There are many flavours of gross in the world and tonight’s game sampled a few of them. Final Score: 3-0 Wild
Coming into tonight’s game, the Oilers had yet another opportunity to take advantage of a team that’s struggling and I desperately wanted them to do a better job of that than we saw against Winnipeg on Sunday. That’s not to say that they played poorly against the Jets, it’s just that the team missed out on a chance to steal a second point from a team that was riding a losing streak. Looking at the Wild, they had the worst goal differential in the NHL ahead of tonight’s game, they’re allowing a lot of goals against right now, and I really wanted to see the Oilers use that to their advantage. They need to find a way to develop that killer instinct that sees them consistently putting their foot on a team’s metaphorical head, pushing them further underwater while they struggle for air rather than throwing them a lifevest. Once again, I did not get my wish or anything close to it for that matter.
In the early minutes of the game, both teams went through the usual ‘feeling each other out’ period with each side getting some decent but not great chances on goal. Unfortunately, those first few minutes of the opening frame was when the even play kinda stopped. In the latter half of the first, the Oilers looked completely lost in all three zones on the ice and it cost them a trio of avoidable goals and spotted a struggling Wild team with a commanding lead they shouldn’t have had. Yeah, you could complain about the missed calls that led to each of Stahl’s first period markers but that doesn’t account for the overall sloppiness that was the core root of the Oilers’ problems. While they did get better as the game progressed through the second period and into the third, a low bar to clear, I know, the Oilers had already set themselves up for failure with a brutal start, inability to string two passes together, and a three-goal deficit that was obviously too much to overcome.
Even worse than the loss, in my opinion, is now that Connor and Leon have cooled off a bit from their scorching start to the season, the lack of secondary scoring on this roster is front and centre.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Ethan Bear is my favourite story of the season so far and it makes me happy to talk about how awesome he’s been on a nightly basis. From the way he defends to the way he moves the puck, Bear has shown that he’s able to compete at the NHL level and not look at all out of place. Bear played 21:55 and was the only top-four guy without a minus beside his name.
- Mike Smith got his sixth start of the season after another strong performance in Winnipeg and I was looking for much the same from the 37-year-old vet. And while I can certainly understand why people will be unhappy with his first period, Smith shut the door for the final 40 which was an accomplishment seeing how poorly the team in front of him was playing. Smith finished the night with 27 saves and a .900 save%.
- I thought Nuge was one of the best forwards tonight (18:57 TOI, 2 SOG, 1 Hit) and probably deserved a goal but he just cannot seem to avoid the posts this year.
- That Josh Archibald hit right before the first Wild goal was pretty sweet, I guess.
- The game is thankfully over now but a 79-2-1 will still be really good.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Back to back shutouts against. Yikes.
- Eric Stahl opened the scoring for the Wild only moments after a blatant holding/hooking call was missed on Connor McDavid at the other end of the ice and it was the most NHL-like sequence I’ve ever seen. Horrible officiating leads to a goal that shouldn’t have happened. Full stop. Only moments later, Stahl got his second of the game after he skated unchecked through the slot and banged home a rebound that Smith couldn’t control. Should I mention that Eric Stahl hadn’t scored at all this season before tonight?
- Of course Brad Hunt scored (3-0 goal). Of course he did.
- That first period was the worst 20 minutes the Oilers have had so far this season and it was tough to watch. They were outshot, out-chanced, out-scored, and deserved the hole they dug for themselves.
- Oilers lost the special teams battle tonight after allowing a goal on the PK (1/3) and getting nothing done with the man advantage (0/2). Bad combo.
- I don’t know what’s been up with the boys over their last two games, but they’ve been trying to force passes that aren’t there at a level we haven’t seen since the Eakins era. Shocking lack of puck management tonight. Oilers were outshot 30-25 tonight but also had 19 blocks in there as well. Fancy stats boys won’t like that.
- Scoring droughts like this piss me off because not only is it annoying to see the lack of overall production outside of a few players, but it also reminds me that the Oilers have a ‘good forward’ worth of dead cap space on their books this year.
- The bottom six isn’t even getting to within a $10 cab ride of scoring a goal and it’s a massive problem now that the big boys have cooled off.
- Don’t take this as me being super negative or anything, but the Matt Benning/Brandon Manning pairing is an adventure out there and not the fun kind starring the Rock.
|11:33||Minnesota||Eric Staal (1) ASST: Jordan Greenway (4), Mats Zuccarello (1)||0-1|
|12:48||Minnesota||Eric Staal (2) ASST: Carson Soucy (1), Jordan Greenway (5)||0-2|
|16:46||Minnesota||PPG – Brad Hunt (4) ASST: Matt Dumba (3), Eric Staal (3)||0-3|
Regression happens, an Oil fan cries
Their PDO falls to the floor
Holland opens his eyes
The roster shuffle sets in
Before the backup can shut the door
Oh, now feel it comin' back again
Like a rollin' thunder chasing the wind
Forces pullin' on save percentage again..I can feel it
— Woodguy (@Woodguy55) October 23, 2019
Think how foolish Minnesota will feel when they lose this game. https://t.co/DliOCylxko
— StevenX (@StevenX_DFA) October 23, 2019
Now would be a real good time for literally anyone not named McDavid, Draisaitl, Neal or RNH to show that they’re an NHL caliber forward
— Jason Adams (@AdamsOnHockey) October 23, 2019
Be nice if someone in the bottom 6 contributed more than that dead space…
— MrSmith (@IIMrSmithII) October 23, 2019
I think you mean mustard packets
— Ty L (@tornadotank) October 23, 2019
Is that what happened to chris the intern??!?
— Brouwski (@darianmdbrouwer) October 23, 2019
We sacrificed Taylor hall to make playoffs, we sacrifice Chris to go 7-(2)-1, what happens if we start looking bigger…
— chilless (@chillLess99) October 23, 2019
— Samurai Donkey (@G_Mack56) October 23, 2019
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Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 10/22/2019 – 8:40 pm MT