The Edmonton Oilers (16-8-3) welcomed the Vancouver Canucks (12-10-4) to Rogers Place for the first half of a home and home. Vancouver was coming off a tough loss that saw them blow a 6-3 lead to the Pittsburgh Penguins after capitulating late. The Oilers also had a tough night their last time out, getting absolutely spanked by the Colorado Avalanche to the tune of 4-2 in Denver midweek. Two big divisional points up for grabs, so, who’d take them?
Woof. The visitors started with some vigor in the first period and the Oilers found themselves chasing shadows for most of the frame. Early penalty trouble saw Edmonton going shorthanded a shade past two minutes in, with Zack Kassian getting the gate for charging.
And Vancouver would capitalize, with Tyler Graovac (whom?) scoring his second of the year with about 30 seconds left in the Kassian penalty. 0-1.
Play would continue for about ten minutes with the Oilers still easily the second best team before finally managing to draw a penalty through Caleb Jones with 6:28 remaining in the period.
After a few half chances early, Connor McDavid’s pass hit James Neal in the foot and the play would head the other way. Two Canucks bearing down on Oscar Klefbom and Mike Smith. Klefbom splayed out to play the pass, but Smith cheated it too. The pass deflected off of Klefbom and beat Smith through the wickets. 0-2.
Not to be denied, however, the Oilers had a few seconds of PP time left after conceding shorthanded. McDavid joined a motley crew of PP2 guys to see out the remainder. As the penalty was expiring, the Oilers were pressing, and Ethan Bear found himself by the goal line with the puck. He made an excellent pass back to the slot to a wide open Connor McDavid who, of course, made no mistake. 1-2. Let’s go.
The Canucks enjoyed another power play before period ended, but couldn’t find another breakthrough to restore their lead.
A better start from the hosts in the second period. Both sides traded barbs back and forth for the first few minutes before the Oilers found their equalizer.
A nice play by McDavid in the defensive zone to turn Vancouver over led to a 3-on-2 the other way with Kassian the puck carrier. He crossed the blue line and allowed his two superstar linemates to draw attention as they drove deep, and wired one bar in past Markstrom. 2-2.
That would be where the joy would end in this one, folks, as Vancouver managed to find the go-ahead goal with 6:13 left in the period. Another one Mike Smith would like to do again, I’m sure. 2-3. Smith appeared to tweak his left leg a little on this one, and was seen shaking it out a few times.
And later, with less than two minutes left, Loui Eriksson got his first point of the season as Josh Archibald ushered him to the danger zone as he turned a nice pass into the Canucks’ fourth goal. 2-4.
An unfortunate theme to this evening would be Vancouver scoring goals. That theme would continue early in the third as Josh Leivo gathered the puck after Horvat shot wide from the paint (I know), and wrapped it around to Mike Smith’s left. Once again he couldn’t seal the post, and once again he let one in he’d probably like back. 2-5.
The rest of the game happened but this was the second thorough beating in a row for our Oilers, and the joy of leading the division at American Thanksgiving is quickly fading into GET RNH BACK ASAP type anxiety.
For the second time this year, the Oilers lost two games in a row in regulation.
Mike Smith is 2-3-0 with an 0.844 SV% in his last six games.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins can’t come back soon enough.
If the top line isn’t at it, the Oilers are a bad club. In my humble opinion, them being at it doesn’t make them a good one, either. But when they’re on they cover a lot. I don’t think people truly understand just how many flaws having two guys scoring at an historical pace (for teammates) covers for.
That was Draisaitl’s first home game without a point. That’s pretty wild.
*5v5, courtesy Natural Stat Trick*
CF: 42-43 — 49.41%
FF: 27-35 — 43.55%
SCF: 20-21 — 48.78%
HDCF: 8-10 — 44.44%
xGF: 1.42-2.2 — 39.22%
Shots: 20-28 — 41.67%
Golazos: 2-3 — 40%
Both teams run it back tomorrow in Vancouver for the back half of the home and home. 8PM MST. See you then.