EDMONTON OILERS 3
MINNESOTA WILD 2
Overall, I’m not quite sure about tonight’s game. There were a lot of things I liked:
- As a team, we had a much more full effort from top to bottom
- We blocked shots more effectively than we have in a long time
- We moved through the offensive zone much more effectively
- We played against Minnesota with confidence
- We made a line change that worked
- Roloson’s fundamentals were back and he had a spectacular night
Still, we had substantial difficulties and this team didn’t cure anything in one game:
- Even for a guy who doesn’t care about shot totals, 45 + our blocks is WAY too many allowed to be directed at our net
- Our third period effort was not the greatest, despite the fact that we did generate a few chances to get the winner
- Losing Moreau, despite his strange play of late, could be a huge problem
- Ales had a better game than in his last few, that’s for sure. Oddly enough he seemed to enjoy some chemistry once Liam Reddox joined the first line. What happened was that the first line suddenly because a cycling line in the offensive zone, and had 2 passers instead of 1 which allowed them to be effective at this. Hemsky’s goal was a great wrist shot from the right spot on an excellent read and pass from Horcoff; but more importantly an excellent pass reception by Hemsky. Reddox blocked shots, used his speed, and passed the puck very well, including a backhander to Stortini out of the corner into the clear and a great pass through the D to Gilbert who had snuck in from the point and took a great shot. Horcoff was given way too many minutes; but played very well and was effective. A little bit of stumbling in the offensive zone but otherwise good.
- I wasn’t a fan of Pouliot winding up here in the least; and he played okay in this spot but certainly didn’t blow anybody away. Cole was good but really wasn’t integrated into the flow of the game very well. I hope this wasn’t the last game I’ll see him play in an Oilers uniform. Gagner was alright tonight but still looked significantly lacking in confidence in the offensive zone. He was getting to the high middle of the zone with the puck and trying to make moves, but more slowly. It’s really too bad that he couldn’t tap in the insurance goal in the third after his line game in on a rush and he was given a chance to finish. Harding did a fine job so it really wasn’t a failure in terms of a play but still disappointing.
- Cogliano didn’t play as many minutes as I think he needs to; he played alright but simply didn’t get anything specific done I suppose. His efforts in the defensive zone were pretty solid. Fernando looked much more comfortable in this game and generated some offence tonight which is what we will need from him going forward. Moreau was looking okay I suppose but certainly wasn’t having anything in the way of a special game.
- Penner wasn’t playing a great game and got benched. This may be necessary but it sure isn’t a good situation for the team. Brodziak brought his usually solid effort and got more icetime which is a good thing from my perspective. He was on for Stortini’s goal and did a good job on that shift certainly. Stortini probably took one of the best shots of his life; but the goal was more than that because a lot of that play is positioning and being ready.
- This pair was okay; their offensive and defensive efforts may not have been as important as their toughness and snarly play. That made an impression on Minnesota and backed them off.
- Denis looked pretty good in his comeback and laid a couple really solid hits which was certainly something to see. He adds so much to our defence and I sure hope we can secure him for the coming years. Gilbert played a solid game.
- I loved Smid’s rush up the ice in the second period. That guy can really make people miss and came close to being rewarded with a beautiful goal. He was solid defensively as he usually is. I didn’t notice Strudwick much, which is usually a good thing.
- Pretty fantastic. That is all.
I have a hard time with the fact that it wasn’t obvious that we had a bad defensive effort; yet giving up that many chances/shots/pucks towards our net cannot be a good thing.
Add to this team already. And I’m not going to mind terribly if Reddox starts out with Hemsky next game. Odd I know; but we’ve got nothing right now.