Last week’s season opener for the Edmonton Oilers was, well, dreadful. The squad were thoroughly embarrassed at the hands of the New Jersey Devils, dropping a 5-2 decision in Gothenburg, Sweden as part of the NHL Global Series. After nearly a week off of game action, the Oilers headed to the home of famed Lemonheads frontman Evan Dando - yes, I went with Evan Dando - for a date with Patrice Bergeron and the Boston Bruins. Did the team fare better than their abysmal performance on October 6th?
Despite a solid opening few minutes of the game, the Oilers were thoroughly outclassed by the Bruins for the majority of the contest. The top line of Nuge-McDavid-Rattie generated a fair share of chances, but similar to their game against the Devils, the team wasn’t able to generate any consistent momentum.
We’re two games into the season, and it’s already embarrassing to be an Oilers fan.
From the start, the Bruins looked like the superior team. The Oilers had no answers for their cycle game, and Boston was able to hold the puck in Edmonton’s zone for nearly the first three minutes of the game. Edmonton looked to have no jump to their game, and it looked as though we’d be in for another long night in Oilers history.
An average start, however, was immediately remedied on a break by – who else? – Connor McDavid. The Oilers star centre took a pass from linemate Ty Rattie and buried his first goal of the season five-hole on Bruins starter Jaroslav Halak.
Despite Edmonton’s early 1-0 lead, however, the Bruins were the more consistent team through the first period; the team cycled the puck well and were able to create a number of opportunities down low that put pressure on Oil goaltender Cam Talbot A huge hit from Chris Wideman to Oilers centre Jujhar Khaira at about the 6-minute mark sent Khaira to the bench, though the centre wouldn’t miss any time.
Adam Larsson took the games’ first penalty, drawing an interference penalty roughly halfway through the first. David Pasternak scored an early goal-of-the-year candidate, absolutely undressing Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and putting the puck just over Talbot’s shoulder on the backhand. After Pastrnak’s game-tying goal, the Oilers seemed to lose all momentum. While the top line was able to generate some offence through the rest of the period, the Bruins
Perhaps looking for a modicum of revenge for being laid out earlier, Jujhar Kharia took a boarding penalty at the 14:00 mark, giving the Bruins their second powerplay of the game. For the second time in the game, Boston was able to capitalize. Brad Marchand, looking for a cross-ice pass, was able to score a goal due to the unfortunate luck of Drake Caggulia. The pass ricocheted off the Drake and went over the blocker of Cam Talbot, giving the Bruins a 2-1 lead. However, that lead wouldn’t last for long – but unfortunately, not due to any Oilers tallies. Less than a minute later, the Bruins were able to capitalize on another cross-ice feed, as a pretty give-and-go from David Kreiji to Nordstrom gave the Bruins a two-goal lead.
Finally, the Oilers were cut a break at the 16:45 mark, as Charlie McAvoy took an interference penalty to send the Oilers on their first powerplay of the game. It was a prime opportunity to regain some of their mojo; however, after just 34 seconds Oscar Klefbom took a slashing penalty on a pseudo-breakaway by Brad Marchand and bringing the teams to 4-on-4. A few sputtered offensive bursts highlighted the final few minutes of the first, but the period ended a 3-1 game in favour of the Bruins.
The second period started much like the first period ended: thoroughly in the Bruins favour.
After being dominated much of the first, Jujhar Khara looked to spark his team, getting in a spirited bout with Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller. Shortly after, Tobias Reider tipped a Leon Draisaitl shot for the Oilers best scoring chance of the period.
Unfortunately, much like the first, the Bruins controlled the pace of play. While unable to build on their two-goal lead, they were able to continue to cycle the puck down low throughout the game. Unfortunately, not a single Oilers defender stood out for a positive reason in this game, and their inability to slow down the cycle was a large reason why. Matt Benning, in particular, had a rough game, both victimized by Pastrnak on the earlier Bruins goal and often losing essential puck battles.
Other than an empty netter from Patrice Bergeron, there truly was nothing to write home about in the third period. The Oilers were able to secure a few chances on net in the third ; however, nothing was able to beat either Halak or the post. The Bruins bent, but didn’t break in the final stanza. Bergeron’s goal was the hockey equivalent of shooting a horse with a broken leg; all hope of survival had been removed early on, now, it was simply time to end the pain.
Final Score: Bruins 4, Oilers 1
Three Up, Three Down:
Connor McDavid turns on the afterburners to score his first goal of the season. 💨 pic.twitter.com/MXZ61KRHgW
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) October 11, 2020
- It’s hard to be truly upset when you have Connor McDavid on your team. Connor scored his first goal, proving that the McFlow hasn’t slowed him down one bit. Huge credit to Ty Rattie on a gorgeous pass to set the play up.
- I’ve always loved Jujhar Khaira, and he was one of the few Oilers to attempt to spark the team last night. After taking a massive hit from Kevan Miller, the sophomore forward at least attempted to play the body a little more and looked good in a fight against the aforementioned Miller.
David Pastrnak with a video game type goal 😱🔥 pic.twitter.com/0AKK9s2PAV
— Bar South N Celly™ (@BarSouthNCelly) October 12, 2020
- I’m not just upset that Pastrnak scored a beauty, I’m also upset that I’m playing him in fantasy hockey this week. Meanwhile, looking at Spencer’s starting lineup, really great to get a dud of a game from Leon Draisaitl.
- The Oilers penalty kill looked, well, atrocious. Regardless of how the goals were scored - Pastrnak’s on a beauty, Brad Marchand’s on a fluke bounce off Drake Caggulia’s leg - the special teams have to tighten up if the Oilers are to have any success this season.
- No Oilers defenceman was any good last night. I feel like this line could have been taken from any Oilers blog over the past ten years, but I digress.
Next up, the Oilers head to New York for their first date of the season with the New York Rangers. Puck drops at 11:00 am MST and can be found on Sportsnet.
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