net front presence on the tally. Last game, he looked very engaged. This game, he gets rewarded.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) January 1, 2017
- Similar to the 1st, the Oilers would close the period with a strong penalty kill.
An incredibly sub-par start to the period for the Oilers (going down a goal early) was able to be salvaged by a clutch power play marker and much more inspired play to close the first 40 minutes. The score would be knotted at 1 heading into the 3rd.
On a side note, does that puck ever bobble and wobble on Rogers Place ice or what? Incredibly noticeable tonight.
- After a ho-hum start to the period, the Canucks struck again, this time using a strong outside drive to generate a bang-in opportunity in front of the net.
- It is unfortunate that after such a strong game, Gryba and Davidson struggled mightily in this one. It should be noted that on the last goal, Kassian was a major culprit and that the fault doesn’t entirely fall on the two defencemen.
- WOW! That power play and this Captain! An absolutely GORGEOUS tic tac toe on the Oilers’ power play by Lucic, Draisaitl and McDavid tied this game up with less than 2 minutes to go in the game. Just when the whispers start about McDavid’s production, he silences them in a big way. Fabulous.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) January 1, 2017
The Oilers did not play a buzzing third period where they could have tied it at any moment, but no matter the case, they scored right when it counted and got this game to OT.
With midnight bearing down on the clock, could the Oilers would try to wrangle the extra point.
No goal… BUT HOLY CRAP WHAT AN OVERTIME!! This right here is why the NHL went to the 3 on 3. Multiple chances at both ends with each team’s goalie standing tall.
Nuge and Larsson both had some incredible chances in particular. To the shootout we go!
- Letestu: No Goal
- Granlund: No Goal!
- Draisaitl: No Goal
- Horvat: Goal
- Nugent-Hopkins: No Goal
Final Score: Canucks 3 – Oilers 2
The last minute heroics by McDavid and the incredibly exciting overtime should help soothe over the rather ugliness of the game.
If facing the reality of the game, Oilers’ turnovers and some rather sloppy play are the main takeaways from the 60 minutes tonight. Bad turnovers lead to numerous Vancouver scoring chances, and their first goal of the night. Not only were they ugly, but they costly as well.
Edmonton did manage to fire 44 shots at the net, and Vancouver’s goalie Jacob Markstrom played exceptionally well for the Canucks; but despite that, it’s hard not to come away from this game feeling disappointed in the performance by the home squad, especially coming off the terrific game just a couple nights ago, and considering that Vancouver played just last night.
Similar to the Sharks game prior to the holiday break, the Oilers will take the point, and look to learn from their mistakes. They sure will need to with the team that is next on the docket.
On a positive note, Caggiula and Puljujarvi both showed well tonight which is terrific news for the pair of rookies. Additionally, I personally saw Nugent-Hopkins really well tonight. It will be interesting to see if the numbers matched the eye.
The Player Worthy of a Couple Extra Beverages Tonight: Drake Caggiula
Talbot or McDavid could make the claim for the star of the night, but seeing as how those two receive a ton of recognition already, we’ll give the player of the game to the rookie Caggiula.
He carried over his excellent work from the Kings game and potted his 2nd of the season to get the Oilers tied after falling behind early.
Way to be Drake. Have a couple extra tonight and come out firing against them Blue Jackets!
Up Next: The Absolutely Insane Columbus Blue Jackets
The Oilers will look to stop the scorching hot Columbus Blue Jackets on January 3rd. They will be right in the midst of their current 15 game winning streak. We can dream of a win, can’t we? Sure we can!
Have a safe and happy New Years Eve everyone!