Devan Dubnyk has taken a lot of bowel movement from fans of the Edmonton Oilers this season, and with good reason, so it’s only fair to point out he was very good in a much-needed 3-1 win over the Ottawa Senators today.

His early-season struggles duly documented, lamented and, in many cases blown out of proportion, Dubnyk turned aside 35 of the 36 shots he faced against the Senators, allowing only a bunt single by Ottawa tough guy Chris Neil in a scramble at the side of the net to find the twine as the Oilers won their first road game this season.

"It was a big game for us and we knew that coming in," said Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who had two goals and an assist. "Doobie stood on his head for us, so it’s always nice. We got a win for him, so it was a big game. We needed those points and we got them."

It goes without saying, or should, that Dubnyk’s performance against the Senators doesn’t guarantee he has regained his mojo – just as his difficult start didn’t mean he should go looking for a job selling insurance — but it’s a start. One the Oilers desperately needed.

If Dubnyk can come up with an encore against the Montreal Canadiens to end the road trip Tuesday, the Oilers can salvage a swing that had disaster written all over it going into Ottawa.


David Perron didn’t manage a point against Ottawa, but he was in the middle of the action the entire game and was a royal pain in the backside for the Senators between whistles and after them. When’s the last time fans could say that about any of the Oilers players?

Perron ran over goaltender Robin Lehner early in the game, drawing a crowd intent on taking a poke at him. He did likewise later on, providing Lehner a refreshing shower of snow in the crease. He also tried to coax Norris Trophy defenseman Erik Karlsson into a penalty with the tried-and-true stinky glove treatment.

Having a gritty, in-your-face player on the third or fourth line is one thing. Having an agitator skilled enough to play top-six minutes while getting under the skin of opponents is quite another, and it’s something the Oilers have been lacking for a long, long time.


. . . Brutal luck for the Oilers to lose Taylor Hall with a left knee injury on a hit by Eric Gryba, but from the replays I saw, I couldn’t find any evidence of an attempt by Gryba to stick out his knee on the Edmonton forward.

There’s no doubt the contact with Hall was knee-on-knee, but I neither saw Gryba widen his stance to get a piece of Hall or drag his leg in any manner as to clip him. Many Oilers fans, as is to be expected, disagreed with me on Twitter today, saying Gryba had "led" with his knee. I’m not sure what that means, exactly, but I think that suggestion is a reach.

"I know it’s his knee, but I don’t know the severity of it," coach Dallas Eakins said during a post-game interview. It seems unlikely, as of now, Hall will play against the Canadiens.

. . . Mercy, the power play is struggling. The Oilers went 0-for-5, including two full minutes of a 5-on-3 advantage that generated just one shot. I’d hope Eakins will get back to the drawing board on this because what he’s been drawing up isn’t remotely close to working.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • Jay Gray

    Dubnyk was awesome, hopefully some fans will step away from the ledge and
    stop talking crazy talk.

    Perron is doing the things this team needs to win. I love him already.

    Hopefully Hall is only out a game or two. From the outside looking in, it didn’t look all that bad.

      • Jay Gray

        Teams have won cups with goaltending worse than we currently have. Sure, it’s great to have Roy in net. But we have Dubnyk and when he’s good, he’s good. No sense freaking out and overpaying for someone who may, or may not be better than what we currently have.

        • Spydyr

          The overpay is probably why Mac-T has not brought in another goalie.With the moves he tried to make this summer it sure looks like Mac-T wants an upgrade in goal.With Dubnyk being a UFA this summer I would be shocked to see him back next year.

          The trade deadline might be the time to move him to a contender looking for a back up for the playoffs.Of course that would only happen if the Oilers were outside playoff contention.

    • Spydyr

      Would of been nice if someone on the ice stepped up when one of your best players takes a knee on knee hit.Instead of making sure their skates were tied.

      • You’re missing the point. Our man in Amsterdam, as he’s reiterated I don’t know how many times, doesn’t believe having toughness in the line-up serves as any kind of deterrent to teams thinking of taking cheap shots.

        Any time a player like Hall takes a big hit or gets hurt by a hit, as happened today, it’s just more proof that having toughness in the line-up, on the roster or in the organization does nothing.

        Problem is, as long as there’s contact in hockey, there will be injuries. There was nothing over-the-top about the Gryba hit — no charge, no stick, no headshot. The problem was the point of contact — people can debate intent and will any time it’s knee-on-knee. I don’t know what Gryba was thinking, nobody does. What we do know is Hall is injured and that’s bad news no matter how or why.

        • Spydyr

          Hockey is a fast paced violent game injuries are going to happen no argument there.

          That does not change the fact teammates should stand up for teammates . Hall took a clear knee on knee hit accidental or not as you mentioned only Gryba knows. The issue I have is not one of his teammates went over and gave Gryba so much as a face wash. Late in the period Yak took a run at Spezza and the scrum started.That’s is what good teams do .Stand up for each other.

          As for toughness does nothing .We can agree to disagree IMO teams are more then aware when a Semenko , Dave Brown or Bob Probert are on the other teams bench. Although it does not prevent all injuries it does keep some of the players more in line.Boogaard and Regehr used to run rough-shot over the Oilers because they could.

          The Oilers have been the softest team in the NHL for years now and this old school fan hates that.

          • We agree.

            I wasn’t stating my position on having toughness in the line-up, I was reflecting the opinion of our man Humantorch and a segment of fans who believe employing tough guys is no deterrent whatsoever.

            I beg to differ with them.

      • Time Travelling Sean

        What happened? It was behind the play, no one noticed anything, and there was a penalty taken by Hall. Hard to beat some guys brains in for kneeing Hall when you don’t know what happened.

        • Crackenbury

          If you have to ask, you weren’t watching the game:

          – wasn’t “behind the play”, Hall had the puck.
          – no one noticed?:

          — The Ref’s noticed enough to be watching and call a feeble penalty on the retaliation by Hall (as minimal as it was)
          — CBC had multi-angle replays, so they noticed too

          There were 2 Oilers defencemen on the ice at the time, what were they watching??

          Who expects that marshmallow group of blueliners to stand up for anyone?

  • Oilbridge

    Was at the game today and here were my 10 post game thoughts:

    1. Team is way to disorganized
    2. Put the d### puck on net, one more pass isn’t necessarily going to net you a better shot.
    3. Dubnyk saved the ones he needed to but the Sens didn’t have a great chances.
    4. Ryan Smyth’s penalty in the 3rd was sheer stupidity. You could see him jumping into the play for no apparent reason.
    5. Loved Perron’s in your face play.
    6. Smid doesn’t use his head enough and it leads to penalties.
    7. The Oilers hardly drove the play and I spent the last two periods hoping they wouldn’t blow their lead because it never felt like they were going to pull it out.
    8. Eberle make things happen. Whenever he’s on the ice things seem to go well.
    9. Oilers Nation rocks…there were a ton of Oiler jerseys this afternoon and at one point there was even a “Go Oilers Go” chant…we have some fine loyal fans.
    10. It was my son’s first live Oiler game…thank goodness it was a win.

    • Awesome on your kid’s first game, great experience!

      And your right, it’s clear that Eberle is the straw that stirs the drink. I’m expecting a big year out of him and he is great defensively IMO. Hope he makes the Olympic team as I would have him on my roster for sho.

  • bazmagoo

    Game should have been sewn up on that 5 on 3, unfortunately the Oilers never make it easy on us, ha. Nice to see them get a win and Dubnyk have a solid performance. You are 100% right Robin, our PP needs a serious overhaul ASAP.