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About Last Night...

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NHL: Edmonton Oilers at Calgary Flames Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

I watched the first period last night and then went to play hockey myself. We got destroyed in the first period and I assumed I’d come home to see we lost 5-0. It didn’t bother me. We’ve been amazing and Tippet is a genius.

I come home, don’t check any social media and fast forward through the 2nd and watch the third and OT in it’s entirety. Tippet put on a masterclass in coaching, Gagner scores on a beauty tip and we get 1 point against the best team in the NHL. The B’s have lost 1 game in their last 10.

We were missing our entire first line of McDavid, Neal and Kassian. We are also now missing our best D Oskar Klefbom. To say we were underdogs would be putting it mildly. We took it to OT (with a lot of heroics from Mike Smith and out Penalty Killer’s) and snuck out a point. I’m ecstatic.

The game is now done. It’s around 1am for me. I open up the laptop and go to see what everyone said. I notice Nurse is trending on twitter at 1am in Ontario. I click on that and he is getting eviscerated!!! To give a quick summary of what the consensus was here is a very brief summary of the twitter posts - ‘if you think Nurse is a number 1 D then watch this game’.

I was confused. I did just watch the game. The OT gaffe was bad but I’d say a few people made a mistake on Pastrnak’s goal. It could also be pointed out that Pastrnak is the leading goal scorer in the NHL and is one of the best 3 on 3 players in the league. Being scored on by Pastrnak is not uncommon in 2020.

So I looked at the gamesheets:

Here is the Bruin’s D. Charlie McAvoy led all D with 23 minutes. They have a nice split between their lowest guy (Lauzon) of 14 minutes to their top guy of 23. A 9 minute spread.

Now here is the Oil’s from last night:

Nurse was 2 seconds shy of 30 minutes. The next guy was Larsson at 24. So Nurse played 6 more minutes than anyone else on D for either team. Our lowest guy was Benning who Nurse played almost 20 more minutes than. I also notice that Nurse was a big part of the PK that shut down the Bruin’s lethal powerplay (6 minutes).

This is the game that proves he is not good at hockey?

Our best D goes down (again) and Nurse steps in and plays 30 minutes in all situations and he’s to blame for an OT loss against the hottest team in the league?

This will be my annual reminder that Nurse will never win a Norris nor will he ever be OEL. However, for us, he’s everything. Let’s go back 3 seasons to 2017:

In the last 3 seasons Nurse leads the D in Goals, Assists and points. More importantly he also is never hurt and always steps in when Klefbom goes down with his annual injury. I know people hate plus/minus but look at Nurse (+11) and look at Klef (-43) in the same 3 year span. Even if you factor out the injuries. Klef is .44 ppg and Nurse is .42 ppg going back 3 seasons. Just a reminder that Nurse is entering his prime and younger than Klef. Nurse also has more Game Winning Goals and is tied with 2 OT winning goals.

Is Nurse better than Klefbom? Of course not. If Klef was consistently healthy he might be a Norris candidate by now. He’s everything you love in a Dman. However, Nurse is always there for us and leads the team in scoring every season. He might even catch Klef this year and lead us in scoring again. I don’t blame Klef for his injuries but I do applaud Nurse for being able to avoid them year after year.

After last night’s game I was ready to buy Nurse some flowers for the most unlikely point of our season. I was surprised that a lot of people wanted him shot out of a cannon.

UPDATE

I unfortunately couldn’t find the Yam/Drai 2 on 1 on video anywhere. However, to my memory, before this happened Yam and Drai had a 2 on 1 the didn’t result in a shot or pass. After Yam skated in the corner he passed it to Nurse.

Note: This is my recollection so if you have a video link and I’m wrong OR there was another sequence between these 2 events please let me know. My recollection could be wrong and I’m not stating this part as fact.

Now we get to the sequence of pain!

3:56 and Nurse has done some kind of button hook thing and is taking a shot on net. Pastrnak is right on top of him! Nurse is going 3 on 1. Yam has skated off the ice and a fresh guy (RNH) is coming in exchange for Yam.

Few things: Nurse is trying to score a goal by charging the net. This doesn’t work in any way at all but I’m not sure I’m mad at a player for trying to score a goal in 3 on 3? Are we mad at Nurse for trying to score in 3 on 3 (2 career goals in OT) or are we mad at him for lousy execution? Pastrnak and Nurse are 200 feet away from our net right now. They are the 2 furthest players from Mike Smith (other than the Boston Goalie who they are very close to). 8 seconds after this Pastrnak will be alone on a breakaway. There are 2 Oiler’s not even in the frame.

It is now 3:53 (3 seconds later). Nurse has taken a (take your pick) shot/fallen/been tripped by Pastrnak/lost possession/executed poorly. It’s gone from a 1 on 3 to a 3 on 2 for Edmonton. Drai and Nurse are still on the ice with a fresh RNH (who replaced Yam). Problem is we don’t have the puck anymore and we’re 3 deep. More importantly... where is Pastrnak? Who’s covering him because, in those 3 seconds, he got the puck off Nurse and bolted out of the zone. No one has reacted to this. The blue 3 is Pastrnak.

3:48. 8 seconds ago, Pastrnak was beside Nurse and 200 feet from our goalie. The game ends 1 second later. Please note the guy chasing Pastrnak is Nurse! Where are the other 2 Oiler’s (especially the fresh one)?

I’m still sticking to my original theory. 3 on 3 is a coin toss. I’m thrilled we got to 3 on 3. 3 on 3 is usually determined by a failed chance at one end and a counter attack. I’m not going to condemn a player for taking a chance and trying to score in OT. I will say Nurse’s execution was not good at all. The 2 on 1 prior to this could’ve ended the game as we had Yam and Drai going in clean on a 2 on 1 from the red line. I don’t blame Yam either. I’m not sure it’s Nurse’s fault that Pastrnak is all alone on the breakaway 8 seconds later? There were 2 other guys on the ice that were in a much better position to cover Pastrnak bolting out of the zone. One was tired and one was fresh. Shit happens in OT... blaming one guy seems excessive to me.