The Edmonton Oilers (20-20-3) (6th, Pacific) were at home to take on the Florida Panthers (17-17-7) (6th, Atlantic) as they try to bounce back from Tuesday’s no-show in San Jose. Meanwhile, the Panthers are out of a playoff spot and were coming off three losses in a row going into this game.
Going into this game, I was truly shocked that Chiarelli was still the Oilers GM. I don’t understand why the team feels comfortable letting him make the playoffs for his job. Doing the same thing and expecting different results is essentially banging your head against a cement wall – what’s the point?
Anyways, the lines in practice looked like this:
Talbot is getting his first start after a loss (not that it was his fault) since Hitch took over, maybe he’ll reward the coach’s confidence with a solid performance. Gambardella replaces Rattie on the fourth line. No Petrovic or Manning in this one, those trades really seem to be panning out… oh wait.
Regardless, here we go.
A few near misses to start the game, every line enjoyed a little bit of zone time. No goals yet, however. On Florida’s best chance to start the game, Cam lost it and had to look around for it but managed to hang on. Phew. Onwards.
A little over five minutes in and Khaira’s off to the box for goaltender interference. I think Reimer was outside the crease, but I think I’m feeling slightly bitter about the quality of officiating out there right now. No matter, they kill it off handily.
And… Vatrano scores. Sneaks one in off the rush. Talbot probably should have had that one, needs to squeeze it. 1-0 Panthers.
And the Oilers respond right away! 26 seconds after the Panthers take the lead, Nurse takes a nifty feed from Chiasson and wrists it past Reimer. 1-1.
With Florida buzzing in the Oilers zone, McDavid runs over Ekblad at the blue line. I’d love to see McDavid start taking more runs at guys (ex. his hit in the 2016-17 playoffs against the Sharks), maybe they’d leave him alone a bit more. What does an angry McDavid look like?
Oilers can’t seem to generate any sustained pressure so far, as they seem a little out of sync. Connor is getting held up with no calls, as per usual.
Score is 1-1. Shots 12-5 Panthers.
After a few uneventful minutes to start the period, Malgin picks up a rebound in the high slot and threads the needle to the net for a 2-1 Florida lead.
The Oilers come back with a strong response again, but are unable to find the back of the net. Drai, RNH and Pujuljarvi looked like a strong line on that shift. Perhaps something to consider?
After Russell is caught by surprise in the Oilers zone, he takes a (marginal, barely existent) holding penalty on Huberdeau. After Talbot makes a heads up play (he saved it with his head), the Oilers are able to competently kill it off again.
All in all, a pretty poor effort from the Oilers to kick off this homestand. When you need, say 10-12 of the next 14 points, this is not the start you ask for. The Panthers, who are fragile in their own right, have shown far more urgency, tenacity and overall heart than the Oilers have mustered.
Draisatl tries to put the team on his back and bust through the middle of the ice, but is blatantly tripped… you’ll notice that this was not followed with, “and the Oilers get their first man-advantage of the night”. They did not.
Oh wow. And the Oilers get their first man-advantage of the night… they call a weak one on Yandle for hooking Khaira. Make-up call, I suppose.
And FINALLY, a tripping call is made on Draisatl as he takes another rush up the middle. Hitchcock calls a timeout for 1 minute of 5 on 3 time, and you get the feeling they need to make this count. The Oilers frustratingly continue to try and make a cross-ice pass to Chiasson, and they can’t manage a shot. It. Was. Brutal. Such a slow and uninspired effort.
However, the Oilers luck out and a rebound ends up on McDavid’s stick with 22 seconds left. His 25th goal of the year, and 19th multi-point game of the year, ties the game up at 2-2. Oilers shouldn’t really be in it, but they are.
Well, the Oilers are tied in a game they have no business being tied in.
They start the period with the line blender, putting RNH on McDavid’s line and having Drai run his own. RNH and Connor almost score a beautiful one after McDavid tries to put it between his legs and roof it on Reimer – he was going a little too fast though.
Florida comes close a few times, but nothing doing. McDavid and his line being double shifted now. Draisatl taking a few shifts with everyone and anyone now. Hitch is trying to find anything at this point.
Shots 24-15 for Florida midway through the third. Everything I read today talked about how Florida has a porous defense, much like Edmonton’s. How do we only have 15 shots? I would question if, save for McDavid, the Oilers were playing for overtime? Certainly, not a sustainable recipe for success.
As they did in San Jose, the Oilers score an own goal. A pass from the corner bounces off Jones before Larsson buries it past Talbot. Yikes. 3-2 Panthers with five minutes to go. It feels like if McDavid doesn’t score, no one will.
MCDAVID!!! And as predicted, it had to be Connor. Tie game with 8 seconds left in the third. Woof, what a ride.
McDavid to Draisatl to Nurse almost ends up in the back of the net, but Reimer is up to the task. That is followed up by RNH and Chiasson having three dynamite chances to score, but again the Floridian netminder is there fend them off.
Our overtime boys put a few good chances to close out the extra period, but cigar. Rieder had a chance to score his first of the year on a golden chance but no dice. RNH and Chiasson were also buzzing, unfortunately with no results. Oilers dominated OT.
It’s the Oilers second shootout of the year, let’s see how it goes.
EDM: Nugent-Hopkins; Goal. His wrister sneaks through Reimer.
FLA: Huberdeau; No Goal.
EDM: McDavid; Goal. SNIPE.
FLA: Barkov; No Goal.
OILERS WIN. Wow. They snap a 5-game losing streak at Rogers Place. At home to Arizona on Saturday night - see you there.