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Second Period “Win” Ends in Complete Disaster

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Oilers rally in the second but get dominated in the third and lose 4-2 to the Stars

Todd McLellan can only watch while his team loses
Todd McLellan can only watch while his team loses
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Watching this sport that the Oilers try to pass off as hockey is almost unbearable sometimes. Tonight's game was one of those games and it started with the blue line and never really got past it.

Highlights

The Good

Despite being a really bad game, there were a few good points.

Goaltending

The Oilers allowed Anders Nilsson to face 51 shots tonight. That’s right 51 shots! Sure he didn’t post a shutout but he still had a respectable 0.941 SV% in tonight’s game and that was after allowing 3 goals. In fact even after starting the season 0-3 the only people not to blame on the Oilers right now is the goaltending.

As hockey fans and Oilers fans we know that won’t be the case for the whole season but at least it’s nice to start the year without goaltending questions.

McYak Attack

When the Oilers won the McDavid lottery one of the first things many smart people (including myself) said was that Taylor Hall - Connor McDavid - Nail Yakupov needed to be a thing. We were told repeatedly that the Oilers couldn’t have too many goal scorers on one line or some other BS that didn’t make sense. Well tonight showed just how well those two play together. Tonight for the first time since Ralph Krueger left the Oilers, we saw Yakupov play like he likes to play, with passion.

McDavid scored his first NHL goal (I’ll circle back to this) and Yakupov was in on the Oilers first real goal of the season.

McDavid’s First Goal

As I mentioned above Connor McDavid score his first goal of his NHL career. It was a deflection of Andrej Sekera’s point shot and it tied the game at 2. It wasn’t a Jordan Eberle highlight reel goal but it still counts.

The Bad

Oof this is a tough one. I may just have to jump to the ugly.

The Ugly

Once again the Oilers have arguably the worst defense in the NHL. It’s almost like no one in coaching or management knows how to evaluate defensemen or at least don’t realize how bad the Oilers’ defense is.

The Breakout Pass

Todd McLellan is running his defense much like how he ran the Sharks defense, the only difference is he doesn’t have Justin Braun, Bent Burns or Marc-Edouard Vlassic. Nope instead McLellan has Eric Gryba, Brandon Davidson, Justin Schultz and about 10 other 7th or 8th defensemen and that is whole problem with his system. In San Jose McLellan could have his forwards past centre and expect his defensemen to make a crisp tape to tape pass for the zone exit. In Edmonton he’s lucky if the defensemen can even find the puck in their own skates. I may be coming across very cynical but I’m not, this actually happened a couple times in tonight’s game. The Oilers cannot make a controlled break out of their own zone and that rests on the shoulders of the defense.

Defending In General

I’ve gone through this many many many times. The Oilers defense is lacking. The best example came on the 3rd goal against. @EdmontonRaider breaks it down the best (give him a follow, it’s well worth it):

Ok so this wasn’t all on the defense but Schultz needed to skate there and do his job. Yakupov takes all the BS from the fan base because of his "lack of defense" but he was trying there, while the defense just let the whole play develop.

Thoughts

Until Edmonton fixes it’s defense things aren't going to change. The obstacle with that is that Wingus, Dingus and Mumbly Joe helped destroy any chance of real players wanting to sign or be traded to Edmonton, so the issue becomes a perpetual cycle of awfulness. The only way that Peter Chiarelli can fix it now is by trading someone that he doesn’t want to for someone that can help the team start winning now and bring respectability back to the team. I think shooting for the playoffs may be out of the question but 0.500+ season would do wonders for this team in many respects.

Up Next

It’s ORANGE JERSEY DAY!!! The day that all of us die hard Oilers fans have been waiting for. The Oilers get to wear their 3rd jerseys while facing off with the St. Louis Blues at Rexall place. See you Thursday!!!