HARD NOSE THE HIGHWAY

There are some results you can see coming from a mile away, and last night we saw exactly that play out at Rogers Place. After a stunning opening (which featured the crowd singing the anthem in full voice), the town team played a tentative six minutes before settling in. Oscar Klefbom scored the opening goal, and Milan Lucic added a power-play marker later in the period. Almost from that point on, Edmonton was either chasing the puck or playing with one man in the penalty box.

I saw a lot of complaining in the comments section and elsewhere online about the officials, and that may be something you want to discuss. For me, a more mature team figures out a way to stay out of the box. By the time the parade of penalties was complete, all of the air had been let out of the Oilers’ tires. Much of the roster had been sitting so long the speed and feel of the game was beyond them. I will say Edmonton’s skaters left their thinking caps at home from the second period on.

The Edmonton Oilers can win this series. They have the best player, they have the best goalie and the Sharks are not healthy. However, the first thing the Oilers have to do in order to win this series, is not beat themselves. I think it’s fair to suggest learning that lesson may cost them this playoff spring, unless they can learn it in a quick hurry.

  • Todd McLellan on the penalties: “It takes a lot of players out of the rhythm of the game.”

MATCHUPS

One of the things I wanted to see in this game surrounded the matchups facing Connor McDavid, and the matchups doled out to Darnell Nurse-Eric Gryba.

PATRICK MAROON-CONNOR MCDAVID-LEON DRAISAITL

  • Corsi for 5×5: Patrick Maroon (11-15), Connor McDavid (14-14), Leon Draisaitl (15-14).
  • Points: One assist, by McDavid, on the power play.
  • Shots: Two, both by McDavid. He had five shot attempts, Leon two, Maroon one.
  • TOI: McDavid played 16:14 at evens, 3:39 on the PP, 1:29 on the PK.
  • HDSC: Natural Stat Trick has McDavid at two high-danger SC’s for and four against, I didn’t count but it sounds about right.
  • Oddities: McDavid spent a shift with Mark Letestu, not sure why. Louie DeBrusk picked up on it and identified Maroon as the winger dropped, I don’t know what happened there. If you do, chime in!
  • Sharks defensive matchups: San Jose ran (as we expected) Vlasic-Braun against McDavid for 10:37 (Braun) and Vlasic (9:37). CMD won both Corsi battles (14-6 and 10-7) but there were precious few really good looks I can recall. San Jose’s plan (rob McDavid of clean air) worked, simple as that.
  • Sharks forward matchups: With Logan Couture back, SJS ran the Karlsson-Couture-Pavelski unit most often, and with good success. Although McDavid was 4-5 against Pavelski, it’s also true this was one of the few games any opponent got under 97’s skin. Credit to Pavelski, he did his job and McDavid was not the difference in the game. For any player up against McDavid, that’s a win.
  • What about Game 2? I talked to Woodguy about matching last week, and he mentioned that Todd McLellan may like the matchup (power v. power) because it gives clean air to the Nuge line. I think that’s dandy, but wonder if it might be an idea to get 97 loose when Vlasic Pickles is on the bench. A McDavid versus Brent Burns shift holds real promise.
  • Anything else? If Maroon is hurting (he was not his best), it might be an idea to throw Caggiula up there for Game 2, or at least a portion. Friday is a must win, so the absence of alternatives clears the brain.
  • Anything else else? We know Connor McDavid can’t be contained for long, so Game 2 should be a wild time. Leon played a heavy straight-arm game early, but seemed to fade later in the game and needs to bring it for 60 minutes.

NURSE-GRYBA PAIRING

  • Corsi for 5×5: Darnell Nurse (10-17); Eric Gryba (8-11).
  • Points: Nurse was -1, and both men were on the ice for a PP GA(Ward) and the overtime goal. I think it is fair to note that Nurse was slow to shut the back door on the Ward goal, and that Gryba was in no man’s land on the OT winner. If you disagree, please let me know.
  • Shots: No shots, but Nurse had five shot attempts. Nurse was 3-9 in 5×5 shots for-against, and Gryba was 3-5.
  • TOI: Nurse played 16:23 and 1:53 on PK.
  • HDSC: Natural Stat Trick Nurse at 0-4 and Gryba at 1-3.
  • Oddities: None.
  • Oilers defensive matchups: Todd McLellan had Nurse on the ice most often (5×5) against Justin Braun (9-3) and Brent Burns (1-7) pairings.
  • Sharks forward matchups: Nurse saw Jannik Hansen (5-6) for over five minutes, Chris Tierney and Tomas Hertl too. Pretty much the same for Gryba, although his numbers are slightly different (partly due to time with Oscar Klefbom). Nurse spent some time with Adam Larsson (3-8) but it didn’t go well. The ‘shift’ for Nurse-Larsson lasted an eternity and reminded all of the dark days of Oilers defense. When Nurse finally got the puck out, he was caved. Credit where due, he knew the hit was coming and hung in there.
  • What about Game 2? Matt Benning (for me) is a better match for the Sharks forwards, but that isn’t ideal either. Two players as young as Nurse-Benning are will get targeted by the Sharks, especially in their home barn.
  • Anything else? Mark Fayne is in Bakersfield.

NOTES

  • Oscar Klefbom had a fantastic playoff debut to my eye, if I they ask me he would have been first star on the night. Scored a goal, transported and passed the puck well, he was splendid.
  • Cam Talbot had a strong game, I’ve seen comments about the winning goal but that’s a terrible defensive breakdown and a bang-bang play. You hope your goaler stops it, but Talbot made some fantastic saves early. I would note the early leg kick save and the round-the-world beauty against Brent Burns.
  • Milan Lucic had a strong game, grabbing 1-1-2 early and helping the break out with good speed and passing. I really like his game right now.
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had a fine game by my eye, although 6+ minutes on the PK meant he was not as available for even-strength matchups.
  • Adam Larsson played a good game, strong down low and had good wheels. In a difficult game for the defense, I liked this pairing. I did not like the Nurse-Larsson shift, however.
  • Mark Letestu made a terrible back pass in his own zone that led to the tying goal, just a terrible piece of work. Single plays can have great importance while also being single plays. It was not a good night for him despite the apple.
  • Drake Caggiula is an emerging player but he can’t take two penalties. No sir. Todd McLellan may not feel he has the horses to sit him after that game, and for me I like Caggiula as an option on the 97 line, but he needs to stay out of the box.

CLEAN AIR

There are several reasons for Edmonton’s loss (SJS were outstanding on the forecheck, and knew the breakout patterns—often arriving at the designated puck destination before the designated Oiler) but I would rank penalties as the top item. Let’s have a look.

Connor McDavid played 65 percent of his 5×5 time against Justin Braun, and 59 percent against Marc-Edouard Vlasic. That’s lower (in terms of percentage) than we saw in the road game against the Sharks recently (G80). Here’s what I wrote about that matchup at the time:

  • Line went 12-14 against Vlasic-Braun in 13:46. That represents 79 percent of McDavid’s 5×5 icetime, that (imo) is a hard match. Despite the negative Corsi, I felt the line had several promising sorties and 97 alone had what seemed like a dozen handsome chances. Source

So, what changed? Well, it was the the first playoff game for the heart of the order, and that probably impacted things. Also, the breakouts were not quality (mostly), and a lot of that (to my eye) was about good scouting and aggressive play (leading to McDavid lacking clean air). In order, these are the issues:

  • Penalties
  • Predictable breakouts and poor execution on them (and SJS anticipation/good scouting)
  • Slow reaction in defensive zone

The Sharks were there to catch the Letestu back pass and arrived early and often for the dump outs and area passes. Good scouting. Todd McLellan and his staff need to devise ways to counter it (a check down option surely was there but for the most part went unused), but I think much of last night (after the first period) was about Edmonton not playing their game. That’s my opinion. I don’t think expert line juggling was the issue, especially considering Connor McDavid had flourished previously in a similar situation (sans Couture). If Nuge hadn’t been on the PK for six minutes and if all of the forwards had been in a rotation, perhaps the game wouldn’t have gotten away from them. I think Connor McDavid could play the exact opponent he did last night and post three points on Friday. He’s done it before, he will do it again. Get him the puck with a foot of clean air. That’s the job. I think this was a failure of on-ice execution, not off-ice management. Connor McDavid can win going power v. power. We’ve seen it. And if the plan is to find him the softer minutes (versus Brent Burns), then the players have to stay out of the penalty box. The Edmonton Oilers lost their first playoff game in eleven years last night. Friday we find out what they learned. One area Todd McLellan might consider: Sitting some veterans, specifically David Desharnais and Eric Gryba. The Sharks are perhaps less than ideal in terms of a matchup for these men.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A busy morning. TSN1260 at 10, scheduled to appear:

  • Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey. We’ll break down the first playoff game since 2006, and Bruce will tell us what that playoff atmosphere felt like in the new building.
  • Jared Book, Bluebird Nation and Habs Eyes on the Prize. Jays slow start and Habs can’t contain Tanner Glass.
  • Frank Seravalli, TSN. The playoffs are underway, and the off-ice stories are in full bloom. We’ll have a lively discussion on all of it.

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!

 

 

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103 Responses to "HARD NOSE THE HIGHWAY"

  1. Spengler says:

    I have mixed emotions after last night’s game. There is disappointment; from opportunity lost, the deterioration in quality from period to period, for the long suffering fans of this city (like rescue animals – so desperate to love and be loved, yet so scarred that the slightest misstep causes us to shrink away, or snap out).

    But there is also joy. That was exciting. Sure, the play on the ice wasn’t always great. There were far too many shark attacks that were more siege than blitz. The penalty box seemed more crowded than the concourse. But through all of that, I was on the edge of my seat. It’s been too long since games really meant something in this city other than moral victories or a collection of individual stat lines collected in February that can be trumpeted in a call for just one more year of patience.

    Hockey meant something last night. Not in the broader sense that it does in Canada this time of year. But in the specific and personal; out team, our city, our players, our fans. We lost, but it meant something. And it will mean something again on Friday. And on Sunday. And Tuesday. And maybe it will mean something for a little bit longer.

    I am disappointed but through it all, I am just bloody joyful to have hockey that really means something back in my life.

  2. p3rsonman says:

    That wasn’t the Oil’s game last night. We’ve seen them play like that before this season, and 9 times out of 10 they correct it the following game. I hope G2 is no different.

    Too fancy, too many penalties. I think those are correctable mistakes.

    Credit to the sharks for taking it to us from 20 minutes on, but I was at that game and I thought we beat ourselves. The sharks didn’t look too dangerous to my eye, but we looked sloppy and careless.

  3. Jethro Tull says:

    Watch one of the other playoff games and pay attention to the reffing. The watch last night again. The reffing affected the game far more than it should have. I think the Oilers were primed for a slug fest. They brought a rail gun to a fight that the refs couldn’t figure out; ooh, we’ll let that go, but we’ll call that one, even though it was the same infraction…

  4. 106 and 106 says:

    “Single plays can be of great importance but also still be single plays.”

    In the regular season, this tends to even out over the year with them fading as single plays.

    In the playoffs though, they seem to be more of the “great importance” variety than the single play.

  5. Dino says:

    1. This game was eerily similar to the final game they played in LA. Get up 2-0, think the rest of the game is going to be a breeze and get your ass handed to you by a veteran team.

    2. The 4th line and 3rd pairing is out there in OT 3 min into it against their 1st line and 1st pairing? San Jose was able to take advantage of the Oilers roster soft spots on some occasions. Isn’t that what home ice is supposed to prevent?

    3. Penalties sucked the momentum out the game. It’s weird, the oilers played a type of game they didn’t play all season. I chalk that up to inexperience.

  6. Huss says:

    I feel like the Oil got out coached last night. Lost the matchup game on home ice and fell victim to the advanced scouting and game plan that was superior to theirs.

    I definitely think there is a path forward. Some of that has to do with player selection. Benning should be in, Gryba out. I don’t think Desharnais is a poor fit for this matchup, but don’t fully know if Khara is a better option at C.

    Blaming the officials in this case is fruitless. There’s nothing that will come from griping, complaining, or having a pout in the corner. While I didn’t love some of the calls, in such a charged atmosphere, I can see how emotions (officials, players, fans, coaches) get the best of people.

    Coming up on Friday, Todd better have a better game plan. Running 97 out against the best on the other side because its worked all year isn’t the best option around.

  7. npanciroli says:

    I put a lot of this loss on McLellan’s lineup decisions and in game management issues.

    The rest on the Oilers play and reffing. First and foremost was McLellan though.

  8. russ99 says:

    There’s not much clean air in the playoffs. The only team that got some was Pittsburgh yesterday, and it was minimal, but they pounced on it. Also Ottawa’s goal was from a D-breakdown.

    We all knew the rush wouldn’t be as effective in playoff games.

    This team has had a real problem creating chances in the cycle all year, and that’s where the majority of scoring changes come from in the playoffs.

    We fell back into our trap of pushing it back to the point and forwards wilting and not making tough plays under pressure to keep the puck and create chances. Around the outside.

    If we can’t all of a sudden thrive in the cycle, we’ll need to push the puck up fast and catch their D napping, which didn’t happen last night, they were prepared on every of our zone entries.

    This is a five man job. Defensemen need to get the puck out quickly, and make smart passes under pressure, forwards need to not float too far up, and take a check, and lay off the cute passes, be compact and effective.

    Need a lot more gumption in general. hitting a guy after the puck is gone may look good, but it doesn’t really affect things too much.

  9. Dino says:

    If Connor is going to get shadowed on the ice then that’s when his wingers have to step up and play like actual NHL wingers. Maroon hasn’t in his past 3-4 games and Leon was nowhere to be found. These are 2 good players who have proven they can make plays and score. They can’t just wait for McD to do everything on that line.

  10. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    “Oddities: McDavid spent a shift with Mark Letestu, not sure why. Louie DeBrusk picked up on it and identified Maroon as the winger dropped, I don’t know what happened there. If you do, chime in!”\

    Seemed like a clear FO match up thing to me at the time… checked it this morning… seems right:

    104 1 EV 17:50
    2:10 FAC EDM won Def. Zone – S.J #39 COUTURE vs EDM #55 LETESTU
    8
    C

    39
    C

    68
    C

    4
    D

    5
    D

    31
    G
    29
    C

    55
    C

    97
    C

    6
    D

    77
    D

    33
    G

    http://www.nhl.com/scores/htmlreports/20162017/PL030181.HTM

    http://www.nhl.com/stats/shiftcharts?id=2016030181

  11. Pink Socks says:

    All of the excitement of the first taste of playoffs didn’t get soured by the performance of the team. 45 minutes were pretty tough to watch, but I took away the following:

    1) The reffing caused me to drink more than I had planned for. The NHL should be ashamed of that performance. The Gryba elbow was a travesty, but it was more the non-calls. I guess a playoff matchup in California is more profitable for Gary than 2 series in Edmonton. Further, LT – I agree a team has to figure out how to stay out of the box. Unfortunately the non-calls were the biggest issue.

    2) I like Eric Gryba, but I prefer him in the lineup when in SJ. Benning I believe is a better player, and at home, TMac can protect that pairing. In SJ I may be inclined to stick with the veteran presence to avoid Nurse Benning stuck up against a less than desirable matchup.

    3) Jordan Eberle was hitting, backchecking, turned up another gear. I really like the second line with Lucic humming along as well. But Eberle was very noticeable last night and that makes me happy to see a player with a history of being a clutch player in key situations finding his game. He will score tomorrow night.

    4) David Desharnais is atrocious. He had some moments when he first came over clicking with Pouliot and Kassian, but at this point he has been dreadful and should be yanked from the lineup. Honestly I’d rather even Hendricks over DD right now.

    5) Caggiula should be playing on the top line with Draisaitl and McD. Earlier in the season Maroon Letestu and Kassian formed a very nice third line with chemistry and performed quite nicely in a few games together.

    6) Fuck the Sharks.

    7) Sharks are a veteran team who has done this before. The experience from game 1 will only help the Oil moving forward. On to Friday!

  12. Hello says:

    Like coach T always says,” we park this one (last nights game) win or lose and move on to the next.”

    Obviously, the effort has to be ramped up. Veteran playoff teams know how to “forecheck” with purpose. There was a plan to the sharks game last night, aas if they knew what we were doing before the oilers knew what they were doing first.

    Tough lesson learnt, but I’d rather lose the first game then any other.

    Gryba makes too many more mistakes than benning imo, and his lost coverage on the it goal is on him. Bad positioning.

  13. stener says:

    Had the privilege of attending the game last night. I arrived at Rogers about an hour and a half before puck drop and the place was absolutely buzzing. I’m battling a hoarse voice and mild tinnitus this morning. Easily worth the price of admission.

    The Sharks played a very effective game in the neutral zone last night, but the Oilers shot themselves in the foot repeatedly with cheap giveaways. Not much tape-to-tape; very rare that a pass hit any forward in stride. The crowd was riled about the penalty calls, but anytime a team outshoots you 44-19, the zebras didn’t decide the game. This team still has a ton to learn.

    That being said, we have the horses to take this series. Friday is a must-win and I have no doubt we will see a response from the top 6. I wouldn’t mind seeing Benning dress next game, Gryba did not look comfortable out there.

  14. hunter1909 says:

    Hunter1909’s Playoff Death March Update:

    With yesterday’s loss, Oilers are behind the 8-Ball going into their next game.

    Out of 227 Playoff Death March entries, less than 10% predicted anything less than an Oilers series win.

  15. doritogrande says:

    Zack Kassian is a dangerous man. I loved watching his game last night, coming down the tracks like a locomotive bent on derailing someone. More of that please.

    As tough as a G1 loss is, it’s something the Oilers can use to build off. Looking forward to a great series.

  16. Chachi says:

    McDavid lacked clean air, but still could have easily had 2 goals on a breakaway and partial breakaway. If one of those go in and Caggiula’s stick doesn’t explode in his hands on that breakaway coming out of the penalty box and we are talking about the Oilers stealing one last night instead of losing in overtime.

  17. Pink Socks says:

    Chachi,

    The US broadcast (no clue of the names of the geniuses) said that the reason Caggiula’s stick broke was because it wasn’t new and that it had suffered damage on Pavelski’s face, that Caggiula should learn his lesson and always take a new stick to the penalty box. They were serious. No shit.

  18. Atc-Nate says:

    I didn’t catch much of the game so maybe someone can correct me, but in 4 on 4 do we have a better option than Caggiula and Letestu? We absolutely deserve to get scored on when those 2 are out there.

  19. Chachi says:

    Pink Socks:
    Chachi,

    The US broadcast (no clue of the names of the geniuses) said that the reason Caggiula’s stick broke was because it wasn’t new and that it had suffered damage on Pavelski’s face, that Caggiula should learn his lesson and always take a new stick to the penalty box.They were serious. No shit.

    Hahahaha. I mean this as a compliment and not to whine that it wasn’t a penalty because it was, but Pavelski made good and damn sure that he caught that stick flush in the face to draw the penalty. That was a good experienced player recognizing an opportunity. The same could be said of Couture hard selling the “elbowing” penalty to Gryba, but instead I will say fuck Logan Couture and the horse he rode in on and may his rat-fuck face get even rattier every day of his miserable life.

  20. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    The players left the game plan and effort in the locker room after the first.

    Lots of cutesy plays and Barbara Anne Scotts after the first and not a lot of forechecking or back pressure or well executed break outs.

    The coach lost the plot too imo.

    I talked to Woodguy about matching last week, and he mentioned that Todd McLellan may like the matchup (power v. power) because it gives clean air to the Nuge line. I think that’s dandy, but wonder if it might be an idea to get 97 loose when Vlasic Pickles is on the bench. A McDavid versus Brent Burns shift holds real promise.

    I think trying too hard to get away from Vlasic/Braun will disrupt the flow and 97 can handle that match up.

    What McLellan cannot do is what he did last night and that’s let Pavelski/Couture be the forward line that sees the most of McDavid.

    I said on LT’s show yesterday he needed to avoid that and he didn’t.

    I think it is fair to note that Nurse was slow to shut the back door on the Ward goal, and that Gryba was in no man’s land on the OT winner. If you disagree, please let me know.

    On the Ward goal Gryba also lollygagged from behind the net to his check, Ward. By the time he got to him Ward was celebrating the goal.

    He completely mis-read the coverage on the overtime goal as he closed on Nurse’s check and left Melker wide open.

    He should sit.

    Mark Letestu made a terrible back pass in his own zone that led to the tying goal, just a terrible piece of work. Single plays can have great importance while also being single plays. It was not a good night for him despite the apple.

    Yeah, that back pass to no one was just terrible.

    What was also terrible was McLellan’s decision to send out 55-44 (then 36 spelled off 44 after 4 seconds) against Hertl-Jansen 4v4.

    Jansen is SJS’s best skater and Hertl is very good as well.

    97 had just finished his shift, but 93 was on the bench too.

    Maybe McLellan thought of giving 93 the next shift, but he came back with 97 right after the goal, so that’s crushes that idea.

    Putting 55 out against good fast players 4v4 is bad coaching.

    The bottom 6 was destroyed last night so McLellan has to play bad options some times, but 4v4 in that spot was bad and was noted at the time.

  21. Younger Oil says:

    One thought that has really been on my mind is:

    What does Pouliot-Desharnais-Pakarainen do better than Khaira-Lander-Slepyshev would?

    Only things I can think of are experience and speed.

    Size, cycle, defensive play, you know, the things you actually WANT out of the 4th line would be done better by the youngsters.

  22. oilman says:

    “Cam Talbot had a strong game, I’ve seen comments about the winning goal but that’s a terrible defensive breakdown and a bang-bang play.”

    I feel like that puck dipped after making light contact with Gryba’s stick. Talbot’s comments after the game stating something like “it was a good shot and beat me clean” was him being a good team mate and leader.

  23. The Original JDI says:

    I’ve seen comments about the winning goal but that’s a terrible defensive breakdown and a bang-bang play.

    That was a great shot on a near breakaway – over the pad and below the glove. For all the times that Talbot stood tall, facing 44 shots in the game, he should not be blamed.

    19 shots. 19 shots in 63-ish minutes of playing time. 19. That’s not going to win you many playoff matches.

  24. SayItAin'tSo, Gretz, SayItAin'tSo! says:

    Some Thoughts:

    1) Can’t say enough how impactful it was that Pavelski got under Cmd’s skin. The 2nd line was rolling and if the first could have got some traction the team would have been in a great spot to take advantage. Despite the result I was very pleased with the 2nd line, they seem to be rolling right now.

    2)
    russ99,

    I think you hit the nail on the head with your last three lines. Its been an issue all season but because the last two games against the Nucks were sleepers i think a serious lack of urgency from the dmen when moving the puck sunk in deep. The Russell hold and wait was in full force last night and while it pissed me off in season it will be a killer against a team that forechecks well.

    3) No need to complain about the reffing, they won’t bend to Edmonton until the team wins. This is a story we know and we also know how it ends. Win games and you’ll get more calls. In the meantime as LT says they need to keep their cool and cut back on the loose sticks.

    4) I’m actually not too worried about the dmen (at least compared to DD ooof that was a stinker), there were definitely intensity issues last night but there was also a delay in games played. We saw in season that the Oilers are better when the games are rolling. Gryba, Russell and Nurse were chasing a bit last night, it bit them but these are identifiable and correctable, no need to panic.

    5)
    npanciroli,

    I actually don’t understand this at all. McLellan’s lineup started the 2nd period with a 2-0 lead, so the lineup either thrived in spite of him that period or it wasn’t that bad to begin with. I don’t think it was lineup issues as it was intensity issues. With all the PP time San Jose could rotate players while the Oilers were forced to send out just a select few to kill tough to sustain moment. This whoel line of blaming TMac actually irked me last night. Players play hockey not the coaches, if the players can’t up the intensity level that is on them just as much as it’s on any coach. This is a two way street and the slagging of coaches has only traveled one direction for a decade in Edmonton, time to back off that dead horse and put the focus back on the guys who are on the ice playing the game.

    6) First game in the playoffs for a huge chunk of that team and overall I think the moment somewhat got to them. Growing pains are too be expected and despite all of that they were in OT with a chance to win, of course it sucks that they lost but lets not get too far ahead of ourselves. This team had a helluva season, exceeded expectations and has the tools to get this done, I (we) believe all of these things to be true. I’m more than willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that they can turn it up a notch or five, they deserve that kind of slack from fans right now.

  25. hags9k says:

    Solving that Sharks forecheck is the priority in my opinion. We have to be able to check down to option B because they were waiting at option A all night. It was a clinic.

    Lucic made a great play where the pinch came down on him but he calmly protected it and spun back around and that little delay opened up the weak side D man as an outlet. We will need more of this type of play.

    Fucking Sharks.

  26. Younger Oil says:

    Also, our bottom 6 forwards were so much of a non-factor last night, I wonder if the struggles continue if McDavid and Draisaitl will be split up.

    Caggiula-McDavid-Kassian
    Lucic-RNH-Eberle
    Maroon-Draisaitl-Slepyshev
    Three of Pou/Khaira/Letestu/Lander/DD/Pakarainen/Hendricks

    Honestly may be a lineup better suited to playoff hockey, gives us a lot more depth which will help us against the poor matchups.

    Hell, Puljujarvi could even make more of a difference than a good chunk of the bottom 6 last night.

  27. fifthcartel says:

    I don’t know if you can run Letestu on the third line. I know McLellan doesn’t (or rather, chooses to) have the horses, but that’s too much time at 5-on-5/4-on-4 for Letestu. There needs to be better depth options but I feel that’s partly on the coaching staff for overloading the top-6.

  28. linkfromhyrule says:

    It seems many of us were so confident in this team winning the series, we forgot that the Oilers could (and likely would) lose G1. Teams don’t get much more “veteran” than San Jose, complete with all the obstructing BS and favour from the officials.

    That said, SJ embarrassed EDM on home ice in the last two periods and overtime. I do not believe Mcdavid will be happy with the effort from himself or the team. Hopefully this loss wakes them up.

    Desharnais and Gryba should sit. That trade deadline pickup looks worse every game. I would be much more comfortable with Davidson on 3rd pairing instead of Gryba or Benning. Oh well.

    SJ scouted the hell out of our breakouts, McLellan needs to come up with an alternate strategy or expect more of the same next game.

  29. Jon K says:

    I think it is reasonable to say that, looking at the first game for what it was (the single first game for this team) there are some questions that could be asked about McLellan’s strategies and usage.

    For example, was the team taking full advantage of last change on home ice to seek mismatches? If we think not, then why not?

    Or, what changes did the coaching staff try to make to adjust after the first period? I am genuinely not sure, but it seemed that San Jose improved each intermission while the Oilers did not.

    Lastly, we can say things like Letestu making a poor play on the tying goal is but a single play, but we also know Letestu as a player and so too does McLellan, presumably. He’s likely the worst possession player on the team at even strength among regulars and is certainly the slowest forward by a mile when Hendricks is out of the lineup. Is he really the best choice for the start of the 4v4, merely because it is a right side defensive zone draw and he’s the RH centre? Sample size of one, but if I had made that choice, I would have immediately regretted it after watching him hand San Jose the equalizer.

    All of that said, it was the very first game and we should give McLellan the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he was concerned less with details and more with breaking in a very young team. BUT, if the series progresses and the questions mount rather than resolve, I personally will be interested to go back and look at his series as HC for San Jose for some answers.

    Individual points of note:
    – Reffing: the Oilers suffered from some questionable calls early but they were full value for later calls as the game progressed. If the refs seem to be saying the Oilers will be penalized for regular playoff physicality then you dial it back, it’s their world. Lucic should know better.
    – First line: Maroon looks wrong (somehow even slower than usual?) and Draisaitl did not have a strong game. For Maroon I suspect injury given his struggles to end the season and resting for the last game. Draisaitl did not lack effort but looked put off by the pace and lack of space. Forcing him to skate or pass quickly resulted in turnovers a few times.
    – Caggiula: despite the penalties I would still try him on the top line. I like him much more as a winger with his speed and shot, and is a good complement to 97 and 29. More than one way to skin a cat, and maybe it’s not Maroon this series.
    – Gryba: poor showing all around. Despite Benning’s last quarter struggles I’d still bite the bullet and bring him in alongside Nurse. The Oilers desperately need his skating and passing for zone exits, in lieu of Gryba’s lack of ability in those areas. Gryba’s not a rookie or a key asset so he’s a prime target for message sending after his ridiculous lapse on the OT goal.
    – Third line: DD is a black hole. I can see how he would have been an effective puck distributor as a young man, but at this moment in time he seems to be unable to skate and position himself to obtain, receive or distribute the puck offensively. Defensively he does not bring anything. At all.
    – 3C moving forward: Does Draisaitl at wing mean Chiarelli signs Hanzal for $5+? Or do we see Caggiula again next season?

  30. Jethro Tull says:

    Foot off the gas, blown d coverage, crappy giveaway from a usually sound defensive guy and a shot Talbot should have had. And that’s how tight the playoffs are, guys n gals.

    I don’t care what you say, even Bowman can’t coach out brain farts or bench the whole team.

  31. Dicky94 says:

    DD needs to sit for the rest of the series if they are serious about trying to win. I’ll get some grief for this but it’s time for Hendo to centre the fourth line with Slepy and Pouliot. I liked the other lines. Cags will settle down in game two. No need to panic. Go Oilers!!

  32. Scungilli says:

    Being in the playoffs is enough this year. They are a growth team as the coach says.

    For me, I’m frustrated with the weak vet bottom half players. They are the easiest to get and most affordable players on the team.

    Watching experienced players make rookie mistakes when it matters the most, and guys that aren’t good enough skaters to keep up to the tempo sucks. After 10 years of watching bad players screw things up and under perform I’ve had my fill.

    I really hope Chiarelli adds the depth that is so needed for next season. Skate, think, pass, big enough to play properly all need to be checked off.

  33. Jon K says:

    Woodguy v2.0,

    Yep. Lots of identifiable things that can be remedied for game 2. Whether McLellan makes those changes will say a lot about him. Everyone is watching.

  34. npanciroli says:

    Younger Oil,

    Agree 100%.

  35. A'bunadh says:

    San Jose was able to transition back and forth from a hard forecheck to sitting back and trapping and we weren’t prepared for either and didn’t make the proper adjustments. We were way too slow moving the puck. Multiple times we gained possession in the D zone and then instead of moving it quickly we were either swarmed and lost possession when SJ was forechecking (Gryba a lot), or allowed SJ to fall back and set up a trap that we couldn’t penetrate. Puck movement is key and was close to non-existent last night.
    Inexcusable move by McLellan to put 55 and 36 out on the 4 on 4 when 93 and 14 were rested on the bench. As soon as I saw that I called the SJ goal. McLellan’s love affair with certain players is really hampering us. Pretty clear last night SJ won the coaching matchup.

  36. BONE207 says:

    Chachi: Hahahaha. I mean this as a compliment and not to whine that it wasn’t a penalty because it was, but Pavelski made good and damn sure that he caught that stick flush in the face to draw the penalty. That was a good experienced player recognizing an opportunity. The same could be said of Couture hard selling the “elbowing” penalty to Gryba, but instead I will say fuck Logan Couture and the horse he rode in on and may his rat-fuck face get even rattier every day of his miserable life.

    Joanie likes it when you talk this way, doesn’t she???

  37. Chachi says:

    Jethro Tull:
    Foot off the gas, blown d coverage, crappy giveaway from a usually sound defensive guy and a shot Talbot should have had. And that’s how tight the playoffs are, guys n gals.

    I don’t care what you say, even Bowman can’t coach out brain farts or bench the whole team.

    Amen.

  38. BONE207 says:

    The Original JDI,

    Hey JDI…is that Pappy (and his black eyed peas) ?

  39. SayItAin'tSo, Gretz, SayItAin'tSo! says:

    Jethro Tull,

    Excellent!

  40. StixMalone says:

    Lots to complain about but at the end of the day we were up 2-0 after the first period! Complete meltdown after. So much for home ice advantage…..

  41. GriffCity says:

    Woodguy v2.0,

    Woodguy, I rewound and re-watched that final sequence and it honestly wasn’t Gryba’s fault. It was a 3 on 2 and he had his man in the middle of the ice until that stretch pass was made to an open winger on the far side. The reason that winger was wide open was the result of a broken stick in offensive zone from Pouliot and a sloppy line change. Can’t pin that one on Gryba alone.

    The first goal Gryba was a split second late getting back tot he front and it ended up in the Oilers net. Russel was also badly out-muscled on the second goal when battling for the puck from behing the oilers net allowing the player to walk out and wrap Talbot, completely stretching him out for the save which made the rebound a slam dunk.

    The oilers did not play a great game. they were sloppy coming out of their own end and when they got up, they let the foot off the gas and you cannot do that in playoff hockey. I am hoping they come back with a big W and flip the tide on the sharks because going down 0-2 is a huge hill to climb. Go Oil

  42. John Chambers says:

    In Bettmsn’s NHL do we get half a win for the OT loss?

  43. Pouzar says:

    Woodguy v2.0: Putting 55 out against good fast players 4v4 is bad coaching.
    The bottom 6 was destroyed last night so McLellan has to play bad options some times, but 4v4 in that spot was bad and was noted at the time.

    +1.

    Our bottom 2 Centers are too slow. Sorry for mentioning this again but does TMc not know this?

  44. Dino says:

    After rewatching the game SJ’s game plan is pretty easy to see:

    – Get puck in deep in the o-zone and pressure every Oilers player near the puck until they turn it over. Then get it to an open player in front of the net for a grade A scoring chance.

    – Pressure Oilers in the neutral zone until they turn it over and repeat step 1.

    Boy did it work. The Oilers couldn’t handle the puck cleanly and quickly under pressure and buckled. Also the Oilers have a terrible habit of leaving people wide open in front of their net. Really hope to see this solved next game. We’ve seen them beat the trap before let’s hope they come out hungrier.

  45. Bag of Pucks says:

    When the team gets dominated that handily on the shot clock, I suspect it’s both system AND execution.

    If you’re the Oiler Fs watching the game clips today, things just got a lot more demanding for you. The Fs are going to be asked to come back deeper to provide outlets against that aggressive forecheck, and they’ll also be asked to get in lanes and be more physical in the neutral zone to impede zone entries.

    Psychologically, I think they got a good lesson in playoff intensity last night. San Jose took it up a notch in the second and third, and they got an education in what it takes to compete at this stage. Apparently TMac has been drilling line change efficiency into them down the stretch and that’s good news, cos they will absolutely have to keep the shifts short to match the Sharks intensity.

    Benning has been a little shell shocked post concussion, so be careful what you wish for. These Shark Fs are big and arrive at the puck with extreme prejudice. I would give Eric another game, but with better forward support.

    Shame they dropped the game with a lead and Thornton out, but as a pal said after the game last night, “we weren’t expecting a sweep.”

  46. stush18 says:

    GriffCity,

    Ya the third goal is hard to pin on gryba imo.

    Picks up the man busting through the middle with speed. Great job of San Jose to recognize the far player. The oilers forwards need to do a better job or coming back to help

    I agree with woodguy tho, sending out letestu and caguilla on a 4c4 was a bad idea.

  47. dustrock says:

    Russell – will get killed along the boards all series long. If I was the Sharks, I’d hard target him.

    Desharnais – terribad.

    Cagguila – people talking about putting him on the top line. I guess he has the wheels and a decent offensive touch, but man he had a high event game, penalties and a poor backcheck on the Martin goal. Can yell at Letestu and Russell, but Cagguila backchecks and that’s no goal.

    Welcome to the playoffs. Now single bad moments can ruin things.

    Or, your stick doesn’t break after your penalty gets killed and you’re the hero.

    Can’t have Letestu and Deshanais as 3C and 4C.

    And yeah, you can blame McLellan if you like, and he made some weird decisions, but the kids were making terrible plays and looked completely out of sorts, so going to the vets might have been a gut response to the team losing the plot.

    The other thing is: this is the strategy McLellan developed for the team: try to collapse as much as possible, match McDavid against the toughs, hope the Nuge line gets some air, and assume that McDavid and Talbot can get the team to victory.

    McDavid didn’t get the clean air to do that last night. If he doesn’t get the space (or draw at least one goddamn hooking call), the Oilers will lose this series, full stop.

    We can talk about the bottom 6 forwards and bad games by Gryba and Nurse, but we all know this is a 1 line team, and that line was completely ineffective last night.

  48. dustrock says:

    Also, if Russell can stop waiting behind the net for 2 minutes each time, that would be great.

  49. stush18 says:

    Pouzar: +1.

    Our bottom 2 Centers are too slow. Sorry for mentioning this again but does TMc not know this?

    I’m sure he’s well aware. What do you do, not play them? Slide in Hendricks?

  50. A'bunadh says:

    Bag of Pucks:
    When the team gets dominated that handily on the shot clock, I suspect it’s both system AND execution.

    If you’re the Oiler Fs watching the game clips today, things just got a lot more demanding for you. The Fs are going to be asked to come back deeper to provide outlets against that aggressive forecheck, and they’ll also be asked to get in lanes and be more physical in the neutral zone to impede zone entries.

    Psychologically, I think they got a good lesson in playoff intensity last night. San Jose took it up a notch in the second and third, and they got an education in what it takes to compete at this stage. Apparently TMac has been drilling line change efficiency into them down the stretch and that’s good news, cos they will absolutely have to keep the shifts short to match the Sharks intensity.

    Benning has been a little shell shocked post concussion, so be careful what you wish for. These Shark Fs are big and arrive at the puck with extreme prejudice. I would give Eric another game, but with better forward support.

    Shame they dropped the game with a lead and Thornton out, but as a pal said after the game last night, “we weren’t expecting a sweep.”

    Absolutely agree with this. Our forwards were way to far up ice to receive proper outlet passes. I noticed McDavid a few times hanging stagnantly on the offenisve blue line. He needs to come back and be the driver through the neutral zone.

  51. McSorley33 says:

    David Desharnais …..just as I predicted.

    Please dress JJ as a 4C.

    Eric Gryba on the ice for 2 goals against…..hard to believe isn’t it?

    There really is not more to say about Eric Gryba that has not been said in the last 2 years.

    He was, and will continue to be, exposed by good teams.

  52. stush18 says:

    dustrock,

    The second line had another very good game last night. This team has two very good lines. I think you would be foolish to not run mcdavid against the top lines

  53. Professor Q says:

    They’ll reset for the next game and will absolutely play differently.

    Might be interesting to see whom they might call up…

  54. fifthcartel says:

    5-on-5 TOI for defense last night.

    Larsson – 17.27
    Nurse – 15.69
    Klefbom – 15.45
    Gryba – 14.12
    Sekera – 13.57
    Russell – 13.53

    There was a lot of penalties, so my first thought was Sekera-Russell were PKing so much that he leaned on Nurse-Gryba more at even strength. This seems to be the case. Sekera-Russel led the SH TOI by almost 2 full minutes, and Nurse-Gryba were the least used pairing.

    I’d still almost rather run Klefbom-Larsson even harder at 5-on-5 and Nurse-Gryba less, even if that means them getting into the 25-26 minute territory.

    Even with penalties, and that horrible shift withstanding, I don’t think you can win with the TOI spread out like that. Nurse isn’t good enough for that and Gryba will never be.

  55. stush18 says:

    As many of you are well aware, that many penalties can absolutely kill a teams legs and momentum.

    If the oilers don’t spend so much time killing penalties, they might get some flow and maintain there legs in the game.

    The game wasn’t really surprising. Huge crowd, full of emotion, you knew the oilers were going to be amped up. The lack of experience took them over the edge, and the PK bailed us out for most of the game.

    Also the oilers were determined to finish every hit. But running guys can mess with your forecheck.

    Play with emotion, don’t play emotional.

  56. Pouzar says:

    stush18: I’m sure he’s well aware. What do you do, not play them? Slide in Hendricks?

    Speed. Khaira line 3 and Letestu line 4.

  57. LMHF#1 says:

    Still bitter about last night. Regular season they win that game all day every day.

    My hope if they cannot win something this spring is that the playoffs expose in the brightest light the weaknesses of this team, and not only remove any doubt for Chiarelli, but focus the attention and pressure he’ll receive.

    They needed a 3C and didn’t get one. They still need a 3C.

    Their bottom 3D simply aren’t good enough. Eric Gryba fans will hopefully finally get why him playing without a rash of injuries fills me with doubt about a given game’s result.

    Fix these two and you’re laughing.

  58. leadfarmer says:

    Staying put at the trade deadline saying these guys have to earn it themselves would probably be a better way to go than determine there is a problem with bottom 6 C and think Desharnais was the solution. Terrible player.

    Either way. We knew this team had issues. This is a good time for these guys to get some experience. Hope they learned their lessons.

  59. linkfromhyrule says:

    leadfarmer: Desharnais was the solution.

    Curious to know if Oil targeted Desharnais or if that was all MTL was willing to give up. He has been negative value since about the 4th game here. That pro scout should be questioned big time.

  60. rickithebear says:

    LT:
    When I break down players:
    I look at how a player is treated on other teams by refs.

    It is not the penalty calls!
    It is are the things they are letting get away affecting our teams strength!
    Are they calling penalties on the other teams strength?

    Will a player moving to us lose a lot of there play strengths cause the refs will call the things they get away with.

    I like to break down the linesmen and refs based on there smoochy smooch!
    Player love!

    -Skating and laughing with burns after a whistle!
    -Turning there head to Mcdavid; Avoiding eye contact, after he has been hooked.
    -who do the linsmen physical engage in the scrums. Attacker or victim. We have seen it. 2 players on an oiler and linesmen grabbing the lone oiler.
    -My favorite kadri working Mcdavid in overtime in TO and early on in game in EDM.
    Lucic goes to give Kadri the same medicine and linsman grabs lucic and physical gets between him and kadri!

    It is the calls affecting system play that affects games.

    I have loked at the repetitive formula of
    1. HD coach
    2. Top 10 HD goalie.
    3. 3+ top 60 HD Dmen
    4. 135G-135P fwd depth (usually 5+)
    5. 3rd line +ve goal dif.
    6. +ve Special teams diff.

    3 times in last 25 years a team has won without a goalie getting .910+ save% (ie top 10 HD goalie)
    In all 3 cases a Significant affect in refing influenced the Championship!
    my favourite BUF-DAL.

    The subconciuos of linsmen and refs is visible thru the who game.

    I have a solution:
    A reverse jock Strap with a a long round vibrating lollipop player love team logo on it.
    The refs and Linsmen can
    1. Turn on
    2. pull-on
    3. insert rectaly
    4. were it for the whole game.
    they will get the constant team player love they need.
    Thereby eliminating the subconcios need to protect there man/ player love!

  61. commonfan14 says:

    There was a closeup shot of Pavelski laughing it up with a line-mate after an offside or lost puck – I think while it was still 2-0.

    I remember thinking he was disturbingly loose considering the situation and that it was a bad omen.

  62. fishman says:

    Was a nice surprise when my son came home after work and said he had a couple of tickets to the game and asked if I wanted to go! Good seats lower bowl section 130. Arrived early and the atmosphere at the start of the game was incredible and after scoring two first period goals the place was rocking. First intermission went to use the facilities on main concourse. The line up was 250′ down the concourse ! By the time I got back to my seat I missed 7 minutes of the 2 nd period! Second intermission stayed in my seat to avoid the line up. End of the third back in the long line up. Was waiting in the entrance to get back to my seat when OT goal scored! How in the hell can you build a state of the art rink and fail to put in adequate number of washrooms???? I can tell you there were a lot of very disgruntled fans in that line. Sorry for the rant but needed to vent!!!!!

  63. McSorley33 says:

    Tip of the cap to the Cult of Hockey Grades on David Desharnais…..I have not seem them throw around a grade of “1” very often….but David earned it.

  64. russ99 says:

    I’m not a fan of Caggiula on the first line since we’ll need sustained offensive pressure to win this series, and Connor/Leon needs a net crasher.

    Caggiula left it all out on the ice when other Oilers didn’t, but I’m not sure he’s effective once the rush is stopped and we need to retain the puck and cycle to get chances, keep the Sharks off the puck and make Jones work.

    If we move Maroon, which may be a knee-jerk idea based on one game, Lucic is my pick to move up and put Pouliot back with RHN and Ebs.

  65. Visually better says:

    I’m biased because I was a Davidson fan boy but you don’t get rid of defensive depth on a playoff run for a guy who like David desharnais. A guy in an out of the line up who Has no defensive acumen and very little to show offensively. Hated the trade then, despise it now. #ripdavey #freetonylander

  66. The Original JDI says:

    fishman,

    Have you heard of Katz’ new business venture?

    https://www.biorelief.com/product/stadium-pal-kit

  67. GriffCity says:

    fishman,

    YES! Completely agree, what is with the mens washrooms? There is no way it should take so long to get in and have a leak. It’s actually pretty upsetting when you cant even get into the washroom and back to your seat during a full intermission +. Causing the fans to miss actual game time which they pay GOOD money to see is pretty shameful.

  68. Btrain says:

    Nurse and Gryba did have a tough time out there but so did Sekera/Russell and most forwards. I disagree that Benning should come in for Gryba. The Oilers let their nerves get to them and they essentially beat themselves in this one. Focusing in on the individuals who made mistakes that led to goals, as the problem, masks the dozens of other mistakes made by other men that Talbot or the cross bar bailed out. Anyway, give Gryba another game with a more relaxed and focused team effort and he will do just fine. Gryba’s physicality is essential in a playoff series and many of his 8 hits were of the crushing variety. I also just don’t like the idea of having a second year guy and a rookie paired together which is what Nurse and Benning would represent.

  69. Bad Seed says:

    GriffCity,

    Longer lines for bathrooms means less money spent on beer. Poor planning on Katz’ part! Thought he was a smart businessman?

  70. rickithebear says:

    LMHF#1: Their bottom 3D simply aren’t good enough. Eric Gryba fans will hopefully finally get why him playing without a rash of injuries fills me with doubt about a given game’s result.

    Top 60 HD Dmen in Conf Finals:
    2016:
    PIT: Lovejoy; Doumulin; Cole; Matta
    SJS Vlasic; Braun; Martin
    TMP Stralman; Hedman; Sustr
    STL Parayko; Gunnarsson; Bortuzzo

    2015
    CHI Hjarlmasson; Keith; Timonen
    TMP Stralman; Hedman; Sustr;
    ANA Vatanen; Stoner; Beauchemin; Lindholm
    NYR Girardi; Mcdounagh; Klien

    2014
    LAK Doughty; Muzzin; Martinez; Greene
    NYR Mcdonnagh; Stralman; Klien; Diaz
    CHI Hjarlmasson; Oduya; Rozival
    MTL Weaver; Gorges; Beaulieu

    2013
    CHI Hjarlmasson; Oduya; Rozsival
    BOS Chara; Ference; Boychuk; Mcquaid
    PIT Martin; Orpik; Eaton
    LAK Doughty; Muzzin; Martinez; Greene

    2012
    LAK Doughty; Scuderi; Mitchell; Martinez;Greene; Voyonov
    NJD Fayne; Greene; Larsson; Volchenkov; Salvador
    NYR Girardi; Mcdonnagh; Stralman
    ARZ Aucoin; Klesla; Schlemko; Stone

    2011
    BOS Chara; Seidenberg; Ference; Boychuk
    VCR Bieksa; Mamhuis; Ehrhoff
    SJS Vlasic; White; Wallin
    TMP Ohland; Lundin

    2010
    CHI Hjarlmasson; Campbell; Sopel; Seabrook
    PHI Pronger; Timonen; Carle
    SJS Blake; Boyle; Vlasic; Murray
    MTL Markov; Spacek; Gorges

    2009
    PIT Scuderi; Gill; Eaton
    DET Lidstrom; Rafalski; Lebda
    CHI Hjarlmasson; Campbell; Seabrook
    CAR Pikanen; Gleason

    2008
    DET Kronwall; B. Stuart; Lidstrom
    PIT Whiney; Scuderi; Gill
    DAL Niskanen; Grossman; Zubov; Fistric
    PHI Coburn; Timonen; Hatcher

    2007
    ANA Pronger; Odonnell; Beauchemin; Niedermeyer
    OTT Volchenkov; Phillips; Mezaros
    BUF Campbell; Spacek; Tallinder; Kallinen
    DET Lidstrom; Markov; Lebda; Schnieder

    2006
    CAR Hedican; Wesley; Wallin
    EDM Pronger; Spacek; Smith; Staios; MAB
    BUF tallinder; Lydman; Kalinin; Numenin
    ANA Salei; Beauchemin; Vishnevski; Niedermeyer

    Hmm
    Fayne 1st comp HD Dman that got to Cup final

    Russell – Larson
    Klefbom -Fayne
    Sekera – Benning

  71. npanciroli says:

    Really want to see McDavid, Drai, RNH down the middle.

  72. OF17 says:

    Regardless of what happens this series, I think it bodes well for the team’s future. Big wake up call with regards for the level of detail required to win in the playoffs. I’m sure McLellan entered this season hoping to establish a game plan that could get them to the postseason. Next year, he’s going to have a room full of students eager to learn multiple systems and breakout plans to have different looks come playoffs. That’s part of the reason why the San Joses of the world are so successful. They know the importance of having a truly detailed arsenal, and they’re experienced enough to be able to pull it off. Next year, the Oilers should be the same way, or at least significantly better in that regard. I’m not waiving the white flag – any team with McDavid is never out until it’s over – but regardless of how it turns out, this series is crucial for the team’s development. It’s why I’m feeling good in spite of the ass beating.

  73. Bob Arctor says:

    rickithebear,

    Maybe we can see if Ference is good to go as well.

  74. pocession charge says:

    From my perspective, the Oilers came out too jacked up and blew their load in that first period. After that, they could not recover. Similar to an 800m race where some runners sprint out of the gate then have nothing at the end — the better strategy is to pace yourself. SJ did this and schooled the Oil. They need to refocus and calm the fuck down in the first period. Need better performances from Maroon and Draisaitl and, hopefully, get Desharnais out of the lineup (does he do anything out there?).

  75. Younger Oil says:

    Ryan Rishaug‏Verified account @TSNRyanRishaug

    No Adam Larsson for Oilers. Gryba filling in, Benning taking reps with Nurse.

    4th line looks the same for these drills so far.

  76. Professor Q says:

    Younger Oil:
    Ryan Rishaug‏Verified account @TSNRyanRishaug

    No Adam Larsson for Oilers. Gryba filling in, Benning taking reps with Nurse.

    4th line looks the same for these drills so far.

    Well this is disconcerting.

  77. Minister D- says:

    Awful.

    Younger Oil:
    Ryan Rishaug‏Verified account @TSNRyanRishaug

    No Adam Larsson for Oilers. Gryba filling in, Benning taking reps with Nurse.

    4th line looks the same for these drills so far.

  78. Scungilli says:

    Rookies are not the answer especially in key positions in the playoffs. Khaira will get his lunch money stolen at centre. Lander is the best option.

    Pouliot Lander Slepyshev

    Caggiula Letestu Kassian

    One rookie per line, the wingers speed makes up for the centres lack of, Letestu plays better with Kassian. The team needs the 4th line and third pair to play or they will start to tire out if they get by the Sharks.

  79. Kaptain Vikarious says:

    Professor Q,

    Maintenance Day as per Stauffer.

  80. Generational Poster says:

    Edmonton Oilers‏Verified account @EdmontonOilers 3m3 minutes ago

    Maintenance day for @AdamLarsson3 (absent from practice today) says Coach McLellan. “You’ll see number six in the lineup tomorrow.”

  81. Pouzar says:

    Same lines as yesterday in rushes.
    Godspeed boys.

  82. Pouzar says:

    Scungilli: the wingers speed makes up for the centres lack of

    No. No they don’t.

  83. sliderule says:

    The folks that say that the oilers burned out by starting at sprinting speed for a mile race are spot on.

    The only thing is that Sharks were back checking like crazy and they didn’t burn out.

    The Sharks pre scouting was pretty good as they looked for Leon to make a blind backhand pass to the point when cornered along the wall and they were able to get good rushes off of it.

  84. Jon K says:

    Younger Oil:
    Ryan Rishaug‏Verified account @TSNRyanRishaug

    No Adam Larsson for Oilers. Gryba filling in, Benning taking reps with Nurse.

    4th line looks the same for these drills so far.

    Sounds like Gryba will be the odd man out, then.

  85. delooper says:

    Oilers were just outplayed last night. Oilers had a few solid performances by Klefbom, Larsson, Talbot, Kassian. Most of the other players seemed off. They had that just-happy-to-be-in-the-playoffs vibe. A bit too content.

  86. trencan says:

    Probably off topic but info about some interesting players for late 1st round pick on WC U-18.
    Comtois played 1st line 1+0
    Vesalainen 1st line, PP, 2+0 good shot
    Brannstrom 2nd defense 1+0
    Keith Gretzky is on this tourament to scout players.

  87. Georges says:

    LT:

    The Sharks were there to catch the Letestu back pass and arrived early and often for the dump outs and area passes. Good scouting. Todd McLellan and his staff need to devise ways to counter it (a check down option surely was there but for the most part went unused), but I think much of last night (after the first period) was about Edmonton not playing their game. That’s my opinion.

    My opinion too. Sharks had jam, Oilers didn’t.

    Subtle change of tone in the comments from yesterday to today.

    Did the Oilers lose 4 games last night? I thought they lost 1.

    Hey, look, it’s the playoffs that everyone’s been waiting forever for.

    Let’s go Oilers! …

  88. digger50 says:

    Gryba and Nurse did a lot of good work on the penalties. The final goal was confusion as they both came off the bench and picked up a man. Karlsson came full speed from cross ice blue line. But hard to lay too much blame without passing the hat to the other d who were also less than spectacular .

    The reason Nurse Gryba were in the line up was too play heavy playoff hockey, and once the retting started they had to be reined in, effectively reducing thier value.

    The past 7 games have shown a weakness in the third pair, regardless of rotation. No help in sight that I can see. Davidson? Nope.

    Knowing this I thought Tmac would give them more shelter. I thought they went out with Connor several times on purpose. Poor matchup in overtime.

    But not being able to get off the Ice for a change made everyone look bad.

  89. Spengler says:

    Georges:
    LT:

    My opinion too. Sharks had jam, Oilers didn’t.

    Subtle change of tone in the comments from yesterday to today.

    Did the Oilers lose 4 games last night? I thought they lost 1.

    Hey, look, it’s the playoffs that everyone’s been waiting forever for.

    Let’s go Oilers! …

    Cosign

    Now that the catharsis has happened, let’s have some real hockey!

  90. digger50 says:

    What I witnessed was a lot of fears come to light. First line stymied as we expected. Second line okay as expected. Bottom two lines both outclassed. Same situation for d men.

    I think we still have a shot of winning.

    However, The roster holes are well known. We had chances to fix them but chose not to and that’s what will cost us.

  91. kinger_OIL says:

    – Great post LT! The 800m track fly and die is a good analogy.

    – I saw a team that looked awesome, was up two goals then realized: “holy f$ck, look at how far ahead we are, in our first game in the playoffs”. Teams up 2 early always protect the lead, and the team behind fights like heck. Especially so in the playoffs.

    – They got outplayed once ahead, but I’d attribute most of that to inexperience, and scoring effects

    – They were up 2-0 and were the better team: they can win this.

  92. The Original JDI says:

    Rishaug’s teeth are going to be Eakin if they keep this up:

    https://twitter.com/TSNRyanRishaug/status/852339043576692736/photo/1

  93. who says:

    digger50:
    Gryba and Nurse did a lot of good work on the penalties. The final goal was confusion as they both came off the bench and picked up a man. Karlsson came full speed from cross ice blue line. But hard to lay too much blame without passing the hat to the other d who were also less than spectacular .

    The reason Nurse Gryba were in the line up was too play heavy playoff hockey, and once the retting started they had to be reined in, effectively reducing thier value.

    The past 7 games have shown a weakness in the third pair, regardless of rotation. No help in sight that I can see. Davidson? Nope.

    Knowing this I thought Tmac would give them more shelter. I thought they went out with Connor several times on purpose. Poor matchup in overtime.

    But not being able to get off the Ice for a change made everyone look bad.

    I had no problems with Gryba’s game until the overtime goal. I have seen nothing from Benning in the last month that would suggest he is a better option.
    Did not like the Davidson trade when it was announced. DD contributes nothing to this team right now. The best thing I can say about him is you don’t have to teach him how to play center on the fly. He provides no offense, no hitting, no speed and is not a good defensive player period. It would be nice to have the option of plugging in Davidson on the third pairing instead of wondering what to do with DD.
    The only solution I see to fill the 3c hole is to move Drai away from Mcdavid and that ain’t going to happen. This means we are going to continue to see Letestu get too many even strength minutes and we are going to continue to wonder why DD is in the lineup.

  94. stencil says:

    Spengler: Now that the catharsis has happened, let’s have some real hockey!

    I hope we can have a more satisfying catharsis by series’ end: the pity and fear is only building at this point. Perhaps better if we avoid Aristotle’s tragic structure altogether, to be honest.

    Georges: Subtle change of tone in the comments from yesterday to today.

    I love moments like the build to yesterday’s game, because they are an opportunity to write a story fully completely. They let you look back and see something finished, look forward and imagine the drama exactly as it must unfold. Days like today are tough because they are a waypoint, a kind of in-between. We’re left parsing the details and crafting explanations that require more input before the story can really make sense.

  95. Spengler says:

    stencil: I hope we can have a more satisfying catharsis by series’ end: the pity and fear is only building at this point. Perhaps better if we avoid Aristotle’s tragic structure altogether, to be honest.

    I love moments like the build to yesterday’s game, because they are an opportunity to write a story fully completely. They let you look back and see something finished, look forward and imagine the drama exactly as it must unfold. Days like today are tough because they are a waypoint, a kind of in-between. We’re left parsing the details and crafting explanations that require more input before the story can really make sense.

    That’s what I’ve been saying today. There’s too much of a sense that yesterday was the end. Both prior to the game, we’ve made it to the top of the hill, and after, we’ve lost its over.

    Neither is really true. This is the beginning. Of this series. Of what the team does in the off season. Of next year.

  96. digger50 says:

    who,

    I think we see Hendricks.

    Few good wingers to chose from to make up a third line and make do with Letestu. Shame I say ” make do” because he has done so much this year, however he does fit so well into a fourth line utility role.

    Then band aid a fourth line together and that will likely be determined by penalty killers.

    You know, Hendricks has lost a step but he still manages to have an impact and create some chances.

    Here is another thought, if Connor is being shut down then why waste Drai as well. Put Kassian up there to make some space and Drai on third to try and pick up a goal from the third line.

  97. The Original JDI says:

    Here’s hoping some folicide on CBC can take our minds off of last night’s loss.

  98. CrazyCoach says:

    That was an incredibly hard game to watch past period 1, but the slide started near the end of period one.

    Yeah the penalties sucked, but it happens to teams when they come out and play a high tempo based on nerves. It’s bound to happen to a team with no playoff experience. As much as you may prepare a team for playoffs/ play-downs/provincials/regionals, etc. the reality is that until you get there, you have no idea how it feels. Playoffs are w hole new game and if you’ve never been there, how do you react?

    The early penalties were a concern to me. Not because of the nature of them, but because it turned a confident flying team into one that looked tentative and scared to play out of a fear that they would get a penalty. Once that apprehension sets in with a team, it’s hard for them to get out a funk. That and the fact that consistent PK’s mean some players sit on the bench for extended periods of time.

    San Jose took advantage of that and turned up the intensity and voila, made the Oilers chase the puck the rest of the game.

    What would I do as a coach?

    Well, take out the little distractions and let the players focus. I’m not saying kids shouldn’t be allowed near a dressing room, but if you haven’t done it consistently throughout the regular season, then it becomes a distraction.

    Really watch the shift lengths and control them. One assistant should take care of this. There were too many long shifts out there for some players and TMac needs to dial that down, and remind players that they take shorter shifts, or tell Talbot to cover it when he notices long shifts.

    Better defensive support for the D-men. Part of the reason Nurse and Gryba looked lost out there was because they were caught in an out-numbered situation too many times. F1 has to be back into the D zone quicker and providing support, and F2 and F3 need to guard that slot area from the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Offensive option for the Sharks. All three goals were outnumber situations. Nurse of Gryba should have already been feeding Ward a composite sandwich, Cags was on the wrong end defensively on Martin, and Desharnais needs to be quicker on pressuring that initial puck carrier. Yes, 67’s stick breaking was the catalyst for that goal, but DD has to be stronger there.

    And lastly, remind the team of blind passes. There were a multitude of blind passes that went directly to the Sharks. That has to stop.

    All in all, it was one game.

    I was jealous of all you who got to be there live, but when I saw the long lineups for the bathrooms, my jealousy turned to smugness as I made that 10 step trek to my loo.

    Go OIlers Go!

  99. who says:

    digger50:
    who,

    I think we see Hendricks.

    Few good wingers to chose from to make up a third line and make do with Letestu. Shame I say ” make do” because he has done so much this year, however he does fit so well into a fourth line utility role.

    Then band aid a fourth line together and that will likely be determined by penalty killers.

    You know, Hendricks has lost a step but he still manages to have an impact and create some chances.

    Here is another thought, if Connor is being shut down then why waste Drai as well. Put Kassian up there to make some space and Drai on third to try and pick up a goal from the third line.

    I agree with you about Kassian and Drai but I very much doubt the coach does it. I would go
    cags mcdavid kassian
    lucic nuge eberle
    maroon drai slep
    poo letestu pak
    Think that would give us three potential offensive lines and a solid fourth.

  100. GMB3 says:

    Jordan Eberle was pretty solid last night to my eye. Saw some serious effort.

  101. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    GriffCity,

    stush18,

    Just watched the replay on NHL dot com.

    Doesn’t show enough leading up to the goal. I watched it too many times last night and they showed the top angle:

    https://twitter.com/Woodguy55/status/852385173836582912

    62 didn’t play it like a 3 on 2, but a 2 on 2 and when 25 stepped up to play the puck 62 came over to cover his check.

    Until pass went to Karlsson, 62 had no idea he was there.

  102. Centre of attention says:

    Flames just blew a lead late in the second

    Turns out having an entire 5 man change while the opposition have possession is never a good idea. Also, penalty trouble.

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