Y’know....this game wasn't all that bad by Edmonton.
The Edmonton Oilers dropped their second straight game in a 5-2 loss against the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night. Edmonton got their goals from Connor McDavid and Zack Kassian while Leon Draisaitl picked up 2 assists. Don’t let the score mislead you, this was a 3-2 game before the Blues added 2 empty-netters in the last minute.
It was a strange game, one where Edmonton was the better team for the majority of the night. They outshot St. Louis 34-25 and, if my eyes are correct, they had the majority of high-danger scoring chances. McDavid and Draisaitl looked VERY good tonight but Jake Allen was the difference in this one.
Lets check out how we got here:
The Edmonton Oilers had some jump off the opening face-off and were able to generate some early scoring chances. This good play was rewarded early on when Robert Thomas was sent to the box after holding Brandon Manning.
The ensuing power play saw the Oilers strike first, as Connor McDavid broke away from coverage and fooled Allen with five-hole shot to the back of the net. The Oilers grabbed the first lead of the game. The Oilers had yet to lose a game in regulation after scoring first so this was exactly the type of start that they wanted.
The defending champs weren’t ones to stand back. Jaden Schwartz would respond for the Blues with a power-play goal of his own with about 6 minutes left in the period.
Some back-and-forth hockey would play out the period....but the tie would stand after 20 minutes. 1-1
It seems like Edmonton has had some trouble in the second period of games recently, and it continued tonight.
After an undisciplined interference penalty, by Leon Draisaitl, the Blues went to work yet again on the power play. Entering the game the Blues had not scored a PP goal in the previous 5 games, but that was not the case tonight. Alex Pietrangelo would fire home a snap-shot from the point to give the Blues a 2-1 lead. They weren't done there.
About 9 minutes after that Robert Thomas would pad the St. Louis lead with a quick shot off the rush from the far-side boards.
The Oilers would have a few dynamite shifts following the goal against, but could not solve Jake Allen. They headed to the third period down 3-1.
Entering the final frame the Edmonton Oilers were looking to win a game trailing by 2 in the third for only the second time this season.
The team started the period off with a power play but failed to convert. Frustration was starting to set in as they could not solve the St. Louis defence and their goaltender. At the 10-minute mark it was starting to look unlikely that the Oilers would score another before this one was over.
Zack Kassian would put that though to rest as he sniped an absolutely beautiful shot over the shoulder of Jake Allen to get the Oilers back into the game at 3-2. The next 8 minutes were tilted in Edmonton’s favour as they desperately looked for the equalizer.
Connor McDavid would send beautiful passes to Leon Draisaitl and Zack Kassian on the same shift, but both were too hot to handle. With about 2:30 left on the clock, the Oilers caught a break, as Sammy Blais was sent to the box after sending the puck over the glass.
The power play would generate a few grade-A chances but, in the end, it wasn't enough to tie the game. St. Louis would get a lucky bounce on the empty-net and then Ivan Barbashev would put the game out of reach with another empty-netter. Final score: 5-2 St. Louis.
- The Oilers didn’t play a bad game tonight. It thought they controlled the pace of play for the majority of the game and they had plenty of chances on net. If it wasn’t for a hot Jake Allen I think we could have seen a different result.
- Another thing that killed Edmonton tonight was the penalty kill...which wasn’t good. St. Louis scored 2 power play goals tonight on 3 chances. The penalty kill this season has been a lot better but you can’t let a team kill your momentum like St. Louis did tonight.
- Dave Tippett did some line juggling tonight, which we haven’t seen much of. There was a moment in the second period that saw Draisaitl be put on a line with RNH and Gagner which resulted in a very good shift. Unfortunately we only saw that line for one shift until he Drai was back up with McDavid. Kassian found his way back on the top-line in the third period and that seemed to give them a jolt. It’ll be interesting to see where this leads.
- Brandon Manning is not a good hockey player. I have said this so many times and he proved it once again tonight. He was the poorest defender on the ice by a country mile. Joel Persson should be in the lineup against New Jersey this Friday.
- The losing streak hits 2 games. It isn’t the end of the world but it is a slippery slope if they allow the streak to hit 3 games. They remain on top of the Pacific Division with a 10-5-2 record. A disgruntled Taylor Hall is in town on Friday and the 4-5-4 New Jersey Devils are a beatable team. This next one is critical.