Living in Edmonton myself, it’s weird to see all the frustration surrounding the team. They are playing in the toughest part of their schedule, and through five games hold a 3-2-0 record. Basically, what I’m saying is that it could be much worse, Oilers fans. We’re only five games into the season and we’re above .500. Let’s relax.
Nashville comes into Edmonton for the late game on Hockey Night in Canada after a 5-3 loss to Calgary on Friday night. Nashville would be without Pekka Rinne in this game as he got injured in the game on Friday, he was more than likely not going to start tonight anyway.
The Edmonton Oilers will be without Ty Rattie as he’s been moved to the IR and will be out for at least a couple of weeks with a “mid-muscle injury” and the beneficiary to that is Kailer Yamamoto as he’ll draw the RW spot alongside McDavid and Nugent-Hopkins. Puljujarvi moves up the lineup due to the injury as well, while Kassian draws into the lineup.
An uneventful first period as the Oilers and Predators both played a very defensive game as both teams didn’t create many shots. Nashville would be the first team to head to the powerplay after Kris Russel took an interference penalty against Kyle Turris. Nashville was only able to muster one shot on the power play as they were unable to generate any pressure in the Oilers zone. They’d get another chance a minute later, however, as Milan Lucic would take a two-minute minor for cross-checking Calle Jarnkrok. They’d get three shots on this one, but Talbot would shut the door.
The Oilers would finally get their chance on the power play with 6:56 left to play in the first period, Zac Rinaldo would interfere with Connor McDavid and get boxed for it. The Oilers, shockingly due to the way they’ve played this season, didn’t get any shots on net as the Predators kept them at bay. The first period would end and we’d go into the second tied 0-0.
Finally, in the second period, we’d get some scoring in this game as Nashville who came into this game as the league’s best team in my opinion so far this season would find the twine on a shorthanded goal. Ryan Johansen would go to the box for a slashing penalty against Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. After a missed shot by the Oilers, P.K Subban would collect the puck and put a wrist shot by Cam Talbot and the Predators would take a 1-0 lead.
The Oilers, for the most part, played well up to this point, but it only took 90 seconds for the Predators to take this game over. Viktor Arvidsson and Nick Bonino would connect on a nice give and go as Arvidsson would rip it by Talbot, giving the Predators a 2-0 lead heading into the third period.
The Oilers came into the third period, showing a lot of desperation as they played even with the Predators all game, all it took was 90 seconds in the second for the Preds to sink the ship. Edmonton would get lots of shots on Juuse Saros, 18 of them exactly in the third period alone. A couple posts and a couple close calls as the Oilers were snake bitten through this game. They would by the end of the night throw 31 shots on net, but Saros would turn all of them away. Edmonton would pull the goalie with around two minutes remaining in the game, however, they weren’t able to get anything done with it as Klefbom would be unable to hold the puck on three separate occasions. Roman Josi would ice the game with an empty-netter as the Predators would move to 7-1 and drop the Oilers to .500.
Final score: Predators 3, Oilers 0.
Three Ups, Three Downs:
- Evan Bouchard. He took over on the first powerplay unit in the third period and ran it well, to be honest, he ran it better than any other defenseman has done all year. I think they should give him some more time on the power play as he’s able to get it on the net, unlike others.
- Cam Talbot played very well, for the most part, allowing two goals on 27 shots and ending the game with a .926%. That’s about where he needs to be if the Oilers want to make a deep run in the playoffs this season.
- Effort. The Oilers played extremely well against one of the best teams in the league despite the score. It only took a lapse of 90 seconds for the Predators to take over the game and good teams when they get the lead, don’t give it back.
- It’s becoming a trend; if McDavid can’t carry the tempo of the game and do everything himself the Oilers don’t produce goals. I know the Oilers don’t have depth, but they have to find a way to get secondary scoring.
- Leon Draisaitl looked quiet again, this is also becoming a trend. I know he’s putting up the points so it’s easy for his game to get overlooked. He needs to be able to drive his own line, he’s making too much money to have to rely on McDavid to be productive. There’s too much talk around putting him back on McDavid’s line and I think that would be terrible for this team. If they want to win a Stanley Cup, Leon needs to drive his own line.
- It pains me to say this, but Jesse Puljujarvi had a terrible night, I think he’s had a fantastic start to the season and I’m glad to see he got the opportunity on the second line tonight, but he needs to find his game. It’s his third season and while I don’t think the Oilers have handled his progression correctly, it’s time for him to show he can be a force in this league, he has the skillset and the size.
Next up, the Oilers host Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins 7 PM on Tuesday night.
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