Edmonton Oilers Shut Out 4-0 By Black Hawks


The Edmonton Oilers fell victim to a couple fatal defensive mistakes and a suffocating Black Hawks defence, in a 4-nothing shut-out in Chicago. In some ways, the score flattered the Hawks, as the actual shots were just 37-33. But on the other hand, this game never seemed to be in much doubt.

9 Things:

9. First, let me get this off my chest: The Show-boat celebration by Artemi Panarin after the 4-nothing goal was nothing short of classless garbage. In the old N.H.L., someone would have run you through the end of the rink for that act. Grow up.

8. You couldn’t blame the Edmonton Oilers power play tonight. They had 0 opportunities. But while the zebras missed a few, really…the Oilers needed to push harder to earn them…and didn’t.

7. Excuses, excuses, but this is one beat up team. And if they were just missing role players, you could get by. But when you list off Connor McDavid, Oscar Klefbom, Nail Yakupov, Benoit Pouliot, etc., you begin to realize that’s an entire line and probably your best D-man.

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6. Brandon Davidson was the Edmonton Oilers best D-man on the night, even though he ended up on the negative side of the Corsi numbers. Nikita Nikitin was not all that far behind. Fans yakked on him all game long, but they were just seeing the residual smoke & embers of the Justin Schultz fire. Nikitin is just an easy target.

5. Darnell Nurse made one mistake all night long, but it ended up in his own net. Over the first 30 minutes, Nurse was the Edmonton Oilers best defenceman, and did a terrific job of containing Patrick Kane. But his give-away deep in his own zone was fatal. Nurse was good the rest of the way, but the damage was done.

4. The line of Matt Hendricks, Mark Letestu and Lauri Korpikoski was the Edmonton Oilers best unit tonight. Hendricks, in particular, was the Oilers best forward. He finished up with a team high Corsi of +8, and was relentless on the forecheck in the Chicago end. The Oilers needed more men like him.

3. Chicago employs a withering back-check, and applies a tremendous amount of back-pressure through the neutral zone when the other team is trying to attack. The Edmonton Oilers DID eventually push back and pile up some shots, but to be clear: That was only after Chicago had a commanding lead and started to back off it’s neutral zone game.

2. Boy, that was “a game” by Justin Schultz. He had performed much better in New York, and I’ve seen flashes where I thought he as about to bust out. But tonight in Chicago, he was just a bust. Among his many issues was primarily fault on the 1st Chicago goal, where he over-committed in the offensive zone on the pinch, got crossed up on his way back, and was the only one of three defenders who did not get back and cover his man. Ugly.

1. The Black Hawks best players were better than the Edmonton Oilers best players, tonight. 9 times out of 10 in an N.H.L. game, that will result in a win, and it did for Chicago tonight. Jonathan Toews was terrific, finishing with a goal and 2 assists. He really is a complete, high-end hockey player. While I am an unabashed Edmonton Oilers fan, I have to respect Toews. On the other end of the ice, Taylor Hall, Leon Draisaitl, etc. never did break through.

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Step away from the ledge. The real key is the Denver game. Who didn’t say, when the Edmonton Oilers embarked upon this trip, that they would be satisfied with 4 of a possible 8 points. A win over the Av’s would deliver just that.

Easier said than done? Sure. But I have imminently more confidence in this Oilers squad than the ones in previous years.