Game 4: Oilers v. Canes Post Gamer – Oilers Rebound But No Cane-ing in Tight Affair

Talbot save

Cam Still the Man

Cam Talbot’s ears must have been burning from all the chatter around e-town if there was still a goaltending question with the Oilers.  Would he have another slow start?  Would he be able to focus with family on the way?  Unfortunately when you’ve had a fragile team, the fan base is easily rattled.

In the end, the Oilers starter silenced his critics again with a stellar outing, stopping 31 of 33 for a .939 save percentage in what was arguably his best game of the season.  And not his best game because of stats, but because of game changers, he stopped at key times in the game.  His sprawling glove save on Skinner in the first drew a well-deserved ovation from the Oilers’ faithful.  In the third, with the game on the line, Larsson sent a pizza up the middle that was picked off, but Talbot was there to do some bailing.  And in the dying seconds, the Oilers tender had Skinner calling for a review when he robbed the Canes’ top forward with slick glove snag.

When your goaltender is your best player and makes those kinds of saves, you need to win the game… Even when your top player and captain is held off the score-sheet.  Not to worry, in this game, the balanced scoring of the Oilers made the difference.

Hang On Slepy

Anton Slepyshev’s snipe in the first period was a pure goal-scorers goal and not surprising considering others I’ve seen him score in international competition.  A couple of years ago when the Oiler’s signed him, I posed the question in a Russian hockey forum, what kind of player was Slepyshev?  The answer: One of the best players in the KHL.  He’s got a ways to go to be that level of player in the NHL, but if the Oilers do the right thing and send Puljujarvi down, he may just get the ice-time to show what he can do.

pitlick

 

Has Pitlick Arrived?

I don’t want to jinx him, but considering the ice-time he gets, Pitlick has been very effective.  His release is quick and his shot very accurate, who knows, he could easily move up the line-up.  At this point, he looks like a coach’s dream: lots of energy, hits, and opportunistic scoring I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you guy.

Who’s In the Doghouse?

From my viewpoint, it has to be Larsson.  He slipped and fell on his duff in the first period, giving up a prime scoring chance to Jordan Staal.  Later in the third, he threw that pass up the middle that was easily picked off.  Talbot bailed him out both times and McLellan let him work through it, but you can’t have one of your top d-men making those mistakes.

It pains me to say it but Nuge seems to be struggling.  At this point, he is getting badly outplayed by Draisaitl which may not bode well for his future with the club.  Let’s hope he turns it around soon.

 

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Lindsay Ryall Written by:

Born in Edmonton, raised in the pumpkin capital of Canada in rural Ab. and an Oiler fan since their first season.

  • GCW_69

    Larsson also made one of the best defensive plays I have ever seen. His game wasn’t perfect, but on the whole I thought he played well.

    Agree on Nuge. I don’t think he can carry a line. He needs an Eberle to play off of. The concern when Nuge was drafted was the high percentage of his points in junior coming of the powerplay. Nuge scored 105 points in his draft year, and only 50 were at even strength.

    The powerplay is a fickle mistress, and so his abilities were less projectable in my view.

    Still, Nuge is one of the best complementary players in the league, and if you can find another winger for McDavid, Nuge and Eberle can make beautiful music together.