"You gotta go get those things. Some small guys will do it, some guys won't. The other side, there's chickenshit big guys too, you know; they got four or five guys on their team that probably got some yellow and brown in their drawers tonight when they thought it was gonna get a little tough."
-- Pat Quinn with more, uh, colourful comments in tonight's post game presser.
After consecutive home wins against Detroit (gasp), San Jose (wow), and Vancouver (yeah!), the Oilers finally ran into another out-of-the-playoffs squad to end their home stand and promptly fell to the lowly Anaheim Ducks, 3-2, on a pair of third-period powerplay goals by Corey F. Perry.
This game was a bit of an odd duck, so to speak, ranging from downright tepid in the early going to fairly feisty at times later on. Not sure that I noticed many Ducks, big or little, that were running scared out there, but at least the Oilers answered the bell when the Ducks tried to throw their weight around. There was a lot of goalie-running going on, with CFP II and Sheldon Brookbank running amok in Jeff Deslauriers' crease, while Gilbert Brule got fingered for running over Curtis McElhinney, then came out of the penalty box and immediately did it again. Meanwhile, JDD got fingered himself for interference when he finished his check on George Parros of all people along the end boards. There were also two episodes of extra-curricular activities in front of the Ducks bench involving former Duck Ryan Whitney and ex-Oiler prospect Troy Bodie, with Whitney drawing a critical penalty in the first such encounter, then a misconduct in the return engagement after the final buzzer.
Otherwise it was a strong night for Whitney, who led both clubs with 27:08 TOI, attempted 9 shots on goal, and assisted on both Oiler goals, finishing the night +1. It was interesting to compare him with the guy he was traded for, Lubomir Visnovsky, who also had a solid effort with 25:08 TOI, 9 shot attempts of his own, an assist, and -1.
A feature performer of this game was Teemu Selanne, who entered the game with an even 600 goals, one behind Jari Kurri, the most productive Finn in history. Selanne was unable to find twine despite numerous opportunities, leading both teams with 7 shots and 11 attempts. Deslauriers made his best stop of the night off the Finnish Flash right underneath Kurri's banner in the second (pictured), while Tom Gilbert's emergency block robbed Selanne of what seemed a can't-miss open net chance late in the third. Selanne ended the night with 2 assists and a dominant performance in what may well be his last game in our fair city.
On the Oiler side of the puck, Brule was all over the ice and the scoresheet with a spirited effort. He scored the 1-1 goal with a bad angle slapper that somehow overpowered McElhinney, led the Oil with 5 shots, and in a performance of unusual breadth, recorded stats in 20 of the 22 columns on the event summary. The only zeroes for Brule were assists and SH TOI.
Patrick O'Sullivan came back after a couple weeks off with a bad finger, and instantly returned to his normal form with 0-0-0, -1. Linemate Robert Nilsson was also a no-show. Zack Stortini led the Oilers with 3 hits, while thecaptainethanmoreau topped the charts with 3 giveaways.
Between the pipes Deslauriers had an OK game, stopping 37 of 40 shots including a number of fine saves, although unable to corral Parros' weak wrist shot which found the 5-hole to open the scoring.
Then there was Taylor Chorney. The Minus Machine picked up another -1 on the lone even-strength GA, and was sitting in the penalty box for the other two goals after an ill-advised stick slash put the Oil 2 men down with the score tied midway in the third. Check out the EV shots totals with the 6 Oiler defenders on the ice:
Gilbert +8 / -3
Whitney +10 / -7
Arsene +8 / -7
Strudwick +6 / -15
Chorney +6 / -17
In other news, Jeff Petry signed a contract with the Oilers Friday. He's already pencilled in above Taylor Chorney on my organizational depth chart.