Oilers vs. Senators Post-Game: Finally, The Oilers Deserved to Win

Edmonton Oilers:3

Ottawa Senators:4 (SO)

The Oilers lost the game, but despite that I’m happy with their effort.  Frankly, they deserved the win, both outplaying and outshooting the Senators over the course of the game, and they had the best player on the ice for either team in Dustin Penner.

The Oilers Three Stars, According To Me

1. Dustin Penner.  As I said in the introduction, Penner was the best player on the ice for either team.  He scored an odd crease-crashing variant of goal in the first period (Steve Staios shot the puck, it bounced off Penner’s body, and Pascal Leclaire pushed it over the goal line).  He didn’t finish in the third, but he was flat out dangerous.

2. Steve Staios.  Aside from one head-scratching play with the puck, I was really happy with Staios’ game.  He had two assists, finished plus-3 on the night, and was second on the Oilers in ice-time with 22:44.  I was tempted to write him off after last season, but it looks like there’s still something left in the tank of one of the most fearless players on the team.

3. Andrew Cogliano.  A strong game from the young forward, who hasn’t looked especially good for most of the season.  He outbattled the much larger Milan Michalek at one point, pushing him right off the puck, and he created chances all evening.  He was sandwiched between two Senators but still got the puck to Ethan Moreau for the latter’s goal near the end of the first period.  Oh, and remember all those "Todd Marchant, but with hands" scouting reports?  They looked half-right tonight.

Random Thoughts

The play-by-play crew was fairly positive towards Jeff Deslauriers for most of the night, but the fact was that he was one of the weak links on the team.  His adventures outside of his crease were cringe-inducing, he mishandled the puck, and frankly he came very close to letting a couple of other goals in (recall the puck that slid through his legs in the first only to drift wide, the post, and that point-blank shot at an empty net after Deslauriers cleared the puck that somehow didn’t cross the line).  He’s been good in his other starts, so hopefully it’s just an off night.

Speaking of off nights, that was an uncharacteristically weak game from Lubomir Visnovsky, who has easily been the Oilers’ best defenceman in the absence of Sheldon Souray.  The Cheechoo goal in particular was a display of atrocious decision making.

Ethan Moreau had a strong game and a goal, and although he made a couple of boneheaded plays I was impressed with the captain.  The play-by-play crew repeatedly referred to his (surprisingly effective) line with Stortini and Cogliano as the fourth unit, but it was obvious they were in fact the third line, with the O’Marra/Brule/Comrie line getting bottom billing.

What was up between Stortini and Ottawa’s Chris Neil?  I expected them to fight given the sheer amount of chirping between the two, and the two nasty hits Neil landed, but the only sign of combat was a brief shoving match between Neil and Jason Strudwick.

Speaking of chirping and Chris Neil, did anyone read Pat Quinn’s lips after Ottawa scored the go-ahead goal in the third period?  He wasn’t saying "rubbydub" or "Sega Genesis".  He also brought that goal up in his post-game, saying that not only was it goaltender interference, but the play was offside to begin with.

Ryan O’Marra’s first NHL game wasn’t too bad; there were some issues but one the positive side he finished every check he got.  A shift-by-shift examination of his first game can be found here.

Based on the trust Quinn put in call-ups Ryan Potulny and Liam Reddox, they might be here a while.  The two combined for more than 33 minutes of ice-time, and while Reddox was the energetic, hard-working forward we remember from last year, the real surprise to me was Potulny, who looked very smart centring the checking line between Reddox and Fernando Pisani.  Quinn seemed to be more into line matching than he has in previous contests; whenever the Alfredsson line was on the ice, it was either the Gagner unit or the Potulny unit on against them.  Potulny even saw spot duty on the top line at one point, and he’s done more to secure a roster spot in two games than Robert Nilsson has all year.  It’s still early, but the returns so far are good.

That’s what I thought, what was everyone else’s impression?



  • The lines, by ice-time:

    Penner – Gagner – O'Sullivan
    Reddox – Potulny – Pisani
    Moreau – Cogliano – Stortini
    Comrie – Brule – O'Marra

    Oddly, the second line handled defensive duties (the traditional "checking line") while the third line filled an energy role and played the minutes that generally go to the secondary scoring unit.

  • Loving me some Potulny right now. I hope he keeps it up. Can you imagine once we get JFJ and Stone back too? On top of Hemsky, Horcoff and Souray?
    I don't want to get my hopes up too high but man if these call-ups keep playing this way, and the entire team puts in efforts like we've seen the last two games this team is going to be in real good shape.

  • I thought they Oilers played very well tonight and should have won. I agree with Quinn that Ottawa's third goal was BS, they were in fact offside, and it was goalie interference, he was on top of JDD(who I agree played a bad game for the most part). Penner was just unreal tonight, and Staios really stepped it up. I've been very happy with the effort shown the last two games. hopefully it carries over to Buffalo tomorrow night, which I think it will, and result in a win. 3/4 points so far on this road trip is good. They play like they did tonight, the Oilers will be in the playoffs. Loving the play of Potulny right now, and Brule with another goal.

  • I've said it for a year now, I'd take Potulny over Nilsson. Nilsson may rebound elsewhere OR he may not. But he will not rebound in Edmonton. Cut bait.

    O'Marra could be a decent yo-yo man up & down to Springfield and back all year.

    Reddox is a very capable 13th forward. He brings good energy.

  • Dyckster

    That was the 1st game in a VERY long time, win or lose, that the Oil dictated the play. Even through overtime you (well I anyway) always had that feeling the next rush was going to lead to a goal. Watched the whole thing online (visiontv I think) was the site provided by a generous ON'er.

    Not gonna get my hopes too high up there yet but….

    I'm even a little concerned how the team reacts once the injured players begin returning, could it possibly do more harm than good? It seems the AHL'ers have brought a little pizzazz to the team.

  • JS – I think you're right. With a little more space, the butter guys should be putting it in. I'm looking at you, O'Sullivan!

    Seriously, it was nice to see the oilers run someone else's show somewhat – even if we didn't win, it was good to see.

  • I really liked that Brule goal. Get in the high slot and let laser beams go. He scored earlier this year on that slap shot from the boards. These are the types of goals I would like to see more of (I'll take any goals period, don't get me wrong) from the forward group.

  • Milli

    Agreed, the call ups definitley brought energy, and played very solid minutes. I was impressed with reddox, the guy is hard on the puck. Jdd was SCARY. Stay in the net, but, I'm sure it is from not playing alot and he will be better. The third goal, complete BS, but I was real happy to see the Oil answer back. So far, I think we should be bery happy with this road trip, 3 days ago we where talking disaster, now, it sure looks like some guys are getting there energy levels back. AND WHAT IS UP WITH PENNER, THE GUY IS A FULL OUT BEAST!!!! Game in and game out he is the one stiring the offensive drink!!!!

  • I was at the game last night and completely agree with the three star selection that you listed, but I'm not too sure that I'd agree with the oilers deserving to win. Now, I only get to see them once a year out here, so it could be the norm, but a lot of the team looked pretty lazy all night long.

    I completely understand now why the Oilers get hemmed into their zone so often. As soon as the Dman gets a puck the wingers are already at the opposition blue line. I couldn't believe how many of the Oilers only show effort from the centre line out. O'Sullivan seemed to float around all night in the neutral zone, as did Gagner, and Comrie.

    We've (myself included) been harping all year on Grebeshkov and Gilbert tossing up gifts to the opposition, but after last night, I wonder how much of it has to do with our forward lines not giving them realistic targets during breakouts.

    • Horcsky

      I think you've hit the nail on the head there. The wingers seldom are in the right position in our own end. They often seem to be too deep so the d-men can't pass it past anyone, or like you said they're behind the defensemen and the pass gets cut off.

      That said, I thought the team did a much better job having the wingers get set up on the half boards for the breakout pass to the centremen last night than they have in previous games.