New York Islanders: 3
Edmonton Oilers: 1
Once again, the Oilers have struggled to put the puck in the net, with the only goal coming courtesy of an Ethan Moreau centring pass which bounced in off Radek Martinek’s skate.
Oilers Three Stars, According To Me
1. Ales Hemsky. The play-by-play crew kept talking about Hemsky having the puck on a string, and they weren’t kidding. He looked great tonight, even though it didn’t result in a goal.
2. Nikolai Khabibulin. The score was close, but the Islanders had a bunch of Grade ‘A’ scoring opportunities and Khabibulin was sharp. Two of the three goals against were of the flukey variety.
3. Lubomir Visnovsky. I noticed one brutal giveaway but aside from that Visnovsky had an active stick and an intelligent game. He’s more poised with the puck than anyone else on the team, with the possible exception of Hemsky.
- I’m not going to pick on J-F Jacques for going after Andy Sutton, but the level of praise from the play-by-play crew surprised me. Sutton’s hit on Gilbert was clean, and despite the commentators’ words it wasn’t a case of Gilbert having his head down (he was guided into the check) and I’m not a fan of every clean check being avenged by a fight. In this case, I have to wonder if ‘sending a message’ is worth the two-minute minor and the ten-minute misconduct.
- Was Horcoff hurt to finish the third? After taking a hard hit from Sutton (who only got more physical after the fight with Jacques) I didn’t see him much outside of one penalty-killing shift, and Gagner moved up to the top line.
- Goal aside, the fourth line’s been pretty rough and that continued tonight, particularly in their own end. There are three useful players on that line, but none of them look particularly good as a unit so far.
- It’s nice to see Fernando Pisani back, and interesting to see him lineup with Gilbert Brule and Patrick O’Sullivan. That may be a secondary shut-down trio for the Oilers if Quinn sticks with that trio. He’s been using Brule in that role (and defensive zone faceoffs) and he’s handled it well so far.
- Awkward segue of the night: "speaking of legs… Horcoff and Hemsky."
- It was also great to hear that Steve Staios was practicing again. I’ve been critical of Staios in the past, but he’s more of an NHL defenceman than Chorney and Peckham right now, and I think it’s probably best to get those guys back facing AHL competition for a bit.
- Brendan Witt scores two after not scoring in 93 games. One more would have been an incredibly unlikely hattrick.
- Tonight’s effort marks six games without a regulation win, and the shootout victory over Detroit is the only one of those games where the Oilers managed more than two goals.
- It’s tough to blame the powerplay tonight; the Islanders had four opportunities and the Oilers had none.
- Finally, speaking as a guy with Sam Gagner on his fantasy team, I hope Pat Quinn abandons this kid line reunion thing he’s tried the last few games. They got some shifts together again tonight and didn’t look good, and were on the ice for the Islanders’ third goal. Nilsson’s got to be press-box bound as soon as Mike Comrie’s healthy; those fancy no-look passes just haven’t been doing any good defensively or offensively.
- Grebeshkov and Chorney were on for all three goals against. After the game, Quinn christened them "fumbledee and fumbledum".