A 4-0 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks is not generally a bad thing. I mean a loss is a loss but usually there’s some moral ground you can stand upon when it’s a loss to a team like the Hawks. I’m not sure if the Oilers could say that was the case with a straight face.
Sorry for the tardiness on the post. Life… Sometimes it takes precedent.
So I didn’t catch quite all of the game but I re-watched it and by my eye it wasn’t that great of a game. I felt like going back to bed (the games are on in the morning in Taiwan) because it just wasn’t going anywhere for the Oilers.
But if you look at the numbers, it was a much closer game. I took the chart below from the fine folks at war-on-ice.com and basically it tells us that the Oilers were never that far out of it. That’s a good sign I’d say. If only they could’ve found the net… If only.
What we saw from Chicago was some masterful matching of lines. The Toews line had the Hall line all night long and took advantage of quite possibly the worst defense pairing in the history of the NHL in Justin Schultz and Nikita Nikitin… Woof! I seen that coming as soon as they lines were announced.
Oh my! Are Nikitin and Jultz going to get walked all night or what?
— Beer League Heroes (@BeerLeagueHeroe) December 18, 2015
I can’t wait until this team is healthy and we’ve got Klefbom back. Some folks who are crying for Fayne or Ference to be re-inserted into the lineup, come on… Really? You can’t fix a flat tire with another flat tire. And possession-wise Nikitin was one of the better players playing that night as much as it pains me to say. He shoots himself in the foot though when he takes two penalties… The only two penalties of the game for either team. HA! That didn’t even occur to me until I read the boxscore. Nikitin… He and Guy Boucher would be the perfect 1-2 villain combo for a 007 movie, right?
It was a tired squad and that was more than apparent. Three games in four nights and the last of the games being versus the reigning Stanley Cup champs. You have to feel sorry for McLellan’s boys but then again these are professional hockey players and they’re paid millions upon million’s of dollars to put up with the rigors of being an everyday NHL hockey player.
I will say though that three things stood out for me:
- The play of Mark Letestu, Matt Hendricks, and Lauri Korpikoski. They played a very hard-nosed game and made the Blackhawks work their asses off. Being +8 in the Corsi column is a huge plus as well.
- The Patrick Kane line wasn’t as noticeable throughout. So kudos to the Oilers that shut them down. Unfortunately they couldn’t hold them off for the entire 60 minutes but I can applaud the effort.
- Cam Talbot had another solid outing. The pendulum is swinging back his way a bit here and I’m completely okay with that and good on him. Too bad his team hung him out to dry… Again.
With Colorado coming up next I reckon it’s a winnable game for Edmonton and a great opportunity to put some pucks in the net. The Avs are 7-3-0 in their last ten so they’re riding… Mile high… If you will. And they lead the league in blocked shots, so it’s going to be of the utmost importance for the Oilers to choose wisely when they’re shooting and take advantage of a Colorado team that is a very poor puck possession team.
Take Care and drive safe during the holidays!
Don’t forget we’ve got some sweet shirts and phone cases over at the Beer League Heroes Merch Shop! Click the pics below to head over! I know there’s something there for the beer leaguer in your family!