In a lot of ways we didn't play that well tonight. Our D was weak, our #1 goalie was out when we really needed him to play, and only 1 forward line was really playing alright.
On the other hand, if some things go another way, this is such a different game. There was a Kane pick on a Chicago goal, the impossible call on the Hemsky/Horcoff/Huet play, Potulny (2nd) and Reddox especially (3rd) missing gimme goals. To top off the misfortune and indignity for the evening, Ethan Moreau gets run into Huet, which should have drawn the Oilers a much-needed powerplay and instead Toews puts the nail in the coffin on an illegitimate Chicago powerplay. There were even bad icing calls. A lot of "circumstance" was at play in tonight's game.
Both #2 and I went into tonight's game thinking that it would either be a blowout for Chicago or the Oilers would pull out a victory. Chicago wasn't really ON enough to blow us out; and we didn't take advantage of the chances that could have won us the game. Huet wasn't very good and while the Chicago D moved the puck well, they were perfectly vulnerable. The first line did fine in creating offence. O'Sullivan was doing well. Cogliano was skating through with complete ease.
But nothing. Those players we had ready to shoot in the slot last game weren't there. That was the difference, as it so often is. Anyway, let's talk PLAYER REPORTS
- I really thought he'd come back with a great game tonight; so much for that idea. I'm a huge Tom Gilbert fan, but he might have played his worst game as an Oiler tonight. Aside from being horrible in his own zone (I believe he had two seperate shifts with 3 giveaways within 20 feet of his net for example), he didn't create any offence and skated utterly horribly. The guy was falling all over himself. I swear that Tom's got some kind of complex going on right now. He's an excellent skater and passer and is simply doing neither. He even made Strudwick look good by comparison.
- Probably his best game of the year to be honest. He didn't really many mistakes, covered his man, passed the puck okay and even skated with it occasionally. I didn't mind him tonight at all. Especially next to Gilbert who was so bad.
- Didn't create too much and had one of his weaker games. His weak games are still okay, but we need him elite against Chicago.
- Definitely one of his weaker games. Despite trying to be tough, which is good, and skating with the puck okay, he wasn't as good defensively as he usually is.
- Not as good as last game. He was shakier. Better in the offensive zone sort of in that he controlled the puck alright; too many silly shots though. Defensively, he was just okay.
- Certainly angry and wasn't able to get anyone to scrap with him (I imagine his reputation precedes him), generated a goal with his shot and played pretty decent defence. He was especially good in the corners and skating with the puck some.
- He made a couple defensive mistakes and was summarily benched. One thing that he hasn't done in a while is generate some offence and he needs to do that to be effective. On a night when he couldn't hit, wasn't a pest and didn't generate offence, the best place to describe him would be useless.
- Started out great with many hits that should have got us going. I suppose in that sense he did his job. Showed some rust with the puck which hopefully he will knock off.
- He wasn't very good, but was also set up to fail. I truly question the wisdom of Quinn to put out Jacques-Gagner-Stortini as a line as it has precisely zero chance of being effective against Chicago. Sam wasn't able to really generate any offence and certainly wasn't all that good in his own zone. I didn't see anything special.
- He kept skating through the Chicago D and kept getting the puck on his stick. The problem with his game is that he suddenly has completely forgotten how to do anything productive anywhere near the net. He either took weak shots, gave the puck away, or passed off badly. Cogliano should have had at least 2 goals tonight. There's no reason he should get those chances and not score. He's more than talented enough. It almost looks as though he's lost his intensity and focus on the ice. He needs to find it and quick. I'm not sure how patient we can be with him honestly.
- Quite lackluster compared to what we've seen from him in a number of games this year. The thing to remember is that this guy is still finding his way and should not be expected to lead. I still think he was more effective than a lot of guys on the roster tonight, though he did get whacked around physically some.
- Missed a glorious chance at 4-2 that would have completely changed the game (and I really believe have led to an Oilers win). Other than that I really didn't notice him much.
- Did his job and got a couple shots. Can't particularly expect him to drag a team out of a loss.
- Did his thing offensively and generated a bunch of chances for others but wasn't really able to get a great shot away that could have changed the game. I'm very pressed to think of when he last really played a bad home game in that he's always very solid. Basically it's as simple as he's never "the problem" on the ice.
- Put forth an effort I suppose, but certainly not effective. He definitely got jobbed on the penalty though, that was not his fault in the least.
- I thought he was much better tonight. Specifically in the offensive zone he was shielding the puck with his body and making smart passes leading to chances to score. He was finding his skating lane more effectively than in other games this year. I hope he's getting his health back because they need him; but I'm not sure how I'll be able to tell anymore since it seems like everyone's injured all the time. Very positive on Horcoff's game tonight.
- Really good. I like nights when he scores garbage goals. Did exactly what he needed to do and kept driving the puck. Can't hold this one against him.
- Good, not great. Made his plays, was good defensively and at least tried to get the team going. No doubting the first line controls the puck and it's largely due to him.
Yeah, I'm not sure we had three stars tonight.
I got a fair bit more depressed as I wrote this. I thought it'd be more positive when I started out. Oh well.