Edmonton Oilers: 1
Vancouver Canucks: 4
The Canucks hadn’t won at GM Place on Boxing Day in years and years, but then again they haven’t been lucky enough to face your 2009-10 Edmonton Oilers in all those games either. Another loss and shoddy work on the PK obscured a solid effort from the Oilers.
Oilers Three Stars, According To Me
1. Ladislav Smid. The battle between Smid and Mikael Samuelsson was a fun side issue over the course of the game. Samuelsson knocked Smid down off a faceoff early in the first, but Smid took the number and came back to drill him twice – a beautiful hit in the Canucks’ zone where Smid sent the puck deep, and an undisciplined hit where Smid left his position on the PK to drill him. Still, the mean streak is nice to see and the first hit was a thing of beauty. He also prevented a goal by knocking the puck away after it squeaked by Deslauriers, all while holding off an attacker.
2. Shawn Horcoff. Horcoff had a nice game, moving the puck smartly and backchecking well, as usual. His minus on the night came on the empty net goal; I’m still a little confused as to why the NHL counts those on a player’s plus/minus.
3. Ryan Potulny. Had a lovely goal that made Luongo look a little bit silly (he should have had it) but showed his goal scoring ability on a gorgeous shot. I’m also inclined to cut him some slack for his delay of game penalty; that’s just bad luck.
I thought Tom Gilbert was having an incredible game, up until he let Ehrhoff blow by him and score the Canucks’ third goal. He made a bunch of brilliant plays and has mostly looked rejuvenated since being paired with Souray.
All night the commentators were talking about how great the Oilers’ fourth line looked; that’s what happens when they get matched up against the Rypien line. The Canucks’ fourth line is enough to make anybody look good. That said, it’s a shame this team has so many small players because Andrew Cogliano deserves a better spot than that one; he played well tonight.
The Canucks’ two power play goals that changed the game were all sparked by Ethan Moreau running into Robert Luongo; had he not done that, than Potulny wouldn’t have been stuck in his own end and he wouldn’t have accidentally put the puck over the boards.
Very poor game for Dustin Penner, who looked half a step behind all night.
Robert Nilsson coughing up the puck at the opposition blue line never gets old.
That was an epic battle between Rick Rypien and Zack Stortini, although I was confused by Stortini’s tactics: when did the forearms become more effective weapons than the fists?
Bless Steve Staios, he can’t take that interference penalty; it was a game sinker. Between he, Moreau and Visnovsky (who took a poor hooking call in the first) the Oilers’ veterans were the ones making costly mental errors.