The Western trip continued as the Sens headed into Edmonton to face Connor McDavis and his Edmonton Oilers. I don’t think many Sens had big expectations for the game as the Oilers came into the game winners of 14 of their last 17. At this point, being a fan is about trying not to let frustration turn into despair.
No team has scored more goals in the first period than the Edmonton Oilers (50 to be specific) so feeling a little nervous going into this first period was normal. The game started as one might have expected, with an overwhelming offensive storm from the Oilers. A few glaring mistakes by the team that were gracefully saved by Anton Forsberg – a nice change of pace from recent outings.
Then a scary moment, as Claude Giroux went down injured after Evander Kane had the audacity to high stick our legendary Claude. The infraction was deemed worthy a double minor. Now, I did say there weren’t many expectations for the Sens but I at least thought a 4 minute power play would result in some exciting and dangerous opportunities. Well, we did get that to start off the power play, but it was somehow in the wrong direction. The Oilers had a perfectly executed penalty kill where barely anything even crossed the blue line. The Sens ended up with a few good shots but nothing to really talk about. Besides Giroux returning to the bench, there was not much else by the way of good news from a four minute power play
The Oilers naturally gained a ton of momentum from that penalty kill and came back storming. A few saves by Forsy, Zub and then Brännström gave the Sens a chance to regroup a bit. While they didn’t turn the tide in their favour, you could see the Sens start to push back a bit.
While the Sens did escape the first period unharmed, a late penalty by the Sens meant they would start the first 40 seconds of the second period on the kill. With Giroux back in place, the Sens were able to kill the penalty and hope to push back a bit against the Oilers who had carried the play to that point.
With 14 minutes left in the second period things started to get really exciting with Brady Tkachuk starting off things with a great chance in front on a jam play. The Oilers responded in kind and, luckily, Forsberg was having a good night because the chances he was facing were top-tier.
The Oilers were still controlling play, and the sustained pressure made the Sens resort to some quick dumping the puck decisions. That being said, the Sens did look a bit more structured defensively and were starting to get more dangerous chances themselves. With less than 5 minutes left, McEwan had a great chance for the Sens but hit the post flush.
The second period almost ended with no penalties called, but Artem Zub is nabbed for a weak holding call with 3 minutes left. The Sens had managed to hold on well all period, so going down a man against the lethal Oilers' PP this late hurt a lot.
A sequence of absolute domination by the Oilers as they gave the Sens a very harsh lesson on how to set up a power play. They almost survived it even when Josh Norris lost his stick but after a failed clearing, a shot got through and was tipped by Hyman as it went in to gave the Oilers the late period 1-0 lead.
After 2 periods of play with 33 shots against, the Sens were very lucky they were only down by 1. The Sens still had every opportunity to steal this one, though, and sometimes that's all you can ask for.
Unfortunately it didn’t take long for the Oilers to build on their lead in the third as they made it 2-0 less than 5 minutes into the second period. This looked like it could be a great game for Forsberg where the offensive lets him down once again. Getting shutout would be yet another blow to a team losing all its confidence at this point.
Brady Tkachuk wanted to take matters into his own hands and you could see him push harder towards the end of the period. With him buzzing around the net, Parker Kelly was able to come in and push the puck in. A lot of commotion around the net and the refs immediately call the goal off. Luckily, Jacques Martin took the challenge risk and after a review which clearly showed there was no goalie interference, the Sens were on the board with less than 5 minutes to go.
The excitement didn’t last long as moments later, another call against Zub dampened the chances of a Sens comeback. The Oilers scored to make it 3-1 making it impossible for the Sens to have a chance to come back.
The effort wasn’t the greatest and the Oilers were definitely the better team, but the Sens deserved better on a couple of those ridiculously weak calls against and the missed calls. That being said, the top players were given a great opportunity early on and they failed to even generate any momentum from it and that set the tone for the rest of the night.
I don’t know how this team can be fixed but do I know that it’s way too late for this season. This group of players are simply not good enough right now. That sucks to say, but it's hard not to think it's true.
- Anton Forsberg had a great game tonight but allowing that many shots against, him especially many of high quality, is just unacceptable
- Tkachuk was buzzing towards the end of the game and Tim Stützle started off the game looking like he might have a special night but overall the top-6 were underwhelming tonight
- How do we fix the power play? How can a team with this kind of personnel struggle so much with scoring on the man advantage?
- The players looked exceptionally deflated tonight, not even after the loss but throughout the game. It's frustrating to watch the losses but even worse seeing this team just lose all their good vibes and confidence.
- How much can Joseph and Pinto help this squad?