Post Game Recaps

Oilers Postgame: A Maddening Night in the Capital

Photo Courtesy of the Edmonton Oilers

Oilers vs. Senators Postgame

Fresh off one of the most impressive wins of the season against the New Jersey Devils, the Edmonton Oilers would find themselves in the Nation’s capital a mere 24 hours later looking for yet another win.

A win, and the Oilers would simultaneously be able to put a 3-1 stamp on their 4 game road trip, while at the same time capture first place in the Pacific Division… at least for the time being.

To do it, Edmonton would have to take down an Ottawa team that has put together a much better season than the Devils so far. The Senators, despite holding a negative goal differential on the season (-5 before tonight’s game), still find themselves in a playoff position and there was little question that they would be hungry for points this evening.  Ottawa, similar to Edmonton, would also be playing their second game in as many nights.

Could the Oilers, not having to face Craig Anderson, the goalie that stifled them for a shutout in their last meeting, find a way to silence the Senators? Let’s see how it all unfolded.

1st Period

  • Bob Cole was on the play by play for the night which immediately made this game an A+ in presentation. His voice is what dreams are made of.
  • Ottawa was able to get on the board a mere 3 and a half minutes in after the Oilers got caught playing Timbits hockey in their own end. A plethora of errors, Gustavsson being Gustavsson, and the game was 1-0 early.
  • Through the first few minutes, the only line that showed some life was Caggiula, Eberle and Pouliot, with the latter hitting the post on a nice rush.
  • After first 10 minutes, the most noticeable trait that was plaguing Edmonton was their inability to make a clean pass. Way too many turnovers, especially in their own end. Just a lethargic start for the visitors.
  • And the Ottawa Senators, on a Power Play with 5 minutes left in the 1st, were able to capitalize and make it 2-0. This due to 2 reasons: 1) A very weak clearing attempt by Kris Russel which kept the play alive, and 2) the penalty killers inability to react to the Sens losing a man for 10 seconds due to a broken stick. Very sleepy play.

That period looked exactly like one in which the away team didn’t arrive in town until 2 a.m., in addition to playing their 3rd game in 4 nights. Simply not good enough in the energy and detail department . And unfortunately for the Oilers, they would not have the benefit of their #1 goalie in net to help bail them out.

2-0, and if the Oilers had any hope at all, it was for a shipment of Red Bulls in the dressing room and a prayer to the heavens that Gustavsson could find a way to stop the puck. To be  a little fair to Gustavsson, not playing in almost a month cannot be easy.

2nd Period

  • Early on and the Oilers came very close to cutting the lead in half off a scramble in front lead by Kassian and Lucic. Although they were unable to convert, a penalty was drawn against the Senators for holding.
  • They wouldn’t score on the Power Play, but right after Patrick Maroon comes up clutch with a very nice 5 hole goal. The Big Rig continues to remain hot. Props to Lander for a beautiful lead pass on the play.

  • And right after that Maroon gets his second of the game! Immediately following a close breakaway chance from McDavid, Maroon was fed the puck at the top of the circle, banked it in off a Senator defender and tied this game up at 2.

  • Much better effort from the Oilers in the 2nd. Through 8 minutes, the shot clock read 8-0 for the Oilers. That’s one way to ensure that your shaky goaltender doesn’t get scored on.
  • The rookie Matt Benning, fresh off the heels of his first NHL goal, was able to decisively win his first NHL fight, sticking up for teammate Anton Lander. You have to love the effort of this kid.
  • And boy oh boy does that McDavid, Maroon, Draisaitl line stay hot! A bit of a lucky bounce for Draisaitl, after a nice little feed from McDavid and Edmonton had its first lead of the game, 3-2.
  • And just like that, Gustavsson gives it right back to Ottawa off the rush. 3-3 game.
  • Hey looky there, another awful goal on Jonas Gustavsson. Yeah, the shot did come from the slot, but that is one that your goalie needs to have. 4-3 Ottawa.

After a period in which the Oiler should most definitely be winning, they find themselves down by 1 after 40. Most of the team came out and played a much, much better second; however, Gustavsson didn’t get the memo and allowed 2 goals on 4(!!!) 2nd period shots. Unbelievable.

Terrific period for Maroon who has been extraordinary on this road trip. 16 goals on the year for the big man.

The bottom line is that this game was more than likely going to be decided by who Todd McLellan sent out in between the pipes for the 3rd.  Talbot needed his rest, but the Oilers could really use a win.

3rd Period

  • Todd would make his decision in favour of Talbot’s rest and Gustavsson would come out to start the 3rd. *Gulp*.
  • Some significant chances early for the Caggiula, Pouliot, Eberle line. That trio has been good all night.
  • Another excellent chance would follow for Draisaitl who just barely missed on a masterful drive to the net. Close but no cigar.
  • The Oilers continued to batter Condon with an assortment of chances but just couldn’t find the twine. Shots 13 minutes in were 13-2 for Edmonton.
  • What a frustrating period through 18 minutes. The team was doing absolutely everything they could to try and score with nothing to show for it. Makes you want to bang your head on the wall.
  • Ad with just over  minute left, the Senators would get an empty net goal to seal it, 5-3. Questionable pull by the bench as the Oilers didn’t even have possession when they yanked him. Not pretty.

Final Score: Senators 5 – Oilers 3

Postgame Thoughts

If you were looking for something to send you into the work week in a grumpy mood, look no further than this game. More specifically, the play of Jonas Gustavsson. Sure the Oilers started slow, and that first period hurt them, but for the final 40 minutes this was entirely Edmonton’s game. For crying out loud, over the final 2 periods the Oilers only allowed 7 shots on Gustavsson (8 with the empty netter).

Only. 7. Shots. Yet, the Oilers’ netminder yielded 2 poor goals on those shots and that was the difference. That is now 4 points in the standings that have vanished for Edmonton due in large part to Gustavsson. That is a costly amount of points in what is likely to be a very tight playoff race.

What good could possibly come from this performance? The fact that this is more than likely the straw that breaks the camel’s back when it comes to Gustavsson. After tonight, I would gamble that he either finds his way to Bakersfield, or the Oilers find a way to bring in another body from a different organization. Either way, the quality of play that Jonas has showcased over his past few games has demonstrated quite clearly that he is not up to the task. Time to move on.

The main positives that come out of this game are that the Oilers once again dominated a game, similar to that of last night against the Devils. In particular, the line of McDavid, Draisaitl, and Maroon continued to run hot, scoring all 3 goals for Edmonton. They probably could have had 7 with the amount of chances they generated. Draisaitl looked like a wizard with his play making ability tonight.

Additionally, the line that Caggiula centred looked to have solid jump as well. No goals, which keeps the slump alive for Pouliot and Eberle, but it wasn’t for lack of chances. The Oilers could really benefit from either one of those players getting hot soon in order to assist with secondary scoring. I would look to move Eberle back up to second line for next game. He has started to find a bit of a groove.

Overall, anyone who isn’t on that top line could benefit from getting a few more goals for this team. The top line is hot, but with even just 1 goal from a  different line tonight, this game is a different story.

The defence, after the 1st, played pretty well. What else can be said after allowing only 18 shots in the game, 3 in the final frame. Matt Benning had yet another strong performance. He isn’t a flashy rookie, but I’d argue that he has been one of the best in the league this year. Sekera and Larsson both managed to grab assists this evening.

In anticipation of the Sharks, I would not be surprised to see Davidson in place of Gryba. He has been the noticeable weak point over the past 2 games.

Player of the Game

Once again, this honour goes to Patrick Maroon. 2 goals for the left winger and his season total climbs to 16. Who could have guessed this when the Oilers nabbed him from the Ducks last year? I am sure all Oilers fans couldn’t be happier for a player that is a genuine good guy. Patrick Maroon has woven his way into Oil Country’s heart. Let’s hope it continues.

Up Next: A Visit from the Sharks

The Oilers will head back to Rogers Place to face the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night. It will be a difficult game, with major division implications on the line and the Oilers can not afford to come out with a mediocre effort. If they put together 60 minutes that look like the final 40 of this one, they should be more than competitive.

 

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