Post Game - Oilers Defense Steals a Win
Sometimes there will be games where the top players simply do not produce. In the past for the Edmonton Oilers, that has essentially guaranteed a loss. You may have seen after last nights game a stat rolling around social media; the Oilers are 0-26-2 when one of Draisaitl or McDavid does not produce. Prior to that the Oilers did manage to win November 28th 2017 against the Coyotes without Leon or Connor on the scoresheet. It's an ugly stat and one that shows how much this team relies on it's two best players.
Last night was not a clean win for Edmonton. The top two lines struggled to get anything going with the Draisaitl line in particular all playing pretty poor. Luckily depth scoring paved the way for the Oilers with all three goals scored coming from different defenders, along with some key players by the bottom six.
Edmonton currently sits tied for first in the NHL with goals from defensemen with 11. The Oilers have achieved that number in 15 games. Last season it took them 34 games to reach that number.
- Evan Bouchard continues to look like a player who has played in the league for a dozen years rather than a rookie. Bouchard plays such a calm game and never looks out of position. He makes passes that I haven't seen an Oilers defenseman make in years. His goal last night was his first of the season and second of his career and was a sneaky wrister that was shot clean through traffic. The kid has great vision.
- Darnell Nurse continues to produce big numbers, notching his 5th of the year. It was an ugly goal for Hogberg to let in but it's still good on Nurse to be finding the back of the net and being more confident to shoot the puck.
- Good to see Barrie pot another goal, even if it was another goal that had no business going in.
- Jujhar Khaira is playing some great hockey for Edmonton right now and registered two assists. When Khaira is playing a heavy and physical game and is involved with the play he is an ideal bottom six winger.
- Speaking of Khaira, both he and RNH had a great sequence on the Senators 4 minute powerplay where they played keep away from Ottawa for almost a full minute. Great aggressive PK that finished 2/2.
- Devin Shore, Josh Archibald, and Alex Chiasson all notched assists as well and were part of the energy lines that were responsible for the Oilers win.
- Mikko Koskinen let in a rough first goal on the first shot that had fans wringing their hands but to the big mans credit he was great for the rest of the game and a big reason why the Oilers won.
- He didn't score a goal but William Lagesson is looking better with each game and is very much doing what Caleb Jones did a year ago, impressing with simple strong plays and not making many mistakes.
- The first isn't necessarily bad stuff, more my pessimism coming through. Jujhar Khaira seems to have a good stretch of 5-6 games every year before disappearing once more. Khaira needs to play like he did last night, every night he is in the lineup.
- He may have scored a goal but Tyson Barrie should not be on the top pairing. Near the end of the game he made an attempted clear which went right on a Sens stick and nearly tied the game. Barrie has a role with this team but it should not be 24+ minutes a game.
- Koekkoek also has done little to impress lately and at times just looks slow to the play. Caleb Jones deserves a spot in the lineup over him right now.
- The Draisaitl line just could not find any chemistry at all last game. I'll chalk it off to a one off but that line never got anything rolling.
- I think it's telling that when Tippett looked to gain some energy, he went to Draisaitl-McDavid-Yamamoto and not RNH. Nuge is not bringing much offensively to the table as of late.
- Despite doing a solid job of keeping the Senators to the outside and not allowing too many high quality chances the Oilers were still outshot 42-22. Edmonton struggled at times to clear out of their own zone and to Ottawa's credit they played a structured and physical game.
Edmonton will enjoy a day off before finishing their road trip with a single game in Montreal. The Canadiens are one of the teams above Edmonton in the standings right now and a team that the Oilers have yet to beat. They will need to come in sharp.