It’s only one win, against a team that isn’t very good but it was nice to see some fire and the Oilers offense come to life in the third period. This team needs any positive energy they can get these days and who better to start with than the Flames?
It’s going to take way more than one good period to fix this squad and for 40 minutes it looked like every other game this season but they pulled it out.
The first period was not the type of period you would expect to see from a team that should be desperate for wins. For a good part of the first 40 minutes the Flames had control of the game. Both Flames goals were once again a direct result of turn overs.
For whatever reason the importance of making strong plays with the puck and keeping it out of the middle of the ice in your own end doesn’t quite resonate with this group. The defensemen were especially soft with the puck and if it wasn’t for Dubnyk, many more giveaways could have easily ended up in their net.
I really liked Gazdic’s fight tonight. The anti-fighting crowd will say “oh it was just another staged fight and served no purpose.”
I thought this was a great message to his team. Gazdic is tough but he’s not Brian McGrattan tough and I think most of the Oilers players would agree. Instead of hoping for a quiet game, he initiates a tilt with one of the toughest guys in the league and hangs in there for a very spirited scrap.
Did he win?
Probably not, but he didn’t lose. By his actions, he says to his bench that he’s willing to step up and challenge someone much bigger in his role. If he can do it, everyone else should be able to ask a little more of themselves.
When I saw guys do things like that, whether it was a guy fighting someone he probably shouldn’t or a skill guy out of his element blocking a shot or taking a run at someone, it made me want to do more. It makes guys look at themselves in the mirror and say if he’s willing to give more, why can’t I?
On most nights the only physical element (hitting and fighting) in the Oilers lineup has been Gazdic. I was waiting and hoping for someone other than Gazdic to step up and say enough is enough.
The players talk after every game of frustration and anger, yet we’ve never really seen anyone show it on the ice or channel it in an aggressive way. I really wanted to see someone you wouldn’t expect get pissed off. Run someone, slash someone or just yell at someone. It’s not in the make-up of many of these players but finally someone did.
Ference gets hit twice in one shift and instead of rolling over, he got up and cleaned Stempniak’s clock. There has not been near enough push back in any form of physicality with this group, but it was great to see last night. Good on the Captain.
As mentioned above, he bailed his boys out on several occasions. It was a very solid game from him. You need your goalies to make a big save or two in any game, he did that tonight.
This was arguably their best period of the season. You could see the jump the Eberle goal gave them. It seemed like a weight was lifted off their backs. After his goal they completely took over. The offensive production came from all the players you would expect.
The way they generated their opportunities was the key for me. They created a ton off the cycle, they were more physical and they sustained pressure in the offensive zone for most of the third. That has rarely happened all season.
Losing sucks no matter who you are and going through skids like this is just awful as a player and miserably hard on fans. It seems like no matter what you do on the ice; it’s just not good enough to get a winning result.
They still have a long way to go and I don’t think one period means anything but at least something positive went their way for the first time in a long time.
Look at the emotion after the third period goals, all of these guys want to win. It’s just a matter of figuring out how with this group.
Finding consistency is next.