Coming off a disappointing loss to the Montreal Canadiens, the Edmonton Oilers went down the Queen Elizabeth II to take on their provincial rivals, the Calgary Flames. The Oilers took the first two matchups of the season.
Coming into this game, the Flames sat atop the Pacific division and the Oilers found themselves on the outside looking in. Edmonton is on the verge of being a seller at the trade deadline, whereas the Flames look to be a Stanley Cup contender.
The Oilers are 7-4-1 under Jay Woodcroft & co. In that same span, the Flames are 9-1-1 and 11-0-1 in their last 12 home games.
For the first time underJay Woodcroft, the Oilers rolled out 12 forwards and 6 defensemen. The injuries continued to pile up ahead of this game, with Tyson Barrie, Evan Bouchard and Mike Smith out. There’s an apparent stomach bug going around the room, that some guys can’t play through tonight.
Here’s how it looked:
The Flames countered with:
After a slow start to the period, things started to heat up with some big hits on both sides. However, Backlund took the revived excitement a little far and smoked Ryan McLeod behind the play. The powerplay sputters again, and the best chance came shorthanded for the Flames on a Toffoli breakaway.
Another chance for the powerplay to click late in the period, after Nikita Zadorov caught Kailer Yamamoto with a high stick behind the Oiler net. Once again, the best chance comes for the PK with Backlund ringing a shot off the post.
Oilers return the favour soon after, with Benson called for interference after getting outmuscled to a puck by Lindholm. Despite continuous mistakes by the Oilers, the Flames are unable to capitalize.
The second frame began with some fireworks, as both Evander Kane and Matthew Tkachuk were sent to the box after jousting at centre ice. Neither party a stranger to mixing it up.
Temperatures starting to rise in Alberta pic.twitter.com/qVC8vtmomp— Spittin' Chiclets (@spittinchiclets) March 8, 2022
Biggest save of the game goes to Markstrom, who stones Brad Malone after the fourth line forces a turnover deep in the Calgary zone.
brad malone with the best chance of the game so far, but jacob markstrom makes a big stop. pic.twitter.com/6w4XI3wGun— zach laing (@zjlaing) March 8, 2022
The Oilers continue the pressure, with Lindholm tagged for a lazy trip behind his own net. However, Edmonton’s struggles with extra man continue. McDavid and Draisaitl fighting the puck continually tonight.
Once again, Edmonton gives the man advantage right back to Calgary. Broberg off for hooking. This time, the Flames make it count. Tyler Toffoli opens the scoring midway through the second. 1-0. Flames 25-5-4 after scoring first this season. In other bad news, Connor McDavid to the dressing room for an equipment issue.
Since December 5th, Edmonton’s special team ranks:
- Powerplay ranks 23rd (18.5%)
- Penalty Kill ranks 32nd, dead last (69.4%)
A short time later, Toffoli is once again all alone with Koskinen and he picks the exact same corner. 2-0 Flames.
The Oilers pushed the last half of the period, but Jacob Markstrom was always there with a huge, timely save.
The Oilers press early, and under pressure, Chris Tanev airs a puck out over the glass. Edmonton’s dreadful powerplay is unable to muster more than a shot. Calgary also went in alone on their third shorthanded breakaway of the game.
Edmonton takes advantage of an official miscue, with a dump-in bouncing off a skate in the corner and Devin Shore capitalizing. The Oilers breakthrough to cut the deficit in half. 2-1.
The Oilers sloppiness continues, and a back-breaking turnover by Darnell Nurse at the Calgary blueline leads to Johnny Gaudreau going in on Koskinen all alone and making no mistake. Flames up 3-1 late.
Late in the game, Lucic hits Broberg in the numbers five feet from the boards and he goes in headfirst. Not only is there not a penalty for a hit on a player without the puck, there is absolutely no reaction from a lifeless Oilers squad. Benson the only penalty after giving an earful to the officials.
dirty hit from milan lucic leaves phillip broberg shaken up. he stays in the game. pic.twitter.com/gtJn8aLaQL— zach laing (@zjlaing) March 8, 2022
Oilers cannot complete comeback, and drop this matchup 3-1 to the Flames. Back Wednesday against Washington. Koskinen played well, but Oilers need more than that going forward.
- This defense, missing three regulars, has looked overmatched from the outset. The increased ice time for Nurse in all situations is hurting his overall game.
- Injuries hurting big-time up front. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jesse Puljuljarvi are dearly missed. All the same, how is Devin Shore a regular on this team? When will Marody or Griffith get their shot?
- Team fought the puck all night. Couldn’t make or take a pass, couldn’t carry into the zone, couldn’t get pucks on net. Horrible effort.
- Ken Holland continually mentions that this roster is his responsibility. When will he be the one held accountable? It may take another year of missed playoffs for this organization to finally think differently.