The Edmonton Oilers managed to fight their way back from a 3-0 deficit only to let the game slip away again in the second half of the third period on their way to a 6-3 loss to the Canes.
This team now finds themselves once again tied with the Coyotes but just two points ahead of the Flames with the Golden Knights not far behind. Anyone who had already declared this club to be a sure-fire playoff team was suffering from a clear case of premature prognostication.
The first 16 minutes of the opening period weren’t that bad. I know they didn’t have a lot of jump but at one point they were outshooting the Canes 10-3 and heading to the power-play with a chance to tie the game at one. They couldn’t take advantage of the PP and then the Hurricanes struck twice and all of a sudden, the Oilers were playing a serious game of catch up. The first penalty against Nurse was just pointless, why through an elbow in that situation? The Kassian penalty was also unnecessary which means the Oilers shot themselves in the foot twice and paid for it both times.
It was a wild night for Zack Kassian. He took a penalty late in the first period that I’m sure he would like to have back but after that, he was a driving force in getting the team back in the game. I loved the fact that he was walking a fine line all night but in the end, the officials got the last laugh. I’d like to say I was shocked that Kassian was given the only penalty coming out of a scrum that involved Canes keeper James Reimer, but I wasn’t. NHL officiating is embarrassing and I’m not just talking about that call, or in Oilers games this season, I’m talking about the entire season across the whole league. How in the world can you only take Kassian when Reimer was just as much involved, not to mention four other Hurricanes as well? The ensuing power-play basically ended the game, so I have no problem with Kassian taking a misconduct while voicing his displeasure with garbage officiating.
Leon Draisaitl is having a phenomenal season but his play as of late has been subpar. Outside of a couple of good plays in the early stages of the Oilers first power-play I thought he was disinterested until he was placed back with McDavid in the third period. I just think he plays with more jump when he’s with McDavid, I understand why, but at the same time, he needs to bring the same energy when he’s with Nuge or anyone else on the ice at 5-on-5. He’s now been a minus player in seven consecutive games and is -13 over his last 12.
If you think he looks tired, he very well might be. He has played 753 minutes so far this season, the only other player with more than 700 minutes is Connor McDavid. Draisaitl has played 100 more minutes than every forward in the league except for Eichel, Larkin, Scheifele, Ovechkin and O’Reilly.
Dougie Hamilton fakes the dump-in and scores from center ice pic.twitter.com/cTn2JxFHk6
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) December 11, 2019
I didn’t think it was an awful night for Koskinen, but the goal against Dougie Hamilton was an all-time stinker. Was it a clever play by Hamilton? Sure, but an NHL goalie should never be beaten straight up from center ice. After a couple of weak goals in that game against Ottawa and then six goals against on Tuesday you must hope his confidence hasn’t taken a blow.
THE HOME STAND
This was the most disappointing four-game stretch of the season for the Oilers. They come away with three of a possible eight points from home games against the Ottawa, Los Angeles, Buffalo and Carolina. If they are going to be a playoff team a stretch at home like this can’t happen. Three of eight points on a road trip would be understandable but not at home against two weak teams and two teams that you should be able to play with. McDavid accurately summed up the home stand after the game “Not good enough, we needed to find a couple of more wins and we didn’t, so we need to go out on the road and find a big one in Minnesota then come home and defend home ice again.”
To be fair we probably should have known it wasn’t the Oilers night when McDavid lost the puck on a penalty shot, that will never happen again and for the Oilers sake, you hope we can say the same about this homestand.