I guess the Jets chose to be the pissed off team instead of the complacent one eh. Perfect attitude to take in against a Turkey Day hungover Oilers and all without the serviced of that human wrecking ball named Dustin Byfuglien. That said, we’re 3 games into the season, the games have been spread out quite a bit, and this is still a developing team. It’s not all going to be rainbows and lollipops.
Let’s get into the five things we learned from game three:
USING A 19 YEAR OLD ON THE 4TH LINE PROVES NOTHING
Kailer Yamamoto was invisible in the bottom 6 apart from a glaring mistake on the Jets first goal but once Todd McLellan decided enough was enough and slid Draisaitl back down to the no.2 hole and moved Yamamoto up into the top 6, we saw shades of what Yammo can do. I still prefer Puljujarvi right now because at least he’s got a two-way game but that’s beside the point and I’m sure that my craving for Puljujarvi to be up with the Oilers will be satiated soon.
DARNELL NURSE IS CLOSE TO PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
I’m loving what I’m seeing from Nurse. He looks calm and composed. He’s still mean and unforgiving out there though. I like that he’s using his skating and showing some offensive flair this season. That pass to Nuge wasn’t exactly what I was thinking on the Oilers 2nd goal. I thought he might play it safe and move it to the outside as oppose to right down the gullet but it was a good choice and it worked out.
RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS HAS BEEN THE OILERS BEST CENTRE TO DATE
If you take away the season opener versus Calgary, I feel that Nuge has consistently been the Oilers best pivot so far. I know McDavid brings the mob to its feet every time he touches the puck but his 2-way game hasn’t been there as much as RNH’s. Leon’s had only a handful of shifts as a true pivot, Strome hasn’t shown as much, although tonight he looked a helluva lot better than the previous two games, and Letestu is taking a bit of time to warm up to the new season.
I wanted to see more of RNH but alas I reckon his stint at 2C is coming to an end and back to 3C he will go. Who his wingers will be are a mystery. Kassian has looked good on his wing. Will it be Jokinen, Caggiula, Khaira, Yamamoto, or Slepyshev on the other?…
THE EARLY SEASON JITTERS ARE AFFECTING EVERYBODY
There are quite a few players starting off slowly and the young players are repeating mistakes that they’ve made in the past to try and jump start the offence. This is driving not only the fans but the team and the coaching staff insane. Todd McLellan called out his stars tonight for more or less being lazy on the defensive side of the puck last night and good on him for doing so. The players MUST be held accountable for poor performances.
As we know, within McLellan’s system, it can take a player a year or more to get himself sorted out. This is how I feel with Ryan Strome. I don’t get the feeling he knows his role and I wonder if it is actually defined or not due to Todd McLellan’s penchant to taking his lines to the blender on nearly a nightly basis.
Matt Benning is having a hard time adjusting to the 2nd pairing and a lot of us feared that. Now, there’s two ways the Oilers can go about dealing with this hiccup.
- A) Be patient and keep him there. Show him support.
- B) Get him out of there immediately and wait until he’s playing better before throwing him back up.
On the Cult of Hockey post-game podcast, Staples and McCurdy talked about possibly sitting Benning vs. Ottawa to try and shake things up a bit for him and the team and I’m not totally against that. They also talked about what would happen to the lineup if that happened because taking him out would mean adding another lefty. So, Russell would need to go back to the right side and maybe Nurse would move up, then perhaps Auvitu would draw in.
THE POWERPLAY IS A BLOODY MESS
Both units are playing far too pretty. In the first game of the year, McDavid’s unit was playing things perfectly and thus Oscar Klefbom ended the game with nearly 10 shots. I felt like the no.1 PP unit was trying to be too cute vs. Vancouver and Winnipeg and the no.2 PP unit simply didn’t have any chemistry. As soon as Nuge’s unit hit the ice it was mass confusion.
But correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t special teams have a rough go to start the year last season too? I faintly recall the Oilogosphere on Twitter really getting on Jay Woodcroft’s case.
Next game up is against the Senators of Ottawa and they’re winless this season so far. This team is having quite the time scoring goals (Five players have registered points) and I really feel like the Oilers could exploit the Senators defense without Erik Karlsson but this is a Guy Boucher-led team too, so scoring against them won’t be easy.
Is this a game where the coaching staff will shake things up a bit, maybe toss Draisaitl back down to 2C? Scratch Benning or Gryba and insert Auvitu? Will Drake Caggiula shake off whatever ailment is keeping him out and get back in the team? Will it be Talbot or Brossoit?
Whatever it is that the Oilers players are going through, it’s best they get it out of their system by the time Carolina comes to town on the 17th because after that the schedule is awfully compressed and whatever flow the team will have settled into at that point will be hard to break out of.
Do you think the Oilers will make a Sens-ational return to the win column on the weekend or will they pay a visit to their old friend at the bottom of the Pacific Division? Let us know in the comments below!