Post Game Recaps

Oilers Postgame: Exorcising the Demons

Photo Courtesy of the Edmonton Oilers

Oilers vs. Devils Postgame

Leading into this evening’s game, there was no shortage of varying reactions across the Oilers community, both online and over the airwaves. Some folks were eager to see how the reformed and improved Oilers would compete against their former star, Taylor Hall. Others, those who had fallen in love with #4 during his time in Edmonton, battled a bit of sadness and anger ahead of the matchup, reminiscing on what had been lost. The remainder of the community could only stir up an inner curiosity for the night’s events.

Regardless of the reactions, there was absolutely no doubt that with this game, #41 for both teams, came with it a staggering amount of anticipation. Would Hall light up the Oilers? Could Larsson shut down the speedy winger? Would we perhaps see a bit of fireworks between Lucic and Hall? The possibilities seemed endless.

Mo matter what us fans were wondering, however, as the bottom line for this game, like any other, was that a very valuable 2 points were up for grabs. In the midst of a playoff hunt, no games can afford to become “distractions”.

Could the Edmonton Oilers, amidst the buzzing of media and fans, find a way to block out the noise and escape Jersey with a pair of points? Let’s take a look.

1st Period

  • McDavid’s speed was immediately on display with a brilliant rush around a New Jersey defender to hit the post. Those who had been wondering about McDavid possibly slowing down lately need not look further than the past 2 games.
  • What a hot start for Edmonton. Through the first 10 minutes, the puck spent plenty of time in the New Jersey zone. With the quality of chances for Edmonton, this game could have easily been 1 or even 2 nothing in favour of the visitors. Much needed after some recent slow starts.
  •  Tough luck for Edmonton 10 minutes in. After dominating the period, the Oilers would give up one to Miles Wood of the Devils who beat Gryba wide and deke’d out Talbot. Frustrating. 1-0 New Jersey.
  • Through the first period, McDavid, Draisaitl, and Maroon were absolutely relentless. Constant scoring chances.
  • Gryba flattened Hall twice in the first 20. I wonder if this will spark things up a bit for the remaining 40.
  • The Oilers were able to successfully kill off a late Devils PP to keep the score 1-0.

Well, the Devils led after 20 minutes, but they certainly didn’t deserve to. That period was all Oilers. Multiple chances came from almost all lines in a dominating attack. McDavid was spectacular. Good news for an Oilers team that has looked stagnant through much of the last 2 games.

2nd Period

  • Through the first 5 minutes, the Oilers had carried over their excellent play entirely from the first. A couple nice wraparound chances but Schneider continued to stand tall.
  • Letestu had a massive opportunity to tie things off of a Klefbom shot/rebound but was stoned by Schneider. Huge save.
  • A little over halfway through the game and shots were 27-11 for Edmonton.
  • Taylor Hall, to this point in the game, had looked very good. Not only had he generated a couple scoring chances for himself, but he was the playmaker on a couple more too… so this is what it feels like to be on the other end of his play. Always dangerous.
  • The best that the Oilers could manage on a  late Power Play was a post by Lucic from right in the slot. The puck would bounce right back in between the legs of Schneider. So close.
  • The Oilers would come close again in the dying seconds when Lucic ripped a snapshot on net, but once again, the wall that is Corey Schneider kept it out.

The Oilers must have headed back into the dressing room wondering just what the heck they needed to do to get one back the Devils’ netminder. Through 40, the Oilers were dominating in shots (30-13), scoring chances and yet… still 1-0. If that doesn’t make you want to bang your head against the wall, not sure what will.

3rd Period

  • There we go! After peppering New Jersey with shot after shot throughout the game, Matt Benning , the rookie defenceman, fired a seeing eye-wrist shot on net to score his first NHL goal! Matt Hendricks provided a strong screen up front to ensure that Schneider was blind to it. 1-1.

  • Just a ton of back and forth hockey in the third which made for a very exciting period. Very rare for a New Jersey Devils game, but welcomed.
  • Seriously, the advanced stats for this McDavid line at the end of the night will be so unbelievably lop-sided it will make heads spin. Just a very good trio taking advantage of a rather weak defence. I look forward to seeing more of this line as they continue to establish more chemistry.
  • The broadcast team pointed out that through 55 minutes, McDavid had 7 shots on net. A career high.
  • With 2 minutes to go in the game, Cam Talbot stepped up with a MASSIVE save off a shot in the slot from Henrique. Thank you #33.
  • Neither goalie could be cracked in the final moments and this game was headed to overtime. Total shots in regulation were 39-19 Edmonton. A guaranteed, much needed point for the Oilers.

Overtime

  • My oh my. McDavid juuuuust about scored what would have been a goal of the year contender off a sweet feed from Draisaitl. Lovely.
  • AND THE OILERS TAKE THE GAME! On the Power Play, after a very untimely penalty by the Devils, Klefbom teed one up on a platter for Letestu who drove it right into the net. What a snipe show.

Final Score: Oilers 2 – Devils 1 (OT)

Postgame Thoughts

After a win in Boston that the Oilers didn’t really deserve, the Oilers stormed back in Newark and took a W that they definitely earned. There was absolutely no doubt which team was better this evening.

Despite outshooting and just plain dominating the Devils for much of the game, the Oilers still found themselves down a goal going into the 3rd, so to be able to tie the game up and get it into overtime showed quite a bit of character. Everyone was contributing and that is the main reason why the Oilers got the victory. It was a complete team effort.

Now that I’ve mentioned domination, just how impressive was  the Oilers’ top line tonight? Whenever the McDavid, Draisaitl, Maroon trio stepped over the boards, it was as if the Devils end of the ice sunk fifty feet into the ground, providing very little hope of the puck going the other way. Can anyone remember a recent time when an Edmonton line has looked that good? It’s been a while. The fact that the three of them didn’t score a goal in regulation is criminal.

Another plus for the Oilers is that Eberle and Pouliot both played solid games, with Eberle coming close to scoring on numerous occasions. I hope he gets one soon so he can escape this brutal slump he is in the midst of.

Cam Talbot didn’t face a lot of heat tonight, but when the chances for the Devils did come, he did his part and made the saves. He has a .950 save percentage to show for his effort.

On Taylor Hall… for years we had the benefit of watching this player provide significant, electrifying offence for Edmonton. Tonight, we got a first hand account of what it looks like when Mr. Hall comes storming towards our side. It was every bit as dangerous as we had all expected it to be. Hall had excellent jump and was involved in more than a couple significant scoring chances.

In saying that, we also got a taste of some of the more annoying aspects of Taylor’s game. Taylor had a few poor decisions resulting in dangerous turnovers and Edmonton chances. This was your typical Taylor Hall game with a lot of good, but also some bad.

On a final note, I had stated it above but would like to reiterate it again. It was a real pleasure to see the rookie Matt Benning get his first NHL goal. He has put together quite the fine campaign this year and was more than due to be rewarded for his hard work. Not only did he score tonight, but he provided solid defending as well. Edmonton should be excited about this kid’s development. Things look real good early.

Players of the Game

Tonight I am giving the player of the game to the 3 gentlemen on the top line. Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and Patrick Maroon ensured that for large parts of this game, the Devils were forced to run around in their end, with not much of anything coming back the other way.

This line was the pulse of game and I am sure helped to provide a massive amount of momentum for the rest of the team as they scaled over the boards following a top line shift.

I probably could have just given this award to McDavid and called it a night, but after a performance like that I would feel guilty for not properly recognizing the terrific work done. Great job boys!

Up Next: Quick Turnaround to Ottawa

The Oilers head into Canada’s capital tomorrow night looking to get 4 points in a span of 24 hours. A win and the Edmonton Oilers could put themselves in first place in the Pacific division (depending on Anaheim’s performance tomorrow). If they play anything like tonight, that scenario will be likely.

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