Oilers Vs. Red Wings Postgame: On The Precipice Of History

Jonathan Willis
March 20 2010 12:32AM

Edmonton Oilers: 3

Detroit Red Wings: 2

If nothing else, tonight's game was proof that the Oilers don't need to play a full 60 minutes to win.  I had mixed emotions for most of the game; on the one hand, a loss to Detroit would help grease the rails a little more for Calgary's slide into ninth, a little bit of schadenfreude to ease the pain of the Oilers' season.  On the other hand, everything I've seen from Devan Dubnyk meant I didn't really want him immortalized in the NHL record books for playing the most games from the start of his career without a win.

So, like Theo Peckham, I was irate when the Oilers let the Wings score with less than 0.5 seconds on the clock.  I could see Dubnyk being thwarted yet again, and I wasn't happy about it.  Fortunately, the Oilers hung on through the overtime, and put it away in the shootout after a slick move by Ryan Potulny, a decisive shot from Gilbert Brule, and a final, solid save by Dubnyk to secure the win.

Oilers Three Stars

1. Devan Dubnyk.  31 saves on 33 shots does a fair job of describing Dubnyk's performance, which was easily his best of the season.  He did some strong work in relief of Jeff Deslauriers in Nashville and in Toronto, but this was the first start where he stood out.  His rebound control was very good and he played well positionally, stopping numerous shots through traffic.  And he won.

2. Andrew Cogliano.  I'm still less than thrilled with Cogliano's defensive game, but he started like a man possessed, scoring a goal and adding an assist as his line (with Penner and Brule) dominated their opposition through the first 10 minutes or so of the game.  He's certainly come alive of late offensively.  Also of note was his four-for-seven performance in the faceoff circle.

3. Ryan Whitney.  Scored a goal, finished plus-1, and led the Oilers in shots (5) and ice-time (25:47).  He's emerged as the Oilers' number one defenceman since coming over from Anaheim and I thought he played his best offensive game in an Oilers' uniform tonight.

Other Musings

Theo Peckham had an up and down night, as young defencemen will.  He led the Oilers with six hits, blocked seven shots, and played more than 20:00 on the depleted Oilers blue-line.  He was also on the ice for both Detroit goals against and continues to be a work-in-progress.  The raw material is undeniably there; I have high hopes for Peckham but there are going to be growing pains.

Why were Jason Strudwick and Taylor Chorney on the ice with 1:30 left in the game?  Is there an explanation, other than that Tom Renney has a sick desire to see Dubnyk fail?

Shawn Horcoff's had a miserable season, but this was one of his worst games.  His line was solidly outchanced all evening and the combination of he, Moreau and Pisani is disastrous.  All three look like ghosts of their former selves.  It's not a coincidence that every player starts looking better when Penner replaces Moreau on the wing; even on this team I have trouble seeing Moreau as a top-nine forward.

Speaking of which, Gilbert Brule's a completely different player with Penner than he is without him.

It's a murderer's row the rest of the way for the Oilers, who will play the Sharks on Sunday and the Canucks on Tuesday.  All 11 of their remaining games come against Western Conference teams, with six of them on the road.

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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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#51 Jaime
March 20 2010, 06:22PM
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Eberle has 5 points in 2 games.

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#52 Kizz
March 20 2010, 06:30PM
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Lofty wrote:

Did you watch the Oilers last season?

yes i did... almost every game what does that have to do with anything???? souray played almost the whole season and the year before played 26 games and this year he'll only play 37 total

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#53 Kizz
March 20 2010, 06:32PM
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Jaime wrote:

Eberle has 5 points in 2 games.

Very impressive and he is +2 in both games so far.. thats a better plus minus and more than the point a game rate he was scoring in the nine games he played in springfield last year... if he keeps the pace up he should be in an oilers jersey sometime this season

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#54 Lofty
March 20 2010, 06:42PM
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Kizz wrote:

yes i did... almost every game what does that have to do with anything???? souray played almost the whole season and the year before played 26 games and this year he'll only play 37 total

He was second on team in scoring, 23 goals, 53 points and 100 PIM.He played 81 games and was the best player on crappy team... okay Rolly might have been better (but he played less.)

Any player in the NHL would have been out a long time after what Iginla did to Souray. He may get injured but its because he's a hard nosed player that earns his checks when he's on the ice. I'd take that over guys that play like pussy's and float for 3 million (POS).

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#55 Tha Legion
March 20 2010, 06:45PM
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Lofty wrote:

He was second on team in scoring, 23 goals, 53 points and 100 PIM.He played 81 games and was the best player on crappy team... okay Rolly might have been better (but he played less.)

Any player in the NHL would have been out a long time after what Iginla did to Souray. He may get injured but its because he's a hard nosed player that earns his checks when he's on the ice. I'd take that over guys that play like pussy's and float for 3 million (POS).

I was calling for him to be captain last year, and wanting him to take me on a man date

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#56 Lofty
March 20 2010, 07:30PM
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@ Tha Legion

If he says yes I wanna be the third wheel.

I think he's an asset and he has value come draft day. He's a good player and 1/3rd of the league would like to have him even with his salary. He brings character, a shot, some physicality and a competive 1/2nd line defensemen.

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#57 Crash
March 20 2010, 07:35PM
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Lofty wrote:

@ Tha Legion

If he says yes I wanna be the third wheel.

I think he's an asset and he has value come draft day. He's a good player and 1/3rd of the league would like to have him even with his salary. He brings character, a shot, some physicality and a competive 1/2nd line defensemen.

You know if we keep him which we may be forced to do anyway, it really isn't that bad...as long as he doesn't go with long stretches in the infirmary in the next couple of years.

A d-core of:

Gilbert/Whitney

Smid/Chorney

Peckham/Souray

maybe Aaron Johnson

It doesn't really look that bad IMO

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#58 Lofty
March 20 2010, 08:05PM
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@Crash

I would rather see Smid/Souray and Chorny/ Johnson, with Peckham as the 7th Dman.

Johnson was lost last night a couple times but he's been good of late. At his price give him a $50K pay raise and dont be afraid of putting him on waivers if he plays like crap next season. Then look at bumping Peckham up or bringing in Petry, IMOP.

I think the key is that Souray's contract will come up just about the time the Oilers are ready to be NW contenders. I think he's the kind of guy you want the rookies to be around.

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#59 Lofty
March 20 2010, 08:12PM
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Toronto wins again... its gonna take something special for the Oil to loose DFL.

With the schedual its all over but the crying... at second thought maybe the crying has already been done.

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#60 Crash
March 20 2010, 08:35PM
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Lofty wrote:

I would rather see Smid/Souray and Chorny/ Johnson, with Peckham as the 7th Dman.

Johnson was lost last night a couple times but he's been good of late. At his price give him a $50K pay raise and dont be afraid of putting him on waivers if he plays like crap next season. Then look at bumping Peckham up or bringing in Petry, IMOP.

I think the key is that Souray's contract will come up just about the time the Oilers are ready to be NW contenders. I think he's the kind of guy you want the rookies to be around.

I was just listing the d-men....the pairings weren't really an issue with me...

I was just pointing out that those 7 didn't look too bad. But really it's nice having Peckham and his toughness and mean streak in the lineup..

Just a thought

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#61 Skidplate
March 20 2010, 08:35PM
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I'm still holding out hope that Souray wants to stay in Edmonton and was only doing the honorable thing in giving Tambillini several teams he would be willing to go to.

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#62 dunciano
March 20 2010, 08:42PM
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2 Oiler prospects won their conference championships today.

Riley Nash with Cornell. and Chris VandeVelde with North Dakota

Along with Eberle its a good day for Oiler prospects.

Nash and VandeVelde will go for national championship.

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#63 Cory Dakin
March 20 2010, 11:56PM
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I haven't heard a lot about Vande Velde in all this talk about oiler prospects. He's 6'2" and 205. Seems like a pretty solid fourh round pick judging by the numbers he's putting up in college this year.

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#64 smiliegirl15
March 21 2010, 12:53AM
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I was at the game last night. It was a really good game to watch. They had some really nice tape to tape passes (you could hear were solid) and no brutal turnovers (no real memorable ones anyway). The two goals in the first few minutes were sweet. They were passes made by players looking to see who was open and being where they needed to be. It was a thing of beauty. Other than Horcoff's stupid penalty, Penner's was not and it didn't cost them any goals.

Ralfalski was totally open in the dying seconds of the game. The two Detroit fans sitting next to my friend were ecstatic. sheesh

Games like tonight give me hope for improvement next season.

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#65 DoubleJ
March 21 2010, 01:50AM
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If the Oilers don't bring Eberle up for a few games they're idiots. That simple. They don't want Eberle to be brought in to a bad atmosphere? What is Springfield? The team is lined up with Oiler prospects that will not get contract extensions next year. How is Springfield any better then Edmonton for atmosphere? Let's give the fans something to get excited for next year. Lets see Eberle in an Oilers uniform this year for a few games. He deserves it.

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#66 RossCreekNation
March 21 2010, 08:59AM
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Anyone think the Oil view Whitney as an upgrade on Gilbert, thus making Gilbert expendable for a forward? If they could throw Gilbert's money to Dan Hamhuis , and get a forward for Gilbert, I'd do it.

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#67 Pajamah
March 21 2010, 09:11AM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

Anyone think the Oil view Whitney as an upgrade on Gilbert, thus making Gilbert expendable for a forward? If they could throw Gilbert's money to Dan Hamhuis , and get a forward for Gilbert, I'd do it.

I'd do it, but at this point, I think the Oilers need to add possibly 2 Hamhuis types (just not 2 $4 million d-men)

I don't know many young up and coming physical guys that we can get for duplicate small forwards/small prospects, but I'd like to see that move made as well

smid/hamhuis/Whitney/jack johnson (for souray maybe)/Peckham/Johnson is quite passable though, even with Souray still here

and on that note, I wouldn't put it past tambellini to trade both Gilbert and Souray, but I only see one moved

so we could go. Smid/Whitney/Hamhuis/Gilbert/Souray or replacement/ and 6-7 could be any of Petry/Peckham/Aaron Johnson etc.

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#68 Ducey
March 21 2010, 09:20AM
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If the Oilers don't bring Eberle up for a few games they're idiots.

Any GM that makes developmental decisions in order to appease the fan base is an idiot.

He has 5 points in 2 games. He is on pace for 205 points in 82 games. Do you really think this is his level of ability?

I'd rather have some AHL coaches start to line match against him and have him learn to deal with that before bringing him up.

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#69 Pajamah
March 21 2010, 10:29AM
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Ducey wrote:

If the Oilers don't bring Eberle up for a few games they're idiots.

Any GM that makes developmental decisions in order to appease the fan base is an idiot.

He has 5 points in 2 games. He is on pace for 205 points in 82 games. Do you really think this is his level of ability?

I'd rather have some AHL coaches start to line match against him and have him learn to deal with that before bringing him up.

Agreed

Even half of a season in the A wouldnt be the worst for the kid. Detroit has done a great job developing players, and theyre in the habit of generally playing a bunch of 25 yr old rookies.

Plus, in the last 11 years, theyve stayed an elite franchise, and had they not suffered major injuries this season, would easily be a playoff team, if not contending for their division still.

Let Eberle force managements hand when he has a body of work. We've got more high end prospects coming next year, he doesnt need to be here yet.

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#70 Crash
March 21 2010, 10:44AM
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Ducey wrote:

If the Oilers don't bring Eberle up for a few games they're idiots.

Any GM that makes developmental decisions in order to appease the fan base is an idiot.

He has 5 points in 2 games. He is on pace for 205 points in 82 games. Do you really think this is his level of ability?

I'd rather have some AHL coaches start to line match against him and have him learn to deal with that before bringing him up.

Counting last years stint with Springfield he actually has 14 pts in 11 games. No, no one thinks he would have a 205 pt season...

But....

It's starting to become obvious that the AHL is not where he belongs...he belongs in the NHL

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#71 madjam
March 21 2010, 12:10PM
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What are the chances keeping Eberle down in the minors, are a tipoff of a managerial and /or coaching change for end of season ?

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#72 Kizz
March 21 2010, 12:36PM
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madjam wrote:

What are the chances keeping Eberle down in the minors, are a tipoff of a managerial and /or coaching change for end of season ?

I dont see there being a managerial change seeing as tambi did a pretty good job at the deadline obtaining whitney and cutting salary with Visnovsky even though Visnovsky is second in goals amongst defensemen behind Green, and he robbed Calgary for Johnson and a third round pick for Staios... i can see a coaching change here with maybe Pat Quinn stepping down and Renney taking the reigns... i guess its possible for Daum to come up here next year.. its not Daums fault all his AHL players are playing for the big club and they have had injuries down there... I dont think Quinn will want to stay around for the rebuild

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#73 Puritania
March 21 2010, 01:33PM
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My strong desire to see Eberle play in the bigs for my own selfish reasons is warring with my level head wanting him to develop properly in the A

I keep going back and forth between wanting the kids to start next year with the Oil and letting them develop in the minors.

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#74 madjam
March 21 2010, 05:11PM
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I was really high on Nash at start(even above Eberle at camp) , but i'm no longer certain he is doing much being the 23rd highest scorer on the Cornell squad . Anyone got figures on Svensson and Landers ?

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