Axl was right - nothing lasts forever. Though the Oilers played like the typical Oilers through two periods - outshot 28-11 and outchanced 10-7, they had a one goal lead after one period and were tied after two. Being in the game is something that neither the Oilers, nor the beaten up fanbase is accustomed to, so when the Oilers outshot the Avs 13-9 and outchanced them 11-7 in the third period, most of us were stunned.
The final 70 seconds of the game were dominated by men from the future transported back to 2010 as teenagers. Magnus Paajarvi took a wonderful 105 foot pass from Ryan Whitney, broke in on goal (fended off an obvious hook) and tried Peter Budaj's five hole. Seconds later Paajarvi dropped back into the zone for another chance. It was all capped by a another rush, seconds later by Jordan Eberle, who won a battle, threw a beautiful feed to Taylor Hall, cross-rink, through the crease and Hall went top shelf on Peter Budaj. As Eberle was battling for the puck behind the net (see the highlights after the jump), Hall was opposite him behind the goal. Eberle won the battle and Hall broke to the side of the cage and called for the puck. At first I thought Hall's call was "Yo Ebbs!", then I thought "In front", but now it sounds to me like he yelled "Go to the net!". Any translation help is appreciated.
Jim Vandermeer and Kurtis Foster shouldn't be a pairing. Foster was torched a couple of times and Vandermeer was his old roaming self throughout. Part of the reason, I believe, for the OIlers third period rally was that the Vandermeer - Foster pairing took only four EV shifts in the third period. Whitney - Smid took ten shifts and Gilbert - Peckham took nine and the Oilers looked better in the third than they have since ... before daylight savings time ended. The coaching staff that rolls lines and pairings no matter the situation saw fit to sit these two. Good for them.
Foster looked calmer and more protected while paired with Shawn Belle and there is reason for that - Belle is a better defender when compared to Vandermeer. This year has been labeled as a rebuilding year by everyone from Daryl Katz to Shawn Horcoff, so bring Belle back to the fold and figure out if he's an option on the bottom pair. Hanging on to Vandermeer in the hopes that he can become an asset at the deadline is pie-in-the-sky.
THIS IS A HOOK!
The Copper & Blue Three Stars:
★★★ - Theo Peckham
★★ - Tom Gilbert
★ - Martin Gerber