That guy rode the bull for the same amount of time that the Oilers showed up against the Islanders tonight. If I were to give the Oilers a grade for the evening it would be "I". "I" for incomplete, invisible, and invalid (the noun, not the adjective). Taylor Hall's two goals kept the Oilers in it, but the Islanders pinned the Oilers in their own zone unless Petry was on the ice and the limp Oilers had no response. And so it goes.
If the Oilers need 97 points to ensure the playoffs, the 1-6-1 Oilers have to go 43-23-8 to ensure they're in. If 95 is your cutoff, it doesn't look that much better.
Final chances: 20-19; 8-5 ST— Dennis King (@DKingBH) October 18, 2013
Jeff Petry was again extremely solid on a night where the team was running around their own zone like their hats were on fire. Petry is the only Oilers' defenseman who seems to know what he's doing in his own zone and the only man on the blueline who can calmly move the puck out of the zone under pressure. In fact, tonight, he was the only man who moved the puck out of the zone at all. The job is made more difficult by partnering with a guy who acts as an automatic puck return.
Devan Dubnyk finally came up with a solid game and it was wasted by his teammates. Dubnyk was kicking pucks all over the zone early, but settled in and stopped a number of good chances through the game. It's not his fault his teammates have decided that the high slot is not worthy of defending.
Ales Hemsky was outstanding this evening, and although he's known for the dangles, tonight it was a sequence on the penalty kill where he slid into the high slot to force the puck away, then spun back into the slot later in the kill to prevent the pass through the middle that showed how good Hemsky is. He's the Oilers most complete forward and now that he's demonstrating it on the penalty kill, he's reinforcing his value to the team.
The new system even strength system the Oilers have implemented under Dallas Eakins (AKA The Swarm) looks shockingly similar to Tom Renney's diamond penalty kill. As I understand it, the basic premise of both systems is for the defensemen to abandon the middle of the ice and for the forwards to not give a damn.
Luke Gazdic is bad at hockey. Good at punching people in the face, but terrible at hockey. There's little reason for him to be in the NHL at this point, especially if the Oilers could use Linus Omark or Anton Lander in his place. But, the general manager is convinced that the Oilers need someone on the team to punch faces, so Gazdic plays. However, Gazdic played just 3:44 tonight and in that time he managed to not punch anyone in the face, but did manage to trip Pierre-Marc Bouchard which led to the Islanders power play goal. Send him away from this team.
The Oilers' penalty kill gave up 8 shots in 7:30 of 4v5 time, which is about par for the course for this team. If it keeps up, it's going to be the worst in the NHL by far.
Don't look know, but there's Justin Schultz doing nothing in the defensive zone again. On the Islanders first goal he was ensuring that Devan Dubnyk wasn't going to score on the Oilers, so it clearly wasn't his job to check to see if anyone was in the crease or slot. On the Islanders third goal, Schultz doggedly defends open ice but never engages John Tavares on the boards, and because he wasn't dancing back and forth like dateless guys in a club, he couldn't get to the corner to engage with Kyle Okposo either. Though, let's be honest, if he gets to the corner, he's not engaging with Okposo.
Schultz is a toxic waste dump in his own zone at this point, the captain Ethan Moreau, er, Andrew Ference, isn't helping matters. He was paired with veteran Nick Schultz tonight, and the $6.75 million in defensemen combined for a -29 Corsi on the evening. Ference was -16, Schultz -13. The Oilers as a team were -13. Without Andrew Ference on the ice, the Oilers won the possession battle. With him on the ice, they were bullied, burned and buried. Meanwhile, in Florida $900k is running circles around the hometown, veteran, gritty defensemen and their $6.75 million. Thank goodness the captain is around for the next three years. With a NMC.
The Copper & Blue Three Stars:
★★★ - Ales Hemsky
★★ - Jeff Petry
★ - Devan Dubnyk