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.

  • Dyckster

    Here we go again, another game another loss, it's getting to be almost automatic……waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaait a minute.

    A little surprised Smytty wasn't penciled in for the shoot out. If memory serves, he was pretty effective here in that role….wasn't he?

  • Chris.

    It's like the boys said after the Annaheim loss, "If we keep playing this way we are going to win more often then we lose."

    ~DFFers Beware!~

    *Squints at the standings and grimaces at the fact L.A. still got the single point… (It's hard to make up ground that way!)*

    • I'm not too worried about them winning. Especially if a couple of people get moved out of town. Ryan O'Marra could finish the year up here for all we know.

      I watched most of the 3rd & the overtime, it appeared they are playing with more intensity the last couple of games. Effort is all most of us want, most people understand they aren't going to win most nights.

      • Chris.

        Effort is all most of us want, most people understand they aren't going to win most nights.

        but…b.b.but… Stauffer said the Oilers would finish between 7th and 9th… He said! HE SAID!!!!

        *Suddenly realizes the Mighty Edmonton Oilers are not going to make the playoffs.*