The Oilers rode into Vancouver feeling the funk, as it were, after one of the most impressive Battle of Alberta performances I've seen in some time. Surely, this one should be a layup too, right?!
Not so fast.
The Oilers started as well as they could have, with resident sniper and everyone's favorite player Kris Russell found the top corner with what I like to call a real 'defenseman's wrist shot.' Know what I mean?
So the good guys are up 1-0 after about a minute and we're all thinking perfect, the Oilers are on pace to win 60-0, give or take. But the Canucks, jealous of Edmonton for far more than just their relative safety in the event of a tsunami, decided to score a goal or two of their own.
It took a bit of good fortune in the first, as the Oilers at least resembled a capable NHL team for parts of it, for the Canucks to sneak ahead. Cam Talbot was far from his best tonight, and the Canucks were able to take their few chances in the opening frame and get themselves a stew going.
The Oilers influence over proceedings waned. The Canucks', unfortunately, grew. Or, was it GRU?! I mean, they do have Burmistrov now. Something to think about.
Still though, the Canucks are the Canucks - which is to say the Canucks are trash - so the Oilers managed to keep it close after the first period. Not really thanks to Cam Talbot but also not really in spite of him. It was a weird period.
The Canucks went further ahead a minute into the middle frame, which sucked but like due to my general disinterest in all things Vancouver I mean whatever. And to be honest, I think we all expected the CUP-CONTENDING (C) Edmonton Oilers to just figure it out. I mean it's. The. Canucks.
At this point the Canucks are really starting to take it to the Oilers (by eye at least) and I'm starting to get a little miffed. There were a couple moments of almost brilliance for our heroes, but quite frankly, the Oilers were lucky to go into the intermission down 2. Laurent Brossoit was real good in spot duty tonight. Problem is, if Spot were a dog, he'd be a big fat dog. Point is, Brossoit was busy. Follow along.
So if Spot were a big fat dog and Brossoit was on Spot duty then logically, Brossoit is on big fat dog duty and Spot is also a dog's name so it works.
So the second period came to a close and the most interesting part of it - to me - was how poor the level of hockey was. This was not a good hockey game on balance.
Anyway skip to the third and the Oilers are doing their best to just hand the two points over to their division rivals. Penalty trouble and neutral zone breakdowns meant Brossoit had to be really good just to keep them in it. AND THANK GOODNESS HE DID!
A fantastic backhand pass from Patrick Maroon found Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in front of the net, and the pre-teen prince made no mistake on the PP. 3-2, and we've got a game.
And what a finish! This finish had it all! It had penalties, and other penalties, and shots, and saves, and some other shots, and a few more saves!
It was over. Two points they'll never be able to get back. 162 to play for. Still on pace for 81-1-0.
A couple thoughts. The general level of passing and positional work was pretty low on both sides. Both teams were sloppy, and the game was marred by turnovers and loose passing. Even Connor McDavid looked like a human man tonight. Who wants to miss SNL for that?! On Gal Godot night no less?!?
Color me disappointed that Kailer Yamamoto is already sitting in favor of (probably) an inferior player. I think Iiro Pakarinen is fine for what he is, but I don't understand why he's drawing in for Yamamoto so early in the season?! I suppose I just figure if they were going to scratch him anyway, why not just send him to junior before the home opener?
Talbot was not good tonight, but Brossoit was excellent. If he can maintain that level of play throughout the season then it will prove another solid call by the brass. I do feel like we've said this stuff before, but it's obviously very early.