The Oilers traveled to Winnipeg to take on the Jets before quickly going back home to face Philadelphia for a game tomorrow night. This may be where you think I’m going to make a reference to that meme about Winnipeg not having an airport, but I’m not. I don’t understand that meme, missed it’s origin, and no one has taken the time to fill me in. Also, I think I can annoy more people than WInnipeg readers if I talk about different forms of transportation instead.
As a backstory, I have decided to go back to school for a few upgrading courses, in case I might want to do more studying in the future. I went to pay yesterday, and was quite upset with the cost. Total it was almost $2000. Now this seems like a lot considering that it’s just two classes that I could have, and should have, taken for free a decade ago when I was in high school, so I took a look at the breakdown. Sadly, many of these fees didn’t cover any education. There was medical insurance, dental insurance, both of which I already have through my employer. But then, I see the most expensive part — U-Pass.
Because I hadn’t the slightest idea what a U-Pass was, I made the mistake of looking it up instead of just blissfully ignoring what it was. It turns out, that it’s the bus. Now, I haven’t been on a bus since my early teens, but I remember it being one of the worst experiences of my life. It smells, the schedule is loose at best, and it’s full of other people who keep wanting it to stop all over the place. I didn’t want to pay for this, as it would take me approximately 358 minutes each way from Sherwood Park to NAIT, but alas, I have no choice.
As I was stewing in my anger over being forced to pay for this archaic and unreliable form of transportation, I was reminded of another annoying aspect of the bus — Cyclists. Even on the bus cyclists slow you down, it’s not just a car thing. In fact, they take it a step further. They sometimes take the bus — after working up a sweat while angering motorists, stinking up the place — and to do so they take up even more of your time. They attach their even less sophisticated form of transportation to the bus, which takes a year and a half, and then have to detach when they get off.
Cyclists like to claim that they care for the environment. Lies, I say. If that were the case they would be as innovative at creating green technology as they are at making your daily commute less bearable. Whether or not Winnipeg has an airport, I’m not sure, but I sure hope the Oilers find a better way to get in and out of the city in a 24 hours period than a bus or cycling. Either of those options will not get them twenty blocks in that time.
The first two minutes of this game start quite uneventful. Connor McDavid did get a shot attempt off the wall, but other than that, nothing serious. And actually, given the defense the Oilers have dressing for this game, I am very OK with it not being exposed this quickly.
The second line gets a great shift going shortly thereafter. They pinned the Jets for the duration of their shift, Jesse Puljujarvi and Jujhar Khaira were forechecking hard and cycling well, but neither seemed willing to take a shot.
Draisaitl and McDavid tried to work their magic after a few minutes. Unfortunately, they ended up over-passing and led to a turnover. The Jets would get a 2-on-1, and then the top dogs for the Oilers went the other way. There were three scoring chances within 45 seconds, and neither team ended up getting a shot.
Ryan Spooner gets the first goal of the game. Leon Draisaitl does a great job picking off a Jets’ pass, draws a few of their players over before finding a wide-open Spooner for a one-timer.
14 minutes into the period, Jason Garisson takes out Patrik Laine without the puck, and goes to the box for interference. This is the #1 Powerplay in the league, and without our best defender, I’m not sure this is going to go well. Even if it does, the few good defensemen we do have are going to be gassed, and it will feel like a penalty kill even after the fact.
Jujhar Khaira gets a shorthanded breakaway but completely flubs the opportunity and got no real shot at scoring a goal. It was properly pathetic.
On the same Penalty Kill, Mattieu Perrault beats Matt Benning driving to the slot, and rips a puck up high on Cam Talbot.
On that play, I’d really liked to have seen Darnell Nurse do more. He looked as though he wasn’t sure if he should close the gap and attack Perrault, hesitated, and got burned.
Just over one minute after the Jets tie it up, they take the lead. Khaira has the weakest attempt of clearing the puck at his own blueline that I’ve seen in quite some time, doesn’t, panics and starts puck chasing, and then Nikolaj Ehlers — the guy Jujhar was supposed to be covering — ends up with the puck, tries to pass it to Dustin Byfuglien, and it hits Kevin Gravel and goes past Talbot.
Matt Benning deserves a bit of blame for his own blind effort to ring it around the boards before the goal takes place, but none of that happens without Jujhar being that weak, and then panicking on the initial attempt. One weak attempt will burn you in this league.
The Period ends 2-1 Jets, and it sure seems unlikely that we’ll be getting back in it.
To start this period, the Jets picked up right where they left off. They control the Oilers zone, and all the Oilers can do is ice the puck. Eventually, Matt Benning has another bad turnover at the blueline, and this time the puck ends up on Patrik Laine’s stick and he makes the Oilers pay two minutes in.
3-1 Jets, and I don’t like our chances.
The Oilers start to settle down a little bit a quarter way through the period. The fourth line of Drake Caggiula, Ryan Spooner, and Tobias Rieder do a great job moving the puck around the Jets’ zone, before finding Darnell Nurse coming into the slot. He has a pass option here too, but we all know quite well that Nurse is shooting when he gets the chance. He does, but just misses the top corner and the puck goes out of play.
A minute later, the Oilers cut the lead in half. Connor McDavid finds Alex Chiasson in the slot for a one-timer, Connor Hellebuyck makes the save and the puck deflects off of Nurses skate, and into the net.
This is really funny, Connor saw what happened, didn’t celebrate, Darnell looked unsure and looked up at the jumbotron with guilt as they skated to the bench. I too, did not think that goal was going to count. After a quick review, the call on the ice stood.
After the goal, the Oilers keep up the pressure, and McDavid started doing McDavid things. It’s so unfortunate that mostly just his speed and hands show up on highlight reels, because his balance, puck-control, and vision are always on full display. I truly pity fans who do not watch him on a daily basis.
Unfortunately, he also ends up taking a penalty at the end of this shift. Two minutes for tripping. We really need a kill here.
We get it, the Oilers have a great penalty kill actually, clear it a bunch of times and don’t even allow the #1 Powerplay to get a shot. This is exactly what we needed.
And it continues, immediately after the kill, Ben Chiarot gets called for tripping Chiasson. We could tie the game here.
We don’t, but this powerplay looks fantastic. We moved the puck across the royal road many times, got two shots, and kept the puck in the zone for the entire two minutes. Goals are going to start coming if our Powerplays continue looking like this one.
With five minutes remaining, the Oilers have not let up at all since that penalty kill. There is still a little bit too much neutral zone play for me, but they’ve rediscovered their missing legs.
The second line comes out, and it ties the game with three minutes left. They looked great for the whole shift, and finally did something I’ve been waiting for them to do for a while — get the puck to the net. It’s Jesse Puljujarvi who puts the work in on this one, he gets the puck behind the net, walks it in front, throws it on net and it hits Jujhar Khaira’s skate and into the net. This one doesn’t need a review.
With just over a minute left in play, someone is going to the box. I’d like to tell you who, but I can’t because we’re going to a commercial break. This is still my biggest complaint of Sportsnet and the announcers. How hard is it to tell me who is skating to the box before the break? Could they at least tell me which team?
After finding out that that guy who looks fairly familiar, although I can’t identify him, uses a butler to order skipthedishes, we find out that it’s Patrik Laine getting the minor Penalty for tripping.
Didn’t take long to score on that powerplay. Right off the faceoff, Draisaitl sends a beautiful backhand pass to McDavid who finds Chiasson’s stick and the puck is in the Jets’ net.
This is how the frame would end, and it looks one hell of a lot better than it did earlier.
This is just a terrible period. I don’t want to go into too many details, because it was largely just the Jets throwing a ton of pucks at the Oilers, with no answer for it.
We kept the score even until half way in, Mark Scheifele ends up with the puck and roofs one on Talbot.
The Oilers continue to struggle the rest of the period but manage to hold off the Jets and get it to overtime.
At this point, with this blueline, and how bad we looked in the third, this is considered a win regardless of how overtime goes. Seriously, no complaints.
Draisaitl gets it to McDavid, and McDavid rings it hard off the iron. Damn, I really thought that was going in.
The play goes the other way and Josh Morrissey wins the game for the gets.
- I singled out Jujhar on the 2nd goal, but he actually played pretty well. He got the goal off of his skate, and that line worked hard all night.
- Speaking of, nice to see Puljujarvi get a point tonight. That line is really putting in to work and getting the zone time. If they keep getting it to the net, they’ll score.
- Darnell Nurse played over 30 minutes. He had the goal, a few chances, but also had a few bad reads. He’s not going to be able to fill in for Oscar Klefbom, but he didn’t look terribly lost.
- Josh Morrissey looks really good to me. They Jets are lucky to have him.
- Cam Talbot was ok. He sure didn’t get much help on the goals he let in, but you’d really like to see him make one of those saves.
- Matt Benning is being asked to do too much right now with the injuries, but that’s not his fault. That’s who he is and he did the best I think we can expect.
- Leon Draisaitl has given an honest effort quite a few games in a row now. Keep it up!
- 8-2-2 in the Ken Hitchcock era.
- I am not editing this post right away.