After outscoring their opponents 14-1 in 7 periods, the same line up that beat the Flames, Blue Jackets and Panthers would also be the line up that faced off against the Chicago Blackhawks. Why change anything when your team is winning, it just make sense. Well that hunch would come back to bite the Oilers in the ass as the Blackhawks trumped the Oilers 5-1.
The First Goal
The Oilers are on the power play. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins dumps the puck in to gain the line and Taylor Hall gives chase but Duncan Keith gets to the puck first. He passes it out to Brandon Saad who attempts to clear the puck but breaks his stick on the clearing attempt. Due to the soft shot Nail Yakupov tries to handle it but it bounces off of his stick and Jonathan Toews, who is already in full stride is able to break in alone against Devan Dubnyk and scores.
Before I go any further lets just say the MSM knives were out in full force against Yakupov on this one. Here is my favourite one of the night.
Yakupov again. No goal this time. Hey, Igor. Better get back here.— Terry Jones (@sunterryjones) November 26, 2013
Yes I agree this was Yakupov's fault for the most part but I think the factors involved were more at fault on this one.
- Nail Yakupov is the defender in this formation and is on his "off wing"*
- Yakupov is anticipating the clearing attempt but gets fooled by the broken stick and bobbling puck
- If Saad's stick doesn't break the puck is cleared and Toews doesn't get a scoring chance
This play ultimately comes down to Yakupov thinking he can corral the bouncing puck. He obviously can't and is too committed to the play to get back in time.
* Yes I realize Nail Yakupov shoots left but his natural position has been on the right side.
Tweet of the Night
I felt this Tweet not only embodied the game but the Oilers as of late.
This game was not on Devan Dubnyk at all. None of the 4 goals that were scored on him, whether by his own team or the Blackhawks, were his fault. Lets count them. 1 - Break away on an Oilers power play; 2 - Goal on a power play, watch the replay and watch Andrew Ference; 3 - Potter, Corey; 4 - Oh right the fourth line gives up an odd man rush, which leads me to my next point.
Oilers fans infuriate me! Do they really think Bryzgalov is the answer? The goal he allowed at the end of the game was the only truly stoppable goal in the game. I get that it was tipped in but if that was Dubnyk that allowed that goal Oilers fans would be crucifying him for allowing another soft goal. Instead my Twitter feed exploded with support and excitement for Bryzgalov even after the goal.
Update: I finally got to see the goal against Bryzgalov from another angle and the tip made the goal rather unstoppable as Bryzgalov was heading in the right direction for the original shot.
To Oiler Fans: The problem with this team after Dubnyk's shaky start has not been goaltending so unless Brygalov becomes the next Curtis Joseph this team is still in trouble. The issue with this team is between the forwards and the goalie(s).
The Fourth Line
I know I have complained about this line game after game after game and a lot of you have criticized me for it but this is what happens when you ice a line that can't play at an NHL level. Now that the Oilers have lost can we please see Mark Arcobello back in the line up? Also one last complaint about the fourth line but why in the hell were they the next line out after the 3-0 goal? If the answer is "because Chicago's 4th line was out there" then that's just bad home ice line management.
The Top 9
I am really starting to like the make up of this top 9. Ryan Smyth in his 3rd line role with David Perron and Boyd Gordon is gold. Sam Gagner, Ales Hemsky and Nail Yakupov look great together. Of course Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle are a pretty nice line to watch. There are still improvements to be made but at least the Oilers are starting to get to a point where they can roll three lines a night.
- Ryan Smyth
- Ales Hemsky
- Anton Belov