Oilers vs. Coyotes Postgame: Wasn’t That Nice?

Edmonton Oilers: 4

Phoenix Coyotes: 0

That was a refreshing change of pace from the results the last few weeks. Last night the goals went in for the Oilers, and while there were some good chances the other way, Jeff Deslauriers was excellent every time.

Oilers Three Stars, According To Me

1. Jeff Deslauriers. Deslauriers pitched his first career shutout by making 36 saves against the Coyotes. He was solid at times, and spectacular at others, and did a lot to ease fears that Nikolai Khabibulin’s absence is going to be devastating to the team. Switch Deslauriers and Bryzgalov last night and the game ends differently.

2. Ales Hemsky. Hemsky was flying at times and had a beautiful sequence with Dustin Penner to score his 100th career goal. He drew a penalty by driving hard at the defence and was one of the Oilers’ better players.

3. Shawn Horcoff. Had a beautiful tip-in goal on a Sheldon Souray shot, just beating the buzzer at the end of the second period (when the play went to review I thought ‘not again’) and made a goal-saving defensive play less than a minute into the game.

Random Thoughts

That goal-saving play in the first also reflected well on Steve Staios; the puck had popped into the slot and Deslauriers was out of position, but both Staios and Horcoff took Phoenix players angling for shots at the empty net, and both Oilers won out.

The Oilers kept the shots pretty even through two periods, but sat back in the third, something that Pat Quinn noted in his post-game press conference. A four-goal lead is pretty safe, but even so they might have coughed it up if not for Deslauriers’ brilliance.

The Oilers have been on a Kevin Smith kick the last little while, and last night it was funny watching the play-by-play crew run with the marijuana references. That’s something you don’t generally hear during a hockey game. Tyler Dellow has more on the oddities of the Oilers’ current connection to Smith.

Ethan Moreau had a great goal in the first period (it eventually stood as the game-winner) and didn’t take any penalties; a couple of games like that and all will be forgiven.

I didn’t think Lubomir Visnovsky had a great game, but he finished with two points and a plus-2 rating, so it could have been worse, but I wonder if he’s playing through injury right now. He was one of the Oilers best players early, but this is the second or third game in a row where he’s struggled a bit. On a completely unrelated note, he was bouncing side-to-side on his way to the dressing room after the first period, prompting my wife to ask who the penguin was.

One last thing on Deslauriers – a couple of days ago, Copper & Blue’s Ben Massey tossed up a theory that Deslauriers plays better the less people believe in him, which prompted him to make this comment:

So no more will I say that Dominik Hasek is the poor man’s Jeff Deslauriers. Jeff, if you’re reading this, you suck and I hate you and your face is ugly. Now go pitch a shutout.

And I’m done. That wasn’t the best the team has looked, but a win is a win and there’s no sense looking at the negatives after a break from a nasty run. What did everyone else think?

  • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

    You're right – Visnovsky was shaky last night, especially towards the end. That giveaway behind the net was really surprising.

    My girlfriend had to work last night and was disappointed that the Oilers finally decided to pull one out when she wasn't around to see it.

    JW, you could have given 4 or 5 stars for last night's game. I'd expect 3 that the Sportsnet guys gave out, plus maybe Liam Reddox and Ryan Potulny.

    How do you like the colour guys in Phoenix?

    "This was my key to the game: A different Edmonton Oilers hockey club."

    • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

      disappointed that the Oilers finally decided to pull one out when she wasn't around to see it.

      odd, she is never disappointed when i pull one out

      ohhhhhh snap!

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    Missed the game as I had no time to watch it. Good to hear JDD came out with a shutout, should be good for his confidence.

    Also good to hear we beat a record that stood from 1982 B.C.

  • Boy that Horcoff really sucks doesn't he? Glad to see he is bouncing back. This squad needs him.

    Gregor or Brownlee

    Any word on what happened at the players only meeting? Wasn't it weird that the vets met with Quinn and Renney after the "players only" meeting? If they discussed what happened at the meeting with the coaches doesn't it defeat the purpose of "players only"?

    Maybe we just need one of those before every game. . .

    • I'm still enjoying the win, so I'm not saying anything negative about the game today.

      Suffice to say that in general (i.e. in reference to no particular team or game) I have doubts teams can sustain winning when they get outshot the vast majority of the time.

  • So this lady walks into a tattoo parlour in Calgary and asked the guy to give her a tattoo of Wayne Gretzky on her thigh. She insists that the tattoo looked exactly like Gretzky. The guy agrees and insures her that it will look perfect.

    So she sits down and he lifts her skirt and goes to work for about three hours. He sits up and tells her wow it looks great. She grabs a mirror and looks down. This looks nothing like Wayne Gretzky. Really mad.

    So the tattoo artist thinks hard and tells her look I’ll do one more on the other thigh for free if you don’t like that one. Insisting that it look just like the picture of Gretzky she had gave him.

    She replies Ok. Once again he pulls her skirt up and goes to work on the tattoo. Three hours later he rises with a huge smile on his face. Oh my god this is perfect. Bragging to the lady on how great it looked. She looks down. This looks nothing like Wayne Gretzky !!! Very upset. The Tattoo artist can’t believe it, thinking it was the best tattoo of Gretzky he has seen.

    So trying to keep the lady happy he asks her if one of the other artists could look at the tattoos and give their opinion. She tells him sure.

    In walks the other tattoo artist, they ask him to take a look and be honest. So he lifts up her skirt really high to get a good look at the two tattoos and pulls the skirt back down.

    The lady jumps up and asks him now be honest what did you think.

    He replies

    One thing I know for sure is the guy in the middle is LANNY MACDONALD , WHO THE TWO WINGERS ARE I DON’T KNOW.


  • Hemmercules

    They should have meetings like that more often, they seem to play with more intensity after them. I was shocked that JDD held up there in the third, they were peppering him for about 10 straight minutes. Souray looked like he was playing much better as well from what I saw. I see there are 9 games before the next PPV too, sweet.

  • Glad to have the win, but I'd have a hard time saying were were the better team (figured it was a pretty straight up game). I believe I heard the Yotes had three dmen playing with (roughly) 60 – 70 games combined experience.

  • I'm a Scientist!

    I am just wondering who is considered a vet on the team? Hemsky, Horcoff, Souray, Moreau, Staois…Vis? Penner? There were 7 right? Who makes up that seven, and where is the line between vet and non-vet?

  • I'm a Scientist!

    So Penner was there? With 4 years in the NHL under his belt, does that mean that next year Gagner and Cogs are considered Vets?

    I wonder if excluding some people from the meeting might split the dressing room a bit? Why not just have the captain and assistants for the meeting?

    EDIT: I guess 6 of the 7 people in the room have been A's or C's for the team at some point and the goalie is an exception to the rule. I humbley retract this last statement.

  • 1- Potulny looked like an NHL'er tonight.
    2- I think Sully took Hrudey and Millbury's criticisms to heart, he definitely battled last night. Good to see him learn from RedOx and Storts, two guys who never shy away from anything ever.
    3- Souray is all heart and all rust. Looking forward to him getting a few more games in.
    4- This was a game that proved why shot totals aren't the best stat in the world. Phoenix had lots of shots, but the Oil defense was almost always in good positions for the rebounds. Lots of shots were from the outside, and they probably only had 2 or 3 REALLY dangerous scoring chances that JDD and the defense took care of.


    • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

      x2. I was impressed with rebound support, too. JDD wasn't controlling them as well as he usually does, and there were a few situations where the puck sat in the crease.

    • This was a game that proved why shot totals aren't the best stat in the world. Phoenix had lots of shots, but the Oil defense was almost always in good positions for the rebounds. Lots of shots were from the outside, and they probably only had 2 or 3 REALLY dangerous scoring chances that JDD and the defense took care of.

      I'm probably getting perilously close to saying something negative by putting up this link to scoring chances.

      Suffice to say that by my eye the shot clock was a good reflection of scoring chances.

      • Dan the Man

        It's pretty reasonable to overcome a shot differential over the short run, but over the long run you'd have to assume that your team can maintain both (or one to an extreme extent) a superior shooting % and a superior save % over the long run.

        Looks like a loosing bet to me.

      • I know this will be like talking Portuguese to a dog, but I was referring more to rebound control that shot statistics. More of a feeling thing, less of a statistical thing. You know, something totally un-quantifiable?

        Scoring chances I have no doubt are related to shot totals generally, but the quality of chances is something you can never put in a spreadsheet, which was really what I was getting at.

        The defense was much smarter around the net and in their own zone than they have been in previous games, and I think that played a large part in the outcome, even though the shot (and chance) totals wouldn't necessarily reflect that.

        • I thought the defence didn't do a bad job at all, but they still let in too many five-bell chances on goal.

          There's six examples of that in the highlight video above alone; 1:55, 2:02, 2:36, 2:52, 3:55, 4:02. The two Upshall chances were from prime scoring territory, and the Pyatt rebound off the goal-post could very easily have gone in too.

          By eye, Deslauriers had to be very good.

          • Technically, two of those chances were only 3.67 bell chances, and another one at 4.1 bells.

            I'll post a chart of bell ratings for the next game.

            I guess what I was REALLY trying to say is, they were giving out free beers at RX1, which is 100% awesome. Even though they were 3% beers.

  • Deslauriers performance was good, for sure, however I would have to say his rebound control was pretty poor for much of the night last night. A lot of credit should go to the rest of the team well for tying up other players sticks or quickly clearing rebounds before the Coyotes could capitalize. Seeing as though Roloson and Khabibulin have both had similar issues though, I'm not complaining.. just saying that he did show quite a few signs of being human yesterday as well. But I was already a fan of his.. I like JDD.. lots of athleticism, reminds me at times of Garon.

  • Dan the Man

    Really happy for JDD, hopefully he can get on a bit of a roll now.

    Dustin Penner's consistency is mind boggling considering he was the poster boy for inconsistency the last couple of years.

    It was also nice to see the D not looking completely terrified every time the puck came in their zone.

    Can anyone confirm whether or not thecaptainshanedoan is related to thecaptainethanmoreau?

  • Chaz

    Was it just me or did anyone else cringe when Kevin Quinn brought out his own personalized nickname for Penner last night? "The D Train".

    Maybe I'm wrong and perhaps he heard this somewhere else. Assuming he did come up with this though, when exactly did commentators decide it was their job to nickname players?

    And for the love of God, stop it now Kevin Quinn….or should I say Guy Smiley?


    * Continues to dream of a hostile take over of RSN by ESPN

  • Jamie B.

    I think the term they used was "leaders" not vets. So, it was the five guys with letters, Khabi, and Penner (team-leading scorer gets you some perks, apparently, and he did have a letter while guys were injured). Lubo comes off as pretty happy-go-lucky, so maybe he's not a "leader" in the style of Souray ~ who can kill you with the intensity of his eyes ~ if you're not working hard enough.

  • Milli

    Awesome for JDD. Horc seems to be finding his game again, thank fricken god. Now, if we can put together a game on wednesday, maybe, just maybe our fortunes are……..