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Dead Cat Bounce Indeed - Horcoff Leads Oilers Over Blackhawks 6-5

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Shawn Horcoff returns to the lineup, stabilizes everything...for 20 minutes.

Jonathan Daniel

I called a dead cat bounce in the game thread and we got one. The Oilers struggled even to shoot at even strength throughout this road trip and yet in the first peoriod then had 12 shots on goal and 4 goals.

Possession Report via Boys on the Bus

The Good

He wasn't very good, but Yann Danis is here anway. Danis got a win because of his own bad goaltending, and it was his first win since December 19th, 2009. Nice work, Mr. Danis.

Magnus Paajarvi and Sam Gagner came out flying again and this time pulled Nail Yakupov along for the ride. It might be luck since it's still only been 8 games, but the zone dominance of Gagner and Paajarvi is outstanding.

The hero of the day was Shawn Horcoff. It's amazing what having a bonafide centre will do for your lineup. He was 52% on the faceoff circle - good news for those concerned about sunken knuckles.

Ryan Whitney's pass to Sam Gagner to set up the Oilers fourth goal was a thing of beauty. In frame-by-frame you can see Whitney look off Marcus Kruger by glacing at Jordan Eberle. Kruger stops skating and coasts and it's just long enough for Gagner to get in without opposition.

The Bad

Sam Gagner lost possession in the zone twice on drop passes, once almost leading to a short-handed goal against in the third. Gagner's drop pass habit (which drove me nuts his rookie year) is back. If this is his Hemsky trade off and creativity must come with a price, I'll accept it. But man, is this frustrating to watch.

Ralph Krueger began shuffling lines late and elevated Lennart Petrell into a primary "shut down" role at the end of the game, but Petrell isn't capable of this work. He's on the team to kill penalties (and he's not that good on the PK either) not to try and win hockey games at even strength. Even thought the last two periods must've felt like a penalty kill, Petrell should not be on the ice at crunch time.

The Ugly

Sam Gagner took a penalty against Marian Hossa in the second period and stood still and looked at the stars while Hossa blew by him. Terrible HUA.

The Copper & Blue Three Stars:

★★★ - Ladislav Smid

★★ - Shawn Horcoff

★ - Sam Gagner