Despite solid effort, Oilers suffer first loss of season

by Msnbctv news staff

EDMONTON — Faceoffs, goaltending and defensive zone play.

The Philadelphia Flyers have been higher in all areas Wednesday, and sure, the higher crew gained, as Edmonton dropped its first sport of the 2021-22 season with a 5-3 house loss.

Let’s begin in aim, the place the surging Mikko Koskinen turned again right into a pumpkin in his third consecutive begin. He gave up a aim on a puck-handling error, allowed one with 0.7 seconds left within the first interval, and let the winner leak by way of his legs in a tie sport, simply over 4 minutes into the third interval.

With No. 1 Mike Smith harm, Koskinen could must go once more in Vancouver on Saturday evening. Can he bounce again?

“I believe he’ll bounce again. He’s performed properly this 12 months,” mentioned head coach Dave Tippett. “There was one outdoors the online he’d prefer to have again, and one inside the online he’d in all probability prefer to have again. That being mentioned, we had sufficient probabilities to have an opportunity to win the sport, and we didn’t do it.”

This was a type of video games, with two good groups each taking part in properly. An inexpensive aim at one finish, and Carter Hart on the different, taking part in excellent within the Philly nets, and that’s all of the Flyers wanted to be one aim higher (with an empty netter to high it off).

You’ll be able to’t beat brilliance with mediocrity, and whereas the Flyers have been getting A-plus goaltending, Edmonton obtained one thing within the B-minus vary. A number of good stops by Koskinen, however two freebies was one too many in a sport performed at this stage.

“I favored components of our sport,” mentioned Connor McDavid, who had a aim and an help for his sixth straight multi-point sport this younger season. “I believed we performed actual fast. We had our appears to be like. Possibly we might have defended a bit higher, however it’s hockey and they’ll get probabilities. I believed we did a reasonably good job, simply clearly not sufficient to win.”

Look, you don’t get to win each evening, and Edmonton was due for a setback. There’s a fantastic line between being quick and inventive, and being quick and unfastened. The Oilers have wavered between the 2 this season and little doubt will over 82 video games.

However typically it’s the center of the sport that get you, like goaltending and faceoffs, the place the Flyers gained 58 per cent of the attracts — significantly down the stretch within the third interval. The Oilers couldn’t forge a comeback as a result of they might not discover a option to begin with the puck.

“They’ve nice centremen and they’re strong-side protected, virtually each line,” McDavid mentioned. “They’re an excellent unit. I believed we dug in, however clearly they acquired the higher of us on the dot.”

“We maintain completely different stats than the NHL stats, however we have been attempting to win attracts at key occasions of the sport and we weren’t getting these pucks,” admitted Tippett. “They’ve acquired a few fairly good guys — (Sean) Couturier and (Claude) Giroux on the correct and left aspect are fairly robust.

“It was like the sport. It was a aggressive space of the sport.”

What are you able to say a few crew that comes out of the gates at 5-0, then loses a t-3 nail-biter at house? There may be nothing to panic about right here, and no motive for any type of shakeup heading into Vancouver on Hockey Night time in Canada.

This was a sport the place, for no matter motive, Jesse Puljujarvi couldn’t bury one in every of his handful of excellent scoring probabilities. The place the ability play couldn’t finesse one previous Hart, who had a stellar evening coming in his hometown after getting pulled in his first profession begin right here a few years in the past.

The place the third line went a uncommon sport with out chipping in a aim, despite the fact that Zach Hyman continued his goal-a-game tempo with No. 6 on the season.

It was the primary time these two golf equipment have met in NHL motion since Oct. 8, 2019, and a crowd of 14,328 — greater than 4,000 shy of a sellout — acquired its cash’s value.

Wow, was {that a} enjoyable hockey sport to look at — regardless of who you have been cheering for.

“I believed we performed our greatest interval within the third when the sport was on the road and we discovered a option to get two factors in a really robust setting,” mentioned Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault.

“Our second interval was arguably out finest interval of the 12 months,” countered Tippett. “A few errors, a few dangerous bounces, and we’re chasing the sport. And as soon as they acquired the lead within the third they shut it down fairly good.

“We performed quick, created a variety of probabilities. However we didn’t capitalize on sufficient of them.”

And so we are able to declare: The Edmonton Oilers gained’t go unbeaten this season.

Information flash.

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