The Edmonton Oilers had issues early, got down by three, and then found a way to come all the way back. Then the young team continued to make poor decisions and gave up another field goal. The club’s goalie, brilliant all season, with rare wobble, perhaps delivered less than his best. Oh, Sunday night, why have you forsaken us? It wasn’t all bad, the McDavid goal might be the best all playoffs, but it was a disappointing result all the same.
- “Not enough.” -Todd McLellan’s response to Ryan Rishaug’s question about Jordan Eberle and what he was bringing. Source
THE WHO, BY NUMBERS
- First 20: 3-1 ANA, 10-9 ANA shots, 15-12 EDM Corgi 5×5.
- Second 20: 2-1 EDM, 15-6 EDM shots, 17-10 EDM Corgi 5×5.
- Final 30: 2-0 ANA, 11-5 ANAshots, 15-12 Corsi for EDM.
- Final 6-3 ANA, 28-27 ANA shots, Corsi for 5×5 edge overall 47-34 EDM.
The numbers suggest an even game, but we know from experience that single moments can have enormous importance while also being single moments. Sekera doing a poor job of playing safety, Larsson losing a goalmouth battle, Nurse’s poor set-play pass, it’s 3-0 and you knew that was all she wrote.
You know what? It wasn’t over, and this resilient team came all the way back. That’s a fantastic moment for the team. Very disappointing to see it go away in the back half of the game, but this team comes to work and that’s a good sign. Now, about that execution.
DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT
- Sekera-Russell went 20-13 in 14:55 together, including 15-2 with the Nuge. Lordy. Russell had two assists, and the pairing did have some good moments. However, ghastly coverage in the game’s first minutes started the giant ball of ugly rolling. This is a veteran pairing, have to be better. Went 13-7 against Rakell-Getzlaf-Eaves. Russell have three giveaways, a number that stands out even on a porous evening for the blue.
- Nurse-Benning went 9-8 in 11:09 together, including 5-5 with Connor McDavid. Went 3-4 against Cogliano-Kesler-Silfverberg. The big item for this pairing came from Nurse’s poor decision, and poor pass, that was intercepted and cashed by Getzlaf. That was a painful goal in the scheme of things.
- Klefbom-Larsson went 11-10 in 14:54 and to my eye were the top pairing. Not to say they were perfect, as Larsson couldn’t get the puck out of the slot on the third GA and Klefbom was in no-man’s land on the fifth goal against. Pairing went 3-8 with Connor McDavid and 3-8 against Cogliano-Kesler-Silfverberg.
- Cam Talbot stopped 22 of 28, .786. Not good. However, first Oilers fan to complain has to drive the No. 43 bus (milk run) for the rest of the week without taking breaks. Talbot has been golden this year, save for a few performances.
- Connor McDavid scored a brilliant goal and had plenty of other chances too. He played a solid game offensively, Edmonton could have had a couple more goals from this line. Played a responsible defensive game until later on, when two GA came against his line. He missed Leon more than we might have expected.
- Milan Lucic had a tough night, got some looks but didn’t accomplish much. He also sent those errant passes wayward a few times, that isn’t like him. Received a nice pass from 97, many feel McDavid should have shot. If you look at the video, Anaheim’s defender is closing the gap and I believe he made the right call.
- Jordan Eberle played so well the coach couldn’t contain himself in the post-game. Many people are saying he may get demoted before Wednesday. I think Eberle would not be my primary goat, but he has a one-dimensional game despite plenty of effort this spring. Many people are ripping Eberle this morning, and the coach clearly has frustration. I will tell you the Oilers need him if they are going to get past the Ducks and into the final four.
- Line went 7-15 against Cogliano-Kesler-Silfverberg, 3-8 against Lindholm.
- Big night for this trio, they owned possession. I swear Nuge has a hatty in his future.
- Todd McLellan switched up lines (Maroon and Leon moving to the 2line) and it worked very well. RNH was 18-4 against Getzlaf. Music!
- I thought for sure 93 would get an assist on the Maroon goal.
- Leon had an assist and damned near a goal on the power play, I liked his game.
- Maroon scored another Maroon goal, the man has the touch this season. Less impressive was his costly penalty.
- I would like to see this line again.
- This line did well last night, although you are going to hear about a dumb penalty by Pouliot. It was dumb, but had no impact on the final result. He was solid otherwise, and the line overall did well. If you’re going to rail on Pouliot, please be smart about it and bring up his poor bat this season.
- Slepyshev continues to make himself offensively useful. He is pushing for a regular job in the fall, bet he gets it. Could he be on McDavid’s line Wednesday?
- Desharnais went 6-4 against Perry’s line. I think people are underrating this line.
- Letestu was solid in the faceoff circle and had some looks, but it was not worth of a bullet point on the resume.
- Caggiula played the kind of game that can be expected from rookies, good moments followed by moments where awareness is not what it will be. Edmonton has a pile of these guys in the lineup, I would encourage patience for anyone under 22 and playing in their first playoff spring.
- Kassian couldn’t find a dance partner, and the hockey didn’t break his way. Quiet evening, but he didn’t make any massive errors that I saw either.
- Trio went 3-1 against Shaw-Thompson-Wagner.
One of the surprises for me last night was the amount of upset from Oilers fans. It tells me that we may be getting ahead of ourselves a little here. So, allow me to make a statement and get your reaction to it.
- The Edmonton Oilers could lose the next three games by shutout and it would still represent a mammoth season in franchise history.
Let’s review. Before the beginning of the season, we knew Connor McDavid was special, but the actual season he delivered was truly awesome. Leon Draisaitl blossomed alongside, the right side of the defense was improved and Cam Talbot established himself as one of the 10 best goalies in the NHL. Youngsters pushing included Matt Benning, Drake Caggiula and Anton Slepyshev, plus the team passed 100 points for the season. Connor McDavid won the first major award for this franchise since 1990. Oh, and by the way, they won their first playoff series since 2006 and have a 2-1 lead in the quarter-finals. Take a breath, erase last night from the etch-a-sketch in your mind, and have a good long look at what this organization has accomplished in one season.
When I was 7, I was badly injured playing in our back yard. I was running and jumping to catch a ball and my head hit a trailer hitch. Blood everywhere (only time I was a redhead) and my brother’s reaction (genuine concern) frightened me more than the blood. I probably would have panicked or passed out, but my Dad slowly walked over, calmly told me to sit down, and took my mind off of things. He examined the wound (to this day, do not touch the top of my head, I will go a little mad), told my brother to tell Mom to bring the car around to the front. He helped me to the car (I got to ride in the front seat!) and he made sure I was calm the whole way to the hospital. My Mom never did see me, or she would have cried, and then I would have cried. My Dad knew all that from the second he started walking slowly toward me. Experience, reading the moment, addressing it using all of the tools available. (Note: He caught 10 kinds of hell for not telling Mom, just so you know).
Todd McLellan has experience in playoff series and so far has been able to correct issues quickly, allowing this team to recover by next game, by keeping everyone focused on the process. McLellan’s experience. It happened after the 7-0 loss, the Sharks didn’t win a game after that one. Will it happen Wednesday? We wait.
Per source, Seattle Thunderbird and Edmonton Oilers prospect Ethan Bear has a broken hand. #WHLPlayoffs
— zach laing (@zjlaing) April 30, 2017
Seattle is on to the WHL Finals, Bear a massive part of the team’s success this season. Can he return in time for the Memorial Cup? I hope so, playing in that tournament is a dream for these young men. Pro hockey awaits Bear in the fall. I have been cheering for him since he was drafted, I had him as a second-round pick based on numbers and scouting reports. I imagine a re-draft would have him higher, but the key is that he worked hard and has himself in a very good spot entering his entry-level deal.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A fun, busy morning starts at 10, TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Scott Burnside, ESPN. The elite eight are figuring it out, right now a Pittsburgh-Ottawa and Nashville-Edmonton final four is the most likely scenario.
- Andy McNamara, TSN. NFL draft!
- Jason Gregor, TSN1260. Oilers lose Game 3, will there be lineup changes?
- Sunil Agnihotri, Copper & Blue/The SuperFan. What kind of changes should Todd McLellan be contemplating.