Undefeated, baby! Final Score: 3-2 Oilers
Did anyone else have trouble focusing on life today? From the time I woke up until I was able to sit down for the game, I had to work at controlling my excitement and make sure that I was actually able to function as both a blogger and a human being in general. Despite what the doubters and haters say, I am still very excited for hockey to be back and I’m going to keep powering jug after jug of Oilers Kool-Aid until they either make the playoffs or metaphorically kick me in the pills again. Either way, I wasn’t about to let my opening day get ruined by the naysayers before the team had even played a single minute of regular season puck. So when the game finally started, I had a combination of a six-pack and a day’s worth of excitement building up inside me so when Draisaitl opened the scoring I let out a battle cry that probably scared the hell out of my neighbours.
Not only did the Oilers open the scoring, a luxury we seldom saw a season ago, but they looked ready to play and compete hard. Edmonton was up, and I was pumped. But then the pendulum started to swing. After sustaining pressure for large chunks of the second period, the Canucks were able to tie the game on the back of a weird helmet rule that opened up some space on the ice and basically created a short man advantage that they were able to cash in on. From there, the momentum seemed to be fully in the Canucks’ favour and they were able to use it to keep the pressure on and even grab themselves a momentary lead. The good news is that the Oilers didn’t quit and were able to quickly claw their way back into a tie game before the captain put an exclamation point on the comeback with a highlight-reel goal that I can’t wait to watch again.
It may not have been the prettiest win you’ll ever see, but the Oilers started their season with two points and you have to like that.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Leon Draisaitl scored the Oilers’ first goal of the season after Zack Kassian set him up with a nifty little pass at the side of the net, leaving the 50-goal man with the puck and an open cage. Draisaitl was a warlord tonight and he came out with the kind of game that showed us all that he has every intention of picking up where he left off last year. How about a casual three-point night for the big man?
- Only moments after the Canucks grabbed the lead, Zack Kassian tied the game up at two apiece with a beautiful shot that beat Markstrom upstairs. Just as nice as the shot was Leon Draisaitl’s cross-ice pass that hit Kass in flight and left him with a wide-open look on net.
- Connor McDavid is a wizard and I refuse to believe anyone that tells me otherwise. After being sorta quiet for the first two periods, McDavid scored an absolute beauty to restore the Oilers’ one-goal lead. After picking up the puck, Connor split the defence and absolutely shelved the puck past a sprawling Markstrom for a goal that you’ll see over and over again. I’ve said this a million times, but the dude seems to be playing a completely different game than anyone else and I am always amazed by his skill level.
- Mike Smith got the start in net tonight and he was rock solid in his Oilers debut. Not only did he make huge saves all night but he also acted as a third defenceman for the team as well. For years, we’ve watched goaltenders handle the puck like it’s a live grenade and that was a noticeable difference in Smith’s game. Now, I’m sure his willingness to wander will end up scaring the shit out of me at some point, but on this night, I was happy to watch the goalie do his thing. Smith finished the night with 31 saves and a .939 save%.
- Speaking of Smith, I bet Jason Gregor $20 that Mike Smith would get the start on opening night and I could not be happier to be right. Not only am I a little bit richer today, but I also hold bragging rights that I will hold over Gregor’s head until he kills me for it.
- I loved the Draisaitl-RNH-Kassian line. They seemed to find a way to produce a chance on goal on almost every shift they took and I really liked what we saw from that trio tonight.
- I am happy to report that the Oilers killed off all four penalties that they took on the night. Incredible.
- I’m a big fan of the way Ethan Bear shoots the puck and the overall calmness in his game. The Oilers haven’t had a shot-first defenceman since Big Sexy was around and I’d love for Bear to turn into that guy.
- I liked the way Joakim Nygard played in his NHL debut. I’d like to see what he’s like after a few weeks in the league because with the wheels he’s got, I want to believe there’s a player there.
- Check out the #BrumCast for tonight’s win over on Oilersnation’s Instagram page! Come join in the chat and let’s talk about the game together.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Alex Edler tied the game up at one apiece after his blast from the blue line made its way through traffic and into the back of the net. It was a weird play because Connor McDavid lost his helmet and in his attempt to put it back on, Edler had some extra space to really lean into one. Apparently, it’s a new rule this year that guys have to put their helmet back on or something, so I guess that’s why Connor was delayed?
- Tanner Pearson gave the Canucks their first lead of the night after Josh Archibald’s failed clearing attempt dribbled to the point and onto the stick Tyler Myers who blasted a slapshot that Pearson deflected in from the slot. To be honest, you could see the goal coming for minutes and it wasn’t exactly surprising to see the Canucks steal the lead.
- Oilers went 0/2 on the powerplay, but I feel like they probably should have had one. The Oilers had plenty of chances with the man advantage and just couldn’t cash one in.
- What is the deal with that helmet rule that made Connor McDavid basically stop what he was doing and leave Alex Edler wide open on the point? In the second intermission, Elliotte Friedman explained the rule require McDavid to put his lid back on when it fell off but he also made it seem like there is still plenty of grey area in its interpretation.
- Tonight was not Josh Archibald’s night. By my count, he had at least three missed chances to clear the zone, with the third such whiff ending up in the back of the net.
- The Oilers really didn’t have a good second half of the first period and were arguably worse in the second period. Had it not been for Mike Smith then this game would not have ended up the way it did.
- Oilers outshot 33-22. Again, shout out to Mike Smith.
|05:42||Edmonton||Leon Draisaitl (1) ASST: Zack Kassian (1), Matt Benning (1)||0-1|
|11:58||Vancouver||Alexander Edler (1) ASST: Brock Boeser (1), J.T. Miller (1)||1-1|
|09:41||Vancouver||Tanner Pearson (1) ASST: Tyler Myers (1), Alexander Edler (1)||2-1|
|10:52||Edmonton||Zack Kassian (1) ASST: Leon Draisaitl (1), Darnell Nurse (1)||2-2|
|14:37||Edmonton||Connor McDavid (1) ASST: Leon Draisaitl (2), Matt Benning (2)||2-3|
@OilersnationHQ @jsbmbaggedmilk Klefbom with the sexy eyes pic.twitter.com/GnSPYBYnS6
— Taylor Ritchie (@RitchieTaylor) October 2, 2019
My son, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, has seen some shit. https://t.co/AiOLeNx7yn
— StevenX (@StevenX_DFA) October 3, 2019
— The Towel Boy (@TheTowelBoy) October 3, 2019
Joakim Nygard is a man of the people. #Oilers pic.twitter.com/GOJIJcWXVp
— FatDad69 (@fat_dad69) October 3, 2019
Things I never thought I'd be typing on social media:
Zack Kassian and Mike Smith have been the best two Oilers tonight.
— StevenX (@StevenX_DFA) October 3, 2019
Talk to me, Twitter. Tweet at @OilersnationHQ and @jsbmbaggedmilk for your chance to land in the Best of the Tweets.
THE SEASON LAUNCH PARTY
If you’ve ever been to one of our events, you’ll already know that your ticket to the event will not only guarantee you memories that last a lifetime, a swag bag that will help power to your through life, but it also helps us raise money for a local charity all at the same time. This time around, we wanted to make the event as accessible as possible so that we can pack the Brewhouse and kick off the season with as many Nation citizens as we get in the building. And since the party starts so early on a Saturday, the Brewhouse is able to offer an all-ages event, meaning this is the perfect event to bring your kids to.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Where: The Canadian Brewhouse – Lewis Estates (1320 Webber Greens Dr NW)
When: Saturday, October 12th, with doors opening at 10 AM and the hockey game starting at 11 AM
How much: Tickets are $15 each with net proceeds going directly to the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation.
The bag: Exclusive Season Opener Party tee, Brewhouse GC, Oodle Noodle GC, stickers, and a ticket to enter all of the draws and raffles
How: Tickets are available here.
Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 9/28/2019 – 10:40 pm MT