Long Story Long
The Oilers took on the Lightning, just one night after earning a big two points against the Panthers. The Game was overall fairly even, with the main difference being a sloppy second period, where the Oilers looked every bit like a team who had played the night before.
The Oilers never led, but we're able to match each of Tampa's first period goals shortly after they were scored. Zack Kassian scored his first goal with the team less than two minutes after Nikita Nestorov opened the scoring on a back door one-timer, on a smart, aggressive pinch.
Later, Kucherov made Nilsson look downright foolish on a highlight reel goal. But Letestu answered with a shorthanded goal on a period ending Bolts powerplay, with an impressive individual effort, where he blew by Tyler Johnson at the Oilers' defensive blueline, and scored on a breakaway.
The Oilers, however, didn't carry any momentum from Letestu's shorthanded goal to the second. They were outshot 11-5, and outscored 2-0. Namestnikov scored the Lightning's second goal of the second frame, on a play that was reviewed for a possible high stick. The call stood, but regardless, the initial shot from Palat (who was initially credited with the goal) created a lot more havoc for Nilsson than it probably should have.
The Oilers came out for the third, looking determined to erase Tampa's lead. For a while they did. Draisaitl scored on a beautiful feed from Hall on a 2 on 1, then Pakarinen scored on a quick spin and shoot near the right-wing side boards, and the Oilers had tied it with 15 minutes remaining.
Then came the play which proved decisive in tonight's game. On an Oilers power play, Nilsson came out to play the puck, in an attempt to prevent a partial break by Brian Boyle. The only problem is that Nilsson lost the race to the puck by a mile, and Boyle was able to gently slide the puck into an empty net for the game winner. The Oilers had several half-decent chances to tie it late in the third, but were unable to convert. Alex Killorn scored an empty netter with 27 seconds left to seal the deal for Tampa Bay. 6-4 final.
The Nuge-less second line got absolutely obliterated in the shot metrics. Eberle, Hendricks, and Pouliot were -19, -14, and -13 respectively in Corsi for/against differential. Conversely, the top line of Hall, Draisaitl, and Purcell were +6, +8, and +6 respectively in Corsi differential at even strength. As a whole, the team were outshot (all attempts included) 46-36 at even strength, though the gap narrowed to 51-45 in all situations, because the Oilers were able to force Tampa into giving up four power plays. Not surprisingly, the Oilers didn't manage to convert on these opportunities.
Oiler of the Game
I'm going to go with Leon Draisaitl for this one. He was on for 18 even strength Corsi for, compared to only 10 against. He also had three shots on net, one of which found twine, and he won several puck battles along the boards. An honorable mention should go to Zack Kassian, who scored his first as an Oiler, and added an assist. He was physical all night, and was able to entice Stamkos into taking a penalty in the second period.
Calgary lost tonight. I'm not saying that in a playoff implications sort of way. I just really don't like those guys, and I'm happy when they lose.