The great thing, and the terrible thing, about playing a 7-game series against one team, is that it exposes strengths and weaknesses in a big way. This morning, you are going to read a lot about bad luck and poor officials and there is merit to discussing them. There are also reasons beyond, we would do well to acknowledge those moments. Last night, I suspect fates were sealed for some long-time Oilers. Time will tell, but this young team paid a terrible price for truly bewildering moments from a couple of their feature players.
TALE OF THE TAPE
- First Period: 2-0 EDM, Shots 16-10 EDM, Corsi for 5×5 19-14 EDM.
- Second Period: 3-0 ANA, Shots 18-5 ANA, Corsi for 5×5 25-12 ANA.
- Third Period: 1-0 EDM, Shots 11-10 EDM, Corsi for 5×5 16-15 EDM.
- Overtime: 1-0 ANA, Shots 1-0 ANA, Corsifor 5×5 1-1.
- Overall: 4-3 ANA, Shots 39-32 ANA, Corsi for 5×5 55-48 ANA.
It was a helluva first period, but the Oilers lost the script in the second period and struggled for most of the third. Young Drake Caggiula gave the club a chance to get the game to overtime, but it was not to be for the upstart Oilers on this night.
DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT
- Nurse-Benning went 11-7 together in 9:58, including 3-2 with McDavid and 3-5 with Nuge. The duo went 3-4 against Rakell-Getzlaf-Perry and 5-3 against Shaw-Thompson-Wagner. These two young defenders are finding their way as third pair and may play more substantial roles in the future. This is a very good experience for both men.
- Sekera-Russell went 19-21 in 18:10, that’s a lot of 5×5 time. Went 9-13 with McDavid and 6-2 with the Nuge line. Went 12-4 against Rakell-Getzlaf-Perry, an outstanding number, especially considering that line was 12-4 against the other duos. Sekera’s calm feet returned a bit to my eye, he has been inconsistent in the last coupe of games.
- Klefbom-Larsson were the “also in photo” pair for most of the night, Larsson getting the golden sombrero (-4). Their coverage gaps looked bad all night, although to my eye the puck movement from the pair was very good. That’s hockey though, single events can conspire against you even when you are doing most things right. Went 16-21 in 14:31 together, including 9-9 with CMD and 3-10 with the Nuge. Went 6-10 against Rakell-Getzlaf-Perry.
- Cam Talbot stopped 35 of 39, .897.
- Numbers via NHL.com, NaturalStatTrick and HockeyStats.ca.
- Lots of good things from this line, especially in the first period. The trio was on fire, scoring two goals and having enough chances for me to say that three goals were earned in that opening frame.
- Went 10-16 against Cogliano-Kesler-Sifverberg on the night, and 4-12 against Lindholm. Todd McLellan deployed 97 for 6:42 against Lindholm, that’s about 36 percent of his 5×5 time. That is not a hard match, this is not the Vlasic series.
- The combined 17:41 played by Kesler and Getzlaf against McDavid is beyond a hard match. Kesler is effective, and Getzlaf rivals the hardest screw that ever walked a turn at Shawshank State Prison. Devastating 1-2 combination, Edmonton needs a prick center macht schnell.
- When we look back on all of this season, McDavid’s wingers inability to cash these gorgeous gifts will be the only bitter pill I own from spring 2017.
- The line went 7-8 against Rakell-Getzlaf-Perry and that’s a good number. If you break it down by player on this line against Getzlaf: Nuge (5-8); Lucic (7-9); Slepyshev (5-2); Eberle (4-9).
- Lucic scored his goal on the power play, as we begin discussion of next season, his 5×5 scoring is going to be a major subject. I thought he had a good game, although the early penalty was not a good moment.
- Slepyshev looked good on this line, we may see more of him here.
- Jordan Eberle is in a spot of bother right now, and I might be writing posts with titles like “Crossroads” and “Reckoner.”
- Eberle’s shift from hell was so bad a cannot defend it. He cannot possibly be that bad and yet there it was. That said, I don’t think it is wise to trade a player when his value is low, and the Oilers do not have a replacement in waiting. I think he is gone this summer.
- Nuge is my favorite player (non-McDavid division) on the team, but his heartbeat pause net front had a major impact on the game. Disappointing to have perhaps the number one person you’d want in that situation perform in that way. Single moments blah blah blah, that play was a sock to the jaw.
- Line went 7-3 against Wagner-Thompson-Shaw. Woodguy mentioned on the Lowdown yesterday that this line should be playing more and I agree with him.
- Pouliot had an early chance in the game, got a great look and a dangerous shot on net. He could still impact this spring, hope he does.
- Went 3-1 against the Ritchie-Vermette-Kase line, Letestu helped in a big penalty call against Vermette.
- Caggiula’s goal has been a long time coming and is one of many terrific moments for a young team finding its way.
I’m not going to lie to you, the Oilers are in a tough spot now. Here are the Corsi 5×5 totals in the first four games of this series:
- Game 1: Anaheim 56-38, 59.6 percent.
- Game 2: Anaheim 63-34, 64.9 percent.
- Game 3: Edmonton 47-34, 58.0 percent.
- Game 4: Anaheim 55-48, 53.4 percent.
- Overall: Anaheim 208, Edmonton 167. Anaheim holds the edge, 55.4
The Ducks are merely tied in this series, but if you’ve watched every frame there is a concerning trend going on. The Oilers won the two road games and can certainly do it again, but will need another Bernie Parent evening from Cam Talbot and badly need McDavid’s wingers to cash.
“I thought that was pretty obvious. (Perry) ran into my bIocker/pad. I play with integrity and don’t flop … but maybe I have to.” Source
I don’t have a comforting answer for you on this one. That was goalie interference and the referees got it wrong. You hope that these things even out, and one always hopes for time left on the clock (and there was). Edmonton played a different game after the goal, and that’s a fact.
Tough turnover for Eberle on Ducks first goal, was demoted down lineup for remainder. Wasn't a good look coughing it up with a hit coming
— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) May 4, 2017
Nothing to disagree with here, Eberle already had issues with the coach/fans and that play got his ass stapled to the bench. I thought he recovered a little (made a nice play on the tying Caggiula goal) but my guess is the die is cast. Peter Chiarelli teams eat that puck and suffer the consequences, and Eberle’s giveaway(s) and lack of coverage in that sequence are going to linger in Peter Chiarelli’s mind.
Now. It is unwise to trade Eberle without a suitable replacement. Edmonton has none at this time. Jesse Puljujarvi was to play a feature role for Finland at the WHC’s and has been demoted to the point where he may not play in the opening game (my google translate is not strong, but that is my read). Edmonton’s depth chart for 2017-18 without Eberle would probably be Leon Draisaitl, Puljujarvi, Zack Kassian and Anton Slepyshev. Which is fine, if JP can play there. We haven’t seen his game in months, and I have growing concerns about him. Why isn’t he playing for Team Finland? Interesting days.
I think the Oilers need a miracle, a big fly, a Hail Mary, and they need it right damned now. One of two things must happen in Anaheim. Either Connor McDavid finds clean air while his wingers also find their hands, or Cam Talbot doesn’t allow another goal in this series.
Edmonton’s series against the Ducks is finally showing us what we knew back in August. The balance photo is not yet earned. Will the Oilers be done playing hockey by Sunday night? We wait.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A full boat this morning, much fun and I hope you can tune in. Scheduled to appear, TSN1260 beginning at 10:
- Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey. Bruce will take a swing at last night’s game, maybe a ref or two as well.
- Grant McCagg, Recrutes.ca. We will drill down on the 2017 draft, trying to find some idea about how the top five will go this summer.
- Frank Seravalli, TSN. Oilers aren’t behind in this series, it only feels like it.
- Brayden Sullivan, Draft Geek. WHL Bantam Draft goes this morning, Brayden will tell us what is happening and who the early winners are today.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!