On November 9, 2013 the Oilers faced a 4-10-1 Philidelphia Flyers and lost 4-2 since that game the Flyers have gone 21-9-5 and have moved up 5 spots and are currently sitting third in the Metropolitan Division. Tonight it was the Vancouver Canucks turn to benefit from the Oilers super power. The Canucks came into the game with 2-5-3 record over the past 10 games and the Oilers were determined to assist their former North West Division rivals by busting out of their slump.
The Game Break Down
The first period was a rather lacklustre affair that saw the Canucks with only 9 shots on net while the Oilers were only able to mustar 6 shots and that included a power play for the home team.
The First Goal Against
The Oilers fourth line is bad. There is no hiding it, with wingers like Luke Gazdic and Jesse Joensuu and a centre of Mark Arcobello this line looked ugly. To top that off the two defensemen on the ice for this goal against were Nick Schultz and Corey Potter.
I will say that Schultz does a great job of getting back into the play and almost clears the rebound from in front of the net but Acrobello is unable to tie up Kellan Lain and the puck is bounced in off of Ben Scrivens.
The Second Goal Against
The Oilers were coming off of a decent power play that saw Taylor Hall hit a post and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins get a decent shot against on Roberto Luongo.
The second goal against comes as the second power play unit was still on the ice. A scrum behind the net eventually comes to Ryan Kessler who finds a wide open Zack Kassian (spits). The biggest issue in this play is the fact that the Oilers have 4 guys deep. Arcobello and Martin Marnicin are the two Oilers fighting Kessler and Henrick Sedin for the puck, Petry is covering in front of the net. David Perron is waiting for a breakout pass while Ryan Smyth is covering the left side. The high slot belongs to either Perron or Smyth in this situation and neither takes the streaking Kassian.
The First Goal For
After killing off a penalty to Jordan Eberle, Marincin starts a great break out brom behind his own net up to Jeff Petry. Petry gets the pass up to Taylor Hall who makes an attempt to pass the puck to Sam Gagner cutting down the middle of the ice. Luongo does his best impression of Ilya Bryzgalov sliding 10 feet out of his net thinking he has the puck. Hall realizes the puck is still alive, while everyone else waits for a whistle, and get a pass out to Jordan Eberle who is able to score on the empty net.
The Game Review
Overall this game was a 4 out of 10. The game was rather unexciting in the first period, the Canucks picked up their pace in the second thanks to a few power plays and the third period looked like an Oilers team trying to get back into the game.
The Oilers power play looked better than it has in the last few games even though they failed to score. The penalty kill looked decent as well. The key in this game, although allowing a rather weak first period goal, was Ben Scrivens. He played well covered the puck when he felt things were getting a little out of control and played well despite the defense infront of him.
The Momentum Killer
The real issue in this game was the Oilers fourth line. Playing against a "skilled" Canucks fourth line the Oilers fourth line looked like a group of seven year olds. Luke Gazdic tried to engage Kassian a couple times but nothing ever came of it. It got so bad at one point that if the two would have fought, I'm pretty sure both Kevin Quinn and Louis DeBrusk would have orgasmed together.
The Momentum Driver
Taylor Hall had a great game. He was able to gain the zone, generated some scoring chances and some shot attempts. This has been Hall's best game in a while. This is the Taylor Hall we've all come to enjoy watching over the past few seasons. Hopefully Dallas Eakins builds off of this and lets Hall play his style of game for the reamaining 30 games or so.
The other nice note tonight was the top pairing defence. Both Andrew Ference and Justin Schultz had good games finishing the game with a 59% and 58% corsi for percentage respectively.
What has gotten into Ryan Jones these past few games? He reminds me of Devan Dubnyk right before he got traded. Fiesty but still playing his typical style of play. Tonight was Jones' third fight in four games. Maybe MacTavish has found a trade partner for Jones and has asked him to step it up.
The Oilers face Phoenix Coyotes on Friday. The last time the two met the Coyotes won in overtime. Maybe the Oilers can actually get a couple points out of the game on Friday but the top line will have to show up like they did today if that is going to happen.