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Oilers Drop Roller Coaster Game 4

Series now even at two, after an inconsistent performance on home ice.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Anaheim Ducks at Edmonton Oilers Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Last time I wrote a game recap, it was the the game 5 OT win over the Sharks in round one. This time, I didn’t have to stay up quite so late, but i’m also a lot less happy about the result. If given the choice to trade the result for the time of the finish, I’d definitely take the late night. But i’m not going to spend this whole article writing about trades that I don’t like.

Here’s what happened...

The Oilers played outstanding for the first period. Goals by Lucic and McDavid, accompanied by an overall dominant 20 minutes of hockey made it look like the team was well on their way to taking a 3-1 lead back to Anaheim, for Game 5 on Friday.

Then came the unpleasantness...

The Oilers were totally and utterly outmatched in the middle frame. I hate to play the ‘refs screwed us card’, but it would be an oversight if I failed to mention that the Ducks got on the board on a goal that was reviewed and deemed to not be goaltender interference. Frankly, it looked like a textbook case of goalie interference. Talbot was in his crease when he got bumped by Corey Perry, right before the shot went in. Perry wasn’t pushed into Talbot. Whether it was an accident (it wasn’t) or deliberate (it was), he bumped Talbot, who, to his credit, didn’t flop, and attempted to battle through the screen to see the shot. The review officials didn’t see it that way, so the goal counted.

The Ducks’ equalizer also came with some controversy. The goal itself, by Rickard Rakell, was a valiant effort to capitalize on a misplay by Mark Letestu, behind the net. But, on the replays, it appeared that the zone entry that lead to this goal was offside. However, after losing a challenge on the Talbot interference play, the Oilers were unable to dispute.

By the end of the frame, Getzlaf had scored again (he got the interference non-call goal off a poor clearing attempt by Eberle), and the Oilers trailed 3-2. I’ll let you, the reader, be the judge of what the score should have been, if not for the questionable officiating. But, I think that, based solely on the team’s play, the Oilers would have considered themselves lucky to get out of the second in a tie game. The Ducks dominated the second even more than the Oilers had dominated the first. Things were not looking good through 40 minutes.

The third was a relatively even, low-event period. The Ducks managed to stifle the Oilers’ comeback attempts pretty well, until the waning minutes of the frame. Then, with less than two minutes remaining, Drake Caggiula buried a Nugent-Hopkins rebound, and the team had hope again, as regulation time came to a close.

Unfortunately, that hope was short-lived. 45 seconds into overtime, Jakob Silfverberg buried a cross-ice pass from Ryan Getzlaf, who had picked off a brutal Adam Larsson clearing attempt. The assist was Getzlaf’s fourth point of the night. As much as it pains me to say this, he was the best player on the ice tonight. That’s quite an accomplishment in a game featuring Connor McDavid.

Silvfer Lining

I really hate that I felt the need to make that pun. But, if there was a silver lining, aside from the obvious first period, it was the play of the Eberle-Desharnais-Pouliot line, in the few shifts they got in the third.

After his turnover on the first goal, Eberle, who was already on thin ice, appeared to move to McLellan’s dog house. He barely saw the ice for much of the 2nd, and the early part of the third period.

When he finally returned, it was flanking David Desharnais, with Pouliot on the left side. Eberle’s normal spot on the RNH line had been replaced by Anton Slepyshev.

While I’m not a fan of limiting the ice time of a guy who’s led this team in scoring three times, going forward. I must say that I see a lot of potential in this new line of offensively capable misfits, that I am going to refer to as the A-team from now on.

Why the A-team? Because, like this line, the characters in that show were a collection of dangerous castoffs from, like, the army , or something. I’m not really sure what the premise was. I think I’ve seen a couple of episodes, but I don’t remember them too well. Anyway, the Eberle- Desharnais- Pouliot line are probably like the A-team. My prediction is that they breakout as a depth scoring line, and have a big game in a game 5 win.

Corey’s Game Puck

Let’s go with the Drake. Scoring late to send the game into OT was huge. If things had unfolded differently, that could have been a goal that lived in Oilers lore for year. Alas, too bad, it wasn’t meant to be.