Ryan Batty said it best on Twitter — “I can’t remember the last time I was watching the Oilers play and cared about the out of town scoreboard.” Everything seemed to be lining for the rare equinox — the Oilers in a playoff position after the first 6 weeks of a season. If they had won this game in OT, we’d be looking at them in 8th spot. Colorado had done their part with a comeback against Dallas to help us out. We had the 3-1 lead in the third period, and so familiarly let it go in spectacularly inept fashion, first on probably the first goal in history with every Oiler staring at his own goaltender on their knees, and the second on a pudding pop let in by Dubnyk. The Oilers couldn’t come up with anything in the shootout that your neighbourhood rink rat couldn’t pull out of the bag, and lost 4-3.
The Oilers lost every period in regulation, again, but most egregious was a 3rd period which they let get away from them 27-17. You have to give them credit with a 6-1 tally in the OT and having the best scoring chances, but they couldn’t get it done. I’m not too happy that my pre-season prediction of shootout failure is coming to pass, but Dubnyk just looks lost in the slam dunk contest. If you look at every goal he let in tonight, you could argue he could have played it in such a way to avoid the goal against. He has an amazing ability to be both huge and look small in his stance, as the 2nd and 3rd goals merely needed to miss his torso to find twine. His team was a gong show in front of him, but I’d like to see him grab at least one of those to give his team a chance.
A lot of fun stuff here. Nick Schultz had the best game tonight from the Oilers’ perspective, with a raw score of +6 and the best Corsi per minute (barely). He played the vast majority of his night with JSchultz, and we’ll have a look in a bit at where their divergence came from.
My favourite story is probably the candidate for unsung hero of the decade award going to Ryan Smyth. He was an emergency start at centre after RNH went home with a tummy ache, and against literally every odd you can conjure, had the third best corsi per minute on the team. That’s a heroic performance! If you don’t love Smytty you are not capable of positive human emotion. His linemate Eberle led the forwards at +4, while Ryan Jones potted an opportunistic goal for the 3-1 “insurance” marker and had a +1.
On the bad side, the line of Hall, Horcoff, and Hemsky put up the worst numbers tonight. They weren’t really on the radar until the third period — as an example, Hemsky was only -2 after 2 periods, but was -12 in the 3rd! That’s a pretty terrible period. We’ll see who they had problems with:
For a game that the Sharks won by 9 Corsi events, it seems like there’s a nice amount of green on here. The real issue are those ugly red streaks under the names of Marleau/Thornton and Boyle/Burns next to Hall/Horc/Hemsky and Petry/Smid. This was the power-vs-power matchup tonight, as Horcoff played about 9 of his 15 minutes against Thornton, and it was going fine until that 3rd period when the wheels fell off. The catalyst tonight really was that Whitney 3rd period penalty — after the Sharks goal, they just completely owned the game. It’s a pattern we’ve seen too much this year — have one thing go wrong, and everybody seemingly gripping their sticks and forgetting how to play hockey. It’s frustrating for them I’m sure, but we have to watch this stuff!
Here’s a new chart showing Corsi per minute:
Rat-human Couture may have scored some goals, but essentially every Oilers line did just fine against him Corsi wise.
Nick Schultz was head and shoulders the most effective defenceman versus Thornton and Co.
So Nick Schultz and JSchultz were +4 together, but JSchultz was -3 with Fistric in minimal time to soil his Corsi a bit, while Nick was in positives for the small amount of time away from Justin. I’m really glad Krueger ended the JSchultz/Whitney pairing experiment tonight. The Schultz had a good game tonight, and Nick got a nice assist on Horcoff’s goal to boot coming out of the penalty box.
76% of Taylor Hall’s night was with the Smid/Petry pairing, and those minutes accounted for 100% of Taylor’s Corsi deficit of -10.
In 2.7 minutes with Ryan Whitney, Mike Brown was -6. Impressive, yes?