EDMONTON OILERS 6
PHOENIX COYOTES 3
I was going to start off this game report with a youtube link to a video you may all remember starring a guy named Ilya who was playing goal against us tonight…well, him in table hockey form at least. We OWN this guy. We are in his head in a bad way. Wayne needs to start someone else against us because he doesn’t have a hope. He was putrid out there tonight. If not for some efforts by PHX backcheckers that stifled some really well-put-together rushes, we do indeed get about 10 tonight because Ilya couldn’t stop a beach ball. Ilya’s should stick to being forwards.
Obviously we started off tonight with the tribute to Glenn Anderson; as always it was nice to drift back to that point in time and I thought it was pretty exceptional that they got such a good group out to celebrate. Glenn often floats under the radar; though most GWGs in Oilers history is a pretty impressive stat considering who he played with at the time. Remember what an amazing group we had at one point is just something else and we should celebrate it every chance we get. Best fourth round draft pick ever???
Despite the fact that in the end we played a good game; we started very badly I thought. The first half of the first period was stumbly and disorganized. Not shocking considering the ceremonies and everything of course but still a little alarming. The first PHX goal seemed to get US going for a change and we were sort of off to the races from there.
PHX goal #1
Not pretty. A defensive miss on Goertzen followed by a shot Roloson was way behind; then a shaky recovery with Cogliano and Grebeshkov standing there useless ; an Oilers forward misses the rebound (Pouliot) and Yandle puts it in. BLECH!
EDM goal #1
Nice play. Good read by Pouliot to go back to Cogliano who makes a nice touch pass to Gilbert who’s put himself in a great offensive spot in the slot and takes a very smart shot low which generates a rebound for Moreau who’s set up perfectly in front of the net. Very good team play and a great example of free-flow offensive zone strategy.
EDM goal #2
Penner with possibly the ugliest looking assist ever as he tips the puck back while falling over after a little bump; good that he kept it alive though. Hemsky picks it up and drives straight to the net; waits just long enough and slips it by both Michalek and Ilya. Beauty drive to the net.
EDM goal #3
HUGE goal here. Nice read by Pouliot to peel off allowing the speed rush to catch up and gets the puck to Gilbert who connects on a perfect timing play to Moreau for the goal. Props to all 3 on excellent reads and execution, especially Gilbert.
PHX goal #2
Tough break for Smid getting stripped behind the net on a bit of bad luck. He made up for this later in the game. Staios went to completely the wrong guy as he was on Carcillo’s side and instead went after the puck carrier who Brodziak was right beside. If he’d have just picked up Carcillo this doesn’t go in the net.
PHX goal #3
Two on one, Gilbert does an okay job though after a second look at it he forgot to angle his slide towards Jokinen which is a key part of trying to take away the pass from a rushing forward. Roloson could’ve blocked the pass but didn’t look like he was ready for the shot or the pass because his stick was in totally passive mode. Weak effort by Roloson.
EDM goal #4
Great work by Penner to get the puck and put it down low to Horcoff then head to the net with his head up. Horcoff made a good pass with Hemsky in great decoy position drawing the PHX defenders and Penner finishes with no mistake. Shave that nasty stache.
EDM goal #5
Great way to wrap it up. Hemsky takes a neutral zone pass, gets his bearings and drifts in then changes the angle on Ilya and puts the puck in the net. Props to Penner for driving in and giving him those valuable extra feet of space that he took full advantage of.
EDM goal #6
They tried hard for this one and Staios’ cross-ice pass finally found Moreau with enough space. He got a little lucky that the PHX player has obviously never played goal in his life but you need a little luck sometimes.
Funny to watch PHX leave before the game was over and Ilya fire his stick in the corner in frustration. Great to get that kind of confirmation we’re in his kitchen.
Player Report time….
- He did what the really special players do; even though he was coming back from injury and showed some signs of rust early in the game and early in the second, he went after goals all night and got us two including the most important one of the night that put the game away. I hope he keeps up his driving to the net and getting into spots where he can hammer shots because he did that very well tonight. His one-timer in the second could certainly have gone in and he just missed in the third because of a good effort by the Phoenix D who were left out to dry but stifled good efforts on a number of occasions. He also made some good offensive zone passes that weren’t finished tonight but it turned out we didn’t need them. I bet he feels pretty iffy after this game but he seemed to take the bumps and even a whack in the mouth but keep right on going. There is not a more important player on this team and so long as the other forward lines keep their levels as high as they’d raised them while Hemsky was missing and the “top” line was useless offensively, we could win a decent number of hockey games here. If that one shot doesn’t hit a foot Ales grabs a trick in this game too.
- He was alright tonight. Enjoyed his slapper from the slot that handcuffed Ilya and almost went in. He also made a good play on Penner’s goal. I didn’t think he was spectacular though and will likely have to take some time remembering that he has to score again.
- So we finally see the 100MPH slapper in a game and it almost goes in. No doubt he ripped that one off the post in the second period. Get the man some room occasionally! He had an awkward but effective game and really plays off of Hemsky in a much different way than he plays with anyone else out there. It was good to see him creating opportunities for his linemates and going to the net consistently. But seriously, for the second time in the report, kill the nasty stache. That’s gross. You look like you should be flipping burgers.
- Very effective game from him. He was excellent on the PK as always and was everywhere with speed and physicality. He didn’t get the greatest shots off tonight which is the only reason he didn’t score a goal. He should have shot on the SH 2-on-1 with Moreau instead of forcing the return pass as he likely would’ve had an easy finish. Oh well. He’s become so much more valuable these last weeks as he’s gained confidence out there. Totally adds another dimension to this team.
- Good work from him tonight including in the corners and in his own zone. He had a fairly quiet offensive evening which is fairly odd but that’s okay today. I really felt he and Cole were hampered by Reddox being on their line as he simply didn’t fit.
- Liam finished his checks…and that was entirely it. He blew a perfect gimme chance on a drive to the net and missed a couple of setups his linemates earned for him, then spent the remainder of the evening ineffectively bumping into people. He doesn’t work on that line. This last while has been tough for me because I like Liam Reddox the player but HATE where he’s been playing and what it does to this team. Get Potulny back on this line. Liam’s done for now.
- What can you really say? He’s been struggling a lot lately but set the tone early by busting through to the net. He could have easily had 3 goals in the first period. Nothing was going to deny the man tonight. He played off of his linemates very well and simply did what he does best. Ethan needed a rebound game quite badly as he’s been really stinking lately and I hope this game gets him turned around. We need him right now.
- Andrew wasn’t buzzing everywhere like in some of his uber-effective games, but was definitely integral to this win. His positioning and the space he was creating was crucial to Moreau scoring his goals and us getting the win. If not for a couple unlucky breaks Cogliano probably has one tonight as well. Good solid game from him.
- I thought he missed WAY too many great chances out from that were just out of reach or resulted in bad shots. He was great passing the puck in the offensive zone but didn’t convert some really cherry chances so it kind of evens out in my eyes. Elsewhere on the ice he was fine. Great night for this line.
- He went 12 and 2 on the dot tonight which is freaking awesome. His line did some really nice things and as usual it was led by him. He reads Brule’s speed and positioning very well and tonight was no exception.
- I really like how far his game has come in a couple short weeks. The guy really looks to have found his efficiency and positioning out there. I liked the play in the second where he pulled up and took a quick slapper in the offensive zone. He was putting himself in the right place to receive passes and get rebounds in his limited but effective icetime. I really thought that he or Brodziak would score but they didn’t get much time with 3 lines rolling along tonight.
- Blah game from him. Not sure we needed him tonight.
- Shaky and not a good game. He was behind plays and fighting the puck all night. In the third on a scramble he got horribly lucky that PHX didn’t tie it up before Hemsky finished the game off. I hope this isn’t the beginning of a trend now that his competition has been shipped out for farm equipment and a draft pick.
- As I said, not the greatest play on the goal. Standing up to Dan Carcillo after being hit and doing a pretty good job of getting some shots in and not getting beat up was pretty impressive. He also made a couple good defensive plays and a great little play that probably wouldn’t get noticed to get the puck free and moving on the play that led to Staios’ pass to Hemsky for his goal. Simple little play that was a thing of beauty behind our net. The man is talented even if sometimes he screws up. He gave the puck away once or twice including an errant pass up the middle in the first, but pinched beautifully.
- Kind of an iffy game from Denis compared to his usual standard this year but he made a pinch early in the first period that was a textbook example for a defenceman caught in a catch-22 when the puck is bumbled near the blue line, taking his man and preventing a rush that could not have been prevented by him backing off the play.
- Not a spectacular night by any stretch but at least he got his shots in. A couple of times he joined the rush and didn’t get passes when he should have in dangerous spots. Defensively he was alright and as always he moved the puck well.
- He was our best d-man tonight and watching him drift in on the offensive rushes was a thing of beauty. He created with passes and forced the PHX D all night. He was also good defensively. Great game by Tom tonight. He should have been third star rather than Penner.
- Just a good solid game. He didn’t get any great shots off and didn’t join the rush so it was quiet offensively but he played good D. I wonder how his reputation is growing around the league right now both for his play and his toughness.
- Other than the bonehead read on that goal where Smid made his mistake I thought Steve was okay. Good passing but not great D. Also liked the shots he directed at the net.
Beauty win and even with Ales out we seem to have survived to have a shot going into the new year. We can hope the boys stay focused and come back fresh from this break as we certainly have the opportunity to get ourselves into second for a while.