March 12 2014 02:01PM
The Oilers last two victories came from third period comebacks and both times they overcame a two-goal deficit to get the victory. In a span of five days, the Oilers have jumped up into a tie for 7th place with the most victories when trailing heading into the third period.
Granted, they only have five on the season, but the Islanders are first and they only have eight. In another wasted season you have to celebrate every positive achievement, regardless of how minute it seems.
It would be easy to mention that the Oilers have trailed 38 times heading into the final frame, tied for most in the NHL with Florida, and that winning five times isn't a great %, but they have the 7th most victories when trailing after 40 minutes and being top-ten in something is an accomplishment.
The Boston Bruins have the best winning % when trailing after 40 minutes, but it is only .300. The Bruins are 6-13-1. Even the great teams rarely make heroic 3rd period comebacks, so the Oilers should be applauded for doing it twice in three games, especially against the stingy Minnesota Wild.
Prior to last night's loss, the Wild were 21-1-3 when leading after 40 minutes, but the Oilers managed to rebound from an awful first 45 minutes to win the game. It is rare for any team to play great for 60 minutes. It is the most overused and inaccurate cliche in hockey. The Oilers managed to win two of their past three games by playing well for about 15-25 minutes. It isn't ideal, but winning ugly is always better than losing with a solid effort.
The best part about games like last night is watching the emotional rollercoaster of Nation readers. In the first and second period every post in the comment sections is ripping a player, or coach, or system, or Lowe, or MacTavish and in some cases all of them.
But then Perron scores, followed by Eberle ,and the mood quickly changes. It truly is what makes sports great: the wave of emotion for fans. My wife, who isn't a big sports fan, but will watch most games with me, went upstairs after the first period because, "I can't watch this anymore. I feel for them, but I don't even like hockey that much and it is depressing."
She loves big games. Playoffs, NFL at Lambeau and games like that, so if she is irked watching a regular season game, I can only imagine how you diehards feel. Your loyalty and willingness to sit through game after game is remarkable. Good on you. You deserve unexpected victories like last night.
- Martin Marincin will need to hit the buffet tour this summer and put some muscle and weight on his lanky frame, but his poise and confidence with the puck is outstanding. He looked like a cagey veteran handling the puck in the offensive zone, dangling around a few Wild defenders to get a good shot on late in the game, and then he made another great play to set up Hall just as the buzzer sounded. The more I watch him, the more he impresses me.
- Oscar Klefbom looked nervous early on, which is to be expected, but he relaxed as the game went on. He is very strong on the boards. If that is all he does the remainder of the season that will be an upgrade on what we've seen from previous defenders. The Oilers needs more strength and size in the D zone.
- Compare how hard the Oilers forwards have to work to cycle the puck, to how easy it is for opposing forwards to do it. The Oilers can't break up the cycle, and while size and strength will help that, much of that is sheer effort. The Wild blueline and forward core isn't big like the Blues, Kings, Ducks or Sharks, but they made it very hard for the Oilers to cycle down low. Klefbom and Fraser's size helps, but I still think that collectively the players need to simply work harder in their D zone.
- I said the Oilers 2nd line needed to produce if they had any hope of winning, and they produced two goals. Hall, Gagner and Perron will score, and if the 2nd line can start producing consistently they could extend their hot streak.
- The other thing I noticed last night was it looked like Minnesota couldn't handle the pace of the Oilers in the 3rd period, especially when the D-men jumped up in the play. I will watch closer if that becomes the norm or was just a one-off situation.
- After the Oilers game against the Blues on Thursday, their next five games are against non-playoff teams. They will need to win some of those before their final 10-game death march. In their final 10 games they play the Ducks three times, Sharks twice, Kings, Avalanche, Coyotes, Rangers and the Canucks. Ouch.
YOU WIN, CHARITY WINS
Do you play Hold 'em? How good are you? Now is your chance to find out.
Here is your chance to helps end MS and win your entry, $10,000, to the WSOP main event in July in Las Vegas. (Due to exchange rate it is actually $11,200 prize). The Winner also receives some extra spending money as well as flights and hotel accommodations.
The 3nd annual Gregor MS BIKE TOUR Classic goes Saturday, April 26th.
WHEN: Saturday April 26th. Registration at 11:30, tourney at 1 p.m.
WHERE: Century Casino, 13103 Fort Road
WHO: 100 Texas Hold Em Players
WHY: To Help End MS and win a seat at the WSOP main event
COST: $220 per person (15% goes to MS Society)
Please be advised of the following stipulations for the tournament:
2nd place - $2,000.00 cash and $500 donation in name to MS Society.
** 1st place prize is not redeemable for cash. If you can't go then the 2nd place winner can go in your place and you receive their prize.**
It sells out fast. To secure a seat call 780.643.4060 today. Good luck.
RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR