The Oilers really had me after the first 40 in this one.
After a valiant effort in both the 1st and 2nd period the Edmonton Oilers ran out of gas in the 3rd period in a 4-1 game against the Colorado Avalanche. Jujhar Khaira had the lone Oilers goal in the first period and Mikko Koskinen had a wonderful effort in net.
Connor McDavid’s 11-game point streak was snapped and Leon Draisaitl failed to record a point in only his fourth game all year. When the stars aren’t scoring, its a good bet that the Edmonton Oilers aren’t winning.
How did we get here, lets take a period-by-period look at tonight’s game.
This was a FUN period of hockey no matter whose side you were rooting for. End-to-end hockey lead to long periods of time without a whistle and numerous chances for each side.
Zack Kassian had the first real good chance of the game less than a minute with a fantastic look, but was stopped by Philipp Grubauer. From then on it would be loose hockey in both ends of the ice. The most exciting stretch off time wound up in the back of Colorado’s net as Jujhar Khaira potted his 4th goal in his past 4 games. It was the result of some great work along the boards by the Oiler forwards and Khaira was able to wind behind the Colorado net, bring it in front, and sneak a backhand shot past Grubauer.
This exciting hockey would be short lived, at least for the Oilers, as the second period brought some ill tidings.
Things would start off rough for the Oilers, as Alex Chiasson was absolutely rocked with a devastating hit by Ryan Graves. Chiasson would stay down on the ice and would not return as he suffered a upper-body injury on the play. The hit wasn’t illegal or malicious in anyway, but that is not where the controversy originated.
Behind the scuffle that occurred after the hit, Adam Larsson elbowed T.J Tynan in the head. It was, no doubt, a minor penalty at the very most. The officials did not agree and assessed Larsson with a 5-minute major and a game misconduct. This would leave the Oilers short-handed on the back-end for the rest of the game.
On the ensuing penalty-kill Leon Draisaitl got caught with a tripping penalty giving the Avalanche a FULL 2 MINUTE 5-on-3. It was hectic and it was tense, but the Oilers were able to kill off both penalties without any goals against. A large reason for this being the play of Mikko Koskinen, who was fantastic in the second period.
The kill wouldn’t be enough to give Edmonton the momentum they needed, however, and Nazem Kadri would tie the game just a few minutes later off on an odd-man rush. The Avalanche would continue to press for the rest of the period and the tides were quickly shifting in their favour.
We headed to the third period tied at 1.
The loss of Alex Chiasson and Adam Larsson REALLY started to show in the final frame. Edmonton’s offence dried up and the Avalanche were starting to take complete control of the game.
The Avalanche would strike early and often in this one, scoring 3 consecutive goals in 2 minutes and 32 seconds. The goals being scored by Matt Nieto, Nathan Mackinnon, and Logan O’Conner (1st in the NHL). This gave the Avs a dominant 4-1 lead with 14 minutes to go in the game. This would take the air out of Edmonton’s sail and frustration set in soon afterward.
A few scuffles later and that was all she wrote. The Avalanche took the game 4-1 to even up the season series at 1.
- The penalty on Larsson might not have resulted in a goal against but it certainly threw the Oilers off their game. The game shifted dramatically into Colorado’s favour and Edmonton never recovered. I think it was an absolutely ridiculous call that was nothing more than a 2 minute minor. Dave Tippett won’t take the fine but, in cases like this, I sure wish he would.
- Mikko Koskinen was Edmonton’s best player tonight and it wasn’t really close. The big Finn faced 46 shots tonight and kept the Oilers in it for the first 40 minutes. Edmonton’s defence let him down in the third and that resulted in a few grade-A chances getting past him. He suffered only his 2nd regulation loss tonight.
- Jujhar Khaira’s first period goal was a thing of beauty. It checked off all the boxes and hopefully his scoring touch starts to rub off on his linemates.
- Connor McDavid’s 11-game point streak was snapped tonight in what was a dominant performance by the Colorado defence. I can’t recall a single grade-A chance from either McDavid or Draisaitl tonight. A feat that few team’s have done this season.
- The third period collapse is something we’ve seen recently from this Oilers team. November 16th’s loss to Dallas comes to mind. You don’t like seeing it and Tippett will have to address the team’s work ethic in the final period moving period.
- With that being said it was obvious that the injury to Alex Chiasson and the ejection of Adam Larsson contributed to the collapse. The biggest indicator of this was a visibly exhausted Ethan Bear on the Logan O’Conner goal.
- The Oilers record drops to 16-8-3, but they still hold onto first in the Pacific Division. 2nd place Arizona picked up a 4-3 OT win over Anaheim tonight, closing the gap to 2pts. The Oilers will try to widen that gap on Saturday as they host the Vancouver Canucks!