If you watched the game you’re probably just waking up because that was one boring hockey game. I waited all summer to see the Oilers and Connor McDavid play and the Blues sucked the life out of that game.
So the guy I was really skeptical about in the preseason, finally showed us what we’ve been waiting for. Cam Talbot had a stellar game and prevented the Oilers from losing 10 - 1 like they would’ve in previous seasons. Not only did he keep the in the game through out the night he came up big early on. For the first five minutes of the game the Oilers did absolutely nothing. They played like they were nervous. Talbot came up huge when the ghost of Dallas Eakins decided to show up early in the first period. Swarming the puck carrier, every Oilers player on the ice left Vladimir Terasenko all alone at the side of the net and as predicted the puck went directly to him. Talbot stood tall and made a spectacular save.
Chemistry! Chemistry! Chemistry! The top 9 seems out of sync. McDavid - Taylor Hall - Anton Slepyshev just can’t seem to get things going. It was like the three of them had never played a shift together at all. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Benoit Pouliot were finding each other but just couldn’t pull the trigger. Meanwhile Teddy Purcell would be out of position or be unable to carry the puck into the zone in a controlled manner. Nail Yakupov was the only visible player on the third line. He was all over the ice and was generating some offensive plays. Anton Lander and Lauri Korpikoski were quiet all night and didn’t do much.
The fourth line on the other hand played quite well and actually lived up to the "energy line" moniker. It was the work of the fourth line in the first period who maintained some pressure to finally generate some shots.
There was a lot of ugly in this game but one moment that stood out for me the most came on the Blues first goal. Purcell gains the zone and tries to stick handle around the St. Louis defenseman. Purcell loses the puck battle and the puck is fired up to Terasenko who is in all alone. Meanwhile, the blue line, figuring Purcell is going to get the puck in deep, decide to change. This is what causes the break away leaving only Talbot to face off against a goal scorer. It was bad communication all the way around and it was the turning point in the game.
The Oilers goal. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins got credit for the goal but he never actually touched it. It was a very strange goal but at least the hockey gods are teasing the Oilers now instead of completely ignoring them.
The road ahead is no easier than what the Oilers just left behind. They will face off against the Nashville Predators on Saturday at 5:00PM MT. This is going to be tough.