Oilers Vs. Senators: A Good Night For The DFF

Edmonton Oilers: 1

Ottawa Senators: 4

The nice thing about the Dive For First is that there’s some solace in watching a loss. Add in the fact that the Maple Leafs beat Boston last night, and this was a pretty good night for draft pick aficionados.

It had some points as a hockey game, too. Jeff Deslauriers was magical in the first period, single-handedly keeping the Oilers in the game as the team around him collapsed and let shot after shot after shot get through to him. It also had some strong performances; the Whitney-Gilbert pairing may have finished minus-1 but they were pretty good, and the checking line did a fine job containing Alfredsson and Co.

The Oilers were badly outplayed at even-strength and compounded the issue by taking a string of unnecessary penalties. There were other problems too, although I won’t linger on them; suffice to say that this was probably Potulny’s worst game as an Oiler, watching Strudwick and Chorney try to figure out defensive zone coverage really needs circus music, and the Cogliano line, which was so effective last game, was the opposite of that tonight.

There was also some dirty stuff, with Shawn Horcoff throwing a hit I didn’t like on Anton Volchenkov; the hit was imitated a while later by Peter Regin, who chose Ryan Potulny to knock into the boards.

 

Oilers Three Stars

 

1. Fernando Pisani. It was a strong night for all three members of the checking line; not only did they shut down Spezza and Alfredsson but they contributed the Oilers’ only goal, off some good corner work by Horcoff and a nice point shot by Aaron Johnson, which Pisani banged home. It’s the sentimentalist in me, but I like seeing Pisani have good nights. He also tallied three hits, tops among forwards.

2. Jeff Deslauriers. Deslauriers started unravelling late in the game, and the game winner was of the wretched variety, but for the first half of this one he looked to be the only Oiler at the very top of his game, playing in a manner that had me flashing back to his performance over the Oilers five-game road winning streak earlier this year.

3. Aaron Johnson. The gap between the top of the Oilers’ defence and the bottom is a wide one, and Johnson is the final member of the competent trio, all of whom had good nights (Gilbert and Whitney are the other two). He recorded four hits, managed his first point as an Oiler, and has made Theo Peckham look as comfortable as we’ve seen him on defence. I’d like to see the Oilers retain him based on what he’s done so far, he seems to be a well-rounded defenceman who fits with the team.

  • Petr's Jofa

    Magic Number is down to lucky 13.5!!!

    Any combination of Leaf wins or Oiler losses and the Oilers are the #1 lottery seed. This assumes that the Islanders and others above the leafs don't completely poop the bed.

    Almost a perfect night, too bad Calgary jumped Detroit to take 8th spot in the West.

  • Bob Cobb

    NHL officiating sucks, Horcoff got a penalty for his hit and Iginla did the same thing to Souray and got away scott free, I guess whether or not you get a penalty depends on the name on the back of the jersey afterall.

  • Bob Cobb

    I have to say something about Deslauriers. I know we will play him this year, but I think we have to give him more time.

    He reminds me of a young Grant Fuhr – and I don't say that lightly. He was my favorite goalie to watch all-time, and I have always been the biggest fan of goalies.

    What I mean by that is in Grant Fuhr's earlier days he wasn't exactly 'solid'. He showed flashes that he was going to be a great goalie, especially with his lightning fast glove hand. But in the first few years he would be having a good game, and then let in a goal that a bantam goalie shouldn't be letting in. It would frustrate the fans, and I remember Grant being sent down to the minors in his second or third season after playing with the Oilers because of inconsistency. It was at this time that Grant famously referred to Edmonton fans as A55HOLES!! Haha.. – but we deserved it! I love you, Grant!!

    The point is that Grant would play extremely well, or make the greatest saves in the world, as Jeff did last night, and then really falter. I don't mean letting in a goal at the worst time ala Jussi Markannen, I mean letting in just WEAK goals – either during a game or for the entire game. Grant was always susceptible to doing that but he later became a goalie that would make up for that IN SPADES due to all the saves he made that he had no business making. He wound up becoming the Oilers' go-to goalie and winning them several Stanley Cups as the best goaltender of his era.

    I am not saying that is what JDD is going to go on and do in his career, but only that it is too early to say that he's not. He is starting to show uncanny athleticism and a confidence in himself that is absolutely magnetic to watch. I really love to see that – a goalie that will leave it all out there on the ice come hell or high water, and won't apologize for taking the chance he might look bad if that is the way he thinks he has the best chance to make the save. He played SO good during the flurry and waves of scoring chances the Senators threw at him earlier maybe he tired, physically or mentally. Whatever the reason I will admit he definitely faltered after playing all-world for the first 35 minutes of last game.

    The point I am making is that he is showing something special if you look hard enough at his performances. Yes, it is inconsistant, and it is frustrating at times, as well… but that is life with an up-and-coming goaltender.

    Let's give him a chance to see if he can learn to carry that play for longer stretches, and more games at a time; let's not give up on him yet. For the first time in a long time I really see something in a goalie here in Edmonton. I don't want to write him off to the fact that he will always play that way yet.

    He is showing us flashes of superior athleticism and brilliance in goal, now I think we have to give him the chance to find his consistency. I, for one, sure hope he finds it because the Oilers could use a franchise goalie in their organization!

    • Librarian Mike

      Let's give him a chance to see if he can learn to carry that play for longer stretches, and more games at a time; let's not give up on him yet. For the first time in a long time I really see something in a goalie here in Edmonton. I don't want to write him off to the fact that he will always play that way yet.

      He is showing us flashes of superior athleticism and brilliance in goal, now I think we have to give him the chance to find his consistency. I, for one, sure hope he finds it because the Oilers could use a franchise goalie in their organization!

      If you substitute 'goalie' for 'player', you have just described every player the Oilers have ever drafted since 1982 (except for Ryan Smyth).

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    I only watched the first two periods, but it was really good hockey from a very poor team. JDD was simply amazing and is the reason it wasn't a complete blowout. 26 giveaways, I still see we haven't learnt that we shouldn't be doing no look passes.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    Anyone notice how similar JDD's numbers are to Rollie's? Considering the shat show of a team we have JDD numbers aren't all that bad.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    Not sure if Gregor is lurking, but he mentioned how this rule on headshots won't take effect until next season as it has to go through all kinds of groups first.

    My question is why was the Avery rule brought in instantly?

    • Petr's Jofa

      Was it a new rule or was it just that the commissioner stepped in and told the refs to call an unsportsman like penalty?

      Edit: Really slow on the reply.

      • The Avery ruling was in response to something that had never been seen before and was never at any time considered acceptable.

        A rule against headshots will invalidate something that has been in the game for as long as the game has existed. Major difference. The players risk safety every night they play. Knee-Jerking a new penalty for hitting only risks ruining the game. If a new rule MUST be implemented they better take their damn time and make sure it's done correctly.

        The last thing I want to see is an NHL where Cassie Campbell could have played.

        • Archaeologuy wrote:

          'The last thing I want to see is an NHL where Cassie Campbell could have played.'

          Or Tom Gilbert…

          Oh, wait, we have an NHL where Tom Gilbert plays.

          He had points during the game last night where he was obviously reluctant to make physical contact in order to clear the puck.

          ~ yeah, great game by Gilbert ~

      • It's tough to make a rule change mid-season especially with hits to the head. Maybe they will call more 'intent to injure' penalties but this rule change could really be a culture shock to hockey.

        Like Arch said they have to get this done right because the last thing we want is to take a lot of the big hits out of the game.

      • Jaime

        The old boys club couldn't care less about player safety. If they really cared, we'd see an automatic penalty to a hit to the head. IMO there's still way too many Brian Burke type executives in this league who don't want headshots taken out of the game. An out of position shoulder to the head? It's fine with them. Still very dangerous, but sadly for many fans it's a reason to watch the game. Until there is a blanket penalty for all contact to the head, we will be having these problems with officiating headshots consistently and accurately. There can't be any grey area, if we really want to clean up this game, it needs to be black and white. I don't believe the priority of the NHL is cleaning up this game.

  • Gotta say… Johnson has surprised me. He was literally a spare part in Calgary… a guy I didn't notice much – good or bad. Looks to be a good fit here. Clearly a top-six, thus far.

  • Dan the Man

    JDD and a healthy Khabby going into next season , and i believe our goaltending duo is preset for next season . Defensively , it looks like the size and physical presense of our defence may shape up thusly – Whitney , Souray , Gilbert , Plante , Peckham , Smid , Chorney , Strudwick or Johnson . Offensively there may be a big shakeup . I'm expecting R. Nash to make the jump to big club for starters despite having a year or so eligible college to go. Svensson has to add a defensive game to his repetoire and i don't know if he can at this stage . From what i have seen of him he is a lazy backchecker . Eberle's size may keep him on the outside for another season or so – till he bulks up some more . Hartekeinen may be a dark horse for next season , and don't be surprised if Oilers use some present diminutive forwards to draft another first rounder low enough to get Neidereiter .Will the Oilers be able to move forward with Horcoff's albatross of a contract , or will they buy him out ?

  • Jay wrote:

    Willis, what line did a good job shutting me down?

    Signed: Alfredsson's 3 points and Spezza's 2 points

    The Oilers third line, against whom none of your points came.

    It's just a shame Pat Quinn let Andrew Cogliano, Sam Gagner and Gilbert Brule play that one minute against you.

  • If you want to see the epitome of soft, go to 6:35 of this clip and watch Horcoff shy away from contact instead of diving for the loose puck and initiating contact.

    SOFT SOFT SOFT Mr.6million Dollar man.

    Very weak Shawn. Since we can't get rid of you, can you at least bring back the old Horcoff.
    The one who wasn't a giant sissy.

    PLEASE!!

  • I'd be interested in a article about the effectiveness of Steve Staios as a flame at the end of the season. I just can't see him being a difference maker but would love to hear otherwise. Hope Willis or someone does it. Not much else to talk about come mid April for Oilers

    • m3sh

      Let someone else write that, or all you'll be staring at is how Staois is ineffective because of Corsi/EV, qualcomp etc. as opposed to actually:

      a) saying something positive
      b) watching the players, and making a determination as to how well he is playing