Hockey seems like such an insignificant thing on nights like this.
The Edmonton Oilers dropped a 4-2 decision to the Winnipeg Jets on a Wednesday night that saw COVID-19 fears reach a new level. The NHL season may be in peril after the NBA suspended their season...updates will be posted here on Copper & Blue as we get them. r
Back to the game. The Oilers outplayed the Jets for the majority of the game, got goals from McDavid and Ennis, but were not able to beat Connor Hellebuyck in the third period as the Jets held on.
I got all the details right here....
The start to this one looked eerily similar. The Jets got off to a quick start and the Oilers were looking very loose in their defensive end. Luckily Mike Smith was able to bail the Oilers out to keep things scoreless.
This wouldn’t be the story of the period, however, as the Oilers were able to generate a few great chances of their own. Connor McDavid put all health questions to rest after he burned the entire length of the ice for a chance in close on Connor Hellebuyck.
Edmonton would get a power-play, one more than they had on Monday, but wouldn’t be able to convert. We were getting out of this one tied at 0-0.
This was a much more exciting period of hockey. Less than a minute in Kailer Yamamoto forced Hellebuyck to turnover the puck behind the net in which Tyler Ennis capitalized and poked the in the game’s first goal. 1-0 EDM early on.
Adam Larsson would almost extend that lead a few minutes later as his point shot beat everyone except the crossbar. This would cost the Oilers as a pass by Blake Wheeler in front of the Oilers net would be deflected past Smith. A fluky one knots us back at 1-1.
Edmonton’s response would be encouraging. They played some of their best hockey in the stretch following Wheeler’s goal but were unable to grab the lead. The Jets wouldn’t have that problem, as a misplay by Smith would turn the puck over to Cody Eakin who would feed Patrick Laine in front of the net and he wouldn’t miss from that close. 2-1 Winnipeg late in the period.
Just when it seemed like the Oilers would be heading to the room down by a goal, Connor McDavid would come to the rescue. A nice rush in the neutral zone by Zack Kassian lead to the puck being on McDavid’s stick and he rushed around the defence, across the crease, and tied things up. 2-2 after 40 minutes of play.
The third period didn’t start nearly as good as the second period did. The Winnipeg Jets got their turn scoring early as Connor was sprung on a breakaway and beat Smith five-hole to restore their lead. 3-2 early on.
The Oilers wouldn’t lay back though. They through everything at Hellebuyck but couldn’t buy a goal. They dominated the entire period after letting up the early goal. However, as much pressure as there was, the refs were refusing to call any penalties. This reluctance to call a penalty came to a head in the final minute as Neal Pionk very obviously hit Draisaitl from behind but wasn’t called. The play would immediately lead to Connor sealing the win with a empty-netter.
Not how you wanna end this one...but the Oilers drop this one 4-2.
- It was very hard to write about this hockey game with the revelations that broke midway through the first period. The NBA has suspended their season after a member of the Utah Jazz tested positive for COVID-19. There is plenty of speculation that the NHL will follow suit...but all we know now is that an update will be provided on Thursday morning. Suspending the NHL season would be the right decision and would go a long way in protecting players and personnel.
- Mike Smith wasn't very great tonight. He was all over the place and gave the puck away on multiple occasions. He was directly responsible for Winnipeg’s second goal of the game. Time to give the reigns to Mikko Koskinen.
- Connor McDavid looked like himself tonight and that is very good news. He was on the puck all night long and was fantastic. His line mates, Kassian and Ennis, also worked really well on that line. I think we might be seeing that trio a lot more (if the season goes on).
- The loss tonight was less “the Oilers are bad” and more “Connor Hellebuyck is really good”. The Oilers were the better team tonight but ran into a white-hot goaltender. If they play like that every night they will win more than they lose.
- I am not about to jump on James Neal for the own-goal in the second period. He had the right idea and it was just some bad puck luck. I liked him along with Khaira and Chiasson tonight as well.
- Darnell Nurse and Ethan Bear logged a lot of minutes tonight and I am not exactly sure why. They weren’t particularly effective in this role when Klefbom was out so I am not sure what Tippett is trying to do with this pairing.
- Overall it was a good game for the Edmonton Oilers. Their record now stands at 37-25-9 and they are still firmly in 2nd place in the Pacific Division with 83pts. Flames trail them in 3rd place with 79pts while the Golden Knights sit atop the division with 86. We’ll see if this is how the season ends tomorrow.
- WASH YOUR HANDS AND LIMIT FACE TOUCHING! I cannot stress those points enough. Stay safe everyone and lets hope COVID-19 is gone sooner rather than later.