December 28 2009 10:57PM
Calgary Flames: 4
Edmonton Oilers: 1
With yet another home ice loss, the Oilers have managed to put a little distance between themselves and 28th in the NHL; they now have a three point cushion on the third-worst team in the NHL. Carolina won tonight too, reducing their firm grip on dead last in the league to seven points. Dare to dream.
Oilers Three Stars, According To Me
1. Ryan Potulny. Scored the Oilers' only goal, and now has eight on the season. The only forward in Springfield last season who managed to overachieve, Potulny knows a thing or two about playing for a miserable team.
2. Ryan Stone. Another member of the Oilers' AHL brigade, Stone had a solid game that included a third period fight with Aaron Johnson - one of the few things the Oilers' won on the night.
T3. Patrick O'Sullivan. Signs of life from O'Sullivan, who was unfairly victimized on his cross-checking penalty. Sure, he would have been smarter not to make the little push he did, but if what Dion Phaneuf did after the "hit" wasn't a dive, than I've never seen one.
T3. Ladislav Smid. The fight with Iginla was frosting on the cake, as Smid finally got a proper bite for his little post-whistle shenanigans. Played a solid if unspectacular game.
Despite the lop-sided totals on the shot clock (the Oilers out-shot the Flames 35-23) and the goal clock (as per above) this was a fairly even game territory-wise. The Oilers were far more effective at shot blocking (creditted with 23 to the Flames 11) and were led in that department by Shawn Horcoff and Tom Gilbert (four each) and followed closely by Ethan Moreau (with three).
Speaking of Horcoff, the high hit on Conroy was unnecessary and somewhat reminscient of Moreau snapping on T.J. Oshie a few games back. The constant appeals for "emotion" from the team are interesting, given that emotion can be positive and negative and right now this team reaks of frustration.
The referees made the right call on Glencross' deflection; the stick seemed pretty clearly over the crossbar.
A comedy of errors led to Calgary's first goal. Moreau was probably the least to blame; he let the puck past him on the boards and got caught watching as the goal went in. Gagner never caught up to Rene Bourque and didn't really seem to try. The real culprits though were the defenceman - Staios lost the battle behind the net and Strudwick in particular looked bad on the play, watching the puck and despite being the closest player failing to take either man around him or block the pass out front. Pat Quinn called them both on it after the game. I wonder about Strudwick's level of rust; on Calgary's power play goal he was unable to handle Bourque again in front of the net and was really the only guy obviously to blame on that goal.
A rare mistake by Visnovsky led to the Flames' short-handed goal and the finishing touch of Bourque's hattrick; the fact that neither Visnovsky nor Gilbert could block the cross-crease pass to Bourque was also a little irritating.
More irritating though was the lack of urgency from Visnovsky on the next power play; he made a soft, soft pass to Penner (who didn't seem all that fired up either) and cost the team precious seconds; towards the end of the game the power play (which I thought looked quite good on its first attempt) couldn't seem to clear its own end.
On the Giordano goal, Brule probably deserves a little blame for turning the puck over with two forwards deep, but the real culprit was Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers, who can't let goals in from that angle without any kind of traffic. Ugly goal against and his only really atrocious goal on the night.
Strong first period notwithstanding, it's getting really hard to watch this sort of garbage.