As Ryan Batty pointed out, the dangers of proclamations early on in the season are that you are never quite sure what level of play a team will settle into once the season starts to hit it's stride. It seems that just a week ago everything in Oiler land was rocking with the team exploding out of the gates with a 7-1-0 record. Three straight losses (one in OT), and well, we all knew dreams of a 70 win season were probably a touch unrealistic.
It's games like this that, for me anyways, were consistently frustrating as an Oiler fan over the years. Get the lead several times, cough it up, give up a late one to lose without even getting the OT point. Truthfully, it probably hasn't happened as much as I think it did, but these losses tend to be the most memorable ones.
I'm not sure what to think of a game where your team makes Lundqvist look pedestrian, your own goalie plays well and you still lose 5-3. There's lots of ice between the two creases and the Oilers basically got owned across every inch of it. When the Oilers had time, they rushed the play. When the Rangers pressured them, they seemed to hold onto the puck too long.
The 3rd period was basically a giant PTSD flashback of the past 10 years as an Oiler fan. Just pure panic trying to move the puck out of the zone. It's very hard to turn the tide of the play around when you spend a good chunk of a period bouncing pucks off the glass and letting the opposition reset with the puck at centre.
I'm not sure how long this Lucic-McDavid-Eberle experiment lasts, but aside from a couple of games McDavid's wingers have just been passengers, basically serving as pilot fish to McDavid's shark. When a team takes his space away, his wingers need to find ways to contribute, and they often haven't been able to.
Speaking of McDavid... is there anyone who doesn't think that kick pass to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was intentional? Jesse Puljujarvi has his good and bad days. Consistency is going to be an issue for him just based on experience. He did some great work against the Rangers. His shot block that lead to the 2 on 1 was just text book. Cut off the middle of the ice to prevent the D from walking the line, held position for the block then broke out. Made a nice little move showing some great hands, awkward as it might have looked.
Oscar Klefbom had a bit of a disaster of a game. It's going to happen folks. He basically missed 9 months due to an injury, he's still learning the NHL game and he's playing one of the hardest roles in hockey. He's going to keep having the odd game like this throughout the year. It's what happens when you rely on a young defenceman to play your heaviest minutes.
Not to be outdone, Kelfbom's partner Adam Larsson lit his own dumpster fire and proceeded to push it all around the Oilers zone. Missed assignments, poor puck handling and poor reads plagued his game tonight. He did manage his first goal as an Oiler though. Hockey... hell of a game isn't it?
On the flipside, I thought Nurse had a good game. The 3rd pairing was a huge question mark heading into the season, but Nurse, no matter who he has played with, has performed well. It's an encouraging sign after watching him thrashing around in search of a life vest for most of last season.