The same old culprits, goaltending and the PK, did in the Edmonton Oilers against the Florida Panthers. But there was a few bright spots, such as Leon Draisaitl, Connor McDavid and Yohann Auvitu. Yes, Yohann Auvitu. David Staples and Bruce McCurdy of the Cult of Hockey dig in.
On a night when the City of Edmonton celebrated the 1984-85 Stanley Cup Champion Edmonton Oilers, voted the Greatest Team of All-Time, fans were treated (or should that be subjected) to an 80’s style fire-wagon affair.
Only on Monday, the Oilers ended up on the wrong end of a 7-5 score. As much jump as the team sure had on the attack, they leaked in scoring chances at the other end, and Cam Talbot was a mere shadow of his former self.
Your Groundhog Day game notes? The Oilers allowed the 1st goal of the game for the 35th time this season, and oh yeah…the league-worst home Penalty Kill allowed 3 more, en route to the Oilers 4th consecutive loss.
The officiating was a pretty sad affair, too. The non-calls on McDavid? The missed delay of game call on Florida? The missed Too-Many-Men call? Is that really the best they can do? Embarrassing.
Here’s the tale of the tape.
Edmonton Oilers Player Grades
CAM TALBOT. 2. That was the worst game I’ve seen Cam Talbot play as a member of the Edmonton Oilers. Beaten cleanly on the 2-2, and again on a shot from even further out on the 3-2 (although Russell gave too much gap). Waved at the 5-3 (where Klefbom was also slow to the shooter). Can’t blame him on the penalty shot or the empty netter. Not near good enough, on a night when his mates scored enough to win. To his credit, Talbot took full responsibility for his performance after the game.
KRIS RUSSELL. 6. A give-&-take night for the veteran, who mixed in a number of very good moments (as assist, his 16th, on the Caggiula goal, and an admirable stick-with-it defensive play on Keith Yandle in the 2nd frame) with not-so-good (backed in too far, too fast on the 3-3). But on balance, was “just fine”.
MIKE CAMMALLERI. 5. Had the 6-6 goal on his stick, and was staring into a wide-open net. But a last-second Florida stick forced a miss. Seconds later, the puck sailed into the Oilers empty net for the 7-5 insurance marker. Clicked well with Draisaitl and Lucic.
JUJHAR KHAIRA. 4. Missed assignment on the 4-3 goal. Too bad, as the glaring error marred what had been a decent effort by J.J. But that’s a mental error that you just can’t make in that situation. An assist, a shot, 2 hits, a block, a take-away.
RYAN STROME. 5. A solid enough outing on Connor McDavid’s wing. Ryan Strome was creative with the puck on his stick. Missed his best chance of the game in the 1st Period on the Panther’s goal mouth. 2 shots, a couple heady defensive plays too.
PATRICK MAROON. 6. Just a terrific effort on the 6-5 goal, where Patrick Maroon’s 2nd effort not only kept the play alive in the offensive zone, his desperate measures landed the puck right on McDavid’s stick. Great play. Also showed calm hands on the 1-1 goal. But proof that Marroon is “not quite right”, either? That 4-on-2 break where he…dumped it into the corner.
DARNELL NURSE. 5. Far from perfect, on what was a bad defensive night for the team over-all. But Darnell Nurse wasn’t the biggest culprit. He had 3 shots, 3 hits and 3 blocks in 22:53. Slow to the bench on the Too-Many-Men call, though, which Florida capitalized on. A bad giveaway in the 2nd frame. In all, though, a little more good than bad.
MILAN LUCIC. 3. Had a dreadful start, fighting the puck and battling tentative decision-making. His game picked up a little bit as the game went on. I’ve no real quibble with the effort (7 hits). But needless to say…he is off his game. Scoreless in 19.
LEON DRAISAITL. 7. Looked like he was on a mission. Had 4 shots, drained a killer look on the penalty shot with a blocker-side laser to the top corner. Was tagged with a couple turnovers, but when he’s creating like this, those come with the territory. 57% on the dot, including a number of key D-zone draws. Not the problem, again tonight.
ZACK KASSIAN. 5. Had all kinds of jump, transporting pucks into the attacking zone, and being a pest on the fore check. Had a shot and 2 hits in 10:30. Solid defensively (+1 in a 7-5 game). Faded a bit in the 3rd.
MARK LETESTU. 5. Pretty pass to Slepyshev on the 5-4. Was pretty decent 5-on-5, but was part of the penalty kill debacle, including a key lost draw, on a night when Letestu was actually good at the dot (67%). Has lost a step.
ANTON SLEPYSHEV. 6. After a quiet start, Anton Slepyshev cranked it up in the 3rd Period. Scored a dandy of a goal, on a laser wrist-shot that ticked in off the post, after a terrific head-man by Letestu. Very nearly had a 2nd. Made the most of his 9:14.
OSCAR KLEFBOM. 2. Gawd. I counted 8 defensive errors by Klefbom, in all, on the night. He lost his man on the 1-0. He was torched on the 4-3. He gave up the lane on the 5-3. Played 3:03 on an ineffective PK. Did have 3 shots and 3 hits, but didn’t come close to making up for the damage done.
YOHANN AUVITU. 5. A good effort with lots of strong offensive moments, including getting the shot through from the point on the Patrick Maroon goal. That was one of 3 shots, and he added 2 hits. But Auvitu was also part of the problem when Dadonov split the D and drew the (successful) penalty shot.
MATT BENNING. 3. Really struggled, with significant defensive errors in all three periods, including getting torched up the middle by Evgenii Dadonov. The subsequent penalty shot made it 6-4, and stood up as the game winner. Sophomore jinx.
BRANDON DAVIDSON. 5. Decent effort, especially considering the elevated ice-time that Todd McLellan saw fit to give him (21:08). 3 hits and a block. I thought he was unfairly tagged with that high-stick call in front (there was no contact that I could see), which resulted in the Ekblad power play marker.
DRAKE CAGGIULA. 5. Started very slow, perhaps adjusting to the full face shield he had to wear after losing a few chicklets in San Jose. Drifted deep and lost his check on the 2-2. But his deflection on the 3-2 goal seemed to snap him out of it. Credit to him for what he managed, so soon after a significant injury.
CONNOR McDAVID. 7. The play that should stick in the minds of Oilers fans is the tremendous effort that Connor McDavid put into the Patrick Maroon goal. McDavid was all but assaulted on the sequence leading up to it, hooked, held, slashed across the hands twice, none of which were enough to draw a whistle. Unbelievable. His subsequent dish to Auvitu found it’s way to the Panther’s doorstep and (thanks to Maroon) in. Was also Johnny-on-the-spot on the 2nd-effort pass from Pat Maroon to make it 6-5 (his 23rd). Had 5 shots in 21:05 and was 63% in the face-off circle.
JESSE PULJUJARVI. 4. Really looked off, both early (when he put teammates off-side on 3 consecutive plays) and late (lazy, offensive zone penalty that led to the Vincent Trocheck power play goal (he was great for Florida, by the way). Did play a role in the 3-2, as his forecheck started the sequence, and he was net-front at the end.
The loss drops the Oilers to 23-28-4 on the year, 13th in the West, 27th over-all. Blah.
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