After a shorter off-season than usual, the Edmonton Oilers picked up right where they left off and played a nearly perfect game against their southern rivals.
FINAL SCORE 3-0 EDMONTON
Before getting into some notes I wanted to take a moment and say what a classy move it was for the organization for having Constable Mike Chernyk at centre ice before the game began. The attack over the weekend was a terrible incident and something we as Albertans never expect to happen in our backyard.
Now back to hockey.
I'll admit I was a bit nervous before this game started. The last two pre-season games the Oil did not show much intensity as the competition got tougher and I was worried it may carry over. The Oilers quickly established their dominance and didn't let go of it all game. They outchanced, outpossessed, and outplayed the Flames in every aspect of the game. While the goal scoring was the McDavid show, lines 2-4 never looked out of place and if Mike Smith wasn't doing acrobatics in net any of those lines could have had a goal or two.
- Connor McDavid. Period. Somehow he looks like he has gotten faster since last season. That second goal was an absolute thing of beauty.
- Some media guys were questioning McLellan going to the Maroon-McDavid-Draisaitl line immediately but we quickly saw why. That line played most of the game in the Flames end and dominated the forecheck. Draisaitl had a solid night in the dot taking every draw. He went 56%. Maroon was nasty and played well down low and also was a huge pest to Smith.
- The duo of Nuge and Lucic had a solid possession game and again if Smith wasn't locked in, could have scored a goal.
- Speaking of Lucic he was certainly playing the game that Chiarelli brought him in for. He did not look as slow as he did last season and his work on the boards to set up the empty net goal was wonderful.
- Klefbom. 9 shots. Oscar was dangerous all night and was firing on all cylinders. Both him and Larsson had a strong showing.
- Cam Talbot didn't get challenged much throughout the game but a shutout is a shutout. He had a great save on a 3 on 1 that kept the momentum on the Oil's side.
- Yamamoto certainly did not have the same dominance that he showed in pre-season. For his first game I would simply call it nerves and move on. I still think he plays fewer than 10 games in Edmonton this season.
- I was really hoping that Smith would have a rough first game so that the goaltending panic would spread through the Flames fanbase once again.
- The powerplay was almost good all night but it never seemed to truly click.
The Oilers have a couple days off before heading out to Vancouver to face the Canucks. That will be the Canucks home opener as well as their first game. Hopefully the Oil can attack them early before they get a chance to shake off the rust.
Thanks for reading!