Since the glorious 24 hours last week when the Oilers found themselves in a playoff spot it's been a tough run for fans of the Oilers. Losses in Vancouver, Los Angeles, and Anaheim all but guaranteed that the team would be, for the seventh season in a row, outside of the playoffs looking in when the season ended. But as bleak as things looked there was still a chance that the Oilers could sneak in if they ran the table and had about a dozen other things go their way. First up, they needed a win over Phoenix at home last night.
But, as you likely know by now, the Oilers didn't beat Phoenix last night, dropping a 3-1 decision to the visiting Coyotes. The game wasn't memorable for much aside from the three goals against. And those are only memorable because each is worse than the one that came before. Starting with a Boyd Gordon shot from the corner, below the goal line that Devan Dubnyk deflected into his own net. That was followed by Dubnyk passing the puck from behind his net to a wide open Antoine Vermette in the slot for the Coyotes second goal. And then there was Ryan Whitney's own goal with nine seconds left in the game which is just so perfect it's hard to put into words.
With a dozen seconds left and the faceoff in the Oilers end of the rink the game was going to be a win for Phoenix, that was never in doubt. I'm in no way blaming Whitney for the loss but the deflection is worth watching a couple more times just because of the way it amplifies the final nail in the coffin for the Oilers this season. To get the full effect of the goal I suggest muting the pay-by-paly and just listening to this audio instead.
As Michael showed yesterday, Whitney has been absolutely terrible for the Oilers this season doing far more harm than good when he's on the ice, that it was him who tipped the puck past Dubnyk seemed so very appropriate. He wasn't horribly out of position as we've grown accustomed too but the puck still ended up in the back of the Oilers net. It's a remarkable skill that the man has. In a way I'm sad this goal happened last night and not in the season finale because it would have been a great way to remember him him.
I've experienced a wide range of emotions while sitting in my seat at Rexall Place over the last seven seasons but last night was the first time that I'd burst out laughing at a goal against. People turned and looked at me - at least the ones who weren't grabbing their coats to leave - and I honestly felt as if should react some other way to that goal but after all the losing that has been endured in the name of the rebuild, to see a goal like that leave no doubt that the playoff dream is over, what else can you do but laugh?