EDMONTON OILERS 3
MINNESOTA WILD 1
I’m not too sure whether I wanted to see this type of game or a different type after the loss to Buffalo. It was most important of course that we got the win and move on to Nashville, no one’s going to dispute that. A bigger win in terms of scoring and execution would have been preferable in my eyes; though a game that was never really in doubt and more of a “took care of business” game isn’t too crummy either I suppose.
It is always nice to come to a Friday or Saturday game for the fact that the fans seem to want to use it as a nice end to their week and release some tension while having a good time. They did that and I enjoyed the experience as usual. Aside from annoying people who are there to watch a game in silence, and famous “shoot guy” (Lubo showed you didn’t he???) it was a really enjoyable game, especially in the first. The place would have erupted into madness had we scored a few more goals. The chants “we want 10” started when we only had three; hahaha.
Oilers goal #1
- Pretty simple really; solid faceoff win to Grebeshkov who made the right read to pass to Hemsky who was moving and had space. He’s learned to use his skill to go to the net and draw defenders away from the other player then make a pass. Burns actually made a pretty good attempt on balancing the two players he was stuck with on the play, but as Hemsky tried to make his mini-saucer to Penner who was smartly creating trouble out front, Burns’ stick was in just the right spot to put the puck right through Backstrom. I’ve been there; it sucks. Nice play by all involved from the Oilers side though.
Oilers goal #2
- Cogliano with some fantastic work in his defensive zone that got the play going in the right direction and a simple but important kick-up by Pouliot to keep the play going. Cogliano then draws in the defender giving Moreau some room, makes the pass and Moreau takes a solid shot that looked deflected as it was taken and we’re up 2-0 reasonably quickly. Always very important and a solid if unspectacular goal.
Oilers goal #3
- It is kind of funny, my seat mate last evening said sometime before this goal when I mentioned Visnovsky that he hadn’t done much tonight. I think what I said was something along the lines of “wait…” and he certainly delivered. More good passing and movement by the combination of Nilsson, Cogliano and Lubo, who took the final pass and smartly didn’t shoot the puck. He drove the net, put it on down low for a rebound and tapped the puck in. Beat 4 Minnesota players in the process as well. All of them were either standing there or trying to stop him. Awesome. And regardless of stupid commentator-banter, the 3-goal-lead goal is MASSIVE. We’d won it at this point essentially as we were playing quite solidly.
Minnesota goal #1
- Weak effort by Souray to check PMB, but even with a slight screen there are no excuses for Roloson not stopping what was an incredibly weak shot directed directly at him.
What ever happened to getting a penalty for fighting with a visor btw? Clutterbuck is such a tool. Really think Steve M should’ve been looking for the bomb-hit on Schultz too. He did take a shift that was way too long though and that probably ended his night essentially. Oh well. On to the PLAYER REPORTS.
- I read something this morning in the sun that said Roloson was back on his game…sure in comparison to 3 goals in 8 shots with another 2 that he fluked out on he was better; but not all that much. Roloson was not good last night. He didn’t look comfortable at all and fumbled the puck around in his equipment numerous times. He never does this when he’s on. His positioning was behind the puck and he was only really good in the second. Luckily this is the only time we seemed to need him to be that good because our D was pretty solid. He almost let in the last shot of the night from Minny’s defensive zone…YIKES. I would put the current probability of goaltending problems the rest of the way costing us a couple playoff spots at MEDIUM. He’s sinking and needs to put some work in to recover. He can; as he’s shown earlier this year, but he’s got to do it soon.
- Before this line was effectively negated by bonehead-behind-the-bench’s full on benching of Penner, they were playing alright and generating opportunities. All played a part in the first goal. Hemsky was really solid early on and driving the offensive play. He’s got to be more careful on plays like Schultz made, though I must say I didn’t think Nick was the kind of jerk that’d throw you into the boards from behind in a dangerous spot like that. It is a shame Penner wasn’t on the ice to do something about it because I think he would have. We had no one on the ice at that stage that could’ve fought the guy even if they wanted to. Horcoff was okay, but he wasn’t making effective plays high in his offensive zone with puck last night. He also needs to get back to taking patient, solid shots in the offensive zone. His play after Hemsky set him up is a perfect example of what’s going wrong with him this year. One fake to one side; or slight shift to one side, and he scores. That was a gimme and he shot it right at the freaking goalie. He needs to be better than that. I agree Penner wasn’t having a good game in that he was lazy getting to pucks and missed a couple of offensive chances; but that was no reason to bench him effectively for the rest of this game. If you’re not going to shift up a halfway decent player to accompany these guys the rest of the way, then he needs to get back in at some point. Why does he not get benched for a couple shifts and get the chance to redeem? He wasn’t THAT bad. Being forced to watch coach’s pet…errrr…Liam Reddox (and I’m not dogging Reddox, I like the guy, but he has NO PLACE above the FOURTH LINE) play with the top unit and drag them down was just sad. Without the size on the wing and no finishing ability or positioning (he kept skating the same lanes as Horcoff) our two best forwards at the start struggled to find any groove. Reddox individually was missing his hits, muffing his chances and generally having a bad night. This didn’t make any sense. Who should have replaced Penner if MacTavish wanted someone else? Easy; Brodziak.
- A giant MEH to these guys last night. As a line I just don’t think they mesh well together. Potulny looked either tired or confused compared to the last time he was here. I wonder if he’s really able to play C in the NHL. Robert was certainly better than he’s been lately, making some elite passing plays including the delay and pass to Cogliano that he really needed to convert. I liked his effort but he’s still lacking decisiveness with the puck which is one of his better traits when he’s playing a solid game. Right now there’s an extra 3 seconds of thinking time; and not in a good way. Cole was Cole, he drove the net, took good shots, PK’ed very well and contributed to the win.
- This line confirmed tonight that with Cogliano it is something really handy. Without him they really aren’t anything special at all. Andrew adds the speed to Pouliot’s corner skills and size along with Moreau’s net driving ability and shooting potential to blend a solid line combo together. Their goal wasn’t that spectacular but they were pretty good at driving the play with speed the rest of the night. I quite enjoy watching this combo play at the moment. We just need Pouliot to go on another finishing streak. He got robbed by the post on a great shot.
- The amount to which Kyle is getting royally screwed this season never ceases to amaze me. He’s a talented guy who brings it every night and can step up with an offensive effort but is never allowed to. He needs badly to be playing with a Brule or a Schremp. MacIntyre did his job but took one really long shift in the second where he could have hurt his team. He knows he cannot do that.
- I guess Strudwick does work better on this team as a forward. I don’t know why MacTavish insists on having him in the lineup as Smid is playing much better than he right now and has found his defensive game, but we just can’t get away from him. He did a whole lot of nothing special and wasn’t great defensively. His partner stepped up and set the tone with a really good (though borderline jump) hit and then immediately scrapping mister boneheadbuck himself. What a tool that loser is. Staios was really solid all night and sent the message that his team was ready for this one. He was physical most of the night and pretty solid with the puck. He needs to keep playing that kind of game to be effective; I’m just not sure he can do that every night.
- These two were fairly solid, though I expected a stronger effort from Souray and would have predicted a goal or two from him after the last effort. It ended up not mattering because we didn’t need it but I hope he doesn’t go into a lull. Gilbert played a solid all-around game.
- Denis moved the puck VERY well all night, Lubo played like the quiet all-star he is and provided sound puck possession. Both were excellent defensively. Simple really.
So; is everybody ready for Nashville? I say we dress the goons and win this Broadstreet style. Its about time we had a game where we showed the league that you don’t mess with us.