Oilers fall to Jets, but positives abound

The Edmonton Oilers lost their season opener. In the process, they blew a two-goal lead at the halfway point of the game as the Jets tallied three consecutive markers. Despite that, there was as much to like as dislike about their season opener.

Ales Hemsky

Not only did Ales Hemsky score a beautiful goal, but he spent a bunch of time on the penalty kill and had a pretty decent two-way game. Games like this one will go a long way toward putting that unpleasant summer of trade rumours in the past.

Jesse Joensuu

I keep waiting for Joensuu to slow down, but his red-hot preseason performance carried over at least to the first game of the regular season. The thing about Joensuu is he’s a welcome marriage of size and skill. On the latter point, he can skate and handle the puck at speed – two items that haven’t generally been found in the Oilers’ coke Machines. On the former point, not only is he big but he doesn’t back down. He jumped into scrums repeatedly over the course of the evening and went after guys that played his smaller linemates a little too roughly.

Luke Gazdic

The fourth line had a rough night scoring chances-wise, but even so it was hard not to be thrilled for Luke Gazdic. The 24-year-old took an especially hard route to the NHL – being a crash-and-bang type who fights is a tough way to make a living – so his first NHL goal in his first NHL game was great to see (the goal is technically listed as Mike Brown’s at the moment, but watching the replay it seems probable it will be awarded to Gazdic as the puck seems to have been deflected by a Jets’ stick).


There was also a lot to like about how aggressive the Oilers were – particularly in how they won the shots battle. The Oilers out-shot the Jets 24-22 at even-strength despite spending much of the game with the lead (once teams get the lead, they tend to be out-shot). The power play got 13 shots off in just over six minutes of total time, which is a fantastic rate. It won’t matter until they get goaltending, but assuming that Devan Dubnyk eventually rebounds to Devan Dubnyk form, these sorts of shot numbers will win the Oilers a bunch of games.

The Other Stuff

  • Devan Dubnyk was flat-out bad. A number of those goals were on him tonight; if the Oilers had gotten even the goaltending Pavelec gave the Jets (and Pavelec is hardly the gold standard) they would have won this game. It’s one game; this sort of thing happens. Dubnyk’s resume suggests he’s a better player than he showed tonight.
  • The first line got out-chanced, and Taylor Hall in particular had more than his share of turnovers. That will happen to offensive players trying to make plays, but it couldn’t have been the opening night Hall was hoping for at centre.
  • As always, for both the good and the bad: it’s one night. This was our first real look at the rebuilt Oilers; it’s going to be fascinating to watch where they go from here.

Recently around the Nation Network

Brian Sutherby explains how to play StreakCred, a Nation-sponsored game with fantastic prizes and straight-forward mechanics that also helps local charities. Here’s what the prizes look like right now:

New hockey memorabilia and prizing will be given to the champ each month. The main prize for October will be the coveted Streakcred trophy and the choice of a Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry or Jamie Benn autographed jersey along with a pre-paid gift card. Prizes will also be given to the top 20 streaker’s each month, to the person with the most wins and to a couple lucky random draw winners just for playing. Over the course of the season the cupboard of available jerseys and memorabilia will only continue to grow.

Click the link above to check it out, or feel free to check out some of my recent stuff below:

  • Since Dubnyk took over from KHB Jan 15 2012
    he has played 65.5 games of minutes.
    Dubnyk is
    29 W – 27 L – 9 OTL
    He faced 30.7 shots/gm
    He was .920 SV% 2.47GA which is in the top 15.

    of the 65 games 57 were 3 goals or less.
    He gives us a chance to win 88% of our games.

    The last 3 years there is one goalie with a .920 even save % every year.
    He plays for us.

    How can this be?

    shots against per game
    #1 NJD 23.1
    #29 EDM 32.8

    it is apparent some people cannot think past one game (sign of attention deficit disorder)

    i will look at the full body of work and hope our Defence can get down to the 28.9 shots/gm

    • Then why do a large percentage of the fanbase, and even MacT himself, seem to not be sold on him.

      Maybe, its because he has a bad habit of letting in cheap goals at the wrong time. This is backbreaking for an a team like the Oilers, who will most likely be scrapping to the bitter end to finish eight in the conference.

      Sometimes stats don’t tell the whole story. Fuhr was not top of the league in goalie stats, but he was money when it counted. For 3 bills a year, we need something more dependable between the pipes.

    • SimmerDownBoys

      Exactly…he was brutal in the game early in the season against San Jose, but this team was brutal defensively and yet he had one of the top save percentages in the league among starters. It’s one game. It’s ridiculous how much overreaction there is for ONE game!

    • TKB2677

      Who gives a crap about stats. The only stat that matters is WINS!!! He doesn’t win. Some of it is on his team but his team scored 4 goals last night and he let in 5, 3 of which were lousy goals.

      I love when people cling to dear life on save percentage. Yes there is something to it BUT
      an opposing team can shoot 30 shots on net, your goalies saving 28. That’s a .9333 save %. But does it really matter how many the goalie saves if those 2 he lets in are stinkers?

  • TKB2677

    You might want to look at the % of 3 G or better games from goalies. the last couple of years.
    the elite are in the 90 to 85% range
    with most facing 29 shots/gm or less
    lundquist @ 90% faces 27.7
    Dubnyk in the top 5 faces 32.3

    our goalie is in the top 5 for chance to win games facing 15% more shots.

    I am tired of the lazy trite bile that comes out of the dubnyk hater mouths.

    • Oilers4ever

      Seriously.. I think we are tired of you pouring MEANINGLESS stats down our throats when you forget THE most important stat every time! He loses more than he wins EVERY YEAR. Ya, some to blame on shoddy defense over the years. But the D was good last night. He just continues to let in soft crap game in and game out. Hell, one of our goalies from the rec hockey league I am in good stop more than him. We DON’T have time this year to give him 10 games to get his crap together. Not with the schedule we have. If he can’t pull up his big girl panties and get his crap together then ship him out of town. His ability to consistently make big saves game in and game out is about as good as the Esks O-Line is at protecting their QB. NON-EXISTENT!!!

  • Puritania

    It’s too bad Dubnyk let the team down last night.

    As for the rest, my favourite line had to be Gordon, Joensu, Yak. That line was dangerous all night.

    I was incredibly impressed with the way our defence played as well. It’s been a long time since I watched the Oilers quickly recover the puck and turn it the other way with a crisp solid pass.

    All the Jet’s goals save one, were not results of them setting up and blasting away in our zone, they were bad angles off the rush and turnovers near the blue.

    I was also impressed with the physicality, especially from the fourth line. Brown and Gazdic were crushing guys out there last night. In my opinion Mac will be there only to back those guys up against a super heavy weight, not to play hockey because that line did just fine.

    Having said all of that, I am looking forward to getting Gags and Nuge back as Hall struggled a bit, but Smyth might have been the worst payer out there last night. He just can’t keep up.

  • TKB2677

    I find that Dubnyk and Hemsky are the two players whose body language clearly exposes their headspace on any given night.

    I could tell from the first shift that Dubnyk just “wasn’t into it” last night.*

    *Apologies to Jason Arnott.

  • TKB2677

    i just presented stats over 3years.
    his game count is higher than 40.

    I have 3 year old!
    who good at math!

    1 tops even strength Goalie
    2. top 5 3 goals or less goalie
    3. One of 8 goalies not to have a season below average for stopping shots.

    Spiff: Mact went after Schnieder. He had the best 3 year period save% of the 8 above average goalies.

    So i can understand trying to get #1 to replace #6.
    but Dubnyk is better @ even and gives you more games chances to win.

    So if Mact tries to trade for Crosby #1 PPG instead of D. sedin #6 PPg the last 3 years. Does that make D. Sedin A bad player? Hell no.

    But if they go around questioning Sedin, there is a need to explain!

  • TKB2677

    Rotten Rod;

    Dubnyk faced the 2nd most shots/gm of any goalie in the league the last 3 years. He had the 2nd best 3 goals or less game % of the top goalies.

    in what world is the defence that;
    1. avearged 30th the last 4 years.
    2. giving up the 2nd most shots per game
    give up the 2nd easiest shots faced count to justify Dubnyk being one of the best 3g or less goalies in the game.

    Yep CHi, NYR, BOS, VCR defence gave up way more quality chances than our d to be able to say there goalies were equal or better than Dubnyk for Bad GA games.

    2nd best non bad GA games, But he is the problem cause our 30th finish team defence defene gives up less quality chances than 3 f the last 4 cup winers, a cup finalist, and conferecne finalist.

    What planet?

  • TKB2677


    Ignoring the facts. to concentrate on a belief in a language structure that does not exist.

    English is a Digion. Asian academic term.
    Speech created from a a colection of true base languages that modifies and adds based on current culture. With multiple dialects.

    there are many of us who accept that the human brain is strong enough to correct dialects to undrstand the written and spoken form. thus it is a waist of time to concentrate on rules that hold no true form.

    i am sorry you are bothered by this.

    makes me wonder though:
    1. is your brain not capable to auto current.
    2. are you just biggot when dealing with english dialects.

  • vetinari


    …er… ahem… sorry about that… just getting into the spirit of everything…

    While I definitely wasn’t pleased with Dubnyk’s performance last night, I’m sure that he, the coaching staff and most of his teammates weren’t pleased with their performances either.

    I’m the last guy to compare Dubnyk to Patrick Roy, but remember when Roy got shelled and the coach refused to pull him sooner and he ended up traded to the Avalanche a few days later because he was embarrassed in front of the fans and never wanted to suit up in a Canadians jersey again? Whether deserved or not, how far are we from a night like that happening at RX1?

    MacT also did the right thing and tried to upgrade the position in the offseason but now that the season is underway, you have to say that it has only been one game and recognize that it is presently a seller’s market out there so most goalies, if they can be had, would cost an arm and an Eberle.

    Dubnyk’s in our crease until 2014 so make peace with that…

  • TKB2677

    not reading to see if this has been covered, but Dubnyk has to go. I know it is only one game but COME ON! Three softies cost us the game. Hell, 2 cost us. Even our expected one would not have saved the day. If our guys are going out busting their asses off and cant win on a 4 or 5 goal nights, there need to be a change in goal. send him packing. Hell, I would even give Chris Mason a call.

    • Puritania

      I would even take Cocklin,markkenen,salo,garon or the kitchen sink for that matter.I understand Dubnyk has had a lot of shots,had a bad defence but we needed to win that one and he cost us,we can throw out all the stats we want,but someone give me a stat for how many bad goals he lets in by the end of the season,right now the count is 3!

  • TKB2677

    I don’t mind Smyth playing on the top line to start the season, so long as it’s not 17-19 mins a night (17:33 last night). Double shift Yak and let him play LW for a few shifts with Hall & Hemsky.

    Also, if your team scores 4 goals, it’s the goalies responsibility to make sure those 4 goals are enough to win.

  • Puritania

    Nice, positive article. Or is it ‘smarticle’?

    I was down with the result but while watching the game last night, I was pleased with most of what I was seeing.

    Much, much better than what I remember from last year. Hopefully they keep it up and improve.

  • Puritania

    I did not like Dubnyk’s game last night, should we turf him without another chance? No! MacT has got to watch this closely though because the whole team in front of him will play different if they don’t have confidence in his ability! Some body language from some of his teammates after some of the goals said plenty!

    Smyth looked out of place playing with Hemmer & Hall! A different look should be tried with either Yakupov or Joensuu! I hate to say it but Smytty looked tired & slow quite often last night!

    I like the coaches philosophy to date but he overplayed Hallsy last night! I think Hall lost his legs in the second period because he was put back on the ice before he was fully recovered!

    Acton, Brown & Gazdic need more ice time, not a lot but they have to get more of their physicality into the game! I know there was plenty of PP’s but i would have liked to have seen these guys with a few more shifts!

  • Puritania

    @ Rickithebear

    You and your “fancy” stats like save percentage and shots on net! What about Dubnyk’s body language, grit factor, and the “I saw him good” component? Those are stats I can really base my one regular season game opinion on!

    Next you will be saying that goals and assists are the best way to judge a player by!

  • Puritania

    Anyone else notice on how the Jets punked Eberle?

    Eberle got hit 5 times and most of them big hits.

    Hall had a bad game playing a new position and all but Eberle who is being paid to be one of the Oilers 3 best players was man-handled by the Jets and this wasn’t even a division game.

    Not hard to scout the Oilers. They need another big guy besides Joensuu to play with Eberle.

  • Oilers4ever

    Its just one night? REALLY? Do you believe that as much as the Oilers oh so faithful mgmt keeps trying to slam down our throats its just one more year of rebuilding 7 years later. PLEASE! Dubynk was his ole normal self of at least ONE bad goal every game. Except tonight there were four (he had no hope on Frolik’s shot through the screen with three guys in front of him – I’ll give him that one). If this team continues to think they’ll be a playoff team with the Dubeless one then come wake me up in 5 years when its 12 years out. He’s NOT good enough. Plain and simple. You may be right that Pavlec is no better.. BUT… he MADE the big saves after the Oil had 4 to make sure they didn’t get 5. Dubey didn’t do that. He gave the goals that should have been stopped.

    As for Hallsy, I dunno. Hate to be hard on him cuz it was his first real game at center but he’s damn well smart enough to know that you don’t make those bonehead plays that he did that resulted DIRECTLY in two goals against. Sorry, but your 6 mill a year guy needs to play smarter and better. It’s not like he’s never played center before. He played there in Windsor for a year. He knows the position.

    And get Smyth off the darn top line and put Yaks there. Smitty is too slow to keep up and Yaks is NOT NOT NOT a third line winger. You’ll have that kid wanting out of here after his ELC is done if stays on a third line. Not the way you treat a first overall pick with 40-50 goal potential. Hopefully they fix that brain fart.

    Good luck in VanCity… they are going to need it.