We look at some of the things which stood out in Wednesday night’s season-opener, as the Oilers were unexpectedly but deservedly dismantled by the Canucks.
Well that escalated quickly; as Devon Hladunewich wrote, what a complete tire fire. After so much preseason hype, the Edmonton Oilers were thoroughly out-everythinged during Wednesday night’s season opener in Vancouver.
The sum result was a demoralizing 8-1 loss to the Canucks, which no one could have predicted. As much as the home side deserved the win, there is no excuse for just how badly the Oilers performed on the night.
So what exactly went so wrong versus a team which isn’t as talented as the one from Edmonton? Here is a look at three things which stood out at Rogers Arena:
1) Not all the stars come out to play
Hockey might arguably be the ultimate team sports game, but you still need you main players to step up when it matters. In this respect, the Oilers stars were left wanting on Wednesday night in Vancouver.
Last season, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl were ranked first and second respectively in the NHL for points scored. However, the star duo disappointed terribly in the season opener with just one point each on the night, as they combined for the Oilers’ solitary goal.
McDavid did little at even strength, as he totaled just two shots overall on goal. Draisaitl had similar results, although in fairness his did finish with a 0 plus/minus rating, compared to -3 by his esteemed colleague. (‘Fun’ fact: the 8-1 loss equaled the biggest loss of McDavid’s time in Edmonton.)
New addition Connor Brown, a fully healthy Evander Kane and 100-point man Ryan Nugent-Hopkins were expected to bolster the attack. The trio were uninspired on the night however, although — like their superstar teammates — you know they can and will be better as the season progresses. (At least Oilers fans will certainly hope so …)
As for the Canucks, while they don’t quite have the same star power as the Oilers, their top players still stepped up on the night. Leading the way was Brock Boeser, with the 2015 first round draft pick scoring a career-high four goals.
Boeser was more than ably supported by J.T. Miller and Elias Pettersson. Both players finished the game with a goal and three assists.