The Oilers wrap up their four-game road trip on Tuesday against the New Jersey Devils. The game will have a late start time due to Martin Brodeur's retirement ceremony, puck dropping at 6:08 p.m. MST and can be seen on Sportsnet Oilers or heard on 630 CHED and the Oilers Radio Network.
BROOKLYN, NY – For the second straight day, the Oilers got off to a slow start and it cost them in a big way, dropping an 8-1 decision to the New York Islanders on Sunday afternoon.
The onslaught began early — less than three minutes into the game. Johnny Boychuk teed up a blast from the top of the right circle that beat Oilers starting goaltender Anders Nilsson glove side. Then seven minutes later, the Islanders doubled their lead just before the midway point of the first. John Tavares drove to the net then roofed the puck under the crossbar to make it 2-0.
“I don’t think we were prepared to play for those first few goals against,” said Oilers head coach Todd McLellan after the game. “We got our butts handed to us in Montreal and we came in here and responded in a very inappropriate way and that’s very disappointing.
“I counted on our group to have good leadership and show up and play hard today. They got drilled in Detroit last night. I think we both lost 5-1. It shows where one team is and how far one team has to go.”
Two minutes after the second goal, the game was 3-0 and the rout was on. New York's lead stretched to 3-0 after Nikolay Kulemin pounced on a rebound and fired it past Nilsson for the goal. After that goal, that was it for Anders Nilsson as he was replaced in net by Cam Talbot.
McLellan talked about the makeup of his lineup, specifically that the team has three types of players in the lineup and he sees struggles within all three.
“I look at it as there’s a bunch of young players trying to break into the League and create careers and are they passing the grade? I don’t know. There’s a number of players who are trying to hold on and stay in the League and survive. Are they doing what they need to do? It’s a critical time of the season. And then there’s others that have reputations, whether they’re really strong or really weak, you have an opportunity to change it or to grow it or make it go in the right direction. They let that go as well today.”
Shots on goal after the first period were 16-7 for the Islanders.
Only 42 seconds into the middle frame, Connor McDavid received a penalty for slashing Johnny Boychuk, sending New York back on the power play and they converted once again to up their lead to 4-0.
With 10 seconds left in the McDavid penalty, Kyle Okposo wristed a shot from the right circle, beating Talbot glove side to put the Islanders up 4-0.
Then six minutes later, the Islanders struck again to make it 5-0. Off the draw, Okposo carried the puck to the high slot and then fired a wrist shot that was redirected in front of the net accidentally by Benoit Pouliot for his second of the game and period.
41 seconds after the Islanders goal, the Oilers finally showed some life. Connor McDavid scored a goal at the side of the Isles net, quickly banging home his own rebound.
However, New York got that goal back less than three minutes later. Anders Lee teed up a shot from the left point that found its way past a screened Talbot after being tipped by Josh Bailey in front.
Things start to get chippy between the two clubs just past the midway point of period two. Matt Martin and Zack Kassian each received two minutes for roughing to create a four-on-four situation. Then just over a minute later, Gryba and Tavares each headed to the box after Gryba got two for roughing and Tavares two for slashing in front of the Edmonton net.
Moments after coming out of the box, Matt Martin took a charging penalty after taking a run at Reinhart. Kassian then engaged in some pushing and shoving, eventually pulling Brian Strait out of the scrum for a quick one-sided bout. Kassian received two for cross-checking, two for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct in addition to the fighting major which negated the Oilers power play and sent the Islanders on one.
The rout continued late in the middle frame as New York extended its lead to 7-1 on a wrist shot from the high slot by Cal Clutterbuck.
After 40 minutes, shots were 25-17 for New York.
Six minutes into the third, Reinhart held Tavares in front of the Oilers net, preventing a good scoring chance but taking a two-minute penalty as a result. New York converted on the man advantage with Kyle Okposo completing the hat trick, wiring a shot from the left side of the net under the crossbar. That made the game an 8-1 affair.