This is what happens when you’re late. Final Score: 6-2 Panthers
I don’t know how many times in the first 12 games that I’ve written about the Oilers needing to develop a killer instinct and kick teams while they’re down. Has to be at least half of the games right? Yet, so far, we haven’t really seen the boys lay the boots to a team that’s below them in the standings, but, in my mind, the good news was that this afternoon’s game against the Panthers provided another opportunity to make that happen. Throwing on my totally biased Oilers fan hat, I was hoping for the boys to have their knives sharpened and ready to kill. That said, in their matchup against the Flames on Thursday night, Florida managed to come back from behind several times, took the game to overtime, and almost closed out an improbable win so we knew that they’re working with a flavour of resilience that the Oilers needed to be aware of if the result was going to go their way.
When the game started, the Oilers decided to be gracious hosts and spot the Panthers with a few minutes of offensive pressure before finally realized that it would be a good idea to join in the fun. After settling in and getting their legs moving, the ice started to even out a bit and the Oilers were able to finesse their way into some chances on goal. Neither team scored, but neither team was running away with it either. Heading into the middle frame with the score tied at bagels, it didn’t take long for the Panthers to end the stalemate as they put up three goals in quick succession, forcing the Oilers into a deficit that may as well have been a village-sized chasm. The boys weren’t ready to go and they got punished for it. Needless to say, crawling out of a three-goal hole is a feat you don’t often see in the NHL and the Oilers were going to have to be basically perfect if they were going to pull it off.
Unfortunately, being perfect was too far out of reach and while the Oilers were able to finally get themselves on the board with a pair of third frame goals, their bad start to the second and third periods ultimately sunk the ship and sent the Oilers back to the loss column. All you can really do is shake this one off and move on.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- James Neal got his 10th goal of the year after Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ deflection bounced in off of him right at the side of the net. That’s the second time this season that Nuge looked like he scored only to have the replay shout that Neal got a piece of it. You love to see that kind of generosity among linemates.
- Leon Draisaitl temporarily brought the game back to within two goals (4-2) after being in the perfect place at the perfect time to handle a rebound that bounced out at the side of the net. While the game was out of reach by that point, the goal did make things more interesting in the last six minutes of play. Draisaitl could turn out to be one of the best-valued contracts in the NHL by the time it’s over if it’s not one already. Yes, you can argue that Chiarelli gave him a touch too much money based on what comparables like Pastrnak got, but that doesn’t mean he’s not still providing excellent value for the Oilers with what he’s got. The man is an absolute unit and it seems like he’s getting more dominant as time goes on, and it was no surprise to see him get another couple of points for the pile. Happy Birthday, Leon!
- Mikko Koskinen had to come in in relief of Mike Smith and I thought he did a decent enough job given the horrible circumstances he walked into. Yeah, I know he allowed a pair of goals, one of which was kinda gross, but it’s not like he was getting much help from the team in front of him either. By the time the Oilers allowed that sixth goal, basically everyone had already stopped competing and it left poor Mikko to face a firing squad. Koskinen finished his day with 13 saves and a .867 save%.
- You guys tired of me talking about Ethan Bear yet? Too bad, I don’t care. The kid has been a pleasure to watch so far this season and since I’m looking for silver linings after today’s gong show I wanted to give him another shout out despite his -3 rating. From the little plays he makes in the defensive zone to his willingness to fire the puck, Ethan Bear is providing the Oilers with a skill set they haven’t had from a defenceman in a while. Today, he did struggle a little bit but that’s to be expected when a rookie is handling as many minutes as Bear has been.
- The Oilers’ penalty kill was perfect again today, killing off the lone chance they faced.
- After going scoreless in their last four games, the Oilers were finally able to convert with the man advantage. I mean, they needed way more than just a single goal to actually make a difference in the final but it was nice to see them cash one in on the PP again.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Are you surprised that Aaron Ekblad hadn’t scored yet this season but managed to do so against the Oilers? You’re not, are you? After Sasha Barkov made a nice little play in the Oilers’ defensive zone, he dished the puck off to a trailing Ekblad and he snapped a quick wrister that beat Mike Smith and opened the scoring.
- Not impressed by only one guy scoring his first goal of the season? You’re in luck. Newly signed Brian Boyle got his first of the year after he caught the Oilers puck watching in their own zone which gave him the time and space to roof a rebound past Mike Smith. Jujhar Khaira is going to take a lot of heat for just standing there and watching while Boyle did his thing.
- Noel Acciari got the Panthers’ third straight goal with a weak wrist shot that beat Smith and got him hooked from the game. It was Florida’s third goal in a span of 2:05 and enough to make some folks turn off the TV.
- To make matters worse, those three goals are now a part of Panthers history. According to the NHL, Aaron Ekblad, Brian Boyle and Noel Acciari combined for three goals in the first 2:36 of the second period which was the fastest three goals to start a period in Florida Panthers history.
- Evgenii Dadonov put the final nail in the Oilers’ coffin as he scored the Panthers’ fourth goal of the day with a wraparound marker in the opening moments of the third period.
- Frank Vatrano added an empty netter (5-2) and I always wonder what the point is of pulling the goal when you’re down by a pair.
- Seeing as it seemed fun that a couple of his teammates scored their first goals of the season against the slump breakers from Edmonton, Jayce Hawryluk got in on the action with a late goal in the third period after the Oilers had all but quit on this game.
- Mike Smith was the starter for the Oilers this afternoon as he looks to continue his fine start to the 2018-19 season. While he did have a strong start to the game, a shot to the pills at the end of the first period seemingly rattled him as he allowed three quick ones in the opening moments of the second, ending his day and the Oilers chances of winning. There’s no doubt that Dave Tippett will get asked about why he chose to stick with the veteran despite him seeming injured at the end of the first period. Smith finished the day with 10 saves and a .769 save%.
- I really didn’t like the Oilers’ start to this hockey game as they weren’t even to manage a shot on goal until the opening period was over five minutes old. Meanwhile, at the other end of the ice, the Panthers were able to get their cycle going down low, manufacture a few odd-man rushes, and generally outplay the Oilers early on.
- I know Nuge got an assist on James Neal’s deflection goal, but I really wanted that one to be his, ya know? He’s getting all kinds of chances and just can’t cash right now.
- Did the bottom six score a goal? No. No, they did not.
- Oilers outshot 29-26 but it honestly felt more lopsided than that.
|00:31||Florida||Aaron Ekblad (1) ASST: Aleksander Barkov (13), MacKenzie Weegar (4)||1-0|
|01:58||Florida||Brian Boyle (1) ASST: Brett Connolly (4), Jayce Hawryluk (1)||2-0|
|02:36||Florida||Noel Acciari (4)||3-0|
|00:49||Florida||Evgenii Dadonov (6) ASST: Jonathan Huberdeau (8), MacKenzie Weegar (5)||4-0|
|03:37||Edmonton||PPG – James Neal (10) ASST: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (6), Leon Draisaitl (12)||4-1|
|13:18||Edmonton||Leon Draisaitl (9) ASST: Ethan Bear (2), Connor McDavid (15)||4-2|
|18:36||Florida||EN – Frank Vatrano (3) ASST: Denis Malgin (5)||5-2|
|19:39||Florida||Jayce Hawryluk (1) ASST: Brian Boyle (1), Brett Connolly (5)||6-2|
If we get more than 5 shots on net this period I will get this portrait tattoo pic.twitter.com/8QEXf9sr6N
— Aime (@aimeok) October 27, 2019
— Lisa Evans (@TheLisaEvans) October 27, 2019
Do the Panthers have a guy named Atari?
— Count von Towel (@TheTowelBoy) October 27, 2019
The #Oilers bottom 6 doesn't have a goal but they do have 5 Shots on net today!
— Hernan Salas (@HernanDaMan) October 27, 2019
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Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 10/27/2019 – 4:45 pm MT