Chicago Blackhawks: 5
Edmonton Oilers: 2
Well, that was a mismatch. Both the shot clock (30-25 ‘Hawks) and the final score flattered the Oilers, who didn’t belong on the same ice as the Blackhawks tonight.
Oilers Three Stars, According To Me
1. Dustin Penner. Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Penner was the Oilers’ best player, and on the ice for every goal (including the disallowed one). One goal, one assist, and one of the few players to finish in the black both by Corsi and scoring chances. Six shots on the night, and led all Oilers (including the defence) with more than 22 minutes of ice-time.
2. Andrew Cogliano. A nice game from Cogliano, who has been in a nasty slump the last while. He had a couple of very good chances created by his speed, and even though it isn’t fair to either Cogliano or Marchant (for different reasons) it’s hard not to remember 26 whenever one of those breakaways doesn’t work out, for whatever reason.
3. Tom Gilbert. There were a couple of other guys worth considering here, but I thought Gilbert (and oddly enough Strudwick too) had a decent night despite some miscues. The play that comes to mind for Gilbert is when he tripped on the puck behind the net but still got it out of danger with excellent second effort. Quinn’s apparently forgiven him for the other night; no defencemen had more ice-time than 77.
That’s as bad as Liam Reddox has looked this year. He was brutally out-classed by Patrick Kane on the latter’s first period goal, and while his line struggled all evening by eye he was the worst of the three. It’s too bad; he’d been doing a lot to make it difficult to demote him when everyone’s finally healthy.
The Souray/Staios pairing has been getting some love from the internet commenteriat since coming back from injury, but they were brutal tonight. It’s entirely possible that neither is at 100% yet (Souray in particular has looked much shakier defensively the last few games than he was last year) but for whatever reason they weren’t up to par tonight.
Jeff Deslauriers wasn’t good tonight, but Ladislav Smid still ought to be giving him an apology for his series of brutal giveaways.
Shawn Horcoff had a good game (and had a goal disallowed) but he only took one faceoff all night for a team that was 47.0% on the night and is at the bottom of the league in faceoffs. He’s playing hurt right now, because if Quinn could have him taking draws he would.
Jacques had a good first night back in a fourth line role, and was a physical presence.
I’d love to rip Ethan Moreau for taking that penalty, but it was completely bogus. He was obviously pushed into Cristobal Huet, and there was absolutely no reason for the referees to call him on it. He was beaking all the way to the box, and he had a very legitimate case.
After the game, Quinn complained both about work ethic and positioning; he kept returning to the former but he also talked about guys who run around and look like they’re working but they’re way out of position. He also said the team "abandoned" the game plan.
Given Nikolai Khabibulin’s injury history, it’s difficult to hear about him ‘tweaking’ his back without feeling a tinge of anxiety. He’s had a lot of issues since the lockout, and one can only hope this isn’t a recurring issue.