Let me introduce myself as someone who thinks the Oilers believed the press clippings about how unstoppable they were heading into last season and have since been humbled. General Manager Peter Chiarelli was correct this past off-season staying predominantly put with what he has/had. Toward the end of last season Coach Todd McLellan finally relented and paired Ryan Nugent-Hopkins with Connor McDavid with some consistency. One wonders how much rope Ty Rattie has with the coveted spot next to those two. One wonders if the entire defense rebounds from a tough 2016-17 and by happenstance bring Cam Talbot back to All-Star form. No more wondering, let’s get to the game!

1st Period Highlights

1st Period Thoughts

Seeing the Calgary Flames and Boston Bruins lose their respective season openers so badly after their preseason game in China makes one hope that much more that the Oilers win today. Alas the more things change, the more things stay the same. 58 seconds in the New Jersey Devils take the lead with their first shot on goal.

The most maligned returning Edmonton Oiler scores the first goal of the season. Haters are gonna say it was all McDavid skating end-to-end. I’m going to say Congratulations to Milan Lucic on the powerplay goal. My apologies for breaking out the -1 tweet after the Devils opened the scoring.

2nd Period Highlights

2nd Period Thoughts

The Oilers survived the first minute of the period but did not survive the first shot. To defend Cam Talbot, who has been very good, the Devils were 7 seconds into a powerplay opportunity. If there is a true weakness to Talbot’s game it is his puck handling skills. It wasn’t so much his puck handling skills as it was first game miscommunication between him and the defence but it led to the 3rd goal of the game.

Sportsnet colour commentator Drew Remenda (who I thought was being replaced by Louie DeBrusk) did all he could to blame both goals on Oilers defenceman Kris Russell. From disagreeing with Russell’s stance trying (ultimately failing) to block the powerplay shot to blaming him for not picking up Zajac on the goal where the Oilers were scrambling. If I’m mentioning the commentator, I think he has done something really right or really wrong. Not a fan of Remenda.

The Oilers defence is not playing poorly. Of the 10 shots against, aside from the two that went in, only Taylor Hall had a high quality chance. If Talbot had given up a rebound, Adam Larsson would have scooped it up. There is a bit too much cheating by the forwards to try and start a breakout. Speaking of that Oilers offence…the line of Nuge/McJesus/Rattie has been good. Full stop! 17:48 into the 2nd, Ryan Strome collects the Oilers first shot of the period. Ensuing shift is the first time I heard Kailer Yamamoto’s name in what NHL.com listed as 9:21 of ice time. If I recall correctly, the only two chances that Jesse Puljujarvi have had have been because of misplays by Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid. Long story short - - >

3rd Period Highlights

3rd Period Thoughts

Yamamoto was dynamic all period and earned his 6:27 of playing time in the final frame. Please, please, please more of this. What I would like to see less of is Leon Draisaitl on a line with McDavid unless it’s the powerplay. We know Draisaitl can score with McDavid, the jury is still out if he can carry his own line. It’s understood the team was down 3 goals when they were paired together but let’s not make either of these situations a regular occurrence. Being an armchair coach is easy because all you have to say is give McDavid as many shifts as possible and not truly think about any other circumstances. This armchair coach wants to see less knee-jerk reverting back to putting all your eggs in one basket and instead use games like this to see if anyone else on the roster steps up like Rattie did today. Off-season additions Tobias Rieder and Kyle Brodziak anchored the 4th line with Matt Kassian. A big ole -2 for each of them. Captain Obvious statement, your 4th line cannot go -2.

The Oilers defence averaged 31.98 shots against last season. The New Jersey Devils had 27. Nobody looked great, nobody stuck out like a sore thumb. Matt Benning and Darnell Nurse were tagged with a -3 each. No we don’t need to split them up. No Brandon Davidson is not the better option than Benning. No you don’t just throw 20 minutes of ice time at Evan Bouchard! No you don’t swap in Jason Garrison for game 2!  Let’s remember, it is just game one. Now let’s continue the march to the playoffs

March To The Playoffs, Edmonton Oilers Game 1

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