The Edmonton Oilers (9-9-1) played host to the Vegas Golden Knights (9-10-1) in what can only be described afterwards as a complete and thorough waste of our time Sunday night. Less than 24 hours after completely embarrassing themselves in the home rink of their historical rivals, the Oilers actually managed a repeat performance. This was about as bad as it gets, and what’s worse, is what’s next?!
First, Second, and Third Periods and Thoughts
The Oilers started this one brightly enough and managed to take a fairly comfortable 2-1 lead into the first intermission. Vegas certainly didn’t set the world alight, but the Oilers at least appeared game, and if you’ve been keeping up with your hockey cliches, it’s usually a good thing when a team scores first. The Oilers both did that, and managed to get a second after Vegas had it tied for a few moments. Some resiliency. Some control. So far, so good.
But then the game continued. The Oilers started the middle frame a gear below their opponents, and the Golden Knights made them pay. 3 goals in the first 5 minutes and that 2-1 lead turned into a 4-2 deficit just like that. Talbot looked a beaten man. I mean, he was. Three times in less than five minutes. Cleanly.
The score remained 4-2 until the break. The Oilers’ few moments worth staying awake for almost all came from Connor McDavid, as they oft do. The Golden Knights, however, were well and truly in control by the midpoint, and the Oilers didn’t really have anything for them.
But, there was still a period to play. And because the Oilers have once before erased a 3-goal third period deficit this season, there was perhaps a case to be made for hope. But, come on. We know how this story goes. The Oilers were 1-7-1 heading into the third period this season with a deficit, and what they did against Winnipeg earlier this year is something they’ve only managed a handful of times in their entire NHL existence.
34 seconds. Thirty. Four. Seconds. Vegas extended their lead to 3 goals 34 seconds into the final frame, and this one was over. Vegas would add another after some comically bad coverage in the d-zone by the should-be-but-definitely-not desperate Oilers before Leon Draisaitl managed a consolation goal into garbage time: less than 4 minutes into the period.
You read that right. The Oilers were firmly in garbage time with over 16 minutes to play tonight. After carrying a lead into the second period. After shitting in their collective pants on national TV to their historical rivals the night before. After losing 5 of 6.
What else is there to say? This was pathetic. McDavid with a side of Draisaitl was about it for the Oilers tonight and what the hell did Ryan Nugent-Hopkins ever do to Todd McLellan such that he’s now charged with keeping two career plugs afloat? After being such a good soldier for the (lost) cause all these years?
Look. I get that it requires a very real degree of privilege to be able to even think about a professional sports team in terms of tragedy. But, what Peter Chiarelli and his enablers have done to this hockey club is tragic. Oilers fans - even those who took until this year to realize just how significant the damage done to the Oilers really is - deserve better than this.
The Oilers though, they deserve worse than this. They deserve a motivated writer, line-by-line critiquing every decision they’ve ever made since June 28, 2015. They deserve someone carving them, with an analysis of their work so damning that it would be impossible for even Chiarelli himself to think he’s done a good job.
But who fucking cares anymore?
CF%: 42-55 43.3%
FF%: 35-36 49.3%
SCF%: 22-24 47.83%
HDCF%: 10-14 41.67%
(all numbers courtesy Natural Stat Trick)
The Oilers (9-10-1) get the Sharks (11-7-3) to start a 3-game trip in California on Tuesday. Puck drop just after 8:30 MST. Til then.