Boston's a good hockey team with a wide assortment of skilled hockey players. I think we all know this - but that doesn't change the fact that they were ripe for the picking and got away with one tonight. Big win for them playing through the flu and leaning on Chara, Iginla and a goalie I'd never heard of. Chad Johnson had a hell of a game tonight. This wasn't one where the Oilers made an iffy goalie look good by putting a bunch of bad shots on net. They were pretty good at getting chances tonight. Not as good as early against Carolina but should have been good enough. They came close a bunch and the rebounds were certainly there.
Random story - man are the concession workers slipping. Not only were there not hot dogs ready as we stood at the front of the line in the second intermission, the cashier just up and left his post. The guy behind us in the line was actually able to just walk right into the concession as a goof. He could easily have taken free stuff. Not one of the people back there noticed or cared. What a joke. Next we went down a level and waited in the slowest line ever for some truly inefficient service. It was amazing even by Delaware North/Northlands standards. This new building can't come fast enough when we're talking about the experience at the games. Wow.
So I hear the coach doesn't think the PP is bad? It is at the very least set up to fail. Low percentage passes through multiple defenders and only one D who also happens to not be able to defend the 2-on-1 or control the puck at the top of the point??? That's not going to work. Larsen is not Chris Pronger. He's not even Boris Mironov.
It was a relief to me to see that the Oilers weren't really pushed around tonight. Boston did control a lot of the area near the nets, but the Oilers got there enough to have a chance to win. That's what I was looking for tonight.
- Do I even have to say it? Well, apparently I do because there are actually people defending aspects of his performance tonight. Unbelievable... Even before he allowed the dump-in goal (and make no mistake, that's what it was), he had nearly bailed into the wrong corner on a previous Boston shot. He was not ready for this one. Expectations have been lowered so far with this guy that if he makes an average NHL save, it looks grand. That is so sad. It's like how Ryan Potulny can look like a strong NHLer on terrible hockey team. On the second Boston goal, the Schultzes were out of position and Sam Gagner was covering no one, but that doesn't excuse Dubnyk for being so far back in his net. He has no chance on a good shot or a moderate screen from where he was positioned. Third goal, good play that the D played terribly. I still hate that Dubnyk laying there on his butt. Slide across and stay up so you at least have a chance. Maybe Marchand scores and maybe he doesn't, but the fundamentals don't hurt. Flopping when your last name isn't Hasek is one of them. Should have been pulled after the first goal. Eakins needs to discover his inner Mike Keenan. Keenan was never shy about pulling the goalie and Dubnyk tips his hand very early in terms of what kind of night it is going to be.
- I stood and cheered when he made a routine glove save and actually kept the puck in the glove. That's how bad things are right now. He faced the couple testers he saw well, moved the puck a few times and was just solid. Good enough that they had a chance to come back. He should start until Bryzgalov is ready.
- He was solid but quiet aside from a couple really bad shifts during the second period where he made some really bad defensive coverage decisions and couldn't pass all of a sudden. He led of a few minutes where the Oilers suddenly forgot that you don't make lateral passes all the way across the ice in the neutral zone against a team that good.
- He got in a few faces, laid some solid hits and was generally pretty good. Would've liked to see him on the powerplay tonight, especially after they gave up the SH goal.
- Played the two 2-on-1's he faced terribly, one resulting in a goal and one not. You cannot sit stale in the middle as a defenceman. If you go down, as Larsen tends to do, your last move must be toward the puck carrier and you need to be angled toward him. If not, it is quite easy to get the puck through. Bobbled the puck a bunch on the point during the PP. Part of this isn't his fault as the Oilers are currently set up to attempt a pass through two defenders to the point, which is very risky and at the very least leads to pressured possession. Not what you want to have happening. Larsen got pushed around a bit in the corners as well, though not as much as I expected. Just an okay game from him.
- Well, tonight at least he made a couple strong defensive plays to even out the fact that he once again stood around in front of the net taking no one on several occasions. I don't know how a guy who is clearly known for leadership and D could be so bad in this area. I notice him get beat this way in literally every game.
- Didn't really get the offense going in any meaningful way. Don't remember him moving the puck particularly well or rushing the net. He needs to do those two things very well to have strong games. What's wrong with him right now? Just NHL growing pains maybe?
- Made a couple strong defensive plays early, then went back to getting owned. Survived but wasn't very good. Now that I think about it, maybe Justin bailed him out. Not too sure.
- Jones contributed one thing to tonight's game - he picked Krejci at the blue line on Perron's first goal. Aside from that he was off his wing and kept missing the puck along the boards. Lander didn't seem to do anything. Gazdic contributed to the effort tonight. Taking Lucic off with him is about the best tradeoff the Oilers could expect and good on him for drawing the fight out of #17 with the Oilers behind. Double good that he landed a number of really solid shots in the fight. Followed that up with a couple decent forechecking shifts. He's not going to do much more than that!
- This line did some nice things but didn't really threaten. If I remember right, Yakupov's best chances came before the change. He got a couple decent shots away and his play with the puck actually improved after the switch but he couldn't find the chances. Joensuu did basically what is asked of him, got in the Bruins' faces, took a colossal beating in front of the net all night (especially from Chara near the end) and skated well with the puck down the wing. Liked his effort a bunch. Gagner not so much. He got a breakaway chance on Johnson and looked surprised to have the puck. Didn't get into the shooting lanes, didn't shoot, didn't move the puck well. He needs to be so much better than he is playing right now.
- Liked this combo working together as they are very responsible on the ice. Arcobello does struggle to keep up at times but it could certainly be much worse and #s 83 and 4 aren't exactly slow boats. What was missing from these guys, oddly enough, were the flashy plays tonight. They were trying to grind it out more than anything I suppose. That's not exactly playing to their strength but they did okay with it. Needed more work to get the puck to Hall in the shooting areas. Sure wish Arcobello had a shot to go with the rest of his game. Loved the shift where Hemsky got under Marchand's skin and drew a stupid penalty.
- Well, David Perron has been the most consistent and best Oilers forward this year. Tonight was no exception. The first goal was a gorgeous individual effort from the neutral zone onward, zipping past several Bruins then using one as a partial screen as well. Perfect shot there. His second goal was interesting as he was able to hold off Patrice Bergeron and execute a one-handed wrap around at the same time. Johnson helped by being extraordinarily slow to see what was happening but still it was an exceptional play. Two wonderful goals. Couldn't get the third despite driving hard to the net and drawing the Bruins' ire the rest of the game. Hopkins was okay but kept missing the net with his shot. He'd taken this out of his game to some extent earlier this year but it seems to have crept back in. That's too bad as he really could've helped the cause tonight. Eberle had a mixed game for me...he seemed to be in the right place a bunch of the time but just a half-second off. Rebounds, shooting chances, even defensive coverages. Just not quite there which is too bad. Certainly got robbed by Johnson a couple times.
In the end I'm happier with this effort than I was against Carolina. They were outplayed in the goaltending department. That's really it. How they're supposed to walk into games knowing that they need to score 5 in order to win and feel confident rather than nervous I have no idea. When Bryzgalov gets back in and is given the ball, we'll see a much more real take on what this squad might be able to do. They need to upgrade on D, no question, but man what a couple big saves a game wouldn't do.