BIG WIN: JUNIOR OILERS PREVAIL

Robin Brownlee
October 22 2013 08:56PM

If the Edmonton Oilers needed extra motivation to bring it in the final stop of a six-game road swing against the Montreal Canadiens Tuesday, they got some bulletin board material when Montreal's Lars Eller said the visitors to the Bell Centre "play a little bit like a junior team."

"It's hard to say. It can be anything, you know? They play a little bit like a junior team, I think, sometimes," he said when asked what the Canadiens could expect from the Oilers.

"They take a lot risks, a lot of chances. They’re a little all over the place. There’s not a lot of structure always in their game. It can really be anything. You don’t know. I prefer a little more structured game. Then again, I don’t mind high-scoring games, too. Obviously, we’re going to try with their skilled players to limit their chances."

Eller was right about one thing – the Oilers were "a little all over the place in this one. The visitors were, in fact, a lot all over the place as they went from looking like they'd get embarrassed in the first period to scoring four straight goals en route to a 4-3 decision in a game they absolutely had to win.

CHANGE OF PERSPECTIVE

Beaten by the Habs 4-1 at Rexall Place Oct. 10, the Oilers looked like they'd be in for an encore in the opening 20 minutes. Outshot and dominated on the dot, they fashioned an about-face in the final 40 minutes to win their second straight on the swing (they won 3-1 in Ottawa) and pack for home with five points from the trip. Gutsy stuff and, yes, all over the place.

Not a great half-dozen, but the Oilers come home in considerably better shape at 3-6-1 than they looked heading into Ottawa with one point from the first four stops. With Taylor Hall (knee) and Ryan Smyth (groin) back in Edmonton, they got it done with goals from Ales Hemsky, Ladislav Smid, Jeff Petry and Ryan Jones in front of 29 saves from Devan Dubnyk.

Jones, who coughed up the puck on Brendan Gallagher's goal to make it 2-0 in the first period – I called it a "send-me-to-the-minors-right-now turnover" on Twitter – got the winner when he banged in a loose puck in the crease behind Carey Price. Again, as Eller said, Jones was all over the place.

Hemsky was absolutely terrific, save for failing to end any drama when he hit the post with Montreal's net empty. Mark Arcobello picked up two assists and now has 10 points. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle each had two assists and played maybe their best games of the road trip when coach Dallas Eakins needed them most.

With Hall out for as long as a month, having to play six of their next 10 games on the road and lots of twists and turns to come as fans try to figure out exactly what this team is about, it's probably best not to draw too many conclusions after this win, as big as it was.

All over the place, indeed. Eller was right.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#51 somali G
October 22 2013, 09:24PM
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uks ya wrote:

juss sluffin wit dat button lol alrite, I see how it is! haha

OILERS WIN....CHEERS BOYS!!!!

EDIT: Don't even try to use that word here again or you're done.

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#52 Neal
October 23 2013, 07:52AM
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Pouzar99 wrote:

The final two periods of the game provide a template of exactly how the Oilers need to play to be successful. No more high risk passes in their own zone, maintain a very high compete level, keep it simple, get it deep and forecheck hard. It is harder work and requires more discipline but winning is a lot more fun than losing.

It is going to take time for Eakins to get them to play that way consistently, and they still have some holes to fill, especially on D, but maybe they learned tonight that if they play this way they are hard to beat when they get the solid goaltending Dubnyk is now providing. In short they are learning what it means to be professionals. They are definitely not over the hump yet. There will be many more nights when we grind our teeth in frustration, but we can see what direction they need to go, and how good they can be when they do.

Now if we can just get one of the Capitals to take a cheap shot at them before Thursday's game .... Eller is a good kid and a wonderful young player and he will learn from this.

Hey Pouzar99, I think you're right, but I'm not sure if they've suddenly got it. Eakins has a team where the 5 young stars have all been able to do what they want their whole lives because they were talented enough to get away with it. So, is this a skillset or DNA? I see a difference between say, Arcobello and Pitlick having to fight and claw their way into the show against the young stars gliding around and doing dangles. Tambellini/Lowe built a team of "talented" players, but who won't pay the price and go to the hard areas they need to in order to score. A good team can have a couple players like that, but 5? I don't know if they can learn or not... I hope so...but can a player change who he is? Will they?

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#53 Rip van Winkle
October 22 2013, 09:30PM
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Only 4 more wins till I'm off the hook for my "drinks for everyone on me if the Oilers don't win the next six" comment before the Sens game. Go Oilers!!!! I'll keep the Colts logo up my behind in the mean time

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#54 Rdubb
October 23 2013, 02:49AM
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Reality Check to the head wrote:

Go figure,

Hemsky playing some of his best hockey in a contract year. Give him credit, he is blocking shots and shooting well.

I am sick and tired of these guys all playing good in "contract years", and once a deal is signed, a ton of these guys never show up again, you see it all the time on ever single team. To many of these guys will have a good yr like Hemmer, sign a big deal, and then have 3 bad yrs, than a contract yr pops up, and they put up career totals, NUTTS, NUTTS I say... Way too many guys cannot, and don't bring it once these mega deals are signed, that's why contracts SHOULD be limited to 2 or 3 yrs @ most. Make these guys play, it may cost teams in the long run for some guys, but it'd also save teams on many other guys...

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#55 Pouzar99
October 23 2013, 03:07AM
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The final two periods of the game provide a template of exactly how the Oilers need to play to be successful. No more high risk passes in their own zone, maintain a very high compete level, keep it simple, get it deep and forecheck hard. It is harder work and requires more discipline but winning is a lot more fun than losing.

It is going to take time for Eakins to get them to play that way consistently, and they still have some holes to fill, especially on D, but maybe they learned tonight that if they play this way they are hard to beat when they get the solid goaltending Dubnyk is now providing. In short they are learning what it means to be professionals. They are definitely not over the hump yet. There will be many more nights when we grind our teeth in frustration, but we can see what direction they need to go, and how good they can be when they do.

Now if we can just get one of the Capitals to take a cheap shot at them before Thursday's game .... Eller is a good kid and a wonderful young player and he will learn from this.

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#56 Rama Lama
October 23 2013, 10:09AM
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I'm not sure what Eakins was thinking but if he feels we need guys like Eller as motivation to win..........we are in trouble.

If I were Eakins I would have accepted the gift and kept my mouth shut! Eller is saying what every player in the NHL is thinking.......good individual players playing for a coach that has no systems.

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#57 Harlie
October 22 2013, 09:45PM
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Put the mickey's down boys, its' one win.

And I'd like to see Bourque on our team.

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#58 Fresh Mess
October 22 2013, 10:11PM
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PLAN THE PARADE.

and why haven't the commenters at ON come up with a cutesy, effeminate pet name for Arcobello yet? Arco-poo-poo ? Arcy? Arcsadandy ? Arcs? Arco-BelleoftheBall?

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#59 HOFFFF
October 23 2013, 02:37AM
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dougtheslug wrote:

Actually, no, if I'd bothered to do a little research I would have seen Horcoff and Potter were both +8 last year. Shows what a meaningless statistic it is, I guess

I remember an Oiler finishing +98 one year. Amazing.

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#60 LoweBlow
October 23 2013, 07:30AM
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This is why I tune in while on vacation!

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#61 Ryan2
October 23 2013, 03:51PM
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Rdubb wrote:

I am sick and tired of these guys all playing good in "contract years", and once a deal is signed, a ton of these guys never show up again, you see it all the time on ever single team. To many of these guys will have a good yr like Hemmer, sign a big deal, and then have 3 bad yrs, than a contract yr pops up, and they put up career totals, NUTTS, NUTTS I say... Way too many guys cannot, and don't bring it once these mega deals are signed, that's why contracts SHOULD be limited to 2 or 3 yrs @ most. Make these guys play, it may cost teams in the long run for some guys, but it'd also save teams on many other guys...

I guess the fact that Hemsky is healthy for the first time in how many years is not a factor, is it?

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#62 YFC Prez
October 22 2013, 10:22PM
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Rip van Winkle wrote:

go phuck yourself

Ya that too

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#63 Ryan2
October 22 2013, 10:23PM
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@ Robin Brownlee - I missed the game due to a practice for my Novice team tonight, but how did Pitlick look in his debut?

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#64 mk
October 22 2013, 11:02PM
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just wondering who got to wear the jacket tonight?

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#65 alan
October 23 2013, 10:04AM
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Did Pitlick play and, if so, how did he do?

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#66 j
October 23 2013, 12:08PM
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bdiddy18 wrote:

DAM YOU ARCOBELLO!!! Could have traded Gagner for help in other areas had we'd known about this performance! LOL

Good problem to have - if Eakins is true to his word about demonstrating compete in order to stay in the lineup THERE IS NO WAY Arcobello should be returned to OKC once healthy bodies come back.

MacT stated that he wanted Arco to play last year when we needed a centerman (you know, that brief stretch of 20-30 games when we only had one NHLer in the middle?!). Tambo strikes again. How does he keep doing it?

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#67 smiliegirl15
October 23 2013, 03:17PM
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Yak shouldn't be having any problem with the "North American game". He's only been playing over here for how long now? He played two years with the Sting and this is his second year with the Oilers. I think he's just having a little sophmore slump.

Here's your chance kid! Do something with it!!!

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#68 uks ya
October 22 2013, 09:23PM
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uks ya! wrote:

lol good stuff!

hey Brownlee **POUND IT** :)

juss sluffin wit dat button lol alrite, I see how it is! haha

OILERS WIN....CHEERS BOYS!!!!

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S@&t. Cursed that one. I didn't even need to say shutout

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#70 Rip van Winkle
October 22 2013, 10:37PM
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YFC Prez wrote:

Ya that too

Thanks for helping me illustrate that changing the spelling of something does not change the intent of the message. No harm intended except to one ignoramus who is not YFC

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#71 crobar
October 24 2013, 10:41AM
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Poolanov wrote:

Liked Eakins' comment. "Might as well have sent me over a gift basket and a bottle of wine"

regarding the 'junior team' comment

just wondering what his comments would have been had the oilers lost?? "we aren't much better than a junior team"??

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#72 N4R
October 23 2013, 02:57AM
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Edmonton Oilers vs Montreal Canadiens (22.10.2013) http://prognoz-na-sport.info/news/skachat_match_edmonton_oilers_vs_montreal_canadiens_nhl_2013_2014_regular_season_22_10_2013/2013-10-23-6941

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#73 Cowbell_Feva
October 24 2013, 01:34AM
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To me, the key to this victory was having 2 good checking lines rolling ALL game. Even late in the 3rd period there were bottom 6 Oilers pressuring MTL's defensemen and banging the body.

It didn't take long for the MTL Dmen to fire the puck off glass and brace for impact. Amazing what an actual fore-check can accomplish.

This kept the top 6 more fresh and it got us a victory in a tough barn. If the Oilers can keep those bottom 6 guys rolling like they did through 60 minutes I think the rest of the team will benefit and gain confidence.

Its a start.

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