Once again the Oilers dropped a decision to better opponent and there is no shame in that. The Oilers management and coaching team made a conscious decision about this being an evaluation season for all of the players and they are sticking to it. Part of that evaluation process includes 8 defenseman, 5 of which can barely be called NHL defensemen. The only silver lining here is that teams like the LA Kings show where the deficiencies are and hopefully make the evaluation process a lot easier.
With the exception of the first goal, which was scored from a sharp angle and caught Cam Talbot cheating a bit, Talbot had another nice game. He made some great saves and kept the Oilers in the game even when the wheels fell off in the second period.
I was pleasantly surprised with the Oilers in the first period. They kept pace with the Kings and had an overall good period. Funny enough even Eric Gryba looked good.
It seems like every post game write up I come back to this. The Oilers defense is just not NHL calibre and it hurts them in a major way at least once a game. To make matters worse Justin Schultz left the game with an undisclosed injury and although some were were stating illness I haven’t seen anything to confirm it. That left the Oilers with 5 defensemen to look after the LA Kings. That is a tough task even for some of the best defense in the NHL let alone the Oilers’ defense.
With 5.2 seconds left in the game Connor McDavid tied the game. The problem was that Jonathan Quick was able to get his glove on the puck to cover the overhead angle. Quick’s glove caused a problem because the NHL will only base it’s decision for a goal from the over head angle. Since the puck could not be seen in back of Quick’s glove in the overhead angle, like it was in almost every other angle, it couldn’t be called a goal. Here is John Shannon from SportsNet to explain.
The Oilers sunk themselves. Maybe it was the inability to move a puck out of their own zone. Maybe it was the passiveness of their penalty kill. Maybe it was an inattention to detail, like clearing the puck up the boards instead of down the middle. The reality it that it was combination of all of that and it all came to a head in the second period when Kings took it the Oilers.
As much as the first period was nice to watch the second period was a dog’s breakfast in comparison. In the latter 13 minutes of the second period the Oilers were only able to muster 2 shot attempts. Those 13 minutes defined the rest of the game and eventually sealed the fate of the Oilers.
In my heart I feel like McDavid’s goal with 5.2 seconds left was an actual goal but there isn’t much I can do about it. In reality that shouldn’t be the Oilers’ worry. What they should be worrying about is those 13 minutes in the second period. Those long sequences of time where the opposing team dominates them. The game is over and there is nothing that can be done about the score but there are things that can be done about the team and the Oilers need to start focusing on them. As of Tuesday the Oilers will be 1/8 of the way through the season, they have 3 wins in 9 games. Sure they’ve won against the teams they should have but they aren’t beating the rest of the pack and that will be their issue this season until they improve their blue line.
The Oilers head out to Minnesota to face the Wild on Tuesday. The Wild are one of those teams that may be beatable but it will be tough especially in Minnesota. The puck drops at 6PM MT and will be aired on SportsNet Oilers.