In the Last game of the three game road trip the Edmonton Oilers took on the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Oilers were desperate for a win after a slow 2-5 start while the Penguins had some bad losses of their own. The two best players in the league in Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid go head to head. Surely there will be goals.
This is nice, we get a surprisingly quick anthem for this game. In Philadelphia the Flyers anthem singer dragged this out for what seemed to be a fortnight. This guy had them both wrapped up in under 4 minutes.
In the first two minutes each team exchanged low quality shots and couldn’t sustain any pressure in the the zone. This is a shockingly slow start given the hype for this game. Maybe NBC knew what they were doing by airing a Sabres - Red Wings game after all.
Five minutes into the game Milan Lucic drills Ian Cole into the boards from behind. Why does he do this? That’s a call every time. There is no need to take an unnecessary penalty like that in the offensive zone when we so desperately need to score first. It was a completely selfish and undisciplined play and... I’m being told there was no call. Ignore all that, carry on.
Darnell Nurse decides he will fight Ryan Reaves. I’m not entirely sure what provoked this so lets just go with a few obnoxious narratives: He had to motivate his team, he’s a pro’s pro standing up for a team mate and my personal favorite someone had to answer for that previous play. The fight was largely uneventful but is this really the best way to be utilizing first round draft picks?
Seven minutes into the game McDavid gets the puck to the net and Yamamoto has a great chance to get his first. It’s a wide open net — Like Patrik Stefan wide open — but unfortunately he sends it through the crease without burying a much needed goal.
I can’t explain the inability of this team to put the puck in the net. Also Klefbom’s shot seems off. This is the 3rd game where he just doesn’t seem to have the power or accuracy he typically has. Not really sure what’s going on there but hopefully he corrects the issue soon.
Talbot makes a huge save on Conor Sheary. It was a back door play and Cam Talbot shut the door hard.
The teams exchanged some more chances including McDavid taking the puck off the half wall and to the front of the net. The period ends scoreless.
To start off the period, Kris Russell decides that the best way to handle a two-on-one the other way is to lie on his side and try to stop the shot. Evgeni Malkin makes an uninterrupted pass to Phil Kessel but luckily Talbot shuts him down. The man is on tonight.
A few minutes late Patric Hornqvist makes an extremely dirty hit on Kris Russell. He gave him a blatant elbow to the face and Russell goes down hurt. Hornqvist only got two minutes for the incident but really should have got more. That was bad.
The first powerplay unit comes on the ice and looks fantastic. Matt Murray makes and incredible save on a Mark Letestu shot, a scramble ensues and not a single oiler can get the puck past the four penguins occupying the crease, this is as good as a powerplay can look without getting a goal. Because Kris Russell is too integral to the second powerplay unit, they couldn’t send it out while he was in concussion protocol. The first unit played the entire 2 minutes.
After the powerplay Matt Benning takes a lazy, stopped skating, hooking call on Malkin and sends the Penguins to the powerplay with 3 minutes remaining.
No one scored, period ends still knotted at two.
Adam Larsson gets called for a phantom elbow 10 seconds in. Again no one scores and this game is starting to bore me.
I’m going to take this opportunity to say that Sportsnet is a terrible broadcast. Anytime there is a stoppage in play, the camera goes to the bench, an ad, or some stupid graphic telling me what Wayne Gretzky’s Plus/Minus was 100 years ago. It’s completely uncalled for and really impedes my ability to know which line is on the ice, which face-off dot they’re lined up at and why they’re there. They need to stop doing this, there is more to a game than the 60 minutes of play. It’s bad enough that they employ Drew Remenda but now they can’t even handle their audio. People — mostly stupid people like me — pay to see this. How about turning off the mics and just letting me hear game sounds. If that were an option, people would take it.
Back to the game. After Larsson’s penalty expires the Oilers remained pinned in their own zone. Riley Sheehan and Ryan Reaves get the puck in the corner, send it to Ian Cole at the point and he beats talent with a terrific wrist shot.
Oilers down 1-0, I think we know how this ends.
The Oilers refuse to shoot the puck. Whether it’s Leon Draisaitl, Connor McDavid, Patrick Maroon or Mark Letestu, they’re all wasting prime scoring chances by trying to pass it into the back of the net.
With three minutes left in the game and it looking all but over the top line finally comes through. Klefbom gives it to Maroon who tries to pass to Draisaitl but it ends up with McDavid who puts a laser past Murray. Finally, this team has a goal.
Draisaitl doesn’t get a point here but he actually makes an incredible play. He manages to stop before going offside, gives a fake reach for the puck and lets it go right by to a wide open McDavid. It’s similar to that Chris Pronger - Mario Lemieux - Paul Kariya play from the 2002 winter Olympics.
We are going to Overtime tied at one.
3-on-3 delivers a lot of chances. Immediately off the opening faceoff, Kris Letang goes in on a patrial break and puts a shot on Talbot. The puck goes the other way with the Oilers getting a 3-on-1 opportunity, Draisaitl takes the shot, Murray saves it.
A minute later Milan Lucic comes in with Klefbom and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, he elects to... shoot the puck wide. The puck rings around the boards springing Malkin on a 2-on-1 with Kessel. Malkin makes the pass with all the extra room and the Kessel makes no mistake. We were beaten by the Hot Dog man.
Penguins beat us in Overtime 2-1.
- McDavid is definitely injured. He had 3 opportunities for breakaways this game and didn’t kick up his speed the way we have grown accustomed to expect.
- Ryan Strome is slow. Ridiculously slow.
- Draisaitl looked really good, he was off on a few passes but having him back will help immensely.
- Kailer Yamamoto was put on the 3rd line with Draisaitl and Drake Caggiula. He had only one shot that I can recall plus that missed open net.
- Letestu ended up on the top line with McDavid and Maroon. Weird stuff.
- I think we’re past the goaltending issues, Talbot looked great making 42 saves in the loss.
- This team needs wins, moral victories aren’t doing it anymore now that the season is 10% over.
- The Oilers will need to average 1.2 points per game to make the playoffs from here, it’s not beyond reason but they need to start fast. Finding a way to get more than one goal per game would be a start.
- I am so sick of losing