The Edmonton Oilers (19-13-4), fresh off a win in Dallas, were in St. Louis tonight for a rematch against the defending champion St. Louis Blues (21-8-6). Mikko Koskinen was fresh off that same win and got the nod again tonight for the visitors, with Jake Allen making a rare start for the hosts.
This one started pretty evenly, with the Oilers playing the holders well through the first fifteen or so. They managed to kill an early penalty and, despite being outshot by a few, were generating a few looks of their own and at least forcing the Blues to play some defense.
The Oilers started to falter a bit at even strength as the period continued but managed to draw a couple of penalties in the last five minutes, one of which would bookend the intermission.
Unfortunately, the Oilers scored on neither. Fortunately, Koskinen was looking stout in this one and the Blues couldn’t find a goal either. 0-0 after one.
As mentioned, no damage after the split power play. Shortly afterward, the Blues drew a couple penalties of their own, but these ones overlapped for about 85 seconds.
The Oilers PK — especially Koskinen — were excellent, and did well to fend off the whole power play. But shortly afterward, the Blues would find their breakthrough.
In almost a carbon copy of the bad change goal from the Minnesota game (I believe?), the Oilers turned the puck over just inside the blue line while the D were attempting to complete the long change. Two passes later and a wide open Braydon Schenn was on a breakaway, beating Koskinen over the glove with a venomous wrist shot. 0-1. Oh. No.
Both sides’ parade to the penalty box continued through the back half of the period, but neither team could manage another goal — mostly due to Koskinen’s brilliance.
The Blues were threatening to overrun the Oilers, and if it weren’t for Koskinen — and Adam Larsson’s timely intervention on one occasion — Edmonton might have been snowed under after two periods.
But they weren’t, and only trailed 0-1 after 40 minutes.
The visitors found a little more life in the third period, but couldn’t find an equalizer as Jake Allen was having a night himself in the Blues net. The two sides battled it out for a few minutes before St. Louis found their dagger.
A nice move behind the net by Ryan O’Reilly left Ethan Bear in the dust and flybys by both Leon Draisaitl and Zack Kassian in front left Connor McDavid to try and react to Mackenzie MacEachern’s cut to the paint. He was late, and Koskinen was helpless, and it was 0-2. Game, right?!
The Oilers started to push for something, anything, to try and scrape a result from the game. But St. Louis are a good, deep team, and the Oilers found the sledding tough.
But with a few minutes left, they made it interesting. A bit of a scramble in front that saw Zack Kassian collide with Jake Allen just outside the paint, with James Neal collecting the rock and firing home from a tough angle. 1-2. Go time.
Because of the contact, the Blues chose to challenge the goal. This proved stupid, as the goal stood and the Oilers got one last power play with 1:50 left in the game.
Koskinen went to the bench and the Oilers had a lifeline, with over a minute of 6v4 time to try and find an equalizer.
But they couldn’t. Leon Draisaitl rocked the left post after Connor McDavid found him in the high slot with about 15 seconds left, but that’s as close as they’d come.
1-2. Regulation loss. One win in their last five games. 14-14-4 since their 5-0-0 start.
The Blues were better but that’s the problem, right?! The Oilers are still not a good team and that’s a problem. A problem that I, for one, am tired of watching them do nothing to address. Do something. Show me something. Show me one single thing that would indicate that you give one single shit about making the team as good as it can be in the fifth year of Connor McDavid’s career.
All numbers 5v5 and courtesy Natural Stat Trick.
CF: 33 - 47 — 41.25%
FF: 31 - 38 — 44.93%
SC: 19 - 27 — 41.30%
HDSC: 11 - 10 — 52.38%
Shots: 25 - 32 — 43.86%
xG: 2.05 - 2.38 — 46.24%
Golazos: 0-2 — 0.0%