If you PVR’d last night’s game, you’d be wise to stop watching after forty minutes.
The first forty minutes were so good, you could sell them by the gram. The Oilers owned the pace of the first forty minutes. They outshot Detroit, the puck was in Detroit’s end for the majority of the time, the Oilers had a couple of the Red Wings were running around their goaltender like Ed Rooney’s secretary in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. The Oilers were going to defeat the Red Wings, and a serious march to the playoffs was about to begin. You could taste it. The rebuild was over.
Not so fast.
The third period came, and The Oilers came out. Not the ones that we just saw in the first and second period, it was the Oilers who were playing to protect a lead. Nearly all of the offence went away, and the Detroit Red Wings cashed in twice, sending the game into overtime.
You know how this finishes.
So what happened?
- Taylor Hall proves again and again that he’s the best player this team has. Taylor Hall’s first goal featured him slicing through the Detroit defence only to slip the puck through the five hole of Jimmy Howard. If there was a way to put him on the ice for forty minutes, I’d do it. If your kids ask you where babies come from, you show them this video of Taylor Hall scoring this goal. They’ll catch on quick.
- WE GET IT ABOUT TAYLOR HALL ALREADY Watch him set up battle along the boards with Jonathan Ericsson. Yakupov sends one to Howard, and Sam Gagner nabs his eleventh of the year. I’m getting all tingly inside. The Red Wings are reeling.
- The Oilers are killing it on the shot clock after forty minutes, up 26-14. They’ve outhustled, they’ve outhit, they’ve outchanced, they’ve out-everything they could. This is a different Oilers team. All they need to do is maintain this in the third, and they’ve beaten the Red Wings in regulation.
- Oh, then the third period came.
- STOP PLAYING THE FOURTH LINE SO DAMN MUCH Listen, I’m starting to warm up to Mike Brown. Why? Maybe it’s because I’m used to seeing Eager or Hordichuk play the puck like it’s a grenade on the end of their stick, but Mike Brown at least (so far) appears to be a better hockey player than either of those guys. But, there’s no good reason to double-shift the guy in when the club is up 2-1 and struggling to hang on. ELEVEN MINUTES went by in the third period where Nail Yakupov didn’t see the ice. Ales Hemskywas on the bench for a similar amount of time.
What the hell? It’s obvious the ice was tipping at this point. Don’t sit your stars. Dumb, dumb, dumb.
- Jeff Petry had a moment he’d like to forget. One of those freak moments, and I’m pretty sure that he’ll dump the puck into the corner next time as opposed to in his net.
- Sit your star players, play a third period mostly in your own zone, and you’re going to have disastrous results. Against Detroit, no less. Stop overplaying the fourth line, let your star players earn their cheques, do what you did for the first forty minutes and we don’t even see overtime. But we did see overtime, and you know how that goes.
- On a serious note: I like the top three lines. You can put any one of those three lines out on the ice, and good things look to be happening. Just not the fourth one all the time.
In all this mess, the Oilers actually outshot the Wings. And that’s a tiny victory, seeing as how it doesn’t happen all that often. The Wings outshot the Oilers 15-6 combined in the third and OT, and the Oilers were able to seep one point out of forty minutes of play. In reality, the Oilers lost a point last night, and made the uphill climb a little more difficult. Remember if things went right how the Oilers could’ve been a chip shot from the eighth spot?
- It’s now a little more difficult. Well, four points difficult.
Oilers take on Nashville tomorrow. Let’s hope we don’t see a repeat of the last time Nashville took on the Oilers.
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