Oilers vs. Kings Postgame: Road Losing Streak Over

 

Edmonton Oilers: 3

Los Angeles Kings: 2 (SO)

Thanks to a good effort from Jeff Deslauriers, a little bit of luck, and an exciting shootout that culimnated in Lubomir Visnovsky’s 10th-round goal, the Edmonton Oiler have halted their road losing streak.

First Period

I get a kick out of Gene Principe. Maybe that reflects badly on me, but there isn’t any pretence there: he always seems like he’s having fun, and he doesn’t make any secret of the fact that his job is to be as upbeat as possible about the Oilers. Plus, puns can be fun.

Erik Ersberg gets his first start since January 11th; apparently Quick has the flu, but this would seem like a logical start for the backup anyway.

Jason Strudwick is paired with Lubomir Visnovsky. I’ve long advocated pairing whoever ends up as trade bait with Visnovsky, who is the team’s best defenceman by a long stretch.

Pat Quinn’s been happy with his team’s effort for most of the season, and I don’t think he’s wrong. Effort isn’t the issue for this team; injuries don’t help but the biggest problem is a poorly constructed team.

Post for Denis Grebeshkov against his former team!

Pisani, Pouliot and Brule all crash the net after Ersberg makes the save; if there’s one big improvement I’ve seen in Pouliot so far this year it’s his willingness to confront physically.

Smid’s actually paired with Visnovsky; the Strudwick/Visnovsky pairing seems to have been a half-completed change.

Very strong stick check by Strudwick on the red line against Simmonds.

Staios jumps to knock the puck down at his own blue-line, and gets the puck moving forward to make a Kings’ line change much more risky for them.

Ethan Moreau takes the game’s first penalty; a tripping minor behind the net as he reached for the puck with his stick.

Fernando Pisani dives to clear the puck; great to see that kind of passion, even with the season out of reach.

I quite like Kevin Quinn, but Principe’s done a nice job filling in as a play-by-play guy.

I don’t feel bitterness about the Ryan Smyth trade any longer, but I do think it’s a shame he didn’t retire an Oiler. The team could sure use him now.

Robert Nilsson takes the Oilers second penalty, with a little hook on Brad Richardson in his own end. If there’s any player on the team that should be worried about a buyout, it’s Nilsson, who would have a cap credit for next year and a hit just over $0.4 million in 2011-12. I don’t think it will happen (if anything, he’d just be banished to Europe) but it’s a possibility.

Either my TV is acting up, the clock is wrong, or Sportsnet just missed a little over 30 seconds of the game. Since we went from a whistle to commercial to play without a faceoff in between, I’ll go with the latter.

Only Gene Principe can make a 79% penalty killing rate sound like a good thing.

Louie DeBrusk is commenting on aggression as a positive for a penalty kill, and given his game as a player I can understand why he’d feel that way, but I’d almost rather see a tightly controlled PK.

Oilers power play comes and goes without anything really worth commenting on.

Zack Stortini tussles in front of the net.

Smyth with a sneaky shot from the side of the net that seemed to surprise Deslauriers. Comrie and Horcoff end up with a 2-on-1 out of the shift, though.

I still haven’t forgiven Michal Handzus for crunching Ales Hemsky into the boards from behind and ending his season.

Dustin Brown heads to the penalty box for kicking out Steve Staios’ leg in front of the net. That was just a stupid penalty to take.

The power play ends as Ryan Potulny gets called for interference after accidentally getting caught up with Michal Handzus’ stick and shoving it away.

Scoreless after one, but still an interesting game.

Second Period

No real panel tonight, unfortunately; just John Shannon. No listen to the Katz interview either, which is probably appropriate given that no information was conveyed.

Anze Kopitar banged the puck off the post; that’s the second incredibly close chance for the Kings.

Willie O’Ree seems well spoken, but I was a little disappointed that he didn’t reference the Oilers’ teams that had so many coloured players after Principe set him up for it. Ah well, not everyone can remember Joaquin Gage I suppose.

Comrie almost deflected a Grebeshkov shot; that looked dangerous. Horcoff looks better between Comrie and O’Sullivan than he did between Pisani and Moreau.

I’ve changed my mind on Gene Principe as play-by-play guy; he just doesn’t talk enough. DeBrusk helps, but even so it isn’t great.

Marc Pouliot got tagged with a hooking penalty; I think it was a pretty weak call but I can understand how a referee would see the stick going up and blow it down immediately.

Pouliot with a very big hit behind the net; he stepped right into his target.

Very nice shift by the fourth line; Ethan Moreau seems like a much better player in this situation and Stortini deserves to be in this lineup every day – certainly over Jacques.

A moment after I say that, a Denis Grebeshkov point shot sneaks by Ersberg as Stortini provides a screen in front and gives Matt Greene a little lumber (either Stortini or Greene tipped it) 1-0 Edmonton.

That’s the third time tonight the Kings have had half an empty net and have been unable to convert. Jeff Deslauriers brought his horseshoes tonight.

With the Kings buzzing, Denis Grebeshkov sticks out his stick and trips Drew Doughty, sending them to the power play.

Steve Staios had Moller lined up on the penalty kill and threw a very impressive sounding hit.

Jack Johnson gets an arm out to keep Patrick O’Sullivan away from the puck and gets a two minute minor for holding. Once again, O’Sullivan’s willingness to race for the puck ends well for the Oilers.

Greene and Handzus combine for a chance with three seconds left in the second period. Had that shot gone in Pat Quinn’s reaction could have been really interesting.

Third Period

A nice chance early as Robert Nilsson tried to setup Ryan Potulny at the side of the net.

Tom Gilbert makes a great play on Dustin Brown to cut-off a 2-on-1 after Jason Strudwick coughed the puck up. I don’t actually think Strudwick makes more errors than most defencemen, he’s just so slow that he can’t ever seem to recover.

Steve Staios gets pursued into his own end by Ivanans, takes a hard hit and gives the puck away.

I want to reemphasize that it is ridiculous to keep Stortini out of the line-up the way he has been playing.

Another great chance for the Kopitar line.

Grebeshkov should play Los Angeles every night. Between Pouliot and Pisani he was setup for two gorgeous shots from the high slot as that line established itself in the Los Angeles zone.

A 1-0 game sounds like a goaltending battle, but I don’t know if that fits here. Chances have not been abundant.

Ryan Potulny hits the post from almost right on the goal line.

Jason Strudwick and Tom Gilbert are getting matched up against the Kopitar line on pretty much every shift. I’ve never coached in the NHL, but it seems to me that Strudwick has absolutely no business on the ice against those players. People whine about Gilbert, but at least he’s a competent defenceman.

That picture of Pat Quinn with a moustache and wearing a tuxedo is priceless.

Anze Kopitar takes a holding penalty on Patrick O’Sullivan as they fought for a loose puck. Given the size disparity, it has to be a frustrating penalty for Terry Murray.

Dustin Penner with a gorgeous shot to make it 2-0. Erik Ersberg can’t allow that goal, but it was a nice shot. Penner matches his career high in points.

The play-by-play crew are going on and on about early season Dustin Penner. Look – Penner cooled down after an incredibly (unsustainably) hot 10 game stretch to start the season (17 points, if I remember right). He hasn’t been a point-per-game player since, which is fine. But as the season goes on, those 17 points get diluted more and more. It’s true that Penner slowed down along with the rest of the team, but if it probably isn’t fair to expect this guy to put up a point per game. If he’s a 25/30-goal 50/60-point guy he’s probably playing to potential.

Denis Grebeshkov is off out front somewhere, and Steve Staios is left alone in front of the net with three Kings. Dustin Brown knocks in the rebound off a Rob Scuderi point shot, and that makes it 2-1.

A scrum breaks out in front of the net, and Tom Gilbert (of all people) is in the middle of it, going at it with Clune.

All I can think of watching this game is the ‘most dangerous lead in hockey’ line. Half of it is gone already.

Pouliot line and the Staios/Grebeshkov pairing out against Kopitar and company in the defensive end. Maybe a break for Horcoff from checking duties? Lord knows he could use it.

Ryan Smyth makes it 2-2! Deslauriers had no idea where the puck was , Steve Staios was on Smyth but did virtually nothing, and the game ends up tied.

Ethan Moreau bumped up to the Horcoff line, presumably in the hopes of weighing him down by putting him against opponents he can’t handle.

Dustin Penner hustles to beat out an icing call and then Potulny outworks a Kings defender along the boards to take the puck.

Jeff Deslauriers goes after Drew Doughty for taking a late shot after the net went off; I don’t recall seeing Deslauriers react like that before. Offsetting minors.

Denis Grebeshkov nailed the linesman with the shoot-in.

Overtime/Shootout

A penalty in overtime? Steve Staios takes a tripping minor, neutralizing a possible rush for Marc Pouliot.

Gene Principe is praising how savvy and smart Steve Staios is. Suddenly, I’m not sure he’s watched a game since the 2006 Finals run.

I’m watching Ryan Smyth parked in front of the net and Jarret Stoll at the point and it makes me feel nostalgic.

Timeout now for the Oilers, presumably to give Shawn Horcoff, Jason Strudwick and Tom Gilbert some time to rest before they get sent back out. I’m continually amazed at how Strudwick is used by Tom Renney.

The puck almost bounced into the empty net off the skate of Ryan Smyth, but it didn’t work out and the penalty expires.

Dustin Penner manhandles Jack Johnson, and all I have to say is this: more, please.

Patrick O’Sullivan stopped after he’s sprung on a breakaway.

For the record: Gagner being out isn’t a disadvantage in the shootout. He’s been average for more than a full year now after some early success.

O’Sullivan, Potulny and Horcoff for the Oilers versus Kopitar, Johnson and Dustin Brown for the Kings.

Jack Johnson in 4/10 in the shoot-out.

Jeff Deslauriers went for the pokecheck on Kopitar, and Kopitar walked around him and put it in an empty net. That was almost a little embarrassing for Deslauriers.

O’Sullivan skated in slowly and then got a quick shot off, but Ersberg made a nice save.

Deslauriers and Johnson both lost the puck, but it stayed out on a fancy move by Johnson.

Potulny puts the puck off the post after getting Ersberg to bite and drop down. Dustin Brown can win it here.

Deslauriers goes for the third pokecheck in a row (much to Louie’s excitement) and for the first time it works perfectly. Shawn Horcoff now needs to score to keep the shootout going.

Perfect shot by Horcoff, with a quick release that made him look like a pure scorer (for the first time in a long time). I don’t know why Horcoff doesn’t get more shootout work.

Ryan Smyth stopped on the backhand by Deslauriers, who looked very patient there.

Nilsson over Pisani, but he couldn’t finish the deke. I’m hoping Fernando Pisani gets sent out next for the Oilers. Stoll now up for the Kings.

Deslauriers with a nice save – this is a lot of fun to watch.

Mike Comrie for the Oilers. He makes a pretty ordinary move and Ersberg calmly pushes the puck away. Los Angeles comes back with Doughty.

Doughty had a real fancy move but Deslauriers knocked the puck away with another forecheck. Pouliot up for Edmonton.

Pouliot opts for the deke, and puts the puck off the post on the backhand. Wayne Simmonds up for Los Angeles.

Simmonds beats Deslauriers on a simple shot that hit the goalie a little bit. Dustin Penner needs to score to keep the game alive.

Penner scores! He sucked Ersberg to one side and then sticks the puck five hole as Ersberg moved across. Sneaky release.

Deslauriers went for the poke check on Richardson, and it worked well again. He’s getting better with it.

Fernando Pisani, finally! Unfortunately, Pisani went for the deke (I was hoping for the simple Horcoff shot) but Ersberg pokechecked him away.

Villain Michal Handzus takes his time and scores, putting the puck over Deslauriers’ glove hand. Brule up for Edmonton.

Nice move for Brule! Great speed and a few little dekes and the puck is past Ersberg. Frolov up for L.A.

Not much of a shot from Frolov; Lubomir Visnovsky up for Edmonton. I hope he wins it.

Visnovsky scores, with a very similar shot to the one that worked for Horcoff. That has to be sweet against his former team, and the road losing streak is over.

With the win, if Edmonton runs the table the rest of the way they can still finish at .500.

  • BarryS

    johnsson and leddy for barker what the hell seriously are we trying at all no draft picks nothing. then will we trade for nobodys at the deadline. i dont know much about johansson but is he that much better then staios or grebs. frustration.

    • The reason why the Hawks wanted Kim Johnson is because he's a UFA which helps with their cap beyond this year. Plus he's still good enough to help this year. It appears the price wasn't all that high for Barker.

        • Johnsson is a salary dump by Minny (you and I already discussed why he was appealing to the Hawks), and this from Mike Russo…

          Leddy, I can tell you from sources, Wild was very concerned with his lack of development at the U this year.

          • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

            Wow this is way to friggin red, not sure how the drunks will handle it tonight.

            Never knew that about Leddy, but it is only one year. So is Leddy like Plante was his first year after we drafted him? Leddy is probably in the U for 4 years so maybe things change. Either way it's a prospect for Chicago.

          • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

            I was wondering that, but really I thought maybe they wanted Barker that bad. Really I don't know how that many of last years picks have developed I just assumed that Chicago got a 1st rounder with potential.

          • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

            I was talking to a guy at another site that is pretty into the U of Minnesota and he doesn't think Leddy is a bust yet, more that he is taking time to adjust from High School. He also is saying that lots of fans are mad about the deal.

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      Leddy 16th overall last year. Johnsson not as good as he once was, but a vet that is a UFA after this season. That is the key the UFA.

      I wonder what they wanted from the Oilers? Petry and Grebs?

  • Harlie

    regarding the Luge crash and the track…this is a little unsettling…

    from CTV

    "There have been more than a dozen crashes during Olympic training. A Romanian woman was briefly knocked unconscious earlier this week.

    "I think they are pushing it a little too much,'' Australia's Hannah Campbell-Pegg said Thursday after she nearly lost control in training. "To what extent are we just little lemmings that they just throw down a track and we're crash-test dummies? I mean, this is our lives.''

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      Interesting comment by the athlete as the sport pretty much is what it is. Apparently they shut down training on the track for now.

  • Harlie

    I wonder how Bob is spinning this one…

    from the Sun's Derek Van Diest today…

    "There was nothing journalistic about Katz's statements to his hand-picked employee, hired as the team's radio colour commentator days after taking ownership of the club.

    Pure and simple, it was a propaganda ploy to gain public support of his downtown arena vision, while appealing to fans to continue spending their hard-earned dollars to watch a club wallow through the worst year in team history with no immediate relief in sight."

    "How seriously can you be taken when you're paying the guy who is asking the questions? What does that do to the radio guy's credibility and how is he supposed to get away from the stigma that he's simply a spindoctor for your organization?"

      • Librarian Mike

        Can we trade Moreau to the Rangers for a 6th round pick? Please?

        On a serious note, that's a damn shame about the luge guy. On the first day, no less. Sad.

      • Its gone. "Server maintenance".

        It must be freaking hilarious at the VANOC secure underground bunker as they race to shut down "unauthorized" video posts. As soon as they think they've put a lid on it, a red flashing light and buzzer must go off and the crack censorship team goes to work. I imagine it must look alot like NASA.

  • @ Barry S:

    Your mistake is in thinking that Deist could do the Stauffer interview. They're in different professions; Stauffer's a flunky for the Oilers while Deist covers sports for the Sun.

    The Katz interview couldn't have been done by anyone other than a flunky, and nobody other than a flunky would want to do it.

    • Harlie

      I agree. And I heard Bob trying to explain the audio and taking credit for the questions as saying they were his today on his show.

      One thing I didn't hear was if Bob faxed the list of question to Katz prior to the interview? My bet is he did. Not that it mattered much. A brown nosin employee lofting softies to his rich boss.

      Katz would have been better served to hold a presser or just pick up the damn phone and call into a radio show while it's on. For a rich successful guy he sure doesn't come off like he has a lot of confidence.

    • BarryS

      Actually, it seems to me Mr. Katz gave what many here were calling for, an indication he was unhappy about the season and some sort of promice to do better next year. It was not news it was customer relations pure and simple.

      Sure Bob is an employee, he freely admits it. The Oilers already have two mainstream media outlets in CHED and CFRN to get their news out, so in the grand scheme of things, and given their dropping circulations, why would he bother with newsprint? I know, nobody likes to have their marginalization rubbed in their faces, but Katz is no fool, nor in the business of selling newspaper advertising and bird cage lining. He wants to talk to his customers, he uses his contract media, not someone elses.

      Seems to me many of the best sports guys no longer work for newspapers, by choice or not, witness Mr.Brownlee's relatively new careers in internet and radio.

    • BarryS

      So what's your point? Mr. Katz has no obligation to talk to any "media" person if he doesn't want to. It's his business and he runs it as he wants. Sorry, he has GM's and Coaches and contract sports guys to put out the company line.

      If the newspapers spent their money to properly cover the news and sports instead of using wire services, then perhaps some of them would have better access to the stories. I notice every year fewer and fewer actual reporters go to the game, mostly one or two people toi represent whole chains. It is any wonder how nearly everyday both papers carry essentially the same stories with the same quotes and everything. A little more originality and balance would come in handy.

  • Chris.

    I saw the original footage of the luge tradgety on CTV in crystal clear HD on a 52" screen… and am worse for it. Curiosity kills cats; but it also can stain your mind. I am sickened by what I saw. My heart goes out to the family.

  • Harlie

    WT suggests Bob did what his EMPLOYER asked him to do. Please remember Bob is an EMPLOYEE of the Oilers. WT is self employed and only answers to himself, but if you are on the payroll are you not expected to tow the Company line?????

    WT says lets get serious about the rink and can someone step up and simply tell the tax payer of Edmonton what his/her bill will be each year because of the rink tax levy? Mr Mayor said there would be NO public tax money put into the project. That is the real question, is the taxpayer on the hook or not. Come on already, lets get some common sense into this debate

  • @ Barry S:

    My point was that I doubt "sour grapes" enters into it – that wasn't an interview Van Diest would have conducted anyways.

    Now, Van Diest might wish he could hold a candid interview with Katz (what Edmonton sports writer wouldn't?) but that isn't what Stauffer got. Stauffer got a chance to play a bit part in the Oilers' P.R. machine.

    No jealousy involved.

    • BarryS

      I know for the company I work for, the CEO rarely gives candid interviews. Most are scripted, prepared and predictable.

      Considering Katz's investment, is it really surprising to anyone that he took a very conservative and safe approach to touching base with the investors (fans)? This for him is a business first – team sport second. No one should think any differently.

      Stauffer is an employee now. Again, is it a surprise that he threw the boss some soft ones? Would any of you really do it differently if faced with the same opportunity? Sure, there are always the petulant few that like to hit the boss with a tough or embarrassing question. Funny though, most of them don't seem to be around for very long…

      As much as we fans hate it, for Katz and even Tambo, Lowe et al, this is a business first, game second. The only way that this season becomes a disaster from a business perspective is if the fans that leave cannot be replaced by another. This "fiscal" year is probably being viewed as a write off. We fans are left to hope that the business Oilers respond like most others in the corporate world would – by making aggressive plans to change the course. It will be very interesting the see the actions of the "company" between now and the draft to see what their picture of righting the course is.

  • And I have no particular issue with Stauffer's decision to turn to mouthpiece work.

    What I have issue with is people framing him as a 'reporter' or 'journalist' when he isn't one – he's an information conduit for the Oilers, the equivalent of Daryl Katz's Ari Fleischer.

    At least, that's the role he served in this instance.

  • BarryS

    Yup, you are right, Bob is an Oiler employee and not a reporter like WT and everyone once knew him. He has recreated himself and prostituted himself to the Oiler organization. For goodness sakes, even Hall of Famer Rod is harder on the Oil than Bob is.
    WT says as long as Bob can sleep at night knowing what he has done to himself, he can simply keep his "tricks" going.

  • BarryS

    Very good of you Mr. Willis to let Tencer have it. He is also another mouth that will do what ever Katz says. Who knows what else he does for him it. Katz will invest around the rink and make money off the tax payers who paid for the rink. Tax payers need thier voices heard.

    • BarryS

      Trina, as Dan's ex WT expects you know how low Dan will go.

      Dan is like the first pole dancer and then Bob follows a few hours later

      WT would like to know what is the difference between Brian Hall and Bob Stauffer????? Maybe the hair or the weight. Bob, how does it feel to be compared to the Hall of Famer Brian Hall?

  • Jodes

    Have to say great night at the Pint.. I went looking around for Oilers Nation members, but I didn't find any. Oh well, next time.

    Got to say, a great time was had by my and my gf. $4 pints of Guiness, $19 platters, great hockey game, and well the prizes given out by Sonic also kicked ass.

    Usually in a bar full of people the chances of winning "swag" is pretty slim.. but we cleaned up, with the gf snagging Mar 5th Tix against the Wild, and me picking up a brand new home jersey.

    Not bad for a nights haul!

    I most certainly will return!

    Thanks for turning me on to this place guys!