As I was watching this game I thought that the Atlantic Division leaders looked eerily similar to the Oilers of not-so-old. What I mean by that is they just looked uninterested, at least until the third period where they summoned the power of the score effects god, and I wonder if both teams were jacked to play an honest good old-fashioned hockey game until Hendricks went ahead and took on Gudbranson in the first period there. It seems to me that the fight sucked the life out of whatever intensity the rest of the match was going to have.
Apparently Erik Gudbranson injured a hand or shoulder in this fight with Hendy and Ekblad hasn’t played since Hendricks tried to put him into the 1st row last week. So I guess we could start calling him “The Giant Killer” or maybe “Captain Cajones” because it takes some pretty big balls to do what he’s done in the last two games versus Florida. I’m pretty certain Alex Petrovic and Erik Gudbranson are ranked in the heavyweight division of the NHL while Hendy plies his trade in the middleweight division.
I was happy to see that the big names for the Oilers were producing again. Hall, Nugent-Hopkins (before injury), Purcell, Eberle and Draisaitl were all on the scoreboard but it was Cam Talbot who stole the show yet again making 31 out of 33 saves. Also Brandon Davidson was the man! He almost single-handedly shut down the Jagr/Barkov/Huberdeau line.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) January 19, 2016
As we can see below in Walter’s post-game shooting metrics, the Oilers were outplayed in every category except on the powerplay. They didn’t score on their one chance mind you but they did create some chances.
On the other hand, the penalty kill was outstanding for the Oilers leaving the Panthers with an 0-4 in their PP stat line.
There’s talk from the Oilogosphere that a lot of people would like to see McDavid come back early and I can certainly understand that but the Oilers DO in fact have other players that can play center to tide the team over until after the All-Star break. I reckon it’ll be Matt Hendricks or Anton Lander going with Eberle and Pouliot but I’d sure like to see Nail Yakupov get a promotion if he continues to score high on the Corsi%. Would it be so hard to put Yak and Ebs on a line together maybe with a defensively responsible center like Lander?
Another point on the roster, Chiarelli did talk about Griffin Reinhart during his availability after the Talbot signing and the message was Reinhart will be coming up after the AS break. Does that mean someone will need to be sent down? If so, I get the feeling that the player going down could be Darnell Nurse. He’s been having a tough go for quite some time now and I wonder if he could use the “break”, if you can call it that. Nurse has done and admiral job but perhaps the load is a bit too much at this point in his career.
Chiarelli also talked about the Oilers first rounder in 2016 and how it will NOT be traded. I want to believe him but there’s a part of me that believes he would deal it if the right deal came around for say a big upgrade on the blue line. But if the season ended today, the Oilers would have the 4th overall pick and would be in the market for some really dynamic forwards and possible a franchise defenceman.
- Matthew Tkachuk, LW, London (OHL), 6-1, 188 lb (Complete power forward)
- Alexander Nylander, LW, Mississauga (OHL), 6-0, 172 lb (Skills galore! Better than his bro?)
- Jakob Chychrun, D, Sarnia (OHL), 6-2, 194 lb (Denis Potvin clone)
- Olli Juolevi, D, London Knights (OHL), 6-2, 180 lb (Shades of Olli Maatta)
- Clayton Keller, C, USNTDP (USHL), 5-9, 170 lb (Crafty pivot with big time vision)
Personally I’d like to see the team add more character to the team and perhaps pass on the skill, in the first round at least. Three names I like off the bat are Tkachuk, Chychrun, and Max Jones.
Next game is in Tampa Bay versus Steven Stamkos and co. Anders Nilsson will most likely be starting and I think it’s a safe bet that Anton Lander draws into the lineup to cover for RNH. The Lightning are on a six game winning streak and the Oilers will have the work cut out for them. Vladimir Namestnikov is on fire recently and that’s the tip of the iceberg for Tampa who also have Kucherov, Johnson, the aforementioned Stamkos, and Victor Hedman (who burnt the Oilers for three points during their previous meeting).
See you tomorrow!