For those focused on process, the Oilers’ Sunday night game against Anaheim wasn’t bad. Edmonton’s team competed for 60 minutes, and got strong performances from a number of players. Sam Gagner – who had been demoted to the fourth line in Friday’s game against Vancouver – stood out in particular in the latter category.
But for those focused on results, it was more of the same: yet another loss, in a season full of them.
Some items that stand out here to me:
- Gagner, as mentioned above, had a strong night.
- The gap between the top-six and bottom-six is evident here; the players in the top-six are a combined plus-nine, while the bottom six is a combined minus-15. Most of that came from the third line, which got wasted by the Ducks.
- One of the guys on the defensive rotation should come out for Anton Belov against Los Angeles, and if I’m the coach it’s Philip Larsen.
There is no question that Corey Potter deserved the five minute major and game misconduct that he was assessed for hitting Anaheim forward Nick Bonino from behind. Fortunately, Bonino was just shaken up on the play and was able to return to the game. I’d be surprised if Potter received more than a fine on the play in terms of supplemental discipline, though.
Ilya Bryzgalov played well in net. I don’t think there’s any doubt at this point that the starting job is his for the immediate future; he can play his way out of it but Devan Dubnyk has been given plenty of rope this season and all he’s managed to do is hang the team from it. Bryzgalov wasn’t crazy good against his old team but he was very solid and that’s something the Oilers have lacked this season.
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