December 18 2009 12:33AM
Nashville Predators: 6
Edmonton Oilers: 3
Pat Quinn should have saved his rant for this game; the Oilers looked far worse tonight than they did against Los Angeles.
Oilers Three Stars, According To Me
1. Robert Nilsson. A beautiful power play night for Nilsson, who scored two goals and threw a big hit too. The second goal was a gorgeous little deke that had everyone excited – well, everyone other than Pat Quinn, who sounded less than impressed in his post-game press conference. His six shots was twice as many as any other forward.
2. Gilbert Brule. Had a solid game, regardless of which line he played on. One assist on the night and a few good chances; I’m still trying to figure out why he got demoted off the first line, and more importantly why Quinn slashed his ice-time tonight.
3. Ryan Stone. I was baffled by Stone’s demotion to the fourth line, particularly given that Quinn opted to replace him with Patrick O’Sullivan. He’s been a legitimate find this year; an NHL player who came from well back to earn a spot, and from where I sit he’s one of the nine best forwards on this team.
Pat Quinn took shots at a bunch of unnamed players, rather strongly suggesting that there are guys on the team who care more about individual achievement than they do about team achievement. He also flat-out stated that some of the veterans were a big part of the problem.
J-F Jacques played far and away the fewest minutes of any forward, with 6:30; the next lowest total belonged to Zack Stortini, who just missed the 10:0 minute mark. I wonder if his 0/5 run on scoring chances had anything to do with that.
It was nice to see the MacTavish line blender out in full force as the game wore on; I was watching line matchups all game and it seemed like Quinn had planned to run Horcoff & Co. against the Erat, Arnott and Sullivan line, but once he abandoned that players started getting subbed in all over the place.
Line changes keep killing this team. Nashville’s fourth goal racked up a minus for Horcoff, Nilsson and O’Sullivan, but it wasn’t remotely deserved. Zack Stortini didn’t get the puck deep, and then his line (I believe Moreau and Cogliano were the other two guys) meandered over to the bench for the change. Horcoff jumped on to the ice at one point but had to jump back off to avoid a too many men penalty; by the time his trio finally did manage to get on the ice it was far too late.
The Steve Staios holding penalty in the third period brought the phrase “cascade failure” to mind. Most hockey plays aren’t the result of a single, definable error; rather they’re caused by a series of errors. In quality control this is generally known as “cascade failure”. In any case, the first failure was Denis Grebeshkov (who had a brutal night) whiffing on a pass. Than Jeff Deslauriers got ambitious and chucked the puck away rather than covering it; the puck ended up on a Nashville stick. Then the Oilers played ring around the rosy for a while before Staios finally got whistled. Team effort.
Dustin Penner took a beating from the refs tonight, and was quite correctly livid about it.