Another game, another pile of GA from which no one can escape. Let's look at them right off the hop, shall we?
Two PHX forwards on Belov behind the net, Ference skates around behind the net, and then out of position completely to chase into the corner. Both D are caught. Dubnyk has a puck come on net at rather unexceptional speed and does nothing but generate a rebound. Belov is trying to recover with Ference having abandoned his spot and also catches a piece of Dubnyk. Easy goal for PHX that could have been prevented either by Dubnyk proactively playing the puck as Bryzgalov does, or the Oilers defencemen not looking like Keystone Cops.
The puck is shot in to the Oilers zone around the boards and Dubnyk fails miserably to make a simple play on the puck. His defencemen are now out of position and not prepared. Jeff Petry specifically, is in the middle of the ice doing precisely nothing, when a pass comes through the slot. Naturally he strikes his best flamingo pose rather than taking the attacker charging the net, and a likely still asleep or tired Dubnyk makes almost no effort to stop the PHX shot.
A weak shot from the point is moderately tipped by a screening Shane Doan in front of the net. Supposed Oilers goaltender Devan Dubnyk is looking in the corner (or behind himself) as it goes into the net, rather than following the tip. At no point was this puck headed to his left, yet that is where he's looking. Unbelievable. This is the second goal already tonight where Dubnyk's first reaction is not to, ya know, try to stop the puck, but look to the side/behind him.
The first really good shot and goal from PHX. Ryan Jones makes an idiotic back pass to Justin Schultz who loses the puck under pressure. Nick Schultz lays half on the ice instead of taking a man, then takes himself out of the play entirely. Ryan Jones skates behind the net to cover absolutely no one. Sam Gagner glides into the corner - presumably he had to fart or dropped a contact lens or something, Ales Hemsky comes in off his wing to lunge at Ribeiro but it is far too late. That was about as bad as it gets in terms of a breakdown.
Jeff Petry decides that Keith Yandle is just way too much hockey player for him to handle, and kindly jumps out of the way so he can continue skating into the Oilers zone. Devan Dubnyk, reading that a defenceman has the puck and will probably take a slapshot...sits in his crease doing nothing until he drops to his knees and the puck goes in. Cutting down the angle would just be cheating...
With the Oilers now in full on meltdown mode, Belov and Schultz lose another puck battle in the corner. Acton and Joensuu are both overcommitted so neither has the defenseman who takes a shot on net. Dubnyk again simply leaves the puck on the ice after blocking it despite the fact that there are PHX players in the area. They outmuscle Belov and it is in, Dubnyk having barely moved.
What an embarrassing pile of goals for Dubnyk and this defensive core. There was also a waived off goal where Dubnyk appeared to try to play the man instead of the puck in front of his own net...it was one of the more bizarre and pathetic attempts I've seen from a goalie.
There were a few interesting points during this game before it went south. If the Oilers could have taken a 2-1 lead into the first intermission I'm quite sure they manage to win this game by shielding Dubnyk from a few more shots. It still would have been a shootout because #40 was sleeping or something back there tonight but they could have gotten it done. They had the chances and did not capitalize. Once PHX got those two in the second this game was over. Make no mistake. The team knew in their minds that whatever they did, another puck would wind up in their net and they'd lose. It was done.
The Oilers PP was atrocious once again. I'm not sure what Dallas Eakins was speaking about when he apparently claimed the PP was doing something different prior to this game. It was the same old goofy setup that produces no shooting lanes and any aggressive PK can thwart. None of the stars stepped up with individual powerplay work so nothing was going to happen there. PHX is a pretty undisciplined team, but the reffing was also quite spotty tonight. Some of the calls the Oilers got were quite weak.
I will give PHX credit. They keep the puck to the outside and are very hard to beat on the rush when they want to be. The Oilers made them look about 300% better than they actually are in the offensive zone though. Gift rebounds, terrible goaltending and chasing in the corners to leave the slot open won't serve anybody well.
We'll highlight a few players but it isn't really worth going through the whole lot tonight. Those not mentioned were anywhere from beige to bad.
- Horrible. Not one big save. Not that this was his fault alone - but part of a goalie's job is to occasionally bail out a bad night from the D. This was that night and he might has well have stayed in the dressing room. He needs to go. For the Oilers and for himself. He's clearly lost any and all confidence. The guy doesn't look to be following the puck or making any second effort on the play. This will not work for a goalie. We all know that.
- Also horrible. You can't make such elemental mistakes as he's making in games like these. It wasn't only the goals I noted above either. Any time he is faced with a situation where he must react to something out of the ordinary the result is bad. He telegraphed a slap shot so badly I think the time keeper could have jumped in to block it in the first period. Perhaps this guy is an athlete and not a hockey player, I don't know, but you can't make the kind of mistakes he was making. Getting burned fishing by a puck by Keith Effing Yandle when you have position on him and totally bailing on the play??? WHAT?!? I could have played that better in Peewee!
- Got beat for the puck very badly on several occasions tonight. He seemed unfocused. Really struggled to get his shots through from the point as well. Should probably spend some time in the PB, but everyone was so bad and no one else moves the puck up.
- Made several good defensive plays and passes tonight. Maybe the best of a horrible bunch.
- Eakins has absolutely lost his mind if he things that Mark Arcobello was bad tonight and worth singling out. Was he great? No. Was he decent on a pretty bad night? Yes. I will mention that he had a bunch of chances to make good passes to players in the slot and either passed over their sticks or rushed the pass, but he worked decently hard, finished his checks, set Perron up and was certainly okay. Eakins then said he's a good positional player...at this point I really wonder if Eakins understands the game. Not only was his assessment of #26's play tonight incorrect, but positioning is something that Arcobello doesn't do well enough at all.
- Had one sequence I really needed to mention - he's driving the net with the puck and instead of taking a strong shot from his shooting lane, he makes an utterly stupid pass to Belov which shortly thereafter results in PHX heading the other way, then he takes a lazy hooking penalty. Absolutely brutal. He's a boat anchor on that PP unit right now. Arcobello, Omark and others have more claim to that spot at this point. The only thing he MIGHT be worth keeping on the roster for is that he's a 4th liner who PKs.
- He was excellent. A total pain in the butt for PHX all night. Gorgeous shots for his two goals. Would no doubt have scored at least 4 if the rest of the team had decided it wanted to play. Spent the whole third period taking abuse in front of the net trying to score #3. His second goal was a thing of beauty for what came after as well. He scores, knocks down Larsen, trash talks Smith, skates into Larsen's face then right past Vermette. Absolutely hilarious. Which more of our players had his attitude.
- He's not his normal self. Despite the shot total, he missed a couple gimme chances and also showed on several occasions that he's a step off. The one I remember best occured in the second. He had the PHX defenseman a half-step beat and had no ability to pull away. Normally he would have been totally in the clear. At times he tried to adjust his game to compensate and just couldn't do it. He only knows one way and that's fine, but we need him to get healthy.
Well, that was truly terrible to sit through. This is a low place folks. Hope like hell Bryzgalov is back soon and that MacTavish goes out and gets Kulikov and Paul Ranger. This team needs help - recent wins against bad hockey teams notwithstanding.