Oilers vs. Blues Postgame: Record Setters

Oilers: 5

Blues: 3

It was really two games tonight; the first half where the Blues dominated, and the second half where the Oilers dominated. Regardless, the Oilers came out of it with the victory, and in so doing improbably set the franchise record for consecutive wins on the same road trip. Crazy stuff. 

Three Stars, According To Me

1. The First Line. It might be a bit of a cop-out, but it’s true. Plus-4 on the night, with a combined nine points, this was the unit that drove the Oilers offensively. There were some bad moments early (both Brule and Gagner had brutal, brutal giveaways) and the bounces certainly went their way, but Penner’s size and strength were simply unstoppable and both Gagner and Brule were lethal in concert with him.

2. Shawn Horcoff. Horcoff took a whopping 28 faceoffs tonight, only six of them in the offensive zone, and he won 20 of them. He was brilliant in the third, scoring the winner on a play where he did pretty much all of the hard work. Not only that but he was double-shifted for most of the third period, and he left the ice for just over 30 seconds in the final three minutes as Quinn rode the heck out of him to hang on to the lead (he took Gagner’s spot on the top line in the defensive zone).

3. Lubomir Visnovsky. Asked to step into the breach after Sheldon Souray was ejected for unsportsmanlike behavior, Visnovsky was admirable, playing just a hair under 25 minutes. He may have had only a single assist on the night, but he was a big part of moving the puck in the right direction, and led the Oilers with a plus-12 Corsi rating. 

Random Thoughts

Since that was such a fun game, let’s get the negativity out of the way early. The pairing of Steve Staios and Jason Strudwick was beyond brutal. Of the Blues 22 even-strength scoring chances, 12 happened with Steve Staios on the ice. Nine happened with Strudwick on the ice. By eye and by number they were dominated by the Blues. While we’re on the negative, let’s also mention the Souray elbowing penalty and unsportsmanlike call – for a guy who often plays on the edge of legality (and he does) he gets a lot of calls in his favour, and nights like tonight are going to go a long way to making him a marked man for NHL referees. Lastly, the penalty kill: I’m not sure what Penner, O’Sullivan and Staios were thinking on the Oshie power play goal, but whatever it was it wasn’t NHL penalty-killing.

Andrew Cogliano had a few chances tonight, but I really wanted to make note of his shooting percentage. Here it is for this season and the two prior:

  • 2007-08: 18.4%
  • 2008-09: 15.5%
  • 2009-10: 6.7%

Guess which way it’s going to go.

Great fight between J-F Jacques and B.J. Crombeen; both deserve credit for hanging in that long.

Anyone else catch the play where Souray wanted to fight Brad Winchester, but Stortini intervened? The announcers figured that Stortini knew that the Oilers needed Souray on the ice, but I couldn’t help wondering if Stortini was just trying to save his old teammate from an ugly beating. I’m probably wrong, but that’s what went through my head.

I also thought that Tom Gilbert had a quietly effective game; given what he’s done so far this year “quietly effective” is more than welcome.

Zack Stortini didn’t see the ice for the last 10 minutes of the game, and O’Sullivan and Jacques were benched for the last five. Jacques only played 5:11 on the night, although he did miss some time because of his fight.

  • Paq Twinn

    @Brownlee and @Willis

    I believe it was record, but for wins on a single road trip. The Oilers did win 8 in row back in the 80's but it was 2 different road trips. This is still an accompishment, esspecailly for this team.

  • Jenga

    Really? Did they play that bad in the first half of the game? Did they not hit 3 posts? It didnt seem like St. Louis really dominated them that seem like a stretch. Were the shots on goal that lopsided?

  • Jenga

    I think it is unbelievable our beloved oilers go on quite the run here 5 games 5 wins on the road or not that's 10 points for the good guys snd yet even with that fans are still not happy??? And then we boo guys like heatley who doesn't want to come here?? I wouldn't want to come here either even if the boys win fans aren't happy I just don't understand…..

  • Ducey

    Cogs' shooting percentage will go up – eventually. Before that will happen he needs to be sent to the farm to get his mojo back and learn to take a faceoff. I think this is last year they can send him down without exposing him to waivers, and it should happen as soon as they get Pisani or Pouliot or Comrie back. Heck, bring O'Mara back up and send Cogs down.

    This would be the best for all concerned in the longrun and frankly short term. He is a shadow of what he was in his rookie season.

    • Jason Gregor

      Cogliano would have had to clear waivers at the start of the year because he had already played more than 160 games. He has to clear waivers no, so ZERO chance he gets sent down.

  • Ducey

    @ Willis

    I couldn't help but think the same thing when Stortini stepped in on Winchester/Souray. Stortini better get a huge ass christmas gift because he was about to receive a 'Highlight of the Night'esque beatdown.

    Any thoughts on O'Sullivan's play? With the way Nilson's been playing these past few games, I would rather have him with Horcoff on the second line. O'Sullivan/Horcoff/Jacques are 2 shooters with a grinder. With O'Sullivan on the fourth and Stone and Stortini crashing the net might yield better results.

  • bigrroberto

    I dont mind Souray getting kicked out. Sure its dumb of him to push the limit to the point where it got him kicked out, but it shows that he's playing with the emotion and want to win. Its something that I think the other players noticed. It was a slap in the face to the rest of the team to get their heads in the game, which they obviously did. They were all mostly playing like a bunch of Sourays in the third period. This is just another example of why he should be the captain.

  • @ TonyT:

    Depends how Quinn wnats to run the bench the next little while. If he's planning to hard match Horcoff against the toughies at home (he might) and use that line mostly in the defensive zone (i.e. as a bona fide checking line), I wonder if they might benefit from switching out Jacques for Stone.

    If he wants to use the Horcoff line as a scoring line, I wonder if he might not bump O'Sullivan into Cogliano's spot, and bump Cogliano down to the fourth line.

  • The Probability of 5 in a Row:

    I thought this might be interesting, just as a baseline, assuming that I remember how to calculate simple probabilities.

    If the Oilers have a 1 in 3 chance of winning every road game, than they have a 1 in 9 chance of winning two in a row, and a 1 in 27 chance of winning three in a row. In other words, every second season we'd expect a team that bad to win three in a row on the road (41 road games per season).

    Winning five in a row is an unlikely, but not impossible 1 in 243 chance. And that's for a very bad team (IIRC, the 06-07 Oilers were a .32 team on the road, or just a hair worse than this fictional team).

    In short, it's a little early to start complaining that Hemsky's the problem, or plotting out trade deadline acquisitions. This recent stretch is encouraging, but it could be an anomaly.

    • JorgeR

      I don't consider the fact that they won the previous game have that much affect on the probability of winning the next game. Other then injuries suffered, overconfidence and fatigue, I think the probability of winning any game kind of stands out on its own depending on what the quality of team we are playing is.

      for ex. probability of beating Detroit, .414, probability of beating Dallas, .389, … probability of beating St. Louis, .542..
      ha these as just dumb numbers I made up but do we really have to look at the next game as probability of winning is 1/3 * 1/3 * 1/3 * 1/3 * 1/3 * 1/3. or is it more realistic to think the probability is around .5

      • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

        Does that apply here? He's not trying to predict the probability of winning the next game, he's trying to illustrate the probability of several events occurring in a specific pattern.

        If 3 babies are born in a hospital at the same time, and 2 are male, what's the probability that the next one is female?

        ^ In that case, your law of independent events applies because the probability of the events preceding the third birth have no effect on it.

        If you're trying to predict the likelihood of 3 babies being born, and all 3 being male, the probabilities each individual event affect the probability of all 3 events happening in a specific way.

        • Lofty

          Its one game at a time and one team is going to win each game. The part of JW's post that I have a problem with is the 1/3. Every game has 2 teams, one must win and one must loose. I don’t think using the winning % of only road games can give you a reliable probability of a team winning 5 in a row. Even if the teams road average is 1/3, in every game the true probability of winning is 1/2.

          • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

            You can't argue that the odds are 1/2 when the Sharks play the Hurricanes. Just because there are 2 possible outcomes doesn't mean they have an equal chance of occurring.

            Teams have an advantage when they play at home. Fan support is important, and so is not having to travel the night before.

    • Paq Twinn

      I guess anonymous doesn't really know what he's talking about,or what a full game re-cap is. Oh well, what can you do?. Poor misinformed soul, he probably thought that St.Louis Game Time was a good read.lol

  • I dunno; I thought the St. Louis Game Time post was pretty funny. I also thought we might recognize ourselves a little bit in some of the fan comments; there's a lot that's comparable between these two teams and their fanbases, last night's game notwithstanding.

    • That's a good point. I would suggest that the same logic can carry to the argument that players won't come here because of the fans. Do the fans really change a player's mind? We are bipolar fans but not that different from most markets or sports. They boo like crazy in Montreal. I doubt that players pay that much attention to it.

  • GLoKz0r

    Unreal… we go on a tear for 5 games in a row, and suddenly the reason we've been losing is Hemsky?

    I will seriously never understand some of our fans and their willingness to just throw Hemsky away like a disposable razor the minute the team seems to have ANY success without him.

    I shake my head in disgust.

    • x2

      There are many factors why we're winning, and when we're losing. eg.Goalies,healthy D-lines, horcoff and so on and so on. Hemsky is a top player with skill. If we ever happen to make the playoffs hemmer would be a key part for a run at the cup. when he's on his game Defence sh*t there pants when he's comeing in one on one with speed.

      Hemsky needs to pick the cornners of the nets more, when he comes around the back of net on the rap-around pick the top left cornner.

      He has great passes too.

  • Jason Gregor

    ""Any thoughts on O'Sullivan's play? With the way Nilson's been playing these past few games, I would rather have him with Horcoff on the second line. O'Sullivan/Horcoff/Jacques are 2 shooters with a grinder. With O'Sullivan on the fourth and Stone and Stortini crashing the net might yield better results."""

    You shouldn't change any lines when you've won five in a row. Nilsson might earn that spot after a more good games…But no reason to change now, and there is no way someone should suggest juggling players that would change the bottom three lines.

    O'Sullivan needs to start scoring, and switching him with Nilsson won't automatically make him play better because he is with Stone and Stortini.

    Status quo for now…Quinn will change the lines for certain shifts, like every GOOD coach does, but I don't see him switching them to try and get O'Sullivan going.

  • Harlie

    WHY ATHLETES CAN'T HAVE REGULAR JOBS. Words to live by!

    1. Chicago Cubs outfielder Andre Dawson on being a role model:
    "I wan all dem kids to do what I do, to look up to me. I wan all the kids to copulate me."

    2. New Orleans Saint RB George Rogers when asked about the upcoming season:
    "I want to rush for 1,000 or 1,500 yards, whichever comes first"

    3. And, upon hearing Joe Jacobi of the 'Skin's say: "I'd run over my own mother to win the Super Bowl," Matt Millen of the Raiders said: "To win, I'd run over Joe's Mom, too."

    4. Torrin Polk, University of Houston receiver, on his coach, John Jenkins:
    "He treats us like men. He lets us wear earrings.."

    5. Football commentator and former player Joe Theismann:
    "Nobody in football should be called a genius. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein."

    6. Senior basketball player at the University of Pittsburgh :
    "I'm going to graduate on time, no matter how long it takes." (Now that is beautiful)

    7. Bill Peterson, a Florida State football coach: "You guys line up alphabetically by height." And, "You guys pair up in groups of three, and then line up in a circle."

    8. Boxing promoter Dan Duva on Mike Tyson going to prison: "Why would anyone expect him to come out smarter? He went to prison for three years, not Princeton ."

    9. Stu Grimson, Chicago Blackhawks left wing, explaining why he keeps
    a color photo of himself above his locker:
    "That's so when I forget how to spell my name, I can still find my clothes."

    10. Lou Duva, veteran boxing trainer, on the Spartan training regime of heavyweight Andrew Golota: "He's a guy who gets up at six o'clock in the morning, regardless of what time it is."

    11. Chuck Nevitt , North Carolina State basketball player, explaining to
    Coach Jim Valvano why he appeared nervous at practice:
    "My sister's expecting a baby, and I don't know if I'm going to be an uncle or an aunt."

    12. Frank Layden , Utah Jazz president, on a former player: "I told him, 'Son, what is it with you? Is it ignorance or apathy?' He said, 'Coach, I don't know and I don't care.'"

    13. Shelby Metcalf, basketball coach at Texas A&M, recounting
    what he told a player who received four F's and one D:
    "Son, looks to me like you're spending too much time on one subject."

    14. In the words of NC State great Charles Shackelford I can go to my left or right,
    I am amphibious.

    15. Amarillo High School and Oiler coach Bum Phillips when asked by Bob Costas
    why he takes his wife on all the road trips, Phillips responded:
    "Because she is too damn ugly to kiss good-bye."

    • There's some pretty funny quotes in there for sure, however…

      WHY ATHLETES CAN'T HAVE REGULAR JOBS… 9. Stu Grimson, Chicago Blackhawks left wing, explaining why he keeps a color photo of himself above his locker: "That's so when I forget how to spell my name, I can still find my clothes."

      a) I'm sure that was tongue-in-cheek

      and

      b) Stu Grimson has a law degree and was involved with the NHLPA throughout his playing days and beyond.

  • "Take alook at the opposition we faced during the 5 game trip. Not exactly world beaters.

    The notion of our team being better without Hemsky is ridiculous.

    We just recently got Stone and Jacques back in (and in game shape). Those guys totally change the way in which our team can play.

    Add Hemsky to the roster we have right now and we are a MUCH better team."

    Penner/Gagner/Brule
    Hemsky/Horcoff/O'sully

    looks like a pretty sold top 6 for next year.