The Oilers have done it again. They beat a team that they hadn't beat in a very long time. This time it was the Detroit Red Wings and the last time the Oilers beat them in regulation their roster included Ryan Stone, Ryan Potulny, Jeff Deslauriers and J.F. Jacques. Pat Quinn was the Oilers’ coach and Mumbly Joe (Steve Tambellini) was the GM.
The date, December 3rd, 2009… Rebuild 2.0 was just a glimmer in Daryl Katz’s eye and the Oilers’ defense included the likes of Lubomir Visnovsky, Tom Gilbert, Sheldon Souray along with a still serviceable Steve Staios and Ladislav Smid. Little did those players know that they’d be involved in Oilers history. That game would mark the last time that the Oilers would win in regulation against the Red Wings until today (October 21, 2015). Almost 6 years later.
Well that’s what happened today and a couple players made it a spectacular sight.
A few games ago I mentioned the McYak Attack and how great Connor McDavid and Nail Yakupov play together. They’ve shown it once again on the beautiful game winning goal by McDavid. The two of them compliment each other so well that it’s almost magical. In fact it was so beautiful let’s watch that again.
My jaw dropped a few times watching some of the saves by Cam Talbot in this game. He reminded me of Curtis Joseph with his glove hand with flashes of Dwayne Roloson with his agility. The preseason scared me but Talbot has really stepped up and both him and Anders Nilsson could be the Oilers’ ace in the hole this season.
There were still a lot of defensive break downs. They weren’t as glaring as last season or the season before but they were still there. There has definitely been a bit of an improvement over the past few games but it won’t hold up against the really good teams. With that being said, Justin Schultz probably had one of his best games defensively. He made some great plays to break up two on ones and pushed players to the outside on a lot of occasions.
I hate complaining about refereeing because it’s such a dumb thing to waste time on but in today’s game, especially in the first period, the refs missed a lot. At first it seemed to be even but in very short order Oilers were being called on penalties within seconds of being obstructed with themselves. It wasn’t game changing thanks to a pretty strong penalty killing unit by the Oilers and above par goaltending, but it could have been and that was the frustrating part. As long as things are called evenly then there is no issue.
I’m losing less hair worrying about the Oilers winning or losing. I’m not sure if it’s really confidence in the way they are playing or if it’s because I’ve just come to accept the losses. I really hope it’s the former because that would mean a lot for this team.
Tomorrow is a rest day or at least a non-game day anyway. On Friday the Oilers take on the Washington Capitals. Easily one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. Luckily they play the night before (tomorrow) in Vancouver, plus they wasted a lot of energy scoring goals against the Calgary Flames last night. Hopefully that gives the Oilers a leg up.