Well that was fun. Not.
Oilers have a hard enough time handling the Flames at full strength, but down a few guys to an injury bug and a few more to a flu bug the squad was more than a few "actual NHLers" short of the task at hand. Throw in two Calgary goals scored immediately after Flames infractions went uncalled and yet another video review going Calgary's way and obviously it was not to be the Oilers' night.
The game had a few good things:
- Jarome Iginla was held in check for the third straight game against the Oilers (3 GP, 0-1-1, 6 penalties, 15 PiM), and was flattened by a great Zack Stortini hit to the chest which resulted in Iginla taking a retaliatory penalty. Some think Zorg's hit was a microsecond late -- I don't, it was less than one steamboat -- but so what if it was. At least he hit him face to face which is a lot more than lginla can say about his dangerous hit on Sheldon Souray last time out which still has last season's leading goal scorer sidelined with a nasty concussion.
- Lubomir Visnovsky scored a beauty powerplay goal and played well at evens, with the Oil outshooting Calgary 11-3 when he was out there.
- Shawn Horcoff played perhaps his best game of the season, going 15/23, 65% on the dot, dishing the puck effectively, blocking shots, and ringing a drive off the post. Guy can't get a bounce just now, but his game is coming around.
- Stortini played 16:28 (a career high by more than 3 minutes) and was a thorn in Calgary's side, drawing three Oiler power plays in addition to thumping Iginla. He was a very unlucky -2 on the night, twice being an innocent bystander on Gilbert-Grebeshkov miscues.
- Taylor Chorney spent much of the night looking like an honest-to-goodness NHL defenceman.
... but more that weren't so good:
- Tom Gilbert had a dreadful night, coughing up the puck frequently, making poor decisions, shying away from physical contact. His -2 was all-too-well deserved. I wound up almost hoping he does have the flu, he sure needs an alibi of some sort.
- Denis Grebeshkov wasn't a whole lot better. Oilers were outshot 7-1 at evens with Gilbert on the ice, 9-2 with Grebeshkov. That doesn't include the shortie the pair allowed.
- "Flame killer" Nikolai Khabibulin lost to the Flames for the third time in three weeks. Calgary has lit him up for 12 goals. It's hardly all his fault, but he did not have a strong game tonight.
- Andrew Cogliano went 2/13, 15% on the dot, and Oilers were outshot 10-1 at evens while he was out there.
- Robert Nilsson was similarly outshot by a 10-1 margin. Not a good night for some of the Oilers' "skill" players.
- Theo Peckham looked tentative when he didn't appear flat out rusty.
- The non-Horcoffian faceoff men won just 13 of 40 draws.
- Calgary's depth players outperformed Edmonton's again, led by Rene Bourque (3 points, 4 shots, 4 hits, 3 takeaways), Dustin Boyd (1 point, 3 shots, 5 hits, 3 takeaways), and Mark Giordano (on ice for 11 shots for, just 1 against).
- Oilers have not outshot an opponent since Game 1. Tonight's margin was 25 for, 38 against, including 19 Calgary shots in a scrambly middle frame.
- The refereeing was brutal, brutal, brutal.
Oh well, for all that went wrong it's just one loss. Even if it was to effing Calgary again. On to Vancouver to finish a tough back-to-back that will test the team's resiliency and resolve.