The Edmonton Oilers lost a frustrating game last night, I thought they played their ‘woe-is-me’ style after falling behind early. The team didn’t play horribly, but they found a way to lose and they also found themselves being manhandled with very little in the way of push back for long stretches—until late in the game. With the third period counting down in a lost game, young Darnell Nurse took matters into his own hands and committed an act that may get him suspended. I do not believe in fighting and in no way condone that kind of behavior. I would be a liar if I said it was difficult to watch, in fact I enjoyed the absolute hell out of it. In my mid-50s, maturity still remains slightly out of reach.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) March 9, 2016
MAKE IT STOP, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers in October 2014: 4-5-1
- Oilers in October 2015: 4-8-0
- Oilers in November 2014: 2-9-3
- Oilers in November 2015: 4-7-2
- Oilers in December 2014: 2-8-4
- Oilers in December 2015: 7-6-1
- Oilers in January 2015: 5-7-1
- Oilers in January 2016: 4-5-2
- Oilers in February 2015: 5-6-1
- Oilers in February 2016: 4-8-2
- Oilers in March 2015: 5-6-3
- Oilers in March 2016: 3-2-0
- Oilers after 69 in 2014-15: 18-39-12, 48 points (-77 GD)
- Oilers after 69 in 2015-16: 26-36-7, 59 points (-37 GD)
Oilers gave up a goal early and to me they didn’t look overly sharp until later on. It was not a horrible effort, but it was a game that I watched with the detachment of a fan who has seen enough of these to know who isn’t coming back to make it close. Oilers need to be better, doesn’t matter if they are all 5.11 or 6.11—and that is a fact.
DEFENSEMEN, LAST NIGHT
- Adam Clendening had a raucous night on an evening when the Oilers did not score. He was splendid, this was his best game, and I will count him as one of several players unlucky to post a point during the contest. Keep it up, young man!
- Darnell Nurse posted good numbers and got even for the Bryan Marchment knee on knee against Doug Weight. If I could afford it, I would pay his fine personally. He looked good overall to my eye, and it is becoming a trend: The more physical the game, the more Nurse is involved. Griffin Reinhart would do well to copy that trend in his own game.
- Andrej Sekera got cross checked at the end of the second period (no call) and is not helping on the power play. That aside, he had a reasonable evening, passing and transporting the puck with aplomb. He was on the ice for the first GA, I am going to put that one on the goalie.
- Mark Fayne was playing LH side a lot to my eye, his passes seemed more crisp and successful during those moments. Does he see the ice better from LH side? It would be so Oilers for their one veteran righty to be better on his offside. Le Lordy.
- Adam Pardy plays a lot and seems to have some calmness to his game. I am starting to see how he has been in the NHL for over 300 games without having any dominant skill (size is not a skill). He has had better games since arrival, I will give him credit for playing with rookie Reinhart (probably met earlier in the day), but that duo did not face the toughs and you would like to see better possession numbers from those minutes.
- Griffin Reinhart has to be more decisive and physical. I saw him chasing a lot, and even though he did battle along the wall, didn’t successfully break any cycle I can recall. If his name was Arnie Brown, would we be talking about him less?
HIGH-DANGER SCORING CHANCES (INDIVIDUAL)
- Two: Connor McDavid, Lauri Korpikoski, Jordan Eberle, Patrick Maroon, Mark Letestu
- One: Taylor Hall, Matt Hendricks, Zack Kassian, Leon Draisaitl, Adam Pardy
- Todd McLellan: “We didn’t put two passes together, we had 3-on-1s and were falling down, the first goal on Cam usually he handles that well. To a man, we weren’t real polished. You can create as many chances if you want but if you don’t have that sharpness and that acute awareness of what’s going on around you then you’re probably not going to put it in the net. Then it usually comes back to bite you on the other end and it did at both ends tonight.” Source
CENTERS, LAST NIGHT
- Anton Lander and his line had the puck heading in a good direction, he had the post on a long distance phone call and the line had their moments. You could run that as a 4line without too much worry and two of the three can PK.
- Connor McDavid is either injured or his linemates are dummies. Time and again, the young center would speed up and give his wingman a passing target—only to see the winger (usually Eberle) skate into danger and lose possession, or try to shoot it in. I would change up the line, giving McDavid two wingers who have the sense God gave them.
- Leon Draisaitl had another fine game, he is starting to get the feeling back. Got hammered repeatedly by Vlasic and drew a penalty, made some deft passes and even had a nice chance on his own. One of the better Oilers.
- Mark Letestu and his line have no chemistry at all. Based on performances in recent games, I wonder if he is banged up—there is no spark in his game that I can see.
WINGERS, LAST NIGHT
- Adam Cracknell had another reasonable night, no reason he can’t play 4line next season (at low dollars).
- Lauri Korpikoski had a fine possession night, but the play died on his stick with extreme prejudice. He isn’t good enough to play with McDavid, no sin in that, but he also doesn’t help much on the 3line. He puts the Oilers in a pickle for next year.
- Nail Yakupov was on the Lost Highway line and it had the usual impact. He has areas of the ice where he does the strangest damn stuff, including one or two feet before his own blue line. Honestly, sometimes he looks like he is doing an air guitar solo, but whatever it is, he needs to cut it out.
- Jordan Eberle looks like a guy so enchanted with McDavid’s game—and how easy he makes it look—he decided to get in there and try it himself. I love Eberle, but his major skill is puck on stick, in tight. Pass it to the center, young man, he will make you filthy rich.
- Taylor Hall had a difficult night, he was clearly a half bubble off plumb with his passes and the way he thought the game, and then he got into that ‘black heart’ mode that usually means someone is going to be writhing in pain. I love Hall, love his temper and watching him play that style, but if he cannot manage his game when he is in that mode, then he needs to dial it back.
- Matt Hendricks did his usual job, hard work and honest effort. On a night where the chances for Edmonton actually came often, thought his chance was pretty dangerous. Roman Polak knocked him off balance and he went ass over tea kettle on a dangerous looking play.
- Patrick Maroon had a good not great game, you can see his value while also noting the limitations. I don’t know how much RW he has played but he looks comfortable there.
- Zack Kassian has been very quiet in games recently, did get some clean air once and missed the net on a backhand.