NHL 2018-19 Recap Week 14 – Oilers are a mess, Gaudreau is on fire, NHL Parity disappeared
The Edmonton Oilers are such a sad state of affairs it’s not even funny. Even when they win a game, it’s still sad. Their win over the Florida Panthers was pretty much a microcosm of their entire season. They were playing a worse team at home but were losing and being outshot by 10. The goal the Panthers scored in the third period deflected off of Adam Larsson which was the fourth or fifth time that has happened this season. Larsson was, of course, traded straight up for Taylor Hall. One of the worst trades ever. Then they need Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl to bail them out again by tying the game. The Oilers ended up winning in the shootout. While it’s nice they won, this is very problematic in the long run.
The majority of the goals scored by the Oilers are scored by McDavid and Draisaitl. Draisaitl moves the puck up, makes a pass to McDavid, McDavid makes a move and a goal is scored. Rinse and repeat. The problem is they aren’t supposed to play together. They are supposed to be centering their own lines which they can’t do since they need to be together for the Oilers to score a goal. The also played half of the overtime period. Because almost no one else on the team is trusted. While most of the other players aren’t very good, showing no faith in them will only serve to zap whatever remaining confidence they had. By enabling McDavid and Draisaitl they are only making things worse. But it’s now gotten so out of hand, it’s the only way they can be competitive. It’s a dangerous cycle.
The Oilers need to have a complete organizational overhaul in the off season. Everyone in the front office and on the scouting and coaching staffs need to go. All the players need to go too since they need a change of scenery. Only McDavid, Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Darnell Nurse and Caleb Jones are worth keeping. Since it’s unlikely any of that will happen, at the very least they need to get rid of general manager Peter Chiarelli. None of his moves have even remotely panned out.
Things I like
1. Johnny Gaudreau is a 5’ 9” force of nature that is hard to contain right now. He’s in the mist of an eight game scoring streak where he has racked up 18 points. At just past the halfway point of the season, Gaudreau has almost achieved his career high in goals and he has tied his game winning goals mark with six. He’s on pace to score over 100 points. One thing he’ll never do is throw his body weight around. He’s on pace to set a career low in hits which is hard to imagine since his previous low was 9.
Things I don’t
1. This season started out as one the tightest in a long time. Everyone was bunched up in the standings and anyone could beat anyone. Granted, at the beginning you will always be close together because there were only so many points to be had. But it stayed that way for a while. But now you can clearly see the better teams are pulling away. By looking at the standings you can also see there are eight teams in each conference that have positive goal differentials. Those are your playoff teams. It probably will remain that way the rest of the season. The Anaheim Ducks have now slid out of the last wildcard like I said they would last week. Unfortunately, this does not make for a very climactic second half of the season.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.
Adam McQuaid vs Ryan Reaves
This was a good back and forth between two big boys until Reeves got the better of it.
Austin Watson vs Micheal Ferland
Short but impactful with some great blows.
Goat of the Week
Jonathan Huberdeau – Florida Panthers
With the game tied in the third period, Huberdeau tries a weak no look pass in his own zone to one of his teammates that the Flames intercept and a wide open Matthew Tkachuk pots in the back of the net. Although this wasn’t officially the game winning goal, it basically was. The Flames scored an empty net goal and then the Panthers scored with 20 seconds left. Great job by Tkachuk for sensing the puck may not leave the zone and camping out near the goal.
Stat Line of the Week
1/13/19 Carolina 6 vs Nashville 3
In a huge win that no one saw coming over the Predators, Sebastian Aho scored an unassisted, power-play and short-handed empty net goal. He also assisted on a power-play goal by Justin Williams who has now scored a goal in five straight games. Aho had scored two goals with a +4 against the Sabres in the previous game. Aho is on track for career highs in goals, assists and points.
600 – Career NHL wins for John Tortorella, hard to imagine for so many reasons
1 – Retirement from the NHL for Rick Nash
500 – Career NHL points for Bryan Little
11 – Losses in a row for the Ducks
2 – Goals for Milan Lucic, a former 30 goal scorer making six million a year
6 – Teams of 12 that scored five goals or more on Sunday
This Week in Hockey History
Special thanks to the Hockey Hall of Fame site for making this section a little easier to do.
January 07, 1993 Washington’s Dale Hunter scored his 800th career NHL point with an assist as the Capitals lost 8-2 to the Flyers at Philadelphia.
January 08, 1990 Gary Leeman scored his third career hat trick to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs to an 8-6 win over Washington. The win put the Leafs over the .500 mark (22-21-1) for the first time this late in a season since 1977-78.
January 09, 1981 New York Rangers’ center Phil Esposito played in his final NHL game, a 3-3 tie against Buffalo, at M.S.G. Esposito retired as the second highest scorer in NHL history (trailing only Gordie Howe), with 717 career goals and 1,590 points.
January 10, 1976 John Bucyk became the first player to score 500 goals as a member of the Boston Bruins. The milestone came in a 3-2 win against the visiting Oakland Seals.
January 11, 1986 Bryan Trottier became the second player in franchise history to score 400 goals as a member of the Islanders. The milestone came as New York won 8-2 over Detroit. Trottier became the 24th player in the NHL to reach the 400 goal mark.
January 12, 1988 Mario Lemieux had two goals in a 5-5 tie against the Islanders to move past Wayne Gretzky into 1st place among NHL scorers. He never gave up the lead, and went on to win the Ross Trophy in 1988 with 168 points, the first new winner in eight years.
January 13, 1962 Detroit’s Gordie Howe received a minor penalty for tripping to raise his NHL regular season penalty minute total to 1,001. Red Wings lost at Toronto, 4-3.
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
1. Tampa Bay
2. San Jose
Author: Alex Mueller
Alex Mueller graduated from Temple University with a minor in journalism over a decade ago. He’s been writing about NHL hockey, on and off, since the Fall of 2009. He’s written for Pucking Awesome, the Checking Line and now Hockey Recaps. He played goalie at San Diego Ice Arena. His first novel, Bobby Sterling vs Truth, is available on Amazon now.