Prior to the season, I did a few scouting reports on some of the players that were new to the Oilers. The exercise was particularly helpful in setting expectations for players like Kurtis Foster and Colin Fraser, and gave some insight into their game that we just can't see in the numbers. Now that the season is underway, I thought it would be fun to take a closer look at some of the players who we'll be watching all season long. The benefit is that by looking closely, you can get a better sense of the good and bad things that a player is doing. The danger is that I'm doing the report on a single game, which will probably lead to a disproportionate emphasis on what the player did on one day. In the end, I think the benefit outweighs the danger, and so I decided to proceed.
Today's report is on Andrew Cogliano. I decided on Cogliano for a number of reasons. The first was that his line with Magnus Paajarvi and Gilbert Brule was really struggling, and a closer look might help to explain why. The second was that I thought Cogliano was actually doing a decent job in the season's first few games, but other observers were somewhat less flattering. For instance, Ben said, "Fucking Cogliano can drag anybody down to his level. You could put him on a line with Gretzky and Robot Gretzky and they’d Corsi -9." Derek's assessment wasn't much better: "[He puts in a solid effort] maybe for a period per game. The rest of the time he’s floating around, not giving a shit." That's some pretty harsh criticism! I decided to look closely at Cogliano's Oct. 14th game against the Wild. I had missed that one the first time around, and it's not like his group got rave reviews. The observations come after the jump.
Below, I've written out some general impressions from the game on Cogliano and his linemates, and have also provided the play-by-play for all of Cogliano's shifts for those interested in seeing where these impressions come from. If there's a particular player you'd like to see this analysis for, make sure to let me know in the comments, and I'll try to oblige.
What can I say, I still like Cogliano's game. I thought that he skated really well, frequently coming back into the deep into the defensive zone to give the defensemen an easy passing option, and then coming up the ice quickly enough to get into the play on offense. He demonstrated decent offensive awareness, especially when his teammates had the puck, driving toward the net or high slot to get to rebounds, although there were a couple of times when he didn't make a good decision when he was the one with the puck. He also seems to see the puck well off the goaltender at both ends of the ice, which helped him to win several races to loose pucks in this game. Finally, he has definitely improved in his understanding of the game. He rarely turned the puck over at either blue-line because of a cute move, and was the player on his line most likely to recognize the importance of getting the puck out of his zone, or deep into Wild territory. But it certainly wasn't all roses. When he doesn't win the race to a loose puck cleanly, he's often outmuscled, and even when he does, if the other player can track him down and engage along the boards, Cogliano frequently loses the puck - he just doesn't win 50/50 battles. Cogliano also usually sold out to what he thought opposing players would do, and when something else happened instead, he was out of position, and unable to recover. Defensively, he had a hard time marking players in front of the net, and generally looked confused in the defensive zone on more than one occasion. Some of that was probably his linemates (none of the three were particularly consistent in terms of identifying where they should be defensively), but some is no doubt Cogliano being overwhelmed. Overall, I still think Cogliano has a lot of promise (preferably as a speedy winger, but that's nothing new), and I didn't see anything to give me any concerns about his effort level (I haven't at other times this season so that bolsters the sample, but this is still only one game). I think the biggest thing he needs to work on is winning pucks along the boards. It's already a terrible weakness in his game, and if the Oilers do ever move him to wing, it will become even more obvious.
Observations on the Linemates
Magnus Paajarvi: He clearly wanted to help defensively but he wasn't very good positionally, often going to spots already occupied by either Cogliano and Brule. It was only his third NHL game, so there should be some allowances for that, but he (and the whole line, really) seemed confused at times about his defensive responsibilities. The kid was getting his tires pumped for his defensive play (and I was one doing the pumping), but if this game is any indication he didn't deserve it. I think most folks, myself included, saw that the spirit was willing (and that's still true!), but when I watched this one closely, it was hard not to notice that the flesh was weak.
Gilbert Brule: This was a terrible game from him. He wasn't consistently awful, but he had real trouble identifying where other players were on the ice, both teammates and opponents. He made some decent plays for sure, but he also had trouble doing simple things like skating without falling down, and going to the bench hard on a change.
Shift by Shift
18:30 to 18:21 of 1st period, 0-0 tie, 5v5 - Andrew Cogliano, Gilbert Brule, and Magnus Paajarvi jump over the boards with the puck deep in Edm's zone. Kurtis Foster has the puck behind the net, and there's no forecheck because the Wild are also changing. Cogliano races around the net, but Foster sends the puck up the boards for Brule. He tips it off the wall to Paajarvi who deflects it deep into the OZ. As Paajarvi chases, Matt Cullen hooks him, the Wild touch up, and a penalty is called.
18:21 to 18:10 of 1st period, 0-0 tie, 5v4 - Tom Renney decides to leave this line out to start the PP. The FO is on the near side, and Brule is on the draw with Cogliano lining up at RW along the wall. Brule wins the draw cleanly to Tom Gilbert at the point. Gilbert gets control and moves the puck to Cogliano on the half-wall. He skates down toward the corner. Just before reaching the goal-line he sends the puck back to Gilbert at the point. Gilbert is able to get a quick slap shot on goal through traffic, but Backstrom makes the save and freezes the puck.
18:10 to 17:23 of 1st period, 0-0 tie, 5v4 - The FO is again on the near side of the ice, and Brule is on the draw with Cogliano lined up at RW along the wall. Brule and John Madden split the FO with the puck coming to the near boards. Marek Zidlicky and Cogliano battle for the puck, and Zidlicky wins it back to Greg Zanon below the goal-line who lifts it down the ice. Foster and Gilbert make several passes in the DZ to create passing opportunities as they skate toward their own blue-line. Just before reaching the line Gilbert delivers a great pass cross-ice to Brule who breaks into the OZ with speed. Cogliano is driving toward the high slot, and Brule takes a low shot from outside the FO dot, presumably hoping for a rebound, but Backstrom directs the puck into the far corner. Cogliano is there first, and quickly gets it back to Ladislav Smid at the point. Smid mishandles the puck and it comes to Madden who rushes up the ice with Cal Clutterbuck. Smid is able to recover by poke-checking the puck off of Clutterbuck's stick just as the two Wild Fwds make their way into the Oilers' zone. Gilbert is slow getting to the puck on the near boards, and Madden steals it. Cogliano arrives, but skates right past Madden who has decided to skate back toward his own zone. Madden successfully controls the puck into the NZ before passing it back to Brent Burns. Burns then passes the puck across to Nick Schultz who slams it back down the ice. Cogliano and Co. head to the bench.
15:20 to 14:58 of 1st period, 0-0 tie, 5v5 - Brule, Cogliano and Paajarvi come out for an OZ FO on the near side of the ice against Minnesota's fourth line (Kyle Brodziak, Eric Nystrom, and Brad Staubitz). Brule again lines up at center and Cogliano is again at RW along the wall. The draw is scrambled at first, and Cogliano moves in to help, but Brule's second effort ends up getting the puck over to the near boards. Paajarvi is already there and he tries to play the puck back to the point, but Staubitz reads the play and intercepts the pass. He chips the puck in after crossing the red-line and the Wild get it deep into Edm's zone. Gilbert and Smid are both battling for the puck behind the net against two Min. Fwd.'s when Brule arrives as the first forward back for the Oilers. Brule decides to go behind the net to help on the 2-on-2, which leaves Brodziak alone in front, but Brule wins the puck and hammers it around the boards for Paajarvi. Paajarvi, however, isn't there, and the puck goes right to Cam Barker (Brule then skates back to take his spot at the far point, and Cogliano moves down into the DZ). Barker takes a shot but it's blocked in front and goes into the near corner. Staubitz retrieves the puck in the corner and skates up toward the blue-line. Cogliano moves down toward the boards anticipating a cycle pass to Brodziak. Instead, Staubitz dumps the puck slowly toward the net, and Brodziak breaks for it with Cogliano unaware. Fortunately, the puck gets to Nikolai Khabibulin before Brodziak gets to the puck, and he covers for a whistle.
11:34 to 10:19 of 1st period, 1-0 Wild, 5v5 - Cogliano, Paajarvi and Brule come out on the fly with the Wild in control of the puck just over their own blue-line. Zanon tries to pass the puck to a Min. Fwd. but misses him badly and the puck comes to Cogliano at the Oilers' blue-line. Cogliano skates over the red-line and dumps the puck high off the glass into the OZ. Zidlicky is there first, but Cogliano is close behind him. Zidlicky drops the puck for his partner Zanon, and Cogliano hits Zidlicky into the boards after the pass. Zanon is able to work the puck up the boards, and the Wild flip the puck down the ice toward Khabibulin. Khabibulin leaves the puck for Smid in the far corner who quickly passes it to Gilbert behind the net. The Wild are using a two-man forecheck, so there's immediately pressure on Gilbert and he dumps the puck off the back-boards into the near corner for Paajarvi. Paajarvi is chased behind the goal-line, and soon chips it five feet up the boards for Cogliano who has come across to provide support. Cogliano then moves the puck up the boards to Brule who taps it back for Gilbert in stride. Gilbert doesn't handle that pass cleanly, but he is able to punch the puck out of the DZ and down into Min territory. Cogliano is the only man in on the forecheck and the Min Defs pass the puck around him as they come up the ice before dumping the puck deep into the Oilers' zone. Gilbert loses a race for the puck to Clutterbuck who tries to pass the puck out front, but both Brule and Cogliano have come back to the front of the net; Brule intercepts the pass and pushes it into the far corner, but the only one there is Clutterbuck. Brule and Cogliano are both still in front, but neither is covering Martin Havlat who's just inside the FO circle on the far side. Naturally, Clutterbuck hits Havlat with a pass out of the corner and he gets a good scoring chance, but Khabibulin makes the save. Cullen has gone to the net for a rebound, but he can't find the puck, which is sitting in the crease. Both Cogliano and Brule reach for the puck and together poke it behind the goal-line for Gilbert. Gilbert loses the puck to Clutterbuck who skates with it up the boards. He tries to pass it back to Cullen in front, but this time Cogliano has done a good job marking him and Cullen can't take the pass. Instead, the puck goes to Smid in the far corner who dumps the puck into the NZ to relieve some pressure. Both Paajarvi and Brule manage to get off, but Cogliano decides to hang back in the DZ as the Wild immediately break back in. The Wild play the puck around the perimeter, and Cogliano circles through the slot and high slot without really marking anyone. Eventually, Gilbert grabs the puck behind the net and moves up the far boards. Cogliano follows to give Gilbert a passing option, but he's guarded closely by Clutterbuck. Gilbert decides to play the puck high off the glass and into the OZ, which allows Cogliano to change.
6:17 to 5:48 of 1st period, 1-0 Wild, 5v5 - Cogliano goes four minutes without a shift primarily because Renney passes over this group when the Oilers go on the power play (it happens a couple of times). After the power play has been over for about twenty seconds, the Wild come down the ice with numbers and Gagner shifts off. Antti Miettinen gets a shot off from just above the scoring chance area in the middle of the ice, but his shot misses the net. Theo Peckham, Jim Vandermeer, and Ales Hemsky are all scrambling to get the puck behind the net, but the Wild are able to direct it back toward Miettinen in the far FO circle. Dustin Penner knocks it to the far boards where Cogliano is waiting having now caught up to the play. He flips the puck into the NZ and that allows Hemsky and Penner to shift off. Cogliano then moves forward as the first forechecker in the 1-2-2, but the Wild easily avoid him and dump the puck deep into the Oilers' zone. Khabibulin stops the puck behind the net and passes it to Vandermeer in the near corner, but he can't handle it, so the puck comes to Mikko Koivu who tries to surprise Khabibulin with a shot from the boards; the shot misses on the near side and rolls around the boards and gets out of the zone on the far side of the ice. This time when the Wild backtrack the Oilers set up in a 2-1-2 with Brule and Paajarvi pushing forward into Min. territory. Zanon banks the puck off the boards past Brule for Andrew Brunette. Vandermeer pinches forward to challenge Brunette at the red-line, and Cogliano falls back to cover for him. Brunette leaves the puck for Koivu, and the Wild break in 2-on-2 with Cogliano and Peckham as the two Oilers back against Havlat and Koivu. Koivu sends the puck to Havlat in the middle of the ice, and he skates in on Peckham, but Cogliano doesn't want to stay on Koivu and starts cheating toward the puck. Havlat nevertheless decides to shoot, but Peckham gets his stick in front of the shot, tipping it out of play, and there's a TV timeout.
5:32 to 5:05 of 1st period, 1-0 Wild, 5v5 - After the break Brule and Paajarvi stay out, but Cogliano is replaced by Colin Fraser for the DZ FO. Once the puck is deep in the Min. zone Fraser heads to the bench and Cogliano joins his linemates. Minnesota tries to come up the ice quickly when Schultz moves the puck from his own zone to Guillaume Latendresse at the blue-line, but Latendresse loses the puck to Gilbert who chips it forward for Brule. Brule bounces the puck off the boards down into the OZ, and Edm sets up in a 1-2-2 with Brule on the forecheck. Paajarvi is supposed to be on the near side, but he gets caught on the wrong side of center, which leaves Matt Cullen wide open on the near side. Cullen gets the pass he skates through the NZ, gaining the Oilers' line easily with Gilbert backing off. Cullen decides to shoot from the outside and Khabibulin pushes the easy shot behind the net. Latendresse and Smid battle for the puck behind the net while Paajarvi, Cogliano and Gilbert all station themselves in front with only Cullen there for the Wild. When Smid has some trouble behind the net, Gilbert comes down; they double-team Latendresse and Smid comes away with the puck on the far side. Cogliano and Paajarvi both break for the far side boards (Cogliano low and Paajarvi high) when they see Smid has complete control, and Smid passes the puck up to Paajarvi. As this is happening, Brule gets behind Havlat on the near side of the ice and pushes Havlat down which gives the three forwards a 3-on-2 from the DZ blue-line in (a hilarious non-call by the referee). Unfortunately, Brule falls over skating down the ice (what is this, Tom Thumb?), and so the play becomes a 2-on-2. Paajarvi decides to take a high shot from a bad angle as Cogliano drives toward the net. Backstrom ends up making the easy save, and there's no rebound.
2:50 to 1:38 of 1st period, 1-0 Wild, 5v5 - Cogliano, Brule, and Paajarvi come out for a NZ FO, and this time Cogliano takes the draw (his first of the game), which he loses to Cullen. The Wild immediately dump the puck deep into the Oilers' zone, but Ryan Whitney is the first man to the puck, and he calmly lifts it back into the NZ. The Oilers set up in a 1-2-2 and Cogliano is the nominal forechecker. The Wild play the puck past him through the middle and tip the puck in deep. This time Foster is the first man on the puck and he plays it up the far boards for Paajarvi who tips it out to Cogliano in the middle. Cogliano is being marked closely by Latendresse, but the Wild Def has backed off the blue-line and Cogliano is able to get the puck out. Paajarvi picks up the loose puck, crosses the red-line and fires it deep into the OZ. Backstrom stops the puck behind the net and Cogliano races in on the forecheck. He skates behind the net to pressure Backstrom, but the puck is already to Barker in the corner, who himself moves it toward Cullen before Cogliano arrives; the pass, however, isn't a good one, so perhaps the pressure from Cogliano pays off as the Oilers regain control of the puck in the NZ. This time Paajarvi carries it over the line on the far side of the ice and Cogliano squirts in front of him hugging the boards. Paajarvi plays the puck forward for Cogliano who's immediately checked by Justin Falk and the puck comes down into the far corner. Brule comes over, beating Matt Cullen to the puck and passes it back to Paajarvi up the far boards. Paajarvi skates down the boards and cuts in toward the middle of the ice where he's met by Havlat who steals the puck and dumps it cross-ice to the near point. Vandermeer is there and he dumps the puck along the near boards for Brule who tries to let it go for Cogliano in the corner, but it's blocked by Cam Barker between the two forwards. Barker leaves the puck for Cullen who moves it up the boards for Latendresse; Latendresse then chops the puck into the NZ and Havlat races out to get it. Havlat skates toward the Oilers' blue-line and tries to send the puck cross-ice to his oncoming teammates, but Cogliano is back quickly to intercept the pass in the DZ. He passes the puck around the boards to Vandermeer in the near corner who then goes acorss the ice to Peckham in the far corner. Peckham tries to go back across to Vandermeer, but the puck hits the referee in the skate behind the net, so Vandermeer needs to come across to pick it up. He skates up the far boards briefly before dropping it back for Cogliano in the far corner and taking a hit from Kyle Brodziak. Cogliano then makes a pass to Peckham who's alone in front of his own net. Peckham then moves the puck up for Zack Stortini who lets it sail by him and out of the zone, which allows Cogliano to go to the bench.
18:26 to 18:08 of 2nd period, 1-0 Wild, 5v5 - Cogliano, Brule, and Paajarvi hop over the boards for an OZ draw after Minnesota has iced the puck. All five of the Wild players (Brent Burns, Nick Schultz, Matt Cullen, Cal Clutterbuck, and Martin Havlat) have already been out for thirty seconds, so this is a pretty good scoring opportunity. Brule steps in for the FO and Cogliano is on right way against the far boards. Brule wins the draw back and to the right and Cogliano picks up the puck. Cogliano slides back toward the point then stops and moves down toward the FO circle, eventually deciding to take a high wrist shot from outside the FO dot, which is blocked by Schultz's stick, and the puck skids to the near boards. Theo Peckham comes down from the point and he and Havlat both swat at the puck, but it doesn't move much at all. Paajarvi and Cogliano both arrive next and the two of them dump the puck behind the net, but since both of them are on the puck, neither of them is waiting to receive the dump and Schultz is easily first to the puck. Cogliano and Brule are both forechecking on either side of the net when Schultz moves the puck to Burns in the near corner. Cogliano chases down but Burns avoids him and passes the puck to Havlat along the near boards. Havlat tries to tip the puck past the line but Peckham holds the line... and then fires the puck off of Havlat's stick and out of play.
18:08 to 17:24 of 2nd period, 1-0 Wild, 5v5 - Cogliano, Brule, and Paajarvi stay out for a second consecutive OZ draw, but this time it's on the near side and Cogliano lines up at center to take the draw against Kyle Brodziak. They scramble the draw and the wingers converge on the puck. A bunch of guys whack at it, and it ends up trickling down to Backstrom who pushes it behind the goal-line for Justin Falk. Paajarvi skates down toward Falk while Cogliano goes to the net. Falk moves the puck up the near boards, but Brule is there to intercept the pass. Brule is immediately checked by Brad Staubitz and Kyle Brodziak with Staubitz ending up with the puck. Both Cogliano and Paajarvi are in the area with Paajarvi waiting close to the blue-line along the boards and Cogliano waiting in what he thinks is Staubitz's passing lane. Staubitz, however, is still able to move the puck across to Cam Barker who then quickly head-man's the puck to Guillaume Latendresse just in front of the Oilers' blue-line. Latendresse moves in on Jim Vandermeer, but Vandermeer gets his stick on the puck as Latendresse tries to get around him, knocking it back toward the line. Brodziak and Cogliano are both in the vicinity, but Brodziak is closer to this loose puck and gets there efficiently. He then dumps it behind the Oilers' net for Latendresse. Latendresse controls the puck, and Peckham is right on him. Staubitz comes down to help, but he's followed behind the net by Paajarvi, so Latendresse moves it to Falk at the point. Cogliano is the nearest man to the point, but Falk takes a wrist-shot before Cogliano can get in the shooting lane. The shot is tipped nicely on the way to the net by Latendresse, but it hits Brodziak before it gets there, and Brodziak falls down on top of the puck. Vandermeer works the puck loose to Cogliano who then fans on his clearing attempt, allowing Staubitz to steal the puck and move into the corner. Cogliano and Paajarvi double-team Staubitz in the corner. Cogliano fans on another attempt to clear the puck, before finally getting one off, but that attempt hits Brodziak who's come down to help out his teammate. Paajarvi picks up the loose puck and skates with the puck through the slot area. Latendresse chops at the puck twice, but misses and hits Paajarvi's leg; Paajarvi falls down on the play (I'm not totally sure it was a dive but...), which draws a tripping call from the referee and the Wild touch the puck right away for a whistle.
13:58 to 13:36 of 2nd period, 1-1 tie, 5v5 - Cogliano is the last man on his line to get out as the Oilers change on the fly. Martin Havlat has the puck on the near side in the NZ as Cogliano comes out, and he passes it across to Brodziak just over the Oilers' blue-line. Brodziak slows down after crossing the line and takes a slap-shot from the top of the FO circle, but it misses the net high and comes all the way around the boards and out into the NZ on the near side. Brent Burns picks up the puck there with Paajarvi bearing down on him. His partner, Nick Schultz, is open on the far side, but Burns decides to play the puck up the middle and it floats into the Oilers' zone with icing waved off. Ladislav Smid beats Mikko Koivu to the puck in the near corner and passes it to Tom Gilbert behind the net. Gilbert then fires it around the far boards for Paajarvi as Cogliano skates past him around the net. Paajarvi skates through the NZ 2-on-2 with Brule. Both Cogliano and Antti Miettinen are coming into the play and Paajarvi tries to delay at the blue-line so that he can hit Cogliano with speed, but Brule doesn't anticipate the delay and he goes off-side.
13:36 to 13:20 of 2nd period, 1-1 tie, 5v5 - After the off-side there was a commercial break, and after the break Cogliano, Brule, and Paajarvi are back out for the NZ FO. Cogliano takes the draw and promptly loses it to Mikko Koivu. The Wild set up in their own zone and the Oilers drop into the 1-2-2 with Paajarvi the lone forechecker. Nick Schultz is holding the puck in the middle of the ice, then moves it across to Brent Burns on the near side. As Burns skates with the puck toward the blue-line Cogliano steps up and Burns fires it down the ice. Tom Gilbert is there to touch the puck, and the Wild are called for icing.
9:11 to 8:43 of 2nd period, 2-1 Oilers, 4v5 - Cogliano and Gilbert Brule hop onto the ice with Minnesota in control of the puck in their own zone nearing the end of an Edmonton penalty. Brent Burns has the puck and skates through the Minnesota zone uncontested before passing it off to Havlat on the far side boards in the NZ. Havlat is immediately challenged by Cogliano who successfully knocks the puck off of Havlat's stick. Unfortunately, he knocks it into the middle of the ice, and Burns picks up the loose puck with speed entering the zone. Burns stickhandles past Kurtis Foster and Gilbert Brule before taking a shot from the slot that Ryan Whitney is able to tip wide of the net and into the near corner. Burns and Brule head to the corner and Burns recovers the puck. Brule gives him a brutal two-hander across the hands (which somehow goes unpenalized), and then falls down (WTF!), which puts him out of the play. Whitney races over to the corner and battles with Burns and Guillaume Latendresse for the puck while Foster waits just off the boards for the puck to come loose. As it turns out, Burns gets control and sends the puck into the far corner. Cogliano wins the race to the puck easily but doesn't get anything on his backhand clearing attempt, which hits Havlat in the skates. Cogliano loses the ensuing puck battle, and the puck comes to Latendresse below the goal-line. Latendresse then skates around the net, and tries to move the puck in front, but can't get anything on the pass as he's marked well by Whitney. The puck sits at the side of the net, and Khabibulin freezes it for a whistle.
7:16 to 6:20 of 2nd period, 2-1 Oilers, 5v5 - Cogliano, Brule, and Paajarvi come out for a NZ FO against Brodziak, Havlat, and Latendresse. Cogliano lines up at center and loses the draw cleanly to Brodziak. Brent Burns ends up with the puck in his own zone and decides to dump it off the boards and into Edm's zone. Tom Gilbert retrieves the puck as the Wild get set in a 1-2-2. Gilbert sends a bank pass off the far boards to Brule at the Min. blue-line. Brule gains the line and sees Cogliano open breaking toward the net. He tries to send a pass through, but Burns sticks out his foot to deflect it into the far corner. Cogliano skates down to the loose puck and has Brule on the far side of the net and Paajarvi just above and inside the near FO dot. The easy play is to Paajarvi (no Min. players between them, compared to two plus Backstrom between Cogliano and Brule), but Brule would have the better scoring chance, and Cogliano decides to pass in front to Brule. Backstrom intercepts the pass, knocking it forward to Latendresse who immediately turns up-ice. Latendresse tries to pass it to Brodziak on the near side as they leave their zone, but the puck jumps over Brodziak's stick and down toward Ladislav Smid in the Oilers' zone. Both Paajarvi and Cogliano have come back, so Smid has plenty of passing options and decides to go cross-ice to Gilbert, who then passes it forward to Cogliano in stride just over the Oilers' blue-line. Cogliano skates across the middle of the ice, over to the far side boards and gains the OZ. He skates down into the corner and then stops abruptly, giving himself some time to assess the situation when the defender briefly slides by. Cogliano then bounces the puck hard off the back boards to Paajarvi behind the Min. goal, but Paajarvi gets pushed off the puck by Brent Burns. Burns flips the puck high into the NZ for Latendresse who's all by himself, but he can't control it and the puck bounces down to Theo Peckham. Brule has come back toward the Oilers' blue-line, but Peckham instead passes it to Paajarvi along the near boards close to the Min. line. Paajarvi then taps the puck in front of him for Brule who picks it up and enters the zone with speed. He sees Cogliano open in the middle of the ice with both Min. Def. retreating and so tries to pass him the puck, but the pass is about five feet behind Cogliano who dives back in attempt to control the puck. The attempt is unsuccessful as the upright Brunette is in much better position to nab the loose puck, and he quickly passes it Koivu high in the NZ. The Wild now move in 3-on-3, and Paajarvi is the one forward back for the Oilers. Koivu skates into the Oilers' zone and beats Vandermeer wide, but can't get into a good shooting position, so he decides to circle around the net. While that rush took place, Cogliano went to the bench. Twenty seconds later the puck is still in Edm's zone, and Magnus Paajarvi takes a holding penalty trying to guard Koivu.
3:11 to 2:32 of 2nd period, 3-2 Wild, 4v4 - Cogliano and Paajarvi come out for a NZ FO with Cogliano on the dot. The puck is scrambled off the draw, but Paajarvi sneaks in and grabs the puck and skates back through the NZ toward his own blue-line before passing the puck to Ladislav Smid in the Oilers' zone. Smid then moves the puck back across to Paajarvi who skates through the NZ along the far boards and then taps the puck softly toward the far corner in the OZ. Cogliano and Justin Falk race for the puck, and Cogliano decides to play the man, hitting Falk into the boards. As a result, the puck gets by both players to Greg Zanon, and Cogliano falls down. Zanon then moves the puck to Chuck Kobasew who dumps the puck deep into the Oilers' zone. Tom Gilbert is the first man to the puck behind the net, but as he turns to skate away Matt Cullen gives his jersey a tug and the puck slips to the far corner. Cullen picks up the puck and starts skating up the far boards toward Cogliano who's covering the point. Before getting too close to Cogliano, Cullen dishes the puck to Kobasew in the middle of the ice above the FO circles. Kobasew then takes a quick wrist-shot, which is handled easily by Khabibulin. The rebound bounces toward the far boards and Gilbert is there to pick it up. He then dumps it off the boards to the near corner for Smid who himself moves it to Paajarvi just as coincidental minors end, and we're back to 5-on-5. Paajarvi tries to dump the puck deep, but it hits Zanon. Cogliano is over to grab the loose puck, and brings it over the line, but Colin Fraser, fresh out of the penalty box, is offside.
17:19 to 17:12 of 3rd period, 3-2 Wild, 4v5 - After the puck gets dumped down into the Min. zone, Cogliano and Brule hop over the boards for a shift at the end of the PK. Cam Barker picks up the puck in his own zone and skates through the NZ. He tries to dump the puck in high, but it ends up going over the glass and out of play.
17:12 to 16:02 of 3rd period, 3-2 Wild, 4v5 - The NZ FO is at center ice, and Cogliano stays out with Brule for the last ten seconds of Kurtis Foster's penalty. Cogliano is taking the draw against Mikko Koivu and it looks to me like Cogliano wins this one forward off the far boards and into the Min. zone, but it's marked as a win for Koivu (since Min. got possession). Marek Zilicky is back to pick up the puck in his own zone, and he then makes a hard pass to Andrew Brunette at the Oilers' line. Brunette tips the puck down into the Oilers' zone and chases after it, but Whitney gets there first. He moves it softly behind the net to Gilbert who hammers down the ice, and that's it for the penalty. Backstrom stops the puck in front of his own goal, and leaves it for Zidlicky who just turns and blasts it right into his partner's skate. The puck bounces off of Barker to Cogliano who slows it down, and Brule picks it up as he enters the zone. Unfortunately, as he was picking up the puck, Brule bumped into Cogliano so neither of them has much speed and the Min. backcheckers are on them quickly. Brule tries to tap the puck across to Cogliano, but Zidlicky steps up and pokes it away into open space. Paajarvi has now come off the bench, and he's to grab the loose puck. Cogliano had circled back in case Min. had gotten the puck, but Brule has gone to the side of the net, below the goal-line. Paajarvi hits Brule with a pass, and Cogliano is moving into the high slot. Brule tries to center for Cogliano, but his pass misses him badly, and the Wild gain control. John Madden has it in the middle, and he makes a quick pass to Annti Miettinen to avoid Paajarvi. Miettinen moves into the NZ, and across the red-line before dumping the puck in deep. Foster is back for the puck on the near boards, and he passes it around the net to Whitney in the far corner. Cogliano is coming around the net, giving Whitney a short pass into the middle, but he decides to make a longer pass to Brule. Brule seems to think the pass is going to be intercepted, so he changes course to check, but that doesn't happen, and the puck ends up going all the way down the ice. Nick Schultz is back to touch it, but icing is waved off, so he sets up behind his own net. At this point, we're at 16:27, so the Oiler forwards should probably be shifting off, but they decide to stay out there and set up in the 1-2-2 with Paajarvi forechecking. Nick Schultz has the puck and he skates around a bit in his own zone before flipping it high into the NZ. The puck skips over Tom Gilbert's stick and all the way into the Oilers' zone, but icing is again waved off. Min. sends in two forechekcers, but Gilbert is back to the near corner for the puck, and he sends it cross-ice below the goal-line for Ladislav Smid. Smid then moves the puck up the boards for Cogliano who then makes a quick pass to Brule in the NZ. Brule crosses the red-line, and dumps the puck in, which allows the forwards to shift off.
14:29 to 13:39 of 3rd period, 0-0 tie, 5v5 - Cogliano, and Brule get on the ice with the Oilers in control of the puck in their own zone. Cogliano immediately comes down below the blue-line on the near side to give Jordan Eberle - who's coming out of the near corner - another passing option, but Eberle decides to make a short pass to Foster in the middle of the ice, avoiding Min's lone forechecker completely. Foster then moves the puck to Smid on the far side, but Smid misses the puck completely and it skips into the NZ. Havlat is there, but the puck also skips over his stick, and Cogliano comes across to grab it. He tries to bounce the puck off the boards to himself and come in along the far boards, but all five Wild players are within ten feet of him as he tries to catch up to the puck at the blue-line. Brent Burns ends up with the puck about fifteen feet inside his own zone, and he tries to bounce the puck off the boards to Cullen, but Brule skates in to intercept it. Cogliano moves down the far boards, and Brule gets him the puck before heading to the net. Cogliano skates around the net and tries to pass the puck across the crease to Brule, but the puck hits Schultz in the skate and bounces back down below the goal-line. Cogliano beats Schultz to the loose puck and skates into the near corner. Cogliano then passes the puck to Smid at the point and follows his pass. Smid skates toward the middle of the ice to draw the forward in, and then passes it back to Cogliano on the near boards. Cogliano has some time and space here, so Gilbert sneaks into the high slot. He's uncovered and Cogliano has a nice passing lane, but for some reason he decides to shoot instead (terrible choice). The bad-angle shot is deflected over the net by Schultz, and comes around to the far boards. Smid races over to pick up the puck and gets hit by Clutterbuck as he's making a pass to Paajarvi in the far corner. Paajarvi has the puck bounce off his stick back up the far boards, and he follows it. He tries to send it around the net for Cogliano, but fans on the pass and Clutterbuck steals the puck. Cogliano comes around to double-team Clutterbuck, but the Wild Fwd is able to move the puck to Schultz in the near corner. Brule hits Schultz just after he makes a flip pass up the near boards to Havlat. Gilbert steps up at the line, but Havlat gets the puck by him to Clutterbuck, and Clutterbuck, Cullen, and Havlat skate into the NZ with Paajarvi and Smid defending, and Cogliano coming hard on the backcheck. Clutterbuck passes to Cullen as they cross the blue-line, and Paajarvi stays with him as he goes to the net. Smid stays in front of Cullen, and Cogliano also comes across toward Cullen, not realizing that Havlat is there on the near side (Gilbert is helplessly pointing at Havlat here; it's pretty funny). Cullen makes a good hard pass to Havlat who's now just inside the near FO dot. Havlat gets off a nice shot for a scoring chance, but Khabibulin makes the save and freezes the puck.
12:23 to 10:59 of 3rd period, 4-2 Wild, 5v5 - Cogliano, Brule, and Paajarvi come out for the shift after Min.'s latest PP goal, and the Wild counter with Brodziak, Staubitz, and Latendresse. Cogliano takes the draw, and again it looks like he punches it forward, and the puck goes deep into the Min. zone, but once again it's marked as a Min. FO win. Justin Falk is back to pick up the puck in the far corner, but Brule is coming hard on the forecheck. Falk rips it around the boards to the near side, but Cogliano reads that play and steps in front of the puck. He's on his backhand so he doesn't get it cleanly off the wall, and that gives Latendresse time to engage. They battle for the puck briefly before two more Wild players and Brule arrive. Brodziak ends up with the puck, and he fires it around the net back to Falk in the far corner. This time Falk chips the puck up the boards for Staubitz and Theo Peckham pinches down to hit him. Staubitz takes the hit but lets the puck go, and now the Wild have a 2-on-1. Latendresse has the puck on the far side and has Brodziak in the middle, but Paajarvi is coming back hard, so they don't have time to dick around. Unfortunately for the Wild, that's exactly what Latendresse does, Paajarvi catches him, and pokes the puck to the far boards. Latendresse and Paajarvi both arrive at the same time and knock the puck down into the far corner. Stuabitz is the first man to the puck, but Peckham hits him into the boards and takes it away while Cogliano guards the slot area (although no Wild players are there). Peckham then quickly moves the puck up the far boards, and Paajarvi is there. Paajarvi Cogliano and Brule all skate out of the zone, coming up the far side of the ice. Ryan Whitney, meanwhile, tries to join the rush on the near side. Latendresse come over to take out Paajarvi, but Paajarvi gets the puck to Brule before the hit and now the Oilers have a 3-on-2, but Brule doesn't see Whitney on the near side, so he thinks it's a 2-on-2 and dumps the puck down into the corner for Cogliano to chase, and Whitney falls back. Cogliano beats Falk to the puck and tries to pass it in front for Brule, but the pass is deflected by Falk to Whitney at the blue-line. He waits to glove it down, but as he's waiting Staubitz gets there and he punches the puck down the ice. Peckham drifts back to the defensive zone and waits for Latendresse to touch the puck so hand pass will be called, but Latendresse refuses and the two players stand there for a couple of seconds. Ryan Whitney comes down and picks up the puck behind the net, but Koivu is on him quickly. Whitney shoots the puck up the far boards for Cogliano, but he's muscled off the puck by Miettinen who takes it and skates into the far corner. Whitney chases Miettinen behind the net, while Cogliano goes out front and stands in the crease. As Miettinen and Whitney skate around the net, Miettinen leaves the puck there for Latendresse and as he comes around the near side, Cogliano meets him and pokes the puck back behind the goal. Latendresse gets there first, but Cogliano is chasing him, and Peckham meets him on the other side, so he quickly dumps the puck to the far corner where Miettinen picks it up. Miettinen then immediately passes it behind the net for Koivu while Cogliano goes back out front. Koivu skates toward the far corner with the puck and tries to pass the puck across the crease for Latendresse. It would have been a beautiful goal if it had gotten through because Latendresse was unmarked, but Whitney and Cogliano were both between the two Wild forwards, and Whitney intercepts the pass and skates down into the far corner. As soon as he gets there, Koivu strips him of the puck. Cogliano skates toward Koivu, taking away his passing lane to the front of the net, so Koivu instead passes it back to Miettinen just above the FO dot for a one-timer. It's a good low shot, but Khabibulin makes the save and directs the rebound to the near boards. Brule and Schultz both race for the loose puck, and Schultz barely wins the race, tapping the puck down into the near corner. Peckham beats Koivu to that loose puck, and quickly moves it to Whitney in the far corner. Whitney then tries to pass it across to Brule, but he's not paying attention (he only has one hand on his stick!) and the puck bounces off the boards just into the NZ as Brule skates lazily to the bench. Nick Schultz grabs the loose puck and comes right back over the line. Cogliano skates slowly towards him, I suppose trying to get in a passing lane, but Schultz has a tonne of ice to work with. Anyroad, he decides to go with a slap-shot, probably hoping for a rebound. Instead, Khabibulin makes the save and holds on for a whistle.
6:19 to 5:13 of 3rd period, 4-2 Wild, 5v5 - Brule, Cogliano, and Paajarvi come out for an OZ FO just after the Wild have finished killing a penalty. The Wild counter with Koivu, Miettinen, and Brunette. Brule lines up at center, and he wins the draw across to Cogliano on the near boards. Cogliano then moves it cross-ice to Smid at the point who lifts the puck into the far corner. Falk is there to pick up and he comes around the net before banking the puck off the near boards for Brunette. Gilbert pinches down, and Brunette tries to send the puck up the middle, but Cogliano is there to intercept the pass, and he takes a hit from Miettinen as he dumps it back down into the near corner. Paajarvi is there battling with Barker, so Cogliano skates down to provide some support, as does Koivu for the Wild. In the end, Koivu comes away with the puck and flips it very high through the middle of the ice to get the puck into the NZ. Smid retrieves the puck and skates into his own end, but as he's making a turn, he loses the puck into the far corner. He goes back to get it, but now Brunette is bearing down on him as the only forechecker. Smid bounces the puck off the boards to Gilbert on the near side of the ice, and he taps it ahead for Cogliano who's come back into the DZ. As Cogliano approaches the blue-line, he passes the puck across to Paajarvi and skates up toward the Min. line. Gilbert pinches forward behind Cogliano up the near boards, and Paajarvi hits him in the skates with a pass. Gilbert nonetheless controls the puck and carries it into the OZ where he's quickly surrounded by Wild skaters. He tries to get the puck through to Brule, but it's easily knocked down by the Wild, and Koivu picks up the puck. He passes the puck to Miettinen at his own blue-line, and Miettinen dumps it down the ice softly so that the Wild can change. Paajarvi is back quickly to get the puck, and he figures that the Oilers can catch Min. on a change so he turns up-ice, but Brodziak strips him of the puck before he gets to the Min. line, and passes it off to Latendresse who's now breaking in 1-on-2, but the Oiler defenders have just stepped on the ice. Latendresse moves in on Vandermeer, but he's forced to slow down and gets pushed to the near boards. He does, however, manage to control the puck and leave it in the corner for Havlat who's caught up to the play. After the pass he and Cogalino bump and Cogliano then moves out front. Havlat tries to center the puck from the corner and there are five bodies out front. Latendresse gets a stick on the puck, but he knocks it to the far corner. Paajarvi beats Latendresse to the puck and skates it out of the zone, but then has the puck knocked away by Burns at the red-line. Latendresse looks like he might pick it up, so Brule comes across to hit him, but Latendresse ends up leaving the puck and leveling Brule instead. Cogliano then grabs the puck in the DZ, skates over the red-line, and puts it deep, allowing the Oilers to change (and prompting a conversation with Paajarvi about getting the puck deep).
2:32 to 1:47 of 3rd period, 4-2 Wild, 5v5 - Cogliano, Brule, and Paajarvi come out with Whitney in control of the puck in the Oilers' zone. The Wild send in one forechecker, and in this case Havlat chases Whitney behind the net, and actually knocks the puck off his stick and onto the near boards. Clutterbuck comes down and gathers the loose puck. He passes it to Cullen at the point, and Cogliano immediately gets himself in the shooting lane. Cullen then decides to put the puck into the far corner, but Gilbert nabs it before it even gets there. Cogliano comes down toward Gilbert and gets a pass close to the far boards. Cullen comes across to challenge him, so Cogliano banks the puck off the wall and into the NZ. It goes right to Burns who pounds the puck down into the Oilers' zone. The puck goes all the way around the boards to the near side, and Clutterbuck is the only one there. Clutterbuck carries the puck down the boards and two Oilers come across to guard him. Brule is high taking away a pass up the near boards, and Gilbert is between Clutterbuck and the net. Cullen is skating down into the slot, and Cogliano is following him. Clutterbuck gets a saucer-pass over Gilbert's stick to Cullen in front, but it doesn't come down soon enough, and bounces off Cullen's shin pads toward the far side boards. Cogliano sees that the puck is loose, and skates with it up-ice. He tries a bank-pass off the boards to Paajarvi as he's leaving the zone, but it's intercepted along the wall by Havlat in the NZ, and he quickly passes it back to Schultz at Min.'s blue-line on the far side. Schultz then moves the puck up the boards and Clutterbuck tips it deep into the Oilers' zone. Khabibulin stops the puck, and passes it to Smid in the far corner. Cogliano comes low for a pass, but Smid gives it to Gilbert behind the net and follows his pass. Gilbert leaves the puck for Smid, and he comes around the net with speed. When Clutterbuck comes down to challenge, he passes the puck to Brule on the near boards, and Brule hits Cogliano in stride in the NZ. Cogliano and Paajarvi then come down the ice 2-on-3 but the Wild are backing off. Cogliano passes the puck to Paajarvi just after crossing the blue-line and heads for the net. Paajarvi fires the puck on goal from a bad angle (which is exactly what he should be doing there), but the shot is high and Backstrom is able to catch it and cover for a whistle.