Oilers vs. Wild Postgame

Jonathan Willis
February 05 2010 12:08AM

Minnesota Wild: 4

Edmonton Oilers: 2

A one-sided game that ended up with a score that flattered the Oilers; of special interest to me was Kyle Brodziak, who finished with a plus-3 rating (although that might have had something to do with his wingers). The Oilers modest winning streak ends at two.

 

First Period

 

With the exception of one shift by the fourth line, the early going has been all Wild; the Oilers are making mistakes and turning the puck over, and fortunately for the team Jeff Deslauriers has been very shop. Taylor Chorney had a particularly galling turnover.

Horcoff stole the puck from Martin Havlat, and Ethan Moreau smartly held on to the puck before dumping it in the same area where Pisani was fore-checking. Unfortunately, a good start to the shift went bad when Horcoff tried to poke-check the puck and ended up tripping Mikko Koivu.

Gorgeous chance for Owen Nolan on the power play, but he just missed the top side of the net; Deslauriers was down and out.

Despite some solid chances for the Wild, the Oilers escape unscathed from the penalty kill.

I’m having some difficulty figuring out why the fourth line is out for Edmonton on the shift after the power play. It’s usually a key shift because the top opposition players are all but guaranteed to be off the ice, and some coaches take advantage of the chance to slip out a scoring line. Quinn’s decision to go with the fourth liners surprises me a little.

Marc Pouliot just generated the best Oilers’ chance of the game so far.

Steve Tambellini was praising Sam Gagner in an interview earlier today, and one of the items he noted was how he’s been playing against top lines. I bring this up because while Horcoff & Co have lined up against Koivu, Gagner just took a faceoff against Andrew Ebbett and the Wild fourth line.

High-sticking penalty to Grebeshkov.

The Wild are just snakebit tonight; either that or Jeff Deslauriers has horseshoes in his hockey pads. He’s flopping around all over the place and somehow the puck is staying out.

Gagner’s line just got sent out for a defensive zone draw against Koivu and Co; first time that’s happened in a while and it almost resulted in a Minnesota goal.

I’m watching the lines tonight because while the coaches have been strictly matching the Horcoff line at home I suspect they may go back to rolling lines on the road.

The on-ice microphones are really, really loud tonight. It’s a little disconcerting.

John Scott gets a roughing penalty after a solid fore-check by the fourth line, giving the Oilers their first power play.

A mostly boring power play is interrupted by a lovely shot by Andrew Cogliano that rebounded near Mike Comrie, who was charging the net at full tilt.

 

Second Period

 

Martin Havlat had a solid first, and snuck through both Visnovsky and Chorney to score the game’s first goal. 1-0 Minnesota.

Fernando Pisani with a great, highly persistent fore-check on Brent Burns; I still can’t believe he was a healthy scratch.

Todd Richards got his top line out against the Cogliano line and the Platne/Strudwick pairing; Quinn was able to get Horcoff on for Gagner but was unable to get the other players changed. The result is a good 20-30 seconds of the Oilers being pinned in their own end.

Taylor Chorney gets tripped by Own Nolan, sending the Oilers back to the power play.

Some very solid puck movement doesn’t result in a goal, but Mike Comrie draws another penalty after Marek Zidlicky a) crosschecks Mike Comrie b) from behind c) hard into the boards. 5-on-3 for the Oilers. On a related note, Comrie has had a solid game so far.

The 5-on-3 expires, but Mike Comrie converts on a Sam Gagner pass to tie the game at one. I think the biggest difference between the Oilers’ power play this year and the MacTavish-era unit is that this one is willing to use the low game; they can actually threaten from somewhere other than the points.

Gagner, Penner and Cogliano have really struggled against Owen Nolan’s line tonight.

J-F Jacques takes a slashing penalty in front of his own net (on Havlat); it was a legitimate penalty and one that Jacques really shouldn’t have taken.

Ethan Moreau with a solid play on the penalty kill to clear the zone.

The Wild generated some very good chances but couldn’t convert; the Oilers escape again without allowing a goal.

A Wild defenceman tried to stand Andrew Cogliano up at the blue-line, and Cogliano bowled him right over. I’ll admit I laughed a little.

Ethan Moreau made a nice, simple play to gain the zone with speed, but then neutralized the benefit of it by tossing the puck away.

 

Third Period

 

Owen Nolan with another great chance, and Deslauriers with a better save. The word for the Oilers’ defence tonight is ‘porous’, and they really need to stop it.

Very nice shift for the Brodziak, Latendresse and Havlat line against Potulny, Comrie and O’Sullivan. I haven’t commented on it yet, but I’m very pleased to see Brodziak doing so well. I’ve been pulling for him since the Oilers took him as a late-round over-ager, and I hope dumping him for essentially nothing haunts Tambellini for a long time.

There’s no doubt that Quinn wants his checking line out against the Koivu line. Richards sent his top line out against Gagner for the faceoff and Quinn responded by immediately changing his lines and sending out Horcoff.

Mike Comrie bails out Jason Strudwick as he falls behind the net, carrying the puck away and out into the neutral zone.

2-1 Minnesota on a goal by Miettinen, who Chorney let have all kinds of time and space in front. Deslauriers can’t be blamed for that one.

I’m not sure who scored, but the fourth line jammed the puck in despite being matched against the Koivu line. Pouliot gets credit for the goal, although Moreau and Stortini were in there as well. 2-2.

Pouliot has also had a very solid game; he skated through two Minnesota players, and flipped the puck through the crease to Jacques, who was all alone and had a wide open net. Somehow, Harding kept it out.

Harding hurt himself diving across; Anton Khudobin gets his first NHL time.

Guillaume Latendresse just undressed Jason Strudwick and Jeff Deslauriers to put the Wild ahead 3-2.

Sam Gagner gets a partial breakaway, but Greg Zanon made a brilliant stick check, knocking the puck away before knocking Gagner down. He gets two minutes for tripping, but no penalty shot for the Oilers.

Gong show around the Minnesota net; Ryan Potulny with a dangerous shot and then a bunch of Oilers crashed the crease, but the puck stays out.

Horcoff with a great shot, Khudobin with a better save. He’s been hot early into his NHL career.

Mikko Koivu strips the puck of Gagner’s stick, and it ends up with a nice shot for Miettinen. Very nice save for Deslauriers.

Brutal turnover by Patrick O’Sullivan with Denis Grebeshkov high; Tom Gilbert rushed back to play the 2-on-1 but never got into proper position and Martin Havlat scored on a give-and-go. 4-2 Minnesota.

With a little over a minute left, Quinn is running out Comrie, Penner and Gagner to try and generate some offence. Todd Richards has the Koivu line out to shut them down.

Time-out for the Oilers with 30-ish seconds left. Down two goals, it probably won’t matter.

And it doesn’t matter; the Oilers modest two game winning streak ends.

 

Oilers Three Stars

 

1. Marc Pouliot. Great game for Pouliot, who scored one goal and almost setup J.F. Jacques with a second goal. He shows flashes of talent but his goals this season have been effort goals and he’s making a strong case for more minutes.

2. Mike Comrie. Comrie was strong in both ends of the rink tonight, and with the possible exception of Gagner is the Oilers’ cleverest offensive player right now. Right now, he is what cogliano should be.

3. Zack Stortini. The fourth line was the brightest spot for the Oilers tonight, and Stortini was a big part of that success. He also drew a penalty and was right with Pouliot at the side of the net banging away for his goal.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Milli
February 05 2010, 12:15AM
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think i'm glad i missed it. another good read JW. I always appreciate that you continue to do this is spite of the season.....oh ya...fist....Did plante play?

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#2 Sandra
February 05 2010, 12:42AM
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I think they played well. They entertained and lost, which helps the cause to stay at 30th. Now if we can get some pieces out of hear and start the rebuilding now. Comeon Tambi your on the plate.

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#3 Darren - Mike Modano's Dog
February 05 2010, 05:36AM
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I have been the biggest critic of Marc Pouliot's, but I have to admit to being shockingly surprised by how he has played of late. He is hitting and playing physically consistently now. Wow! But more surprising he is controlling the play and generating QUALITY chances for himself and his teammates with regularity now. Shooting, setting people up, and really just seeing the ice at a completely different level.

I know this doesn't sound like something I would have ever said before (but I am happy to admit I was wrong about him if he can keep this up) I am just excited to watch him play now. We may have just found that front-line center that could be a force to be reckoned with, not just in the point totals, but with size and physical play, as well. I want to see more, of course, but this is exactly the time when we can see what we have in him moving forward.

As I said before I am SHOCKED to see this in Pouliot...and couldn't be happier to have him prove me wrong! :D

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#4 Reagan
February 05 2010, 06:35AM
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Yeah Deslauriers was soft on the third goal. Barring the break down turn over by O'Sullivan for the fourth goal, the Oilers couldn't carry a lot of momentum to score any more.

Another loss for the tank!

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#5 fubar
February 05 2010, 07:20AM
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Another solid performance by Steve Austin x 7, -2, should lead the league now.

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#6 Tracie
February 05 2010, 07:33AM
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Phew! Glad we stopped that winning nonsense! Now back to the dive for five!

I'm happy we won some though! now we need to win for Dubnyk but that's about it!

And hey! Kovalchuk comes to town now! We wouldn't have seen him if he stayed with ATL! March 7th baby! The last time we'll see him before he moves to the KHL for money!

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#7 BUCK75
February 05 2010, 07:40AM
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If that shot of JFJ's goes in maybe we are talking about a 3 game win streak. Thankfully we are not.

#dff

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#9 Ender
February 05 2010, 08:42AM
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Congrats, Jon; I see you managed to beat Microsoft Word back into submission. Good job. :-)

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#10 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
February 05 2010, 08:53AM
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I wasn't impressed when Tambellini traded Brodziak for peanuts, I'm even less impressed now.

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#11 Sizzler
February 05 2010, 09:20AM
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"Horcoff with a great shot, Khudobin with a better save. He’s been hot early into his NHL career."

"2-1 Minnesota on a goal by Miettinen, who Chorney let have all kinds of time and space in front. Deslauriers can’t be blamed for that one."

Willis you must have a serious hard on for horcoff.....You call that a great shot...It might have been great if he took that puck to the night....any goalie in NHL would stop that shot. I know horcoff's scored on that shot few times in the past, but thats combination of pure luck and the goalie not expecting a shot.

And on the miettinen goal, dude came from behind the goal line and in matter of a second put it up stairs. Now if you follow the play after the puck is turned over, watch Horcoff, he doesn't pick up anybody. Hence Miettinen was free the whole time and Chorney marking the guy infront of the net and Horcoff standing behind the guy and puck watching. I would say that goal was a good play by Miettinen and horcoff puck watching.

Anyways....good game over all, close game and still maintaining the 3 point cushion for Mr.Hall.

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#12 Mr DeBakey
February 05 2010, 09:34AM
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"Steve Tambellini was praising Sam Gagner in an interview earlier today, and one of the items he noted was how he’s been playing against top lines"

More hoo-haw from Tambelowni. Horcoff, as he has since the Lockout, gets the hard match-ups whenever possible. Of course, Horcoff used to face top lines with Smyth and Hemsky on his wings...

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#13 BigE57
February 05 2010, 09:48AM
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Mr DeBakey wrote:

"Steve Tambellini was praising Sam Gagner in an interview earlier today, and one of the items he noted was how he’s been playing against top lines"

More hoo-haw from Tambelowni. Horcoff, as he has since the Lockout, gets the hard match-ups whenever possible. Of course, Horcoff used to face top lines with Smyth and Hemsky on his wings...

Horcoff has got to earn that cash somewhere, he certainly isn't lighting the world on fire with his scoring touch.

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#14 Dan the Man
February 05 2010, 10:04AM
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@Darren - Mike Modano's Dog

Did you seriously just use the words "front line centre" and "force to be reckoned with" to describe Pouliot?

I've liked his game since he's been back but lets not get too ahead of ourselves here.

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#15 Dan the Man
February 05 2010, 10:06AM
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The horse is DEAD people, we get it, Horcoff is overpaid. Does that really need to be brought up on every single thread?

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#16 OILERSORDEATH
February 05 2010, 10:38AM
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Where was Brule? Is he hurt again or did they sit him?

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#17 Giggsunited
February 05 2010, 11:18AM
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Dan the Man wrote:

The horse is DEAD people, we get it, Horcoff is overpaid. Does that really need to be brought up on every single thread?

Did I miss something? Horcoff is overpaid?

~runs to the T.V to check the breaking news on the Score's ticker~

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#18 Giggsunited
February 05 2010, 11:20AM
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I'm starting to get upset that the coaching staff choose not to use Brule? WTF? or is he still under the weather?

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#19 Bucknuck
February 05 2010, 12:36PM
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Dan the Man wrote:

The horse is DEAD people, we get it, Horcoff is overpaid. Does that really need to be brought up on every single thread?

Amen

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#20 Aleslav Smidsky
February 05 2010, 12:56PM
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@Tracie

KHL for money? Really? What would he stay in the NHL for?

Kovalchuk is of the top 3-5 players in the league. I would only rate him 2nd to Ovechkin. He spent all that time in Atlanta and got nothing, they wasted the poor mans talent on nothing.

Since he got nothing in the NHL, why blame him for going home?

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#21 Aleslav Smidsky
February 05 2010, 12:58PM
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Bucknuck wrote:

Amen

Horcoff is not overpaid, he is talentless. Worlds highest paid "try-hard" and he dont even do that anymore. Must be the shoulder.

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#22 Sars
February 05 2010, 12:59PM
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I appreciated the positive Brodziak comments...I've been keeping up with his career since he got traded. He was one of my favorite Oilers for the past couple of years, and I was shocked when Tambellini traded him. I'm glad to see him given oppurtunities, and having success in Minnesota.

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#23 Dan the Man
February 05 2010, 01:39PM
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@Sars

I posted here a few times that I never did like the Brodziak trade in the summer.

I thought a 3rd line centre with decent size that kills penalties and is not bad in the face off circle is exactly what this team was looking for?

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#24 CPR
February 05 2010, 01:43PM
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Cogs has no where close to the hands and creativity of Comrie....he will never be a comrie like player

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#25 Giggsunited
February 05 2010, 02:02PM
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CPR wrote:

Cogs has no where close to the hands and creativity of Comrie....he will never be a comrie like player

where did this come from?

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#26 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
February 05 2010, 02:02PM
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Dan the Man wrote:

I posted here a few times that I never did like the Brodziak trade in the summer.

I thought a 3rd line centre with decent size that kills penalties and is not bad in the face off circle is exactly what this team was looking for?

It really was a ridiculous move.

He's gotten rid of 2 large forwards (Cole/Brodziak) and brought in 2 more small forwards when the team was bordering on too small last year. Talk about adding to a problem.

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#27 OILERSORDEATH
February 05 2010, 02:08PM
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Whst the word on as to why Brule didn't play anyone?

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#28 Dan the Man
February 05 2010, 02:16PM
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OILERSORDEATH wrote:

Whst the word on as to why Brule didn't play anyone?

I believe that Cory Graham on the Team said he was a healthy scratch.

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#29 Dan the Man
February 05 2010, 02:22PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

It really was a ridiculous move.

He's gotten rid of 2 large forwards (Cole/Brodziak) and brought in 2 more small forwards when the team was bordering on too small last year. Talk about adding to a problem.

Not to mention making those changes knowing that you have other small forwards coming up in the system...

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#30 OILERSORDEATH
February 05 2010, 02:25PM
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Dan the Man wrote:

I believe that Cory Graham on the Team said he was a healthy scratch.

Wow! Not sure I inderstand that one. I dont think he had a great game againts Philly, but dont think it deserved a benching.

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#31 Dan the Man
February 05 2010, 02:28PM
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@OILERSORDEATH

Yeah I don't get it either, the only reason that makes any sense to me is if they are playing guys like Nilsson and POS ahead of Brule because they are shopping them.

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#32 OILERSORDEATH
February 05 2010, 02:35PM
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@ DAN THE MAN

True I never though about that, speaking of Nilsson I didnt notice him in last night game as well. Was he a healthy scratch as well or did I just not watch enough of the game?

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#33 JackBauer
February 05 2010, 08:49PM
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Whats up with Pisani? Why was he scratched for a couple of games?

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