In case you didn’t hear, I was in Cuba last week. I missed things like Russell scoring on his own net, the media calling the fans a bunch of losers, and the Oilers re-acquiring Brandon Davidson. While all this was going on, I was herded through a cattle gate, prodded by TSA (Thousands Standing Around), and jammed onto a vessel known as an Air Transat plane.
Air Transat buys their planes from other airlines who have deemed the vehicles not worth fixing. They buy them up, slap the scraps together and call it good to go. They’re basically like an expansion NHL team. Except instead of being good like the Vegas Golden Knights, they’re closer to the inaugural San Jose Sharks. The seats made regular airline seats look like la-z-boy recliners. They didn’t have TVs on them, my head rest was neck level and there was just about enough space between my seat and the one in front of me, to fit a half of a Kailer Yamamoto. Don’t even get me started on the babies. I’m not saying babies should be kenneled and shipped in the cargo area, but I also wouldn’t be opposed to that line of thinking. Also parents getting mad at their toddlers for crying. Do they not see how dumb that looks? It’s about the equivalent of a broke gambler getting mad at their lottery tickets for losing. What the hell do they expect? Anyway, as I was walking off of that horrible bucket of bolts that somehow didn’t fall out of the sky, I saw the pilot greeting us. I pointed at him and made one statement: You just made your way into a game recap. Speaking of, I guess I should start talking about that.
The Oilers start this game the way we’ve grown accustomed lately, by being pinned in our own end. After some sustained Montreal pressure, Leon Draisaitl takes a penalty and we’re off to a bad start.
As per usual, out Penalty Kill looks terrible. The Canadiens get a few scoring chances, Laurent Brossoit has to make a few saves, we only clear the puck once but somehow, we manage to kill the clock before we suffer any damage.
A minute later, Patrick Maroon is in the offensive corner with the puck and is tackled. I don’t mean shoved, I mean he was wrapped and brought to the ice. There’s no call on the play, as is tradition. Luckily though, Maroon was able to get the puck to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins who quickly passes it to Mike Cammalleri who beats Carey Price for the first goal of the game and his first as on Oiler.
The commentators started babbling about how Cammalleri hadn’t scored since January and that this was his first goal in 37 games. Of course that’s not true because he had 3 goals with the Kings this year, but why should they need to know that? They aren’t qualified bloggers like us.
A minute after that goal, Jesse Puljujarvi shoots one past Price to make it 2-0. He took a cross-slot pass from Maroon and ripped it top corner.
Turns out, after review, he just rang it off the cross-bar and did not score. Still 1-0.
Eleven minutes into the game, Carey Price makes a blunder. He calmly plays the puck from behind the net, tries to lift it past Ryan Strome but he’s having none of it. Strome knocks the puck down, quickly gets in to Jujhar Khaira and he gets the puck to the net faster than Price can get back. It’s 2-0 Oilers.
After the goal, the Oilers quickly fall back into their cycling behind the net, get it to the point and shoot offensive scheme. It’s become a real annoyance for me and I’ll explain more about that in a stand-alone piece next week. The Oilers did this for a few minutes to kill some precious clock.
With five minutes remaining in the period, the Oilers get pinned badly in their own end. This looks like the turning point. That part in the game where the Oilers blow a 2-0 lead and end up losing a game that isn’t close. Please don’t do this.
Milan Lucic manages to steal the puck from the Montreal defender and get a partial break. He failed to get a shot off before being hauled down and fell into Price. No, there was no call in this play either.
The Oilers finish the period with some nice pressure in the offensive zone. Nothing substantial happened, but it was nice to see. Better still to see the Oilers take a lead into the dressing room.
Khaira scores immediately to open the period. I’m still not enjoying this working it to the point thing, but sometimes it takes a nice bounce and lands on the stick of a forward for a wide open net. This time it was Kris Russell extending his Oilers scoring lead among blueliners with the assist. That feels weird to write.
Former Oiler, Jeff Petry, holds Leon Draisaitl and we are going to the powerplay for the first time this game.
The Powerplay doesn’t last long. No, not because we got called for a horseshit penalty, but because we actually scored on this one. Lucic takes the feed from Draisaitl and the price is right.
This also means that Draisaitl finally has a powerplay point and we can stop citing the fact that he doesn’t for at least another season.
The Canadiens are putting in Antti Niemi in net. This could get ugly, this is his 3rd NHL team this year, and just between you and me, I think he might not be as good as Price. When I saw the two teams’ lineups today, I did not envision Montreal being the one with net troubles.
We have a pointless and unnecessary fight between Darnell Nurse and super-pest Andrew Shaw. Luckily no one was injured, but this is the kind of risk that there is no need to take in a game like this.
Moments after that donnybrook, Connor McDavid gets a 2-on-1 with Zack Kassian. Connor makes the perfect pass and Kassian, despite have a clear shot, decides to put his Jagr-like hands to work and proceeds to not get a shot. It was an incredibly stupid decision but it was less infuriating than him falling on breakaways in close games.
Jesse Puljujarvi takes a penalty and we have another one of these to kill off. Hopefully it looks better than the first PK.
It didn’t. Alex Galcheyuk deflects a Jeff Petry shot past Brossoit. 4-1.
On the plus side, we held a team off the score board for 33 minutes, which is just a little bit less time than it takes to get a drink at an all-inclusive resort. We also did it with out questionable backup goalie.
Fairly back and forth the rest of the frame with the Oilers getting slightly more possession time. Period ends 4-1.
This period is where it starts getting out of hand. The Oilers would score two to make it 6 and the Canadiens would add one of their own to make it 6-2. I’m just going to link the Gifs because there isn’t much of value in the events of a 3rd period with a lopsided score.
- Laurent Brossoit was pretty good tonight. If he can do that consistently, he’ll make an adequate backup.
- The Oilers were far better on the breakout tonight and it lead to 4 goals off the rush. This team is far more effective at scoring on the rush than they are with sustained pressure.
- Ryan Strome played exceptionally well. He’s not Jordan Eberle, he never will be, but if he does what he does well like he did tonight, we’re looking good. He played the first forward on the forecheck throughout tonight which is different than his usual position of 3rd o-zone/2nd d-zone. I’d like to see more of that.
- The Penalty Kill is still a mess. It’s at the point where the players must be conscious about playing on the edge. I’m not sure how to fix it, but something has to happen.
- Kris Russell didn’t make any glaring mistakes tonight, he actually played pretty good. His bull-riding father should be proud. Just wish he didn’t cause the GWG against the Flyers because it cost me a bet.
- Next game is tomorrow vs the Maple Leafs. Let’s make it 2 in a row.