A NIGHT TO REMEMBER…

Nights like last night are why I love my job. Sports can be brutal, unforgiving, painful and heart wrenching, but it can also be electrifying, courageous, record-setting, breathtaking, fun and completely unexpected.

Ben Scrivens’ performance last night was all of the latter, and it was AWESOME.

During the past eight years I’ve been asked a lot if I get sick of covering losing teams and discussing it with fans. I’ve never said yes, because I don’t, but also because while being in a losing sports town is no fun for anyone, every day brings a new opportunity and story line.

Last night, Scrivens performed one the best story lines I’ve ever seen.

I was at Rexall Place almost two years ago, February 3rd, 2012, when Sam Gagner scored eight points. He scored on five consecutive shifts at one point. The atmosphere and energy in the building was incredible, and tonight was just as good, and maybe even better.

Scrivens grew up just of Edmonton in Spruce Grove, and last night I felt like the fans were cheering for one of their own. The fans were incredible. However, I think they’ll need to come up with a new chant, because Scrivens, Scrivens doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. Maybe Benny, Benny… Or Prof, Prof, Prof, since his nickname is The Professor.

But they were into this game, and from the start of the second period you could tell they sensed Scrivens was in the zone. The jubilation and excitement grew as the game went on, and on twitter and here in the Nation I could see the pure excitement and adulation from the fans.

You loved every minute of it, despite the fact the Sharks were dominating your team, and for one night that is how it should be.

It was not a banner night for the skaters, but I think it would be impossible to set an NHL record for most saves in a shutout, 59, if your teammates were playing great. You can’t have both.

It was a shooting gallery at times. The Sharks directed 100 pucks towards the net, which is more than 1.5 per minute, but Scrivens stopped them all, and got some help from his teammates.

"Nick Schultz blocked a shot from the slot with five or six minutes to go. That was a shot that was going in. You win as a team," said a humble Scrivens. The elder Schultz might have helped him there, but for most of the game this was all the Scrivenator. (Picture courtesy of Dylan Lynch)

Those were just a few of Scrivens best saves. The crazy part about his game was how many ten-bell stops he made to preserve the shutout. It wasn’t like the Sharks were shooting from just shooting from the outside. 

My only beef about the game was that he wasn’t named all three stars like Gagner was in 2012. Scrivens set an NHL record, and he displayed the best regular season goaltending performance in the history of the game. I think that was equal to Gagner’s 8-point night, but that is a small detail.

Sure, the Oilers defensive zone play was ugly, and after a dominant performance in Vancouver on Monday the second line was horrific last night, but that just adds to the memories.

According to boysonthebus.com David Perron was a team-worst 9% and -29 in Corsi. That is almost comical, because it helps illustrates the difference in performance from Scrivens to the rest of the team. Dallas Eakins pointed out that RNH’s line relieved the pressure sometimes, but they too had some ugly post-game stats.

Through it all, however, the fans were into the game. That was the loudest Rexall Place has been since Gagner’s epic third period, and their appreciation for Scriven’s performance was extremely noticeable.

As I stood outside the Oilers dressing room waiting to do post-game interviews, the fans streamed past me and their faces told the story. Everyone was smiling, and most were still in awe of what they just saw.

In another season of SUCK, last night was a welcome reprieve and one the loyal fans deserved, whether you were in the building or watching at home.

Last night was one of those games that make being a fan worthwhile, and for a media member I was very lucky to have witnessed it. I gave away four sets of tickets to the game on my show yesterday, and this morning I received an email or twitter message from three of the winners.

All of them were extremely thankful to have had the chance to watch history. Usually most winners don’t send a reply, which is understandable, but last night was so memorable those in attendance were pumped, excited and thankful to have witnessed it.

For one day we should relish and discuss Scriven’s incredible performance. We likely we never see anything like it again.

One final note…The Sharks have had 40+ shots 12 times, and in those 12  five times they were 50+.

Oilers…59
Phoenix and Buffalo… 51
Phoenix and Ottawa…50
Islanders…48
Rangers…47
Colorado and Pittsburgh…45
Chicago…42
Toronto…41
Los Angeles…41

UPDATE….Here is a video of all 59 saves Scrivens made…Classic.

 

 

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

  • Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate

    In order to win

    Professor will find a way

    still stuck on the isle*

    *yes, that is a Gilligan’s Island reference, if you don’t know what I mean, you-tube it youngster.

  • R U Kidding Me!

    Gregor, best performance by a Goalie I have ever seen. That was one to tell my grandkids about. “Where were you when Squiggy set the record?”
    Well I was watching TV, I wish to heck I was there. Man what a Game
    Bubba

  • Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate

    Okay everyone back on the bandwagon. The electricity in the rink a new record is set. Which could not have been broken without the complete futility displayed yet again with this sorry squad. Ben you better be first to thank your teammates you really could not have done it without them. If you watch the game on medium fast forward it looks like Short Track Speed Skating in the oilers end. What a joke

    • Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate

      How dare anyone enjoy a rare, incredible performance resulting in a win.

      Sure it was because of our defensive ineptitude, but right now WHO CARES? The seasons done, over, we’re buried deep. We’ve seen bad goal after bad goal scored on us time and time again.

      This was a one time performance and Ben will surely let in a softie or two over time but last night was amazing.

      Whatever though, Down with Lowe, Fire Eakins, death to the optimistic fan and yada yada.

    • pkam

      I don’t believe this is a case of jumping back on the bandwagon….

      I believe in this abysmal season, it is one of the few bright spots we were all privileged to experience….

      The Sharks are one of the elite teams in the NHL and have (as the article articulates) put up shots in and around that quantity on other teams.

      It was the first in a long while where we saw the Oilers rally around the great performance of one of their own and really stand behind him – literally!!!

      You’re just to stupid to enjoy a great performance and seeing guys rally around that performance. This is what Oilers fans have been yearning for for many years now…

      The only joke around here is you buddy!

      • Johnnydapunk

        This is what the Oiler fans have been waiting for. Getting their ass kicked by a good team in a meaningless game. Yes great individual performance and awesome response from long suffering faithful at Rexall. All this drama about this being one of the best goaltending performance is ridiculous. This isn’t even close to being the best Oiler performance. Ranford 90, Cujo 97. Playoff hockey, playoff race, the first couple games in October. You know the ones before fans start debating the lottery pick. I won’t call you stupid because I’m not 12

  • Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate

    Only 26 more to go and the Oil are in!!

    I see part of the “plan” is if we limit the opponents to under 60 SOG we should win the game.

    Scrivens was great last night and deserves all the accolades he is getting. But, Ron Tignutt never established himself as an NHL caliber starter despite one other worldly performance. Scrivens is still working on getting himself a NHL gig for next year and last night will go along way to upping his stock.

  • Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate

    I know one performance does not a consistent player make (looking at you Gagner), but does this performance mean Scrivens is number one signing priority on Mac T’s list before free agency?

    Does 4.5 mill for four years get this done? Is that good term and contract?

    • pkam

      Are you sure?

      I know he has been great for us the last 4 games. But he has only played 55 NHL games so far.

      I will let him play the next 4 games before Olympics break. If he plays well, then we should try to sign him during the break.

      In my opinion, a 2 year bridge around 3M is more reasonable, provided he plays at similar level the next 4 games.

      If he shows no interest to stay here, I guess it is time to get something back for him. I believe some playoff teams with questionable goaltending, like the Pens and the Hawks, will be interested.

      • Johnnydapunk

        I think the Hawks are fine, Raanta has been more than adequate as a back up and has stepped in nicely when Crawford was injured. He wasn’t supposed to be as good as he has been, which was why they signed Khabibulin, and LaBarbera was traded for as Bulin and Crawford were injured, so worst case scenario he can step in.

        As for the Pens, Zatkoff has been fine, I don’t think that goaltending is a huge concern for them either.

        I can’t see too many teams that currently need a goalie, the only scenario I could see, and that’s really remote is that the Oil trade him for a goalie they know they will sign next season, but that would be a massive shock.

        • pkam

          You believe it is fine going into the playoff with the big question mark MAF, and a rookie with less than 20 games and .903 SV% and 2.80 GAA?

          I don’t think goaltending in Chicago is very solid this year. But Crawford seems to do better in playoff, and they had won the cup last year so I can see there is less pressure to get more goalie help.

          • Johnnydapunk

            Funny you say that as the last time the Pens won the cup which was 2008-09 their goaltenders were

            Mark Andre Fleury who had a GA of 2.67 and a save percentage of 0.912

            Mathieu Garon who played 19 games with a GA of 3.04 and a SV% of 0.895

            So yeah I think the Pens are fine.

            **Garon’s stats with the pens were actually 2.91 with a SV% of 0.894 in 4 games as he was traded by the Oil to Pittsburgh **

            Raanta is 12-2 this year and Crawford is 30-8 so far, even looking at his stats when the Hawks won the cup, they are up a bit this year, but that could be due to the injury.

            The Hawks don’t need stellar goaltending to win games, I mean they won the cup with Huet and Antii Niemi (who happens to be one of the only players in sporting history to share the same name with another sportsman who also plays Goalkeeper, albeit in Football) and neither of them would have been considered world beaters.

            Like I mentioned in a few comments, Miller is the catalyst, when he or Buffalo decides, then things will happen. You could say even Brodeur to a lesser degree as that is also a bit up in the air.

          • pkam

            MAF playoff performance was at least average up to the cup run in 2009, so you don’t expect to play your backup unless he is injured.

            However, his playoff performance has been brutal since then. As the GM, what is the excuse if MAF collapses again in the playoff and your backup is a rookie with less than 20 games and below average performance? You can’t say you don’t expect him to collapse in playoff because he had done it for a few years now.

  • vetinari

    I’d be looking to lock Scrivens up sooner, rather than later. I’m thinking a two year extension, preferably around $1.25M to 1.50M per year would be perfect. You need to make sure that this wasn’t just a “one time” performance, but paying him a bit more than LaBarbara ($1M/1 year) shouldn’t be controversial.

      • pkam

        Why not? Discarded by two teams for unproven backups in 6 months months, hes had one unworldly game. Should we have signed Gagner for 5 million and 7 years after one crazy night at Rexall. He has played 43 games in the NHL which is not a large enough sample size determine if he is a starter. He might wrangle out a 2-3 year deal if the Oilers start to turn this ship around. However to get more then backup money and term he has to sustain his above his average save percentage and win some games. If he does that I think 2 years at 1.5 to 2.5 is acceptable. If he gets more then that then the Oilers are paying on potential, and I’d be fine with some more money. Right now hes in a battle with Bryz and albeit its not close he needs to play more then one unreal game.

      • pkam

        He’ll sign here because of the following:

        A His opportunity to be a number 1 here is huge. Name me another team that has a #1 opening?
        B. His relationship with Eakins. Trust goes both ways.
        C.He grew up in Spruce Grove and the Oilers were his team. For every Joffery Lupul there is a Ryan Smyth. Those who can handle the hometown hero pressure.
        D.Money. Oilers have cap space and need 2 goalies.
        That is 4 reasons why I think he signs here.

        • Johnnydapunk

          I can name 4 teams in the market for a proper Number 1 not including the Oil.

          Florida as Markstrom hasn’t been convincing and Thomas is a question mark

          New York Islanders as I don’t know how much faith they have in Nilsson and Poulin, Nabokov is a UFA this year so it’s all up in the air

          Buffalo, but depends on Miller

          St.Louis as both of their goalies are UFA

          There are a few teams that may be in the running for a 1a position, and Brodeur is also up in the air so a 1A position may open up there as well.

          Whilst I have said that it’s a buyers market this summer, nothing is really clear and I do hope that the Oil can keep him in a 1A role with the Oil still looking to sign another Goalie. But if they can sort out their comedy Defence, then I could see Scrivens being a proper number one here and bring up Bachman and pay him Number. 2 money.

          Hopefully it all works out though, with better D and solid goaltending, I have a lot of belief that the Oil can become something pretty decent.

        • pkam

          My post is a response to vetinari who said to sign Scrivens to 1.25 to 1.5M. I just point out to him that this is backup goalie price.

          Do you really believe that Scrivens only chance is to sign as a backup with the Oilers for 1.25M to 1.5M because no team will be willing to have him as their starter?

          In my reply to JG, I have listed a few teams I believe are looking for a starting goalie.

          If he keeps playing this good, I am sure a few more teams may be interested to have him as their 1B.

          You can believe whatever you want, I just don’t believe he will give up the opportunity to be a starter or 1B to be the Oilers backup goalie for 1.25M to 1.5M.

  • S cottV

    Unless MacT has something up his sleeve regarding the possible acquisition of an unquestioned top end goaltender, it wouldn’t be too much longer with continued good play from Scrivens and Bryz – to consider signing both of them for a couple of years.

    The Oilers are not ready to contend until something is done to upgrade the d corps. So – it is probably premature to bring in and pay for a big time ufa goaltender, without the d corps dealt with.

    If the Oilers can sign two big name defenders and a big name goaltender – go for it, but somehow I think we are going to – for the most part, have to wait for d corps development.

    With improved goalie support (ie no more 59 shots against) maybe – the tandem of Scrivens and Brys will do just fine.

  • Spydyr

    Thanks for the Scrivens HIgh Lite Reel… its a keeper.

    Note to Players, yes on any given night I can alone make a difference to our game, even if everyone around me has quit.

    Scrivens game was like a “Ray or sunshine bursting through cloud”.Here’s hoping for more sunny dAYS for the remainder of the season.

  • Johnnydapunk

    This may get trashed but it’s just a view, but if the worst case scenario happens, the Oil could try to resign Scrivens to decent Number one goalie money, and resign Bachman as a backup, and spend some freakin’ money on some Defence-men.

    And buy a proper heat gun and make all the D-mans shin guards Craig Ludwig style-wide 😛

  • pkam

    Ur comments on radio are right on. Eakins is a rookie coach who is egotistical and a tad overwound.(IMO) His response to the game outcome was un-necessarily sour. His ego is influencing his decisions. His coaching style leads me to think he is more about showing one and all that he is boss. Some of his player deployment decisions often puzzle media and fans alike and frankly seem arbitrary and pointless.

    His coaching logic just doesn’t make sense. His personality and questionable tactics may one day catch up to him and the price may be his job. There is too much ego in this equation IMO. See this seasons PP and PK results. Last night I would have called a 30 sec timeout when the team was completely unravelling killing that penalty and facing off in their own end, when the outcome was very much in doubt.

    The Oil would be better served ny a seasoned coach not in love with the sound of his own voice. Look, listen and compare the reaction of coaches of teams like the Hawks, Blues, Sharks and Ducks. Eakins sounds like a real idiot with his public comments.

    My point is I agree with your comments about the tenor of his comments. The
    rest is purely my admittedly non-expert view of Eakins.

  • Byks

    Eakins commended Scriven’s performance, then mentinonded that our defense needs work, which it true. Not a big deal.

    I’m seening some positives in the Oilers these days. Love of third line, Scrivens may be a keeper, Jultz is starting to progress and I have a feeling next year he might take the next step.

    If MacT can get a legit 2nd line Center, and at least one top pairing D, and a legit 2nd pairing D, I believe this team will take a big step next year.

    The youngins are getting more savvy, and for the first time in a long time, I am feeling a twinge of optimism for next year. Also, they must keep Eakins for stability. I think Eakins has learned a lot this year too and will be better next year.

    In MacT I trust (albeit hesitatingly).

  • Byks

    In the last few months, I have ridiculed the Oilers, and all the Suits associated with the team noteably Bucky and Smitty. KLowe has been a favourite target. I will continue to rip those three whenever my mood hits.

    However, I sense the barge is turning , slowly . I sense that the guy at the helm is finding the direction to port . And I’m going to say that the new guy on deck is and will , figure out how to coach the mates.

    It’s coming , slowly like an old man trying to, but it’s coming. Hang in there .

  • toprightcorner

    The biggest difference I see is that it appears that Scrivens communicates better with the players on the ice than Dubynk ever did. On the 5 or 6th save ( time 15:46 1st period) it was a 2 on 1 and Nick Schultz played it the way a player in that position should and too many DON’T. He stayed in between Marleau & Thornton, stopped the pass and allowed Scrivens to stay square to the shooter. After the play ended you see Scrivens tap the pads of Schultz, thanking him for playing it the RIGHT way. Too many times I see the defense play the shooter, he passes and the second guy gets an easy tap in.

  • toprightcorner

    I love how humble Scrivens was after the game. He seems like a really level-headed guy. That was the best performance I have ever seen by a goaltender. 59 saves and many of them were point-blank opportunities. I think my favourite was probably the glove save on a wide open player in the slot right after he took the puck right in the noggin. Didn’t even flinch, just gets right in there and robs an inexplicably uncovered Sharks player. That game was definitely the highlight of this season.