The Edmonton Oilers welcomed the Anaheim Ducks to Rogers Place for what could only be described as a game they needed to win about six games ago. The Ducks, fresh off a complete and thorough beating at the hands of those medicine coveting thieves down the QE2 last night, were looking to bounce back against an Edmonton side that’s been on the brink for about a month. Mikko Koskinen started his Nth consecutive game, and John Gibson got the call for the Ducks.
The Oilers enjoyed the better of the early chances. In the first ten minutes, Connor McDavid, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Darnell Nurse all had pretty good looks from in and around the slot. Gibson had to make a couple of really good saves to keep the score level through the first half of the period.
A few minutes later and the Ducks found some joy themselves, first on the rush via Jakob Silfverberg’s rocket - that beat Koskinen but couldn’t beat two posts - before noted cup of noodles Corey Perry found a bit of space in the high slot. And though he’s been struggling all year, few things bust a slump like playing the Oilers. His shot beat Koskinen through the glove and the Ducks were up 1-0.
The rest of the first was pretty uneventful. The score remained the same as the two Western Conference disappointments went into the break.
Before most of the club seaters were back from the taco bar, the Ducks went ahead and scored again. This time through Rickard Rakell after Adam Larsson failed to clear the zone from the corner. Silfverberg kept it in and Rakell did the rest, beating Koskinen over the blocker. 2-0.
This would, unfortunately, start a trend.
The Ducks attack was too much for the Oilers to cope with on this night, and their guests’ confidence grew in lockstep with their lead.
Koskinen did well to make the initial save on a tip by Sam Steel, but the rebound fell directly into Rakell’s kitchen, and he made no mistake for his second of the period. 3-0. Cue the boos.
Noticing the trend?
The Oilers managed to earn themselves a power play after this but weren’t able to generate much in the way of danger.
A couple of minutes later, Rakell was at it again. Receiving the pass on the left wing, the right hander took advantage of Mikko Koskinen’s inability to feel his left arm (I mean, what else could it be?) to beat him over the glove. 4-0, natural hat trick for Rakell.
Rough. That would end Koskinen’s night. Hard to fault him, maybe, but also very easy to fault him, also.
Anthony Stolarz would replace Koskinen after that one, and the second period would end with Anaheim well in front 4-0, but the Oilers ahead 2 goalies played to the Ducks’ 1. It’s these moral victories that keep us warm as winter temperatures drop their deepest.
Less than two minutes in, Devin Shore ripped one past Stolarz over the glove side immediately after a faceoff win. Stolarz didn’t have much of a chance on that one.
The rest of the third period played out like so many have in Aprils past. Poorly. Depressingly.
Sam Gagner - who in truth has been among their better wingers since his return for all the good and bad things that says about them - found a little room and one-timed a nice Milan Lucic pass beyond Gibson to ruin his shutout and salvage something from this otherwise complete waste of time.
CF% - 47-52 47.47%
FF% - 35-42 45.45%
SCF% - 20-27 42.55%
HDCF% - 7-9 43.75%
Shots - 31-38
It’s been so long since I’ve done one of these I might have the sections mixed up. Ah well, it is what it is. Obviously the numbers above, coupled with a 5-1 scoreline the other way aren’t close to good enough given the importance of this game.
If you believe they had a shot, that is. The truth is probably closer to ‘the Oilers have been out since February at least.’ They haven’t had the horses all year. They didn’t even have the horses to handle an injury to McDavid or Klefbom while Hall, Eberle, and Yakupov were still here. That problem is doubly true now, and their results in this game reinforce that for me.
Ah well, lottery’s next week. That’s where we shine.
Really at this point who cares? Vegas on Monday. Gonna be a tough out.