This was an ugly game from a possession perspective, with the Oilers getting soundly beaten in each period. The negative 31 Corsi for this game is the worst on the season (previously was -19 on two different occasions).
Out of any game this year, I think this one challenged the perception of reality of most any obvserver. The game was so close for so long, that it seemed like two teams fighting to a standstill. I think Gord Miller on the TSN broadcast commented on how many OT periods would have to be played to decide a winner if this were the playoffs. Lucky for him, a goal was scored less than 5 minutes after saying that and I can’t say that I’m too surprised.
The Oilers did not deserve this game, full stop. The Oilers have not deserved to win a lot of games this year — hell, they’ve only out-shot attempted the other team once this entire season. Winning a game like this would only serve to reinforce a false belief that somehow the Oilers’ general talent level can get away with getting outshot and out-puck possession’ed without consequence.
That’s not to say they didn’t have their chances, because they did. Eberle hit a crossbar, Nuge hit Quick’s crest on a 2 on 1 when he had half the net to shoot at, and Hall blew up like a tin robot while trying to deke on a breakaway. If one of those goes in, the Oilers could have actually won this game. But the point is that every team in every game gets chances, and not all of them go in. In fact, a small minority of them go in. The only way to continuously ensure you have a team that will succeed in the standings is if you outshoot and outchance the other team, something the Oilers have done all too sparingly this year.
Just a horrible game on so many levels here. Sam Gagner put up a season worst -16 even strength Corsi, beating his own record of -14. He was on for 6 shots for, and 22 against. Think about that. Almost 4 times as many shots were taken against his net as he got off on theirs. And therein lies the contradiction of Samwise. The guy has the offensive talent level to complement great players and put up points, but his overall play this season at even strength has been extremely, unquestionably poor. Out of the 15 games played so far, he’s had one of the worst three Corsi rates on the Oilers 8 times. I’m not sure what’s wrong with the second line, but it’s not working, and not having a serviceable second line will kill this team’s chances of making the playoffs.
VandeVelde put up a team best +4 on the night, followed by MPS at even. These guys don’t have to play against Anze Kopitar, but I’ll be the first to admit at being impressed by VV’s results so far in limited minutes. One of my keys to the season was for the Oilers to have a 4th line that didn’t utterly suck and it seems to be going in the right direction with players like VV, MPS, Harski, Eager (???), and dare I even say Anton Lander.
Something is wrong with Justin Schultz. He’s taken a nose dive the last few games, enough to be the 3rd worst skater against the kings on a per minute basis. I think the back injury is worse than the team is letting on. We better hope it’s a back injury.
This is like a movie poster for Carrie — blood red everywhere. Notes:
- Justin Schultz wasn’t getting killed by the Kings’ top six, it was Jarret Stoll’s line. I’m not sure whether to be happy or sad about that.
- Smytty’s line with Belanger and Yak was getting killed by the Kopitar line from the first drop of the puck. They were obviously getting the worst of that matchup.
- You know who played great against the Kopitar line? The RNH line, where all three members miraculously ended up in the green against them. But alas, the RNH line was matched against the Richards line for the bulk of the night, against whom, you guessed it, they ended up behind.
- You know who did great against the Stoll line? The VandeVelde line.
- You know who did ok against the Richards line? The Gagner line.
- You know who did ok against the Kings’ 4th line? The Belanger line.
- Do you see a trend here. The Oilers seem to have zero capacity for in game adjustments considering the results of the game CURRENTLY BEING PLAYED IN FRONT OF THEM. They had matchups that weren’t working, all game, yet had some suggestions that small line matchup alterations could have been exploited. The coaching staff either needs to have a better sense of what’s important to victory or needs to get someone to explain it to them. The fact that there’s any green at all on a chart this bad suggests there were opportunities missed from a coaching standpoint, especially with last change/
The Oilers need to assess which defensive pairing play best with which players. They continuously try to keep throwing JSchultz out with the RNH line, even though he was -12 with Ryan Nugent Hopkins. But oh, it looks like Schultz played pretty good with the Belanger line (+3). And hey, Petry looked like he complemented the RNH line very well (+6 with RNH), but he was getting a ton of time with the Belanger line, where he was getting killed (-14). Seriously, is this stuff that difficult?
And I’ll say for the record that Khabibulin should have had that winning second Kings goal. Regardless of if it was tipped, it was a straightforward slow-ish shot, unscreened, from the top of the circles. Even if it was barely touched, he needs to be able to pick that up. Do you know what causes fast-twitch muscle fibers to degrade? AGE. Ok, I’ll stop.