There are few events like a hockey game. Fast pace, scores awarded, winners, losers etc. It’s about the only thing that I don’t schedule watching around Jeopardy!. See, I love Jeopardy!, I watch it daily, play along, and actually get most of the questions right. On occasion, I’m sure I had the right answer and yet, Alex says it was a different answer. I get angry, recount why I thought I was sure of a different answer, and sometimes even pause the TV to google and see if I was actually right. It’s not advised to assume you know more than the trivia series, but sometimes it just feels that way.
I figured that with hockey season in play, and my Jeopardy! watching on the back-burner, that these moments wouldn’t happen as often. That I wouldn’t be questioning my sure answer and googling in disbelief. Here we are though, I watch the Oilers dominate games early in the season and end up with a score not reflecting that. The team has a losing record but it’s not something I can truly believe given the play. Maybe tonight’s game in New Jersey would finally change that.
Almost immediately, Nico Hischier gets called two-minutes for hooking giving us our first powerplay. On the man advantage, the Oilers don’t look all that great. Milan Lucic passes the puck through the crease to Leon Draisaitl for the only scoring chance. The puck went into Draisaitl’s feet, unfortunately. He would have had a wide open net if he got the puck on his stick.
For the next five minutes, the Oilers looked as bad as they did against the Red Wings over the weekend. The Devils kept the puck in the Oilers zone, maintained pressure and made our defense look silly. Cam Talbot stood on his head to make some big saves while the Oilers did absolutely nothing to stop the attack.
After five minutes of sustained pressure, Brian Boyle notices how little the Oilers defensemen are doing and takes matters into his own hands. He casually walks the puck to the right side of the slot, takes a shot, collects his own rebound and puts it past Talbot. It’s 1-0 Devils, and it could be a lot worse.
The Devils continue their pressure after the goal. It’s 10 minutes in now and the Sportsnet crew officially points out that the Oilers haven’t even put a shot on Cory Schneider yet. This game looks to be over. 10 minutes left in the period and already the Oilers desperately need an intermission. The first shot on net wouldn’t come for another minute.
The Devils get called for too-many-men with 7:34 remaining. Now we have a chance to get back into a game that we have no business being in.
The powerplay again struggles, although there are at least some shots. Matt Benning has 3 of them, Mark Letestu had the other. No goals but the 2nd powerplay unit looked a lot better than the first.
We get reminded that if any Oilers player scores 5 goals in one game, you could win $1,000,000 on Safeway’s score and win contest. You just have to answer a skill testing question after the player scores 5. They may as well eliminate the question, make it the whole team scoring five, and make the prize 5 million. The probability of having to pay it is about the same tonight.
Oscar Klefbom gets called for tripping with just over two minutes left. This sure feels like the kind of game where we go down 2-0 before the intermission and never come back.
Shockingly, the Oilers kill the penalty, look good doing it and manage to go into the dressing room only down by one. I’ll take it.
The first line comes out flying. Connor McDavid, Draisaitl, and Patrick Maroon all cycling well and getting the puck on net. It’s nice to see despite not scoring. We could be in for a better effort this period.
That is until, Adam Larsson gets called for holding. Back to the PK we go.
Again, this one looks good. Maybe the Oilers have finally solved their PK issues. That would give us a real chance.
There’s this weird thing happening in the early part of this period. The linesmen keep blowing play dead and I’m not exactly sure why. This is what I hate most about Rogers broadcasts: These idiot commentators are too busy talking about pickle juice to even notice the whistle blew, then they ask each other what happened and before we get an answer, we’re off to a commercial. Either focus the camera on the ref so I can figure it out, or hire someone better than Drew Remenda. Do something.
The Faceoff ends up being at the Devils’ blue line. Off the draw, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins battles with Hischier but Anton Slepyshev helps get it to Lucic. Lucic, pushes it into the Devils zone, Slepyshev picks it up and puts a wrister short-side on Schneider.
After that goal, the Oilers checking line puts on some nice pressure. Brad Malone, Zack Kassian and Mark Letestu all doing their thing to keep the puck deep.
Of course that means it’s time for something to happen. The whistle blows and the commentators are again confused. They leap to the conclusion that Larsson was high-sticked and Blake Coleman would be going to the box. Then they think it might be other other way around. Commercial time, maybe we’ll find out when we get back.
It’s Larsson in the box. It’s a really bad penalty kill. We manage to escape that one without being scored on, but it wasn’t pretty. Taylor Hall showing that he’s actually a really good player creating all kinds of chances for almost the entire two minutes. Two minutes of Larsson sitting in the box, no less.
It’s 0K though, immediately after Larsson gets out, Matt Benning takes a tripping penalty.
I’m not going to say that we killed this penalty — because we didn’t — but the time did expire on the penalty before the Devils scored. We have no business being tied right now.
As if on cue, Drew Stafford slowly skates through the Oilers D without even needing to stick handle. He gets the puck to Talbot, steps to the side and puts it past him. This goal looked identical to the one that ended Patrick Roy’s career.
The period ends and we head into the break down by one. It really should be a lot worse. Disgraceful effort thus far.
Extemelely boring, neither team plays well but Lucic ties it up with a shot that probably shouldn’t beat an NHL goalie.
The Oilers tie the game!
The rest of the period is boring, not worthy of a recap so let’s just go to Overtime.
The Top three of Draisaitl, McDavid and Klefbom start.
Almost a minute in, Taylor Hall goes in two-on-one with Hischier. Hall passes to Hischier, Nico passes it back and luckily hall wasn’t expecting that pass and they don’t get a shot.
McDavid, with speed!! Gets behind everyone, makes a move but then shoots the puck over top of the net. It’s a shame because that sure had the feel of a highlight McDavid goal.
The Oilers keep it in the Devils end for two whole minutes. RNH is in there getting chance after chance. He keeps bringing it through to the Devils net while tired defenders just try to get a whistle. He has no less than three shots on the shift before the Devils finally get the puck far enough up the ice to get a change.
McDavid, with speed!! goes wide on the defender, comes to a sudden stop, passes it to a wide open Draisaitl and that’s game. Those two
may be are the best three-on-three players in the game.
- Benning had a pretty good night. I didn’t like his penalty but he was taking a lot of shots on a team refusing to take them. He may have earned more powerplay time.
- Lucic had two points, as did RNH.
- Kris Russell and Eric Gryba were hardly on the ice. It looks as though our top four are set until Sekera comes back and that’s 0K by me.
- Taylor Hall is more of a detriment playing against us than for us.
- Tonight, Adam Larsson was more of a detriment playing for us than against us.
- Nico Hischier is a damn good player
That’s the recap. The Oilers have won two straight for the first time this season and have improved their record to 6-8-1. That is of course, until Alex Trebek shows up on the NHL website to inform us that there has been a correction to tonight’s game. I’m expecting it, because although the score says we won, I definitely didn’t watch a winning team.