In yesterday’s game thread, I said all aboard the pain train, this weekend is going to be memorable and it has come to pass even before the Sunday tilt. The Oilers played a fine game but bounces and the prevent defense conspired against them. Add in a truly filthy and talented team like the Anaheim Ducks and it was another acid to the eyes evening for the visitors.
How did it get to overtime? How many defensemen are left? Did Jordan Eberle fall in a hole for a time? My favorite moments (Leon goal, McDavid goal, Caggiula goal, Talbot saves, Chiarelli reaction) and my least favorite moments (final four minutes of regulation, OT goal) will be with me forever. Such is the nature of tense playoff hockey. I will remember last night’s game until I die.
If you aren’t falling for this team, you have no heart. You can quote me chapter and verse about the mistakes of youth, the lack of balance, the defense losing their composure, the overpaid millionaires, I’ll plead guilty to all of them. I believe these Edmonton Oilers will win the Stanley Cup soon, and wouldn’t count them out of this series.
— Mike Halford (@HalfordPHT) May 6, 2017
I know you are disappointed, last night was a bitter bill. The comments in the GDT are a searing indictment of the current state of NHL officiating and you’re right, it isn’t fair. The Edmonton Oilers are getting screwed blue in this series. No doubt. All I can tell you is that this series, this spring, will go a long way to establishing this organization as worthy of respect. The Edmonton Oilers don’t have the NHL’s respect today, if you have been following along through two series that’s fairly obvious. It will come in due time. You may have to live with a series loss on the way to bona fide, though. The price you pay.
THE GAME BY NUMBERS
- The first 20: 0-0, ANA>shots 13-7 and Corsi for 5×5 ANA>15-10 60%.
- The 2nd 20: 3-0 EDM> shots 10-9 and Corsi for 5×5 ANA>20-13 60%.
- The 3rd 20: 3-0 ANA. ANA> shots 22-12, Corsi for 5×5 ANA>22-12 65%.
- Overtime: 0-0, ANA> shots 14-9, Corsi for 5×5 EDM> 24-13 65%
- 2nd Overtime: 1-0 ANA, ANA> shots 6-0, Corsi for 5×5 ANA> 8-2 80%
- Overall: 4-3 Anaheim. ANA> shots 64-38 and Corsifor 5×5 ANA>78-61 56.1%
You can run through the jungle of these numbers if you wish, the bottom line is that the Edmonton Oilers had a 3-0 win very late and couldn’t close. That’s a reflection of where they are, plain and simple. I will freely admit that the bounces were crazy, the disputed goal included yet another weird ruling, but if you want to win a Stanley, need to close the deal. The third regulation goal shouldn’t have counted, but Edmonton’s defense needed to be better when Anaheim was throwing the world at them. We learn.
DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT
- I am writing this at 1am, may add something in the morning but here are my thoughts. If you are looking for someone to rip any of these men, move along to another blog. They left it all out there, played to the best of their ability beyond the point of reason. You would like some of these players to be 25 instead of 22, but that isn’t really a fair criticism.
- Andrej Sekera has to be okay if this club has any chance to advance.
- Matt Benning was strong in a lot of areas to my eye. Physical, he skated well, moved the puck efficiently. What a find!
- Oscar Klefbom didn’t miss by much on a late chance, they showed an angle that looked so promising during the broadcast. Solid and effective, with offensive flair. He is going to play a long time. He took a helluva shot.
- Adam Larsson would by my choice for No. 1 star among defenders. The man is a rock. He drew back on the physical play in order to retain energy, but still delivered quality play on what must have been 1,000 shifts. He will probably end up with a nickname that includes the word machine.
- Darnell Nurse had strong moments in a game he was stretched to the limits and beyond. Fanned on the puck on the eventual winner, that’s fatigue and I don’t think many are going to carve him for it. He hung in there (as did Benning) on a night when he could have caved.
- Kris Russell had a splendid night playing defense. He missed Sekera’s puck moving ability but this might have been Russell’s best game as an Oiler (imo). Miles and miles of credit for getting up from that filthy hit. He stays down, Edmonton has a helluva time keeping him in the game (as it was the club lost him to the quiet room for an extended period).
- Cam Talbot stopped 60 of 64 (seriously), .938. Wonderful!
- Numbers via HockeyStats.ca, NHL.com and NaturalStatTrick.
- McDavid was on fire last night, he is finding clean air and creating havoc consistently. I don’t know if he will go off tomorrow in Edmonton, but don’t miss the damned game. Despite the success, he went 14-23 against Kesler. Tough sledding.
- Patrick Maroon is one of the great stories of this season, but Peter Chairelli is going to need a sniper on 97’s line by this time next year.
- Drake Caggiula is coming on now, he has finally found the back of the net in the playoffs and is humming along well. Is he the shooter on 97’s line? He is averaging 6.27 shots per 60 this playoff spring.
- I thought McLellan’s line juggling was an interesting and (mostly) effective tweak. He has returned to McDavid-Draisaitl soonafter this kind of switch all season, suspect it will happen again in Game 6.
- Connor McDavid: “We’ll be back here Wednesday.”
- Nugent-Hopkins had a good night to my eye, you would perhaps like more offense from him and the line. Went 6-4 against Vermette, that’s a matchup that should see more offense.
- Benoit Pouliot played a lot last night, and without the puck he was effective. He had a brilliant chance in Game 4 and again last night (hit the post on a two-on-one) so perhaps his bat is coming to life.
- Jordan Eberle sat for a long time at the opening of the third period, but gained a role in the regular rotation and did some good things. More active than in previous games to my eye, the Oilers need him to shine.
- Milan Lucic: “I have no idea, anymore, what goalie interference is. If someone knows, call me and tell me.”
- Leon Draisaitl went 9-22 against Getzlaf, so I’m not sure we can call the matchup a victory after last night. He scored the opening goal, love it when the big man shoots the puck. Now 11gp, 3-8-11 for the playoffs, he is going to get paid.
- Lucic took a penalty (that turned into a penalty shot) early in the game and has been slow to battles all over the ice. I thought he had a nice look late in the game but he has to cut out that slow dance along the blue line move because it isn’t working.
- Slepyshev didn’t have a lot going on, and I think that’s why we’ll eventually see Eberle back on this line. I am encouraged by his progress this spring, but as is the case with all young Oilers forwards (Slepy, Caggiula, JP), offense is the question.
- Mark Letestu was active all night, got some interesting looks and a team high (tied with McDavid) six shots. He had to get that puck out late, Oilers players have been slow in moving pucks from danger all series. Costly and needs to be cleaned up.
- David Desharnais was quiet on the evening.
- Zack Kassian had a dandy shorthanded chance but ran out of track. A good game in support role.
Now Andrej Sekera struggles to get to his feet after hit. He also goes to room. #Oilers down to 4 D less than six minutes in.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) May 6, 2017
I’m looking forward to the Sunday game, Edmonton needs Sekera if they are going to force Game 7. He is a big part of this team and was badly missed during the marathon last night. More later.