None of us were able to get a recap together in time last night, so apologies for that from all of us. That said, I was able to catch most of it either side of dinner, so I’ll touch on the high points from each period.
The Oilers were pretty good to start this one and were rewarded for their efforts. A nice bit of passing in which every player on the ice touched the puck saw it eventually land on Zack Kassian’s stick courtesy Connor McDavid. The former made no mistake and deposited the go-ahead goal into the yawning cage. 1-0.
A bit later the Oilers extended their lead through Leon Draisaitl on the power play. 2-0.
No goals in the middle frame but the second period was where Dallas began to take over at even strength. The Oilers appeared afraid of the big mistake and/or content to sit back and see out the lead, it was in large part due to the excellence of Mikko Koskinen on this night. He kept the Oilers in front as Dallas continued to press, but the hosts couldn’t find a way back into the game through 40 minutes.
More of the same in period three with the Oilers having to do a significant amount defending as the Stars began to overwhelm them. Again, Koskinen proved crucial, with a couple of massive saves at key points to preserve their two-goal lead.
The Stars pulled Ben Bishop very early, and it paid off. Tyler Seguin collected his own rebound after a blocked passing attempt and flicked it past Koskinen, who was otherwise perfect in this one.
Despite their best efforts, that was as close as Dallas would come, and the Oilers managed to come away with all two points despite the final two minutes’ attempt to redefine stress.
They went ahead by two fairly early but really did hold on for dear life the rest of the way. Only four players managed to come out on the right side of the CF% battle, with Leon Draisaitl’s line (with James Neal and Sam Gagner) pacing the forwards and Ethan Bear once again leading from the front among the D group. Of course, and more importantly, nobody came out on the wrong side of the 5v5 GF% battle, with Dallas’ goal being scored at 6v5 late in the third period.
Despite the result I think, at least for me, yesterday was a letdown. Of course, it’s great that the team as it is won a big game in Dallas, returned to second place in the division, and snapped its longest losing skid of the year. But it’s hard to ignore the Hart Trophy winning elephant in the room. Taylor Hall was traded for the second time in his peerless career, and for the second time the Oilers lost that trade.
The deal effectively amounted to Taylor Hall for a lottery-protected 2020 first round pick and some noise. I’m really struggling to come up with a silver lining on this one. Not only did they not get better, they let their division rival — currently ahead of them in the standings with a game in hand, no less — do it for a relative song in my opinion. There’s every chance that Taylor Hall’s next 47 GP would be more impactful than the entire group of players New Jersey recouped today will ever be. There’s every chance that Taylor Hall’s remaining 47 GP this season would be as many as any of those kids ever play in the NHL. The (likely) middling first round pick is a pretty small price to pay for a legitimate superstar.
It’s even harder to find that silver lining when you see Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ line (with Alex Chiasson and Jujhar Khaira) get obliterated for 10 5v5 minutes. Nugent-Hopkins saw three attempts for and twenty-two (!!!) against last night. Wow.
But, we press on, and it’s now up to Ken Holland to identify the next best fit to move this club forward. Who do you like? What would you do?
GAME THREAD: Edmonton Oilers @ Dallas Stars (Copper and Blue)
GAME PREVIEW: Edmonton Oilers vs. Dallas Stars (Copper and Blue)
Hot Links: Monday, December 16 (Copper and Blue)
Connor McDavid Adds To League-Leading Points Total As Oilers Sneak Past Stars (CBC)
Leon Draisaitl, Goalie Mikko Koskinen Lead Oilers Past Stars (Sportsnet)
Edmonton Oilers End Losing Skid With Victory In Dallas (Sun)
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Needs Help On The Oilers’ Second Line (Oilersnation)
Line Combinations That Might Help (Super Fan)
Your Move, Ken (Oilersnation)
Should The Oilers Have Paid The Price To Get Hall? (Oilersnation)