Final Score: Sharks 7 – Oilers 0
When you back an old dog into a corner, you can expect some form of retaliation. The Edmonton Oilers got that retaliation tonight, in the form of a filthy, nasty, ugly, gouging, fierce, awful, terrible, vicious, bite back, courtesy of the San Jose Sharks.
This one was not for the faint of heart.
Truth be told, one need not look further than the first 15 seconds of this one to get a taste of how the game was going to unfold. When the puck found the back of the Oilers net just 15 seconds (!) into the game, you could tell that tonight may not have been the Oilers night.
Following a couple penalties against the Oilers, and another Sharks goal just 10 minutes later, the uneasy feeling that had tiptoed into our stomachs at the start, was now in full on wrench mode.
Everything that would follow would essentially be repeated punches to the gut, at regular intervals, with increasing intensity. Sharks’ power play goals, ineptitude when it came to zone breaks, entries, & denials, and a complete loss of what defensive zone coverage even is, were just a few of the haymakers that connected on the night.
This would continue until the Oilers, and all Oilers fans, just sort of keeled over, begging and pleading for the night to be over. Consider Talbot being pulled as an extra shot to the guts while on the ground; and the too many men penalty (while on the power play in the 3rd!) just a bunch of dirt kicked in the face. Humbling.
The whole night has been humiliating and embarrassing for the Oilers but taking that too many men penalty there defined their evening.
— Terry Jones (@sunterryjones) April 19, 2017
Okay, so maybe that is a tad bit of an exaggeration, but on a night like tonight, I think some hyperbole can be forgiven. In saying that, to save your mental health, and sure as hell mine, let’s forego the Oilers player of the game (I can’t think of one, can you?), and instead go to a briefer Takeways segment.
The quicker we get this over with, the quicker we can all move on.
- Leon Draisaitl, where are you? Seriously, he has to be playing through some form of injury as he has been pretty much non-existent all series. Tonight was no exception, and to make matters worse, he took an ugly spearing penalty that got him ejected in the 2nd period. He just may get a suspension, although his lack of dirty plays in his history will help his cause.
Of concern for Oilers, Draisaitl seems to be tiring after only 20 seconds, really labouring late in shifts, I wonder if he is 100% healthy
— Mike Johnson (@mike_p_johnson) April 19, 2017
- Paired right with him in terms of the standing square in the struggling department is Patrick Maroon. He took a wicked cross check late in the season, and at this point, it’s impossible not to speculate that it is effecting his play. He has not been at his best.
- Hell, tonight’s game was so frustrating that Connor McDavid found himself in an uncharacteristic undisciplined mood. He took a poor interference penalty, and was guilty of trying to do too much by himself on more than a couple occasions.
- Yes, the referees in this series have been about as consistent as April weather in Alberta. Nobody knows what the hell to expect on any given day, but let’s be real: the Oilers have done very little to help curb this issue. Poor penalty calls are bad, but they are even worse when you compound them with a plethora of penalties that actually do deserve to be called.
- The discipline needs to be made better immediately. It shouldn’t have been an issue this late in the series after the first game, but here we are.
- I have not seen defensive zone coverage that poor, since last year against the Islanders on Super Bowl Sunday. Tonight was worse, and that is really saying something.
- I’m not sure how to describe the feeling that you get when David Schlemko scores the 7th goal on your team, but I hope to never feel that way again.
- The Oilers has been anemic on offence when it comes to 5 on 5. With the Condors season done, I would say it is likely that Jesse Puljujarvi gets called up and slotted in for next game.
— Jason Gregor (@JasonGregor) April 19, 2017
The Bottom Line
The playoff experience jibber jabber that gets tossed around before series like this is not meaningless. Tonight, the young Oilers team (albeit stocked with more than a few veterans) took a very humbling lesson at the hands of the experienced San Jose Sharks.
No games are gimmes in the NHL Playoffs. If you steer away from the game plan, abandon proper positioning, make poor decisions with the puck, and take boneheaded penalties, it will lead to nights like tonight. In some ways, it is a good lesson to learn, as long as the effects of the lesson don’t lead to busted morale for the rest of the series.
What stands on the table now is a best of 3 series with the Oilers having home ice advantage. The Sharks, however, have all of the momentum.How this team rebounds on Thursday will scream volumes about its composition.
Tonight was terrible, but Thursday should be better. This Oilers team has surprised us all year (tonight in a poor way), we can only hope that they flip the tables for game 5 and come back with a bite of their own. I think they can, how about you?