The Oilers are in a ‘bend not break’ phase of their season, hopefully followed by ‘unlikely winning streak’ and the second season. I believe last night was a victory for the club in more ways that one:
- grabbed a point when outmanned due to injury
- scored a vital goal in the 3rd period to grab a point
- Dennis King final chance tally: 22-19; 8-8 ST
- Justin Schultz may be better than advertised. Seriously.
- Taylor Hall and Ales Hemsky had terrific games–they are the heart of the order.
- Yakupov is freaky good with the puck on his stick and even a little space.
- Gagner keeps posting crooked numbers.
- Smid is a shot blocking machine.
- Dubnyk is supplying the kind of goaltending that keeps the club in games.
- The Nordic line is getting their groove, and the two wingers (Hartikainen and Paajarvi) look like NHL players to me.
Now the bad.
- Love Ralph Krueger, but the Whitney-Potter pairing is chaos incorporated and shouldn’t see the light of day once he shortens his bench. If that’s too much for the other pairings, then the club needs to make a deal or recall Peckham.
- The roster situation is now silly. You have a backup goalie who no one wants to play, a defenseman who is in OKC for conditioning and hasn’t played a minute 20% into the season and Darcy Hordichuk, who plays less than one minute a night. Fix this, please.
- Taylor Hall needs to bury that puck. Fancy is fine, but you better score. He didn’t.
I’m well pleased with last night’s game, suspect most Oiler fans are this morning. A team that had real troubles at center ice (down Horcoff and Belanger, losing Lander early) sucked it up and gathered in a much needed point.
Now it’s on to the Detroit Wheel.