Oilers Vs. Red Wings Postgame: On The Precipice Of History

Edmonton Oilers: 3

Detroit Red Wings: 2

If nothing else, tonight’s game was proof that the Oilers don’t need to play a full 60 minutes to win.  I had mixed emotions for most of the game; on the one hand, a loss to Detroit would help grease the rails a little more for Calgary’s slide into ninth, a little bit of schadenfreude to ease the pain of the Oilers’ season.  On the other hand, everything I’ve seen from Devan Dubnyk meant I didn’t really want him immortalized in the NHL record books for playing the most games from the start of his career without a win.

So, like Theo Peckham, I was irate when the Oilers let the Wings score with less than 0.5 seconds on the clock.  I could see Dubnyk being thwarted yet again, and I wasn’t happy about it.  Fortunately, the Oilers hung on through the overtime, and put it away in the shootout after a slick move by Ryan Potulny, a decisive shot from Gilbert Brule, and a final, solid save by Dubnyk to secure the win.

Oilers Three Stars

1. Devan Dubnyk.  31 saves on 33 shots does a fair job of describing Dubnyk’s performance, which was easily his best of the season.  He did some strong work in relief of Jeff Deslauriers in Nashville and in Toronto, but this was the first start where he stood out.  His rebound control was very good and he played well positionally, stopping numerous shots through traffic.  And he won.

2. Andrew Cogliano.  I’m still less than thrilled with Cogliano’s defensive game, but he started like a man possessed, scoring a goal and adding an assist as his line (with Penner and Brule) dominated their opposition through the first 10 minutes or so of the game.  He’s certainly come alive of late offensively.  Also of note was his four-for-seven performance in the faceoff circle.

3. Ryan Whitney.  Scored a goal, finished plus-1, and led the Oilers in shots (5) and ice-time (25:47).  He’s emerged as the Oilers’ number one defenceman since coming over from Anaheim and I thought he played his best offensive game in an Oilers’ uniform tonight.

Other Musings

Theo Peckham had an up and down night, as young defencemen will.  He led the Oilers with six hits, blocked seven shots, and played more than 20:00 on the depleted Oilers blue-line.  He was also on the ice for both Detroit goals against and continues to be a work-in-progress.  The raw material is undeniably there; I have high hopes for Peckham but there are going to be growing pains.

Why were Jason Strudwick and Taylor Chorney on the ice with 1:30 left in the game?  Is there an explanation, other than that Tom Renney has a sick desire to see Dubnyk fail?

Shawn Horcoff’s had a miserable season, but this was one of his worst games.  His line was solidly outchanced all evening and the combination of he, Moreau and Pisani is disastrous.  All three look like ghosts of their former selves.  It’s not a coincidence that every player starts looking better when Penner replaces Moreau on the wing; even on this team I have trouble seeing Moreau as a top-nine forward.

Speaking of which, Gilbert Brule’s a completely different player with Penner than he is without him.

It’s a murderer’s row the rest of the way for the Oilers, who will play the Sharks on Sunday and the Canucks on Tuesday.  All 11 of their remaining games come against Western Conference teams, with six of them on the road.

  • Ducey

    I would have taken Brule as second star. He was second in hits, was 4 of 6 at the dot, got 2 points and the OT winner. Cogs was good too.

    I wonder if the combo of Moreau's multiple ankle injuries and bad eye have more to do with his problems than attitude. He seems to be unable to make any useful plays and is relegated to cross checking guys well after the puck has left the scene.

  • Skidplate

    I am happy for Dubnyk, I just hope this strong play doesn't make him a waiver wire pick up next year. Another year in the AHL should bring him along nicely.

  • Skidplate

    Moreau doesn't seen to care this year.

    What a dud as a captain.

    Watch the interviews on Oilers website and notice the contrast in attitude between Moreau and Peckham or others.

    • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

      did you not see moreau congratulating dubnyk after the win? it was far more than a tap on the head, which is what one might expect from a guy that doesnt care.

      moreau may be alot of things, and this year i will agree he has been playing like a guy who didnt want to be here.

      you honestly want to compare attitudes between a kid trying to get a job in the nhl and a veteran trying to play out the season? a season that has the team dead last? after how many years missing the playoffs?

      honestly?

      • Skidplate

        Yes, Moreau looked extremeley happy for Dubnyk. That was one hell of a hug. And it looked like he had some encouraging words for him as well.

        Say what you want about Moreau's play and talent, but I do not think we should be questioning his heart.

      • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

        I don't know the guy personally but to me he seems like an arrogant prick really.
        Have you noticed that.
        Like the type of guy where you would hate life if you had to spend more than 10 minutes with him. Negative and BORING.
        So you got this type of guy on the bench and he's draining life out of everyone….and he's supposed to be a leader?
        Maybe he is the leader, leading us right into last place.

        He's the opposite of an energy guy.

        I don't know…how 'bout our insiders, Gregor, Brownlee?
        Have you ever fallen asleep while interviewing him?

        And don't ask him about the stupid penalties he takes, "I don't give them a second thought"! Direct quote! Seriously Moreau?!! Seriously?! Ass.

        • Skidplate

          You don't win the King Clancy award for the type of player you are describing.

          "After ten years with the Edmonton Oilers, captain Ethan Moreau was honored at tonight’s 2009 NHL Awards with the King Clancy Trophy for his on and off ice leadership skills.

          His humanitarian efforts in his community did not go unnoticed, of course, as he is very active with several charities in the Edmonton area.

          Moreau made sure to not only thank his teammates and his club’s organization but, also, made sure he showed his appreciation to his city and fans who have supported him for a decade."

          • OilCrazy

            I've never questioned Moreau's heart or his leadership skills within the dressing room. He just hasn't been the same player since the clutch-and-grab style of hockey died after the lockout.

            The game has gotten a lot faster since then and it juse appears that Moreau has trouble keeping up without taking a stupid penalty.

          • Kizz

            That's pretty convincing, perhaps I am wrong.

            Who votes on that award?

            Maybe he is different than the attitude I see watching games and listening/watching interviews.

            Sure seems like an ass to me.
            I wouldn't want to play with him, again, just from what I see.

      • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

        Moreau just isn't another veteran playing out the string. He is the CAPTAIN! With the leadership he shows, is there any reason we are in last? This is the time when character vets stand up, and show the kids that it is still a privelege to play in the NHL…even for the worst team!

  • Skidplate

    Finally a win for the young goalie! He played well. Everyone is going to question Peckham at the end of the game when Detroit scored BUT if you watch the reply I am wondering why Moreau was in the corner backing up Peckham he goes for the cross-check over the fallen Peckham and on to the Detroit player instead of protecting the puck or Peckham. Not sure what Moreau thinks sometimes but he has to make better choices out there.
    Thank goodness it all worked out in the end and DD got his first NHL win!

  • OilCrazy

    I can't believe Moreau didn't get the puck out with the game on the line late in the third. Nice job captain. What was he thinking???

    He's a prime candidate for a buyout as I can't see anyone wanting to trade for him in the off-season and take on his salary. We'd probably have to throw in a prospect which I'd rather keep, so we should just get it over with and pay him to retire with 1 year's severence pay.

    Brutal.

    • Exactly! The replay infuriated me! Instead of getting the puck out, thegoatcaptainmoreau decides to crosscheck Zetterberg three more times in the corner. Totally selfish.

      The Oilers didn't win so much as not lose but at least Dubnyk has that monkey off his back. He looked solid for the most part.

      Edit: It was also wicked to see Eberle off to a hot start. Let's pray that it continues.

  • m3sh

    Nice to see a win and that it was DD's first, bout time.

    Nice that we still managed to screw the flamers for 1 pt they will wish Detroit never got.

    No doubt on the Strudwick/Chorney pairing out with 1:30 left… I've been wondering what's up with that all year. Every game we somehow manage to get forced into OT in the dying seconds, Strudwick is on the ice for that tying goal. That's probably exaggerating, but I really feel like i've seen it far too often this year.

  • Pajamah

    Finaly a win for DD. Way over due. Does it seem like the kids are lisening to the coaches now. Something has changed since the break. Is it my imagination or are the refs doing the oilers no favours? I hope we win every game that doesn't help the lames.