Oilers vs. Avalanche Post Game: Rust, Thine Name Is Deslauriers

Edmonton Oilers: 6

Colorado Avalanche: 4

That was an ugly and haphazard game, but at the end of the day the Oilers not only won but solidly outplayed the Avalanche on the night.  That’s about as much as any Oilers’ fan can ask for from this team right now.

Oilers Three* Stars, According To Me

1. Horpensky.  Yes, I dislike silly nicknames almost as much as Brownlee does, but the trio was far and away the Oilers’ best line tonight and frankly I don’t have room to differentiate between all the guys who played good, so I’ll say this – they combined for two goals, three points and 11 shots on Peter Budaj.  Scoring chances-wise, they were 11 and three.  Also of note, every minute of Oilers’ 5-on-3 penalty killing was done by Shawn Horcoff.

2. Visnovsky/Smid Pairing.  Sticking with my theme for awarding stuff to groups, Visnovsky and Smid both finished the night plus-3 and with a very favourably weighted scoring chance count.  They also contributed offensively, combining for three assists.

3. The Second Line.  I wanted to pick just one player, but it was a little difficult.  Patrick O’Sullivan scored the game-winning goal, so that’s in his favour.  On the other hand, Gilbert Brule had a goal, two points, and a crushing hit on Paul Stastny.  Meanwhile, Liam Reddox had a fantastic game, including one fearless shot block late in the third period and a bunch of other good plays, and continues to show why he’s blown past other Oiler prospects on his way to the NHL.

Random Thoughts

Jeff Deslauriers looked like two different players tonight.  During the first half of the game, he was brutal and I was raging at the television demanding that Quinn pull him.  Seriously, it’s been a while since I was that irritated with any one player.  Every second shot the Avalanche took blew by him, and as Ray Ferraro noted (repeatedly), for a 6’5" goaltender he lets in a lot of high shots.  In the second half of the game he was brilliant, stopping several high-end chances and blanking Marek Svatos three times on the 5-on-3.  I’m not going to give him a ton of credit for making big saves since if he’d been less of a sieve in the first half they wouldn’t have been ‘big’ saves, but I will say this: I can only imagine how difficult it is to get shelled early and then close the door, and he did it.  If there’s one thing he should have picked up along his helter skelter development path, it’s mental toughness and I’d guess that was a factor tonight.  After the game, Quinn said that he kept him in so as not to give the Oilers an excuse for the score and defended his goaltender; I can get behind one of those but not the other.

The hit on Ethan Moreau was a cheap shot and deserves suspension.  I can respect Bob McKenzie’s point that the shoulder was the point of contact, but Ryan Wilson got his elbow high and went for the head.  Moreau didn’t return, and as much as I’ve criticized his play I just hope it was a precautionary decision.

Tom Gilbert was stapled to the bench and played less than four minutes at even strength (Dean Arsene played more than nine).  Quinn seemed to be taking advantage of his spare defenceman to send a message, and good on him because Gilbert earned it.

The second-worst team in the league on faceoffs are the Colorado Avalanche, with 46.4% win rate.  They brutalized the Oilers tonight, with a 61% win rate, knocking them to the league basement.  Brule’s been better than expected in the circle.  Horcoff can win draws when he isn’t playing with a seperated shoulder.  Other than that, the Oilers have the same lousy options they had last year.  It’s obviously something that Steve Tambellini and the Oilers brain trust don’t care about, because we’re going on a year and a half and they’ve made no move to fix it.

After 16 points in their first 10 games (a 131-point season pace), the Avalanche have 13 points in their last 12 games (which works out to an 89-point season pace).

I haven’t heard Quinn happy after a game yet, and tonight was no exception.  I’m fairly upbeat; it was an earned win and a bunch of players snapped offensive droughts.  I’m a little worried that it’s going to be important to look for these sort of positives whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Exchange of the Night

This one goes to Jason Gregor and a commenter going by rubbertrout.  Cue the transcript:

Rubbertrout: "Game Day Prediction: Oilers win 4-3 in overtime. Souray gets 1 G 1 A and 4 PIM. Manitoba Fats pots 2 and Sully gets one."

Jason Gregor: "I’d be willing to say I’d have a better chance scoring with Lohan tonight than 19 will on the ice."

Rubbertrout: "I’ll be at the game on Saturday. I’ll bet you one of your vodka drinks against a heroin beer that he scores tonight."

Jason Gregor: "Done…easy money on my part."

 

  • Hey, anyone hear that the Oilers won last night? It's true.

    Hard to expect Delorean to play as lttle as he does and not have rust, nice to see him pull it back on the road just in time. Also nice that the team gave him some run support. It wasn't pretty, and I did everything I could to climb through the tv to get at gilbert, but at least we picked up the win.

  • Librarian Mike

    @Jonathan

    Horpensky…that's a great nickname, especially with Penner's moustache.

    I find it amazing how Tom Gilbert can change on a dime from a slick offensive defenseman to an absolute liability. I hope he uses his newfound free time to figure out how to be a more consistent player.

  • Oil Fever

    Now that was a fun game to watch, at least the second half. I went away for part of the second period and when I came back it was 4-2 avs and I got mad. Then Gagner Scored and made it all better then the third period happened. I haven't seen a third like that in a long time. Even the long PK they had I wasn't too concerned with either.

    BTW, I SCORED ME SOME OILERS TICKETS! I just had to share that I am soooo pumped, I have not been to an Oilers game since 1998 (when I was living in Edmonton going to UofA). I got tickets to the Dec 28th game vs the Flames!!!

  • Lofty

    Gilbert needs to sit on the bench for another couple games. He's mailing it in every night.

    It was a pleasure watching Souray laying the body and playing an all around solid game. Thank goodness he is back and Gilbert doesnt have to play as much.

  • Great win for the Oilers! Hopefully we can get a streak going and get back into this thing!

    My stud Penner didn't get a point but still looked dangerous tonight!

    Not only a goal by Sully but the winning goal! great timing too! rubbertrout, you should get bonus points from Gregor for it being a winning goal! good call!

  • Patrick O'Sullivan has had nothing but bad luck all season. He's had five goals (I think) so far this season, but he's had well over 130 or so shots. He is playing well, but he is just not getting the breaks. I'm really glad he notched the game-winning-goal and, hopefully, his luck will turn around.

    By the way, I am really glad Pat Quinn made Tom Gilbert ride the pine while not opting to pull Jeff Deslauriers. It's a nice way to send a message to your blueline.

  • Jason was clearly wrong…

    I had a feeling it was going to be open season in the goal department. Which is good for the confidentless Oilers. However, turning the puck over in their own zone will kill them, or has been killing them! Me thinks that is the second time Brule has scored from that spot on the Ice. Hmmm, maybe a powerplay position for him? Anyways, maybe a bad idea, but always worth a try. Could you see the disbelief/Relief on Patrick O'Sullivans face after scoring. I think even he had to pinch himself after that goal. I couldn't even believe that was him. Liam Reddox has not dissapointed me what so ever since coming up. There is an element to his game the Oilers truly need. he reminds me a bit like Draper. I may be wrong but the Oilers do better when he is playing. Some of you may bash me here but, I think even old MacT would agree. LOL

    Amazing the Horpensky, is finally starting to shave the rust and look like a bonafide real first line. Nice to see them all work together. I love Penner comment after being tied up. What was is, "Like they already do not have enough rope to tie us up, and slow us down". Not 100% sure on the comment made to ref , but I had to laugh. Wolsky was interfering at the time.

    WTF, I wish I could throw a pop bottle on the Ice after the Moreau Hit! Two refs standing within 30 feet of the hit, that actually saw what happened and no call was made on the elbow. That freaken pissed everyone off. Dirty, and I hope the league reviews it.

    Good Job Oilers!

  • Dan the Man

    Which is better? Stumble through a game, turn it up in the second half and get the win, or dominate but lose because of a couple of breakdowns?

    I will take the win over the moral victory. I would rather have a third choice: "play well throughout."

    We sorely miss the size and grit of Jacquestone, but if the skaters we do see were actually healthy we might not have the fatal breakdowns so often.

    Bottom line, when will one or two skilled 5'11 perimeter-jockeys get traded for a RH faceoff winner who blocks shots and plays the body?