Before I get into the details of the game let me draw you another timeline. A timeline that will help you better understand tonight's loss.
June 27, 2014: The Oilers draft - 6' 2", 216 lb - Centre Leon Draisaitl
June 29, 2014: The Oilers trade NHL centre Sam Gagner to the Tampa Bay Lightning who then trade him to the Arizona Coyotes.
July 1, 2014: The Oilers address some issues on D and on the wing but do not address gaping hole at centre
July 2, 2014: The Predators sign Olli Jokinen to a 1yr contract at $2.5M
July 15, 2014: The Predators sign Mike Ribeiro and Derek Roy for $1.05M and $1M respectively
Fast Forward to October 29, 2014
The Oilers still have not addressed their lack of a true NHL centre. The first year of Leon Draisaitl's ELC is about to be burned as he starts his 10th game of the season. Oh ya and the Oilers are facing off against that team that realized it's deficiencies in the off season and addressed them. It was going to be a great night of hockey.
There wasn't a lot to the report on in the first period except that the Oilers looked like they were going to beat Buffalo's 10 shot effort the night before. By the end of the period the shots would be 11-3 in favour of the Predators. The score should've also been 1-0 for the Predators but thanks to a stupid rule that makes no sense the goal was called back and the Oilers escaped the period 0-0.
The highlight for the Oilers in the period is this save by Ben Scrivens. Nail Yakupov, Mark Arcobello and Benoit Pouliot are on the ice. The Predator's sustain possession for about 25 seconds before this save occurs.
Although the Oilers start to out possess the Predators in the second it didn't occur until they were already down 2-0 and score-effect had already kicked in. But the period seemed to start ok for the Oilers (at least from someone's perspective). 19 seconds into the period the score tracker got a little trigger happy after Ryan Nugent-Hopkins' shot hit the crossbar and dropped almost straight down. It was very quickly determined to not be a goal.
At the 14:13 Leon Draisaitl makes a nice move around Roman Josi but can't beat Pekka Rinne.
Then the Predators started to score. The first goal came off of a great play for the Oilers when Jeff Petry got a pass over to Jesse Joensuu. Joensuu had Rinne over committed and feathered a pass to Boyd Gordon in the slot but Craig Smith got over just in time to lift Gordon's stick and negate the play. The ensuing play is captured in the video below.
Then with the Oilers still trying to catch their breath Taylor Beck beats Scrivens to put the Predators up 2-0. FYI Beck was David Perron's man but he just coasted back and never really covered him.
The Oilers' best chance of the period came with 3:30 left in the period. Perron and Teddy Purcell find themselves on a 2 on 1. Purcell sneaks in behind the defender and Perron gets a perfect pass to him. When Purcell gets the puck he seems to panic and makes a pass back to Perron who is covered and can't get a shot away.
The third period started like the second except this time it was Nashville that scored 24 seconds into the period and this time it actually counted.
With just over 11 minutes remaining in the third Nugent-Hopkins takes a low percentage shot on net but Rinne kicks out a horrible rebound that lands on Taylor Hall's stick. With a wide open net Hall isn't going to miss many of those opportunities.
Just as the Oilers seemed to be making a game of it Brad Hunt makes a risky move by pinching in deep to keep the puck alive in the offensive zone. Nugent-Hopkins tries to fill in but gets tripped up on something which creates a 2 on 1 with Justin Schultz being the lone defender. You can guess the result.
That was it. The final 4-1 and although the Oilers tried to show up in the second period Nashville had too much momentum and the Oilers just couldn't catch them.
Something caught my attention while I was writing this post and it came from none other than Jeff Chapman:
hunt played four whole minutes more than petry. that's not good.— Jeff Chapman (@NewWaveOil) October 30, 2014
I did not believe it until I saw it with my own eyes and sure enough the game summary sheet shows that Brad Hunt played 22:03 Total (19:41 EV) while Jeff Petry played 17:54 Total (17:15 EV). In fact Hunt had the second most TOI on the team next to Justin Schultz (24:35). That is irresponsible on Dallas Eakins' part, he has 4 other NHL defensemen to choose from and Hunt gets more ice time that actual NHL players. It's inexcusable.
Finally some more good news.
Gazdic has been sent to the @OKCBarons for a conditioning assignment, Bachman also OKC, Fasth (groin) has been cleared to return.— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) October 30, 2014
So look forward to Luke Gazdic being pushed into the lineup somewhere around Ottawa or Arizona. YAY!