Some days I get tired of reading a bunch of negativist bullshit around the Oilogosphere about how the Oilers should just roll over and tank the season because it's obvious that they suck and have no hope. Today is one of those days.
Oilers have responded to their latest kick in the crotch -- a season-ending injury to their perennial leading scorer, Ales Hemsky -- by going on a little run, being unlucky to only get a point against the Sharks, losing early in Vancouver but bouncing back to win three in a row, all on the road. After soundly trouncing the mighty Wings 4-1 right in the Joe, the Oil have won a pair of tight ones, coming back from 2-0 and 2-1 deficits against Dallas and Florida respectively to get the games to overtime, then winning both in the shootout on a decisive "goal" by Shawn Horcoff.
Tonight the Oil were outshot 35-28 with the difference occurring entirely on special teams where the Panthers were shooting from everywhere, although in the end both teams score 1 powerplay goal. At even strength the score was also 1-1; shots were 21-21; missed shots were 9-9; and the Oilers blocked 7 shots to Florida's 6. Seems pretty even to me. There were nervous moments to be sure, especially anytime Jeff Deslauriers came out of his crease to handle the grenade, while the veteran defence pair of Staios and Strudwick had a difficult night. On the plus side Lubo Visnovsky had a sublime game, finding the scoresheet twice with a slick goalmouth pass to Horcoff for the game's first goal and then a seeing eye shot from the point that Dustin Penner tipped home to knot the count at 2 early in the third. JDD had a solid game between the pipes when he actually was between the pipes; Horcoff scored in the real game and then again in the ersatz one; and Robert Nilsson had his third splendid game in a row.
Stats of interest after the jump:
Ethan Moreau: 4 shots, 3 hits, 2 blocks
Sheldon Souray: 2 shots, 4 hits, 2 blocks
Zack Stortini: EV shots on goal ON: Oilers 6, Panthers 0
Lubo Visnovsky: EV shots on goal ON: Oilers 11, Panthers 2
Jeff Deslauriers: 35 shots, 2 GA, .943 Sv%
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Next up: @ Tampa Bay, Friday, 17:30 MST