Two Similar Teams - Two Different Directions

Ben Scrivens tries his hardest to keep this puck out of the net - Derek Leung

The Avalanche beat the Oilers 4-1

In the 2009-10 season the Colorado Avalanche squeaked into the playoffs with 95 points beating out weak division that included the DFL Oilers, the horrid Wild and the anaemic Flames. That season the Oilers drafted Taylor Hall.

The next season that same Colorado team finished 6 points above the DFL Oilers, good enough to draft second overall and pick up their captain Gabriel Landeskog. The Oilers drafted Ryan Nugent-Hopkins first overall.

In 2011-12 the Avalanche once again finished outside of the playoff picture while the Oilers were able to improve by 12 points and get out of the NHL cellar. As luck would have it the Oilers won the draft lottery and drafted Nail Yakupov. Colorado on the other hand had traded away their first round draft pick to Washington for Seymon Verlamov.

Then came the shortened 2012-13 season and the Avalanche would finish 29th overall but win the draft lottery. The Oilers finished 24th overall. Colorado would draft Nathan MacKinnon and the Oilers would draft Darnell Nurse.

In the off season both teams hired rookie head coaches. Colorado grabbing Patrick Roy from the Quebec Remparts and Edmonton winning the Dallas Eakins sweepstakes. Both teams were on almost identical paths but something happened this season to the Avalanche (*cough* good goaltending, *cough* high shooting percentage, *cough* 1.022 PDO) that didn't happen to the Oilers. Tonight's game was an example of how one team diverged from the other and really took advantage of the situation and trust me SportsNet didn't let us hear the end of it.

Game Notes

First Period

16:28 - Taylor Hall tips a shot from Oscar Klefbom but Jean-Sebastian Giguere comes up with the save

15:47 Goal - This play starts and end with what Paul Stastny does. Landeskog gains the zone and passes off to John Mitchell. While Mark Fraser and Justin Schultz are both focused on Landeskog with the the puck, Stastny just slips between the two of them completely unnoticed. And as you'd guess Mitchell gets the puck to a wide open Stastny infront of the net. Luckily Ben Scrivens makes the save but as the rest of the Oilers catch up they still allow Stastny to bang away at the puck until it finally slides in under Scrivens' pad.

13:31 - Nathan MacKinnon beats Jordan Eberle at centre ice. Eberle ends up taking out Jeff Petry which leaves Martin Marincin by himself 3 on 1. MacKinnon takes a shot from the faceoff dot and hits the crossbar.

11:24 - Paul Carey beats Marincin 1 on 1 but Scrivens is there to make the stop

8:59 - Hall gets called for unsportsmanlike conduct (Oilers PK)

6:59 - Oilers kill off the penalty to Hall

4:14 - Eberle draws an interference penalty against Erik Johnson (Oilers PP)

3:02 Goal - David Perron scores on a pass from Sam Gagner and Philip Larsen that banks off of Nick Holden's skate and in.

2:50 Goal - Right off of the faceoff at centre ice Johnson gets past everyone and puts it 5-hole on Ben Scrivens. The best/worst part of this play was the way Johnson beats Petry.

1:22 - Perron beats the icing and tries to get the puck to Ryan Smyth but Smyth is covered by every single Avalanche player on the ice and can't get his stick on the puck

Second Period

16:00 - This is just a note that as of this point in the period nothing had really happened. There has been a lot of back and forth but nothing of note.

14:02 - Eberle and Hall get a 2 on 1 but Hall can't handle the pass and it rolls off of his stick

12:34 - Matt Hendricks tries a wrap around but Giguere makes the stop

4:40 - Petry decides to try it himself and gets a good chance on the net

3:58 - Holden gets a great chance but Scrivens is able to make the stop

3:18 - Anton Belov feeds a pass to Hendricks but he is hooked as he heads to the net and can't get a decent shot away. Maxime Talbot takes the hooking call (Oilers PP)

2:29 - Colorado short handed gets the puck in deep. Mitchell shoots the puck around the boards but it hits a stanchion and bounces out in front of the net. Stanstny has a wide open net but Scrivens gets back in time to make the stop

1:48 - Perron walks in on the PP and gets a great chance from just outside the slot

Third Period

18:34 - Mitchell gets a shot off that goes just wide off of Scrivens' glove

13:10 - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins gets called for slashing on Ryan O'Reilly (Oilers PK)

12:26 Goal - Will Acton gets his stick up on Mitchell and it gets caught and Acton loses his stick. The puck goes out Tyson Barrie at the point, he moves into the slot and scores.

11:42 - Landeskog gets called for interference on Hall (Oilers PP)

10:54 - The goes in tight but then comes back out to the slot. Perron is there again and takes a quick shot that just goes wide

9:09 - Giguere makes a pass from behind the net right onto the stick of Hendricks but Hendricks can't bury the puck on the open net

8:57 - MacKinnon undresses Fraser at the Colorado blue line and gets a break away but shoots the puck high

8:05 - Smyth and Perron get a 2 on 1. Smyth is forced to shoot and fires it high over the net

3:41 - Jamie McGinn taps Nugent-Hopkins' stick and its in the net

Game Review

Game Rating: 4 out of 10

This game was full of little mistakes that turned into goals. I wouldn't say that Colorado dominated, although if you look at the score it definitely looked that way, they just capitalized when they needed to.

MacTavish's First Intermission Interview

I'm not gonna delve to much more into the game because it was game 80, the Oilers are in 28th place and there isn't much more to say on this season. But I am going to give a bit of a summary of Craig MacTavish's interview with Gene Principe.

Goalies

To start the interview they talked about the goaltending situation. MacT defended Devan Dubnyk a bit but also talk about how both Scrivens and Fasth had played well even though it was a small sample size. He also mentioned that he was happy that because both goalies were signed into next year that he wouldn't have to search for a goalie during the off season.

Defence

MacT put a lot of emphasis on the young D corps focusing on how Klefbom looked like the player they expected him to be, he just needed most of the season to adjust to the North American game. He made a quick comment about how well Marincin has looked so far but didn't really dive into it. But then he made a comment that didn't really sit well with me nor people on Twitter. This is what he said.

Add that to Justin Schultz who seems like a veteran but is really only [in] his first complete year in the NHL.

He also added that with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds possibly out of the the playoffs (now confirmed) that they would be speaking with Darnell Nurse and trying to get him to play in OKC. They want to give him some professional experience before the end of the season.

Forwards

MacT talked about where they needed to improve. He mentioned that he has been really happy with the performance of Hall, Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins as of late but feels that they need to address the second line.

[We want to] find the pieces that fit to make a very solid second line. I think that will be a very primary focus of mine going into the off season.

The Draft

When asked about who they would like to draft whether it was a centre or a defenceman MacT responded that both areas need improvement. Any of the top 3 draft choices would be ok and he had no preference once way or another.

That was basically it for the interview. I'm not going to analyse it too much right now but at least now you have a quick summary of the conversation.

Up Next

The Oilers play game 81 against the LA Kings on Thursday. At least the game is on TSN and the final game of the season against the Canucks will be on CBC so at least we won't have to listen to SportsNet broadcasts for at least a few months. Don't worry folks the season is almost over only two more games to endure.

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