That’s a tough one. Final Score: 3-1 Red Wings
After going 1-3-0 in the 11 days since these two teams last met, dare I say that tonight’s rematch was a must-win for the Edmonton Oilers? Would that be too bold? Am I tripping out? I don’t think so. While the team’s hot start has been enough to cover up this recent run of mediocrity, the Oilers needed to get themselves back in the win column and make it look good while they’re at it. They needed a statement game against a team that’s currently sitting in second last place in the entire NHL, and, no, I don’t think that’s too much to ask. Coming into tonight’s matchup, the Red Wings had lost eight straight, which is exactly the kind of trap that our boys keep falling into far too often for my liking. I convinced myself that this wouldn’t happen again, and that the Oilers would actually care enough to do whatever it took to turn Detroit’s eight-game slide into nine and avoiding their ‘slump buster’ label.
So when the game got going and the Oilers did what we were all worried about, and came out flat and spotting the Red Wings more than their share of early zone time and chances. I don’t know why they’re having such a tough time getting going right now, but this was another ugly start for Edmonton on all fronts. To make matters worse, Mikko Koskinen wasn’t able to totally erase all of the mistakes happening around him and the Oilers found themselves down by a pair of goals before the game was even 10 minutes old. That’s not a shot at the goalie, but more a point about the firesale the Oilers had going on. And while they did get better as the game progressed through the second period and into the third, there were still far too many shifts where the Red Wings were able to set up, cause havoc, or basically do whatever they wanted in the Oilers’ zone.
In the end, this game ended as it probably should have despite the late-game push and goal from Draisaitl, as the Oilers were noticeably the second best team on the ice more often than they were not.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- I can’t say enough good things about Leon Draisaitl and the way he’s developed into one of the league’s premier offensive players. He put that skill on display again tonight when he scored his 10th goal of the season, bringing the Oilers back to within a single goal midway through the third period. While there are always ways to improve, tightening up in the defensive zone is always on the menu, there’s no doubt that Leon is making the kind of magic that we could have only hoped for when he was drafted 3rd overall in 2014.
- A gigantic congratulations to Connor McDavid for playing in his 300th NHL game tonight. I always want to send him an apology from all of us for the fact that Peter Chiarelli ruined so many of them. Can you believe it’s already been that long since the Oilers were blessed with the lucky lottery numbers that bestowed upon them this Herculean hockey god? Me neither. We are so lucky to have this guy on the team that it pisses me off to see so many games in his young career get wasted by poor decisions and roster makeup. He deserves so much better.
- After coming into Sunday’s game in relief of Mike Smith, it was no surprise to see Mikko Koskinen get the start tonight against the Red Wings as he looks for his sixth straight win. Despite Koskinen’s toughest start to a game that we’ve seen from him this season, though I’d also suggest that the team in front of him wasn’t helping all that much, he shut the door for the final 50 minutes and gave his team a chance to win that they probably didn’t deserve. I thought Koskinen was great tonight and it would have been really nice if his teammates could have hooked him up with some run support. Koskinen finished the night with 25 saves and a .926 save%.
- As much as I thought I was going to dislike it, I thought the Khaira-RNH-Gagner line was very good tonight when they were out there. They produced some quality chances on goal and it’s a shame that they weren’t rewarded with at least one for their efforts.
- Ethan Bear appreciation point. Once again, he played big minutes (21:10), had a shot on goal, and made some clever little defensive zone plays with the puck that always seem to help his teammates exit the zone.
- Classy of the Red Wings to give Ken Holland a shout out in the first period. Old Dutch spent a lot of time with that organization and it was nice to see them pay a little respect for his work.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Dylan Larkin opened the scoring for the Red Wings after he was able to grab a puck down near the goal line and walk out in front of the goaltender unimpeded. Basically, Larkin had all the time in the world to make a play so when he shelved his chance into the top of the net, it almost seemed too easy for him.
- If I told you that Patrick Nemeth hadn’t scored a goal in 70 games would you be surprised that the Oilers were the team that ended the drought? You wouldn’t be, would you? No, me neither.
- Filip Hronek got the empty-netter and that’s all she wrote. Weak.
- I absolutely HATE the fact that it was the Oilers that ended the Wings’ eight-game losing streak. WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN SO OFTEN BECAUSE IT’S DRIVING ME CRAZY!?
- I know I wrote it in the intro but it bears repeating here that this was another horrid start for the Edmonton Oilers. It’s like they knew the game started at 5:30 pm MT but that they didn’t also know that they were supposed to be ready to play at that time. I don’t get it. I don’t understand why it took until the 50th minute of the hockey game before they finally felt a sense of urgency and started playing the way they can?
- Oilers lost the special teams battle tonight as they were shutout on three power play chances, but allowed a goal against in the three shorthanded situations they faced.
- Seriously, what happened to our power play? Why does it look so haggard right now? What happened? They’re not moving the puck with nearly as well and they’re passing up prime chances to shoot when they get a look.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had six (SIX) shots on goal tonight, was 70% in the faceoff circle, but couldn’t get anything through Jimmy Howard. I don’t know what kind of sacrifice we need to make to cure him of this snakebite but the drought is real and it is dangerous. That said, he’s getting plenty of chances and I know the goals will come, but I can’t help but feel for the guy right now as he’s clearly gripping the stick a little bit. Gord speed, Nuge, we’re all behind you.
- Oilers got absolutely torched in the faceoff circle, winning only 41% of the draws. Ouch.
|07:41||Detroit||PPG – Dylan Larkin (4) ASST: Taro Hirose (5), Tyler Bertuzzi (8)||0-1|
|08:33||Detroit||Patrik Nemeth (1) ASST: Valtteri Filppula (3), Madison Bowey (2)||0-2|
|12:48||Edmonton||Leon Draisaitl (10) ASST: Connor McDavid (16)||1-2|
|19:18||Detroit||EN – Filip Hronek (3)||1-3|
— Surveyor Brett (@BLuchanski) October 29, 2019
In honor of the Oilers Vs. Red Wings game tonight, here’s that time when Nuge made Nick Lidstrom look like a pylon. pic.twitter.com/Y6IoUpAphi
— 𝗔𝗱𝗮𝗺 (@OilersAdam) October 29, 2019
@jsbmbaggedmilk The Oilers look neither hot nor ready.
— Onion on My Belt (@arrrdeecee) October 29, 2019
We’ve got’em right where we want’em
— McOil Fan Chaddo (@oilfanchaddo) October 29, 2019
Maybe have MacT watch a couple games from the bench first.
— WheatNOil (@WheatNOil) October 30, 2019
Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 10/29/2019 – 8:15 pm MT