Well, the dream of a perfect season is over for the Edmonton Oilers. Bo Horvat and the plucky Vancouver Canucks made good on some bad defensive plays by Edmonton and McDavid’s boys couldn’t get themselves back into the game quick enough to make good on any sort of comeback.
Of course, I didn’t think that the Oilers would win every game but I was confident that they wouldn’t lose in their first road game of the year to the team that 99% of fans and pundits alike picked to be in the basement of the Pacific come the end of the regular season.
That being said, even Taylor Hall’s Oilers won a game from time to time.
FIVE THINGS WE LEARNED AFTER GAME 2
- Connor McDavid can be stopped
All you have to do is take a page out of the 1980s and put a shutdown/pest on him. Ryan Kesler did wonders during the playoffs last season and Derek Dorsett, of all players, was very successful last night of taking the Oilers captain off of his game.
- Laurent Brossoit IS an NHL goalie
WOW! I’ll be honest. I had my doubts when it came to Laurent Brossoit before this season but boy did he safely tuck those away after last night’s relief performance. The Oilers basically left their goalies out to dry last night and Talbot got worse as time wore on whereas Brossoit really held the Oilers in the game till the end. How many breakaways or grade-A chances were the Canucks gifted that LB turned away. He was better than Markstrom in my opinion.
- The Oilers forward depth isn’t holding up their end of the bargain
Khaira – 3:50 TOI
Strome – 8:00 TOI
Pakarinen – 5:25 TOI
I can’t really heap a lot of blame on Pakarinen but Ryan Strome isn’t doing himself any favors with Todd McLellan early in the season. What happened to Jujhar Khaira last night? Not even four minutes of ice-time? Was there an injury or did the coach simply Petr Klima his ass to the bench? Khaira’s from the area, you’d think he’d have had some friends and family in the stands watching.
Either way, the bottom 6 isn’t getting it done so far this year and maybe that’s because Zack Kassian has that sort of impact on the bottom two lines when he plays on them but it’s not as if they’re lacking skill.
I thought that Jokinen/Strome/Caggiula were extremely quiet and ineffective. Letestu/Khaira/Pakarinen also left a lot to be desired.
- Consistency is what the Oilers brass is preaching
And it’s something this young team is still struggling with. Not a surprise really but it’s going to make Todd McLellan’s practice planning very easy. And with each poor-to-average game they play, Chris Kelly inches closer to a contract and somebody’s job becomes more at risk.
- Matt Benning is struggling
Battlin’ Matt Benning is struggling to adapt to his new role on the team. He basically gifted that lane to Bo Horvat last night and the future Canucks captain capitalized on it to tie the game. Then for whatever reason Benning tried to stickhandle out of his zone on a PP rush up the ice and he turned the puck over there too.
I don’t like this new role being thrust upon a 2nd-year player. Now, I’m not averse to having players being given increased responsibilities but at this point, I’d be giving Darnell Nurse a bit more of the responsibility pie here than Benning because he’s shown that he can handle it.
I reckon this has a lot to do with Benning being a right-shot but he’s a helluva lot better at being a gritty two-way no.5/6 defender. Let the boy grow into his role on this team I say.
Next game on the docket is against the Winnipeg Jets and this is a team that is going to be one of two things:
- A pissed off group looking to take out whatever is in its way.
- A complacent group who’ll be taken out by whatever is its way.
The Jets are winless this season with a goal differential of -8. They’ve only managed to score 5 goals but that new goaltending tandem of Steve Mason and Connor Hellebuyck are leaking goals left and right.
The problem with the Jets is that they are a perfect mix of players. Size, speed, and intelligence all throughout their roster but they can’t seem to translate that into wins. From Scheifele to Laine to Wheeler to Ehlers on the front end is a scary bunch but then they’ve got Byfuglien, Trouba, a healthy Tyler Myers, and the burgeoning Josh Morrisey.
So what i’m getting at is… Things could go majorly wrong for the Oilers if they don’t take this Jets team a helluva lot more seriously than they took Vancouver.
Until then! Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! Be safe and responsible!
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