That was an ugly game.
The first period was fairly one-sided. The Oilers actually had a decent second period, though they were out-scored three to one thanks to some Sedin magic and a boneheaded play by Nikolai Khabibulin. All they had to show for it when the final whistle sounded in the period was an Ales Hemsky buzzer-beater. Then the third period reverted to being totally one-sided. I felt the 6-1 score accurately reflected the balance of play.
The fourth line, consisting of Fraser, Stortini and MacIntyre had a surprisingly good game. MacIntyre laid a heavy hit on Andrew Alberts which led to a brief wrestling match, and then later went to do the same thing to Edler, who slowed down to avoid the hit and thereby allowed MacIntyre to grab the puck first. It made me laugh.
Weak points for the Oilers this season remained weak points in this game. The penalty kill reverted to form, allowing two goals. The power play demonstrated its traditional impotence. Sam Gagner, with a 38% success rate, was the Oilers’ best faceoff man (aside from 1-for-1 Ryan Jones). Meanwhile, only winger Mikael Samuelsson finished at less than 50% for Vancouver. The Oilers were also outshot 34-24.
Tom Gilbert led the team with 29 minutes in ice-time, but had a rough night by the scoring chances, finishing minus-9 at evens. Jeff Petry, somewhat surprisingly, finished plus-5.
The hit above, courtesy of Tom Kostopoulos, broke Brad Stuart’s jaw. It seems to me to be almost the definition of the league’s new blind-side hit rule. It’s not really charging, it’s tough to see if there’s an elbow, and the puck was in the area, but Kostopoulos nailed Stuart in the head when he wasn’t looking. It’s the kind of hit that’s totally needless. What does everyone else think?
Also, brief one-time Oiler Jesse Boulerice has been suspended again, this time for abuse of an official. I don’t understand why the general managers of professional hockey teams keep giving this guy opportunities.
The Leafs beat Atlanta 9-3 tonight. Interestingly, no Atlanta player finished with worse than a minus-2 rating, while Leafs’ defenceman Brett Lebda played less than 14 minutes and somehow finished minus-3.