Have you gone outside today? How did that work out for you? It’s cold, it’s harsh, it’s fucking freezing. The fact that that arena was jammed with so many people just goes to show how much garbage the City of Champions will go through to watch a hockey game. Either that, or it shows how little there is to do when it is -32 degrees communism (-25.6 Freedom units) out there.
To get to the game, most consumers will have either taken public transit, or have driven there, paid $11 for parking and then walked at least 600 meters to the arena. Once they get to the arena, they will have to have gone through airport style security. This would involve removing most of your 800 layers of clothing, going through the metal detector and then putting it back on prior to walking to your seat. The seating area would be full of coats, jackets, parkas, balaclavas, gloves, toques, neck-warmers, and god knows what else would be necessary for handling such a harsh environment. Try sitting in one of those chairs comfortably, drinking beers, and getting up to go to one of the three bathrooms in the arena in a reasonable manner while all that is going on. Anyone who went to the game tonight is a real trooper, none of them deserve anything beyond a win.
Right off the hop, we get a few good chances. Ryan Strome in particular gets a few good looks. He gets a great chance off the rush, as the 1st forward, but wrists it wide of Blackhawks’ rookie Jeff Glass.
Jeff Glass is a 32 year-old-rookie playing in his first NHL game. This — like many other goalies the Oilers have faced this year — is a guy they should be putting up a touchdown against. I saw him play in junior when I used to go to every Kelowna Rockets game as a teenager. He was great for the Kootenay Ice, but because he’s never played an NHL game, the Oilers should be able to get a few pucks past him.
Five minutes into the game, Connor McDavid goes wide around Duncan Keith and gets a good wrist-shot on net. Unfortunately, Glass is able to stop the shot. The Oilers continue pressing play for the next few minutes but they just can’t beat this unlikely goaltender. Not that anyone has seen something similar to that happening...
Brandon Saad almost scores off the rush. He takes a manageable shot, Cam Talbot loses sight and it’s behind him and in the crease. Fortunately, he kicks it out of the danger areas by accident and the Oilers gain control.
McDavid comes flying in towards the Hawks’ zone, is blatantly tripped, but as per NHL policy, no call can go against the Hawks or for the Oilers.
Connor remains unphased though, he’s a force tonight. On one shift, he creates three scoring chances within 45 seconds. It’s excellent hockey. In case anyone was wondering if there were lingering effects of his illnesses that WERE NOT the flu, there aren’t.
The fourth line comes out and gets the puck deep. They played a terrible game against the Jets so it’s nice to see them get some redemption. Also, as much as I love seeing Zack Kassian try and act as though he’s been personally conspired against when he gets called for obvious penalties, I like this recent play where he doesn’t take them. The line works the puck to the front of the net (not the point — that strategy seems to have been mercifully retired) and Michael Cammalleri rings one off the post. No goal, but this is a fantastic start to the game.
Leon Draisaitl gets himself in alone against Jeff Glass. We know how this ends. It’s funny, when I said “We know how this ends” an Oilers fan has a much different foregone conclusion than a non-Oilers fan given the circumstance. Congratulations Oilers fans! Your recency bias is confirmed as Leon takes the puck to the backhand, trying to go five-hole, and is stopped by 32-year-old rookie Jeff Glass in his first NHL game.
McDavid goes from the corner to behind the net and makes a Forsberg-like no-look backhand pass to Milan Lucic that no one expected. Jeff Glass stops that too... huh.
Patrick Kane decides that maybe it’s time his team gets in on a few chances. He comes in off the rush, takes that shot off Talbot’s glove, but instead of catching the puck, Talbot lets it bounce off leading to 3 more high-quality Blackhawk shots. It’s unnecessary, I’m glad none of those went in but this is a serious example of why Corsi/Fenwick is incredibly useless in the short term. That whole line ended up with 5 shot attempts against because their goalie couldn’t make a routine glove-save.
Michal Kempny decides to trip Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and we’re off to the powerplay.
THe powerplay looks ok, not great but alright. They lose zone time for a bit, but near the end of it, the 2nd unit gets control and works it around nicely. Jesse Puljujarvi ends up burying a Nuge rebound from Oscar Klefbom. 1-0 Oilers.
With a minute left in the period.... See Oilers fans, we’ve been here before, as well — Patrick Kane takes a wrist shot on Talbot, he again can’t handle the catch, and drops it for Ryan Hartman to bury. 1-1 into the intermission. Horribly predictable.
The moment that will probably be haunting the team until Sunday, comes here. McDavid makes a great pass to Strome. Instead of taking a shot on the wide open net, Strome doesn’t even look to see what Glass is doing and tries to force a pass to the slot. The pass doesn’t make it and he costs himself a goal, McDavid an assist, and his team a lead.
McDavid again is looking like Forsberg. He goes around everyone in the zone in an attempt to set up Lucic. Get McDavid a Milan Hejduk and there will be fun times, trust me.
Draisaitl gets a nice shot off the rush, Kassian gets hooked, and we get another powerplay. Seriously, I’m not sure what’s happening in this crazy -273 degree world where Kassian draws penalties instead of takes them.
The powerplay is pretty weak. We almost score in the dying seconds with Jesse Puljujarvi out in front, but we don’t.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins decides that it’s only fair if the Blackhawks get a powerplay. He wraps his arm around Alex DeBrincat and we get to see our terrible penalty kill at work.
Our L-Formation PK looks pretty bad. We give up a ton of chances, don’t clear it very often, but DO manage to kill it off. I’ll take it, I guess.
Are you Kris Russell haters ready to come out of the woodwork? He makes a terrible play while trying to do something above his skill level and gives up a breakaway to Richard Panik. Darnell Nurse gets back quick but has to haul down Panik to keep him from scoring and takes a penalty for hooking. Back to the L-Formation.
Alex DeBrincat scores a goal early into the poweplay as a week straight line of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Leon Draisaitl and Adam Larsson all flail at the puck with assertion. Vinnie Hinostroza gets the assist. Seriously, who are these guys and how do they end up on the powerplay?
Right before the period ends, Jesse Puljujarvi gets a good chance after another Forsberg setup. Glass has that one, as well. 2-1 after two.
Drake Cagguila is now on the first line and Jesse Puljujarvi is with Patrick Maroon and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Ryan Strome again misses the net on a nice rush.
To be honest, I’m getting a little too deep into my case of beer to be taking consistent notes while watching this game. There are probably some important plays I’m leaving out.
Ok, there’s a penalty. It’s for too many men but I’m not sure of against whom it is being called. It’s really annoying, it’s zooming out, the broadcasters are discussing among themselves the implications of the play but are acting as if the audience knows what is happening while the camera is showing us a James H Brown commercial. I hate so much that these guys get paid to do this while not telling us which team is about to go to the powerplay.
It ends up being Chicago, and it takes them seconds to score. Jordan Oesterle shoots from the point, hits the post, it bounces of Talbot and into the net. 3-1 and it seems pretty much over at this point.
For the next 4 minutes, the Oilers don’t see any reason to possess the puck and don’t seem to mind the Hawks taking shot after shot on them.
I’ve definitely had too many drinks to keep up the notes. All you need to know is that the Oilers do not have the puck right now.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins ends up with the puck at the point, takes a weak wrister and... it beats Glass. Took almost 58 minutes but Glass finally looks like a career minor leaguer on that goal against. 3-2 Hawks and we... might have a chance to tie?
YEP!!! Draisaitl buries a rebound and we have a tie game. We are headed to Overtime with a point in the bag.
Yeah... no. Patrick Kane walks around Leon Draisaitl, tucks it past Talbot and that’s game.
- Everyone wants to compare McDavid to Sidney Crosby, but that’s not accurate, the playing style and production is far more similar to Peter Forsberg. Watch some highlights and you’ll believe me.
- Leon Draisaitl was scratched for most of the third. He didn’t have a great night, especially on the PK.
- Jesse Puljujarvi had a few chances, scored a goal. I love his shot but he still looks lost outside of the offensive zone. Still hoping he can grow into a really complete player. In the meantime, I’m happy with goals.
- We got a point. I choose to look at it as 4-1-1 in the last 6 games, but go as far back as necessary to fit the narrative of a rising or falling team. Predictive analysis is very subjective.
- It’s a really good thing those fans didn’t have to sit through a boring game after going through the tundra and airport security to see it. Definitely a fun game.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had 3-points, excellent to see
- Andrej Sekera looked good. I know we were worried about him not being up to par after a long recovery but he looks about there, already.
That’s all for my recap, I’ll let Ilya Bryzgalov share his thoughts on this weather.