Day After Thoughts
- Updated: October 2, 2013
It started out so well for the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night. Luke Gazdic scored in his first NHL shift, and Boyd Gordon had a beauty tip on a Justin Schultz shot on the power-play. Ales Hemsky went vintage Ales Hemsky, and Jesse Joensuu won the hearts of Oilers fans everywhere in front of the net. It was 4-3 Oilers after two, and things were pointing to two points.
That was until a brutal turnover by forward Taylor Hall, and Devan Dubnyk forgetting how to play the position and getting beat by a 40 foot beach ball shot by Jacob Trouba. Michael Frolik deposited a tap-in goal moments later when new defender Andrew Ference was caught out of position, and it was 4-3 Jets.
That’s all she wrote at Rexall. Another third period lead, another uninspired third period, and another blown loss for the Oilers. It looks an awful lot like last year doesn’t it?
Not so fast. The Oilers out-played the Jets last night and if they keep playing like that, they’ll be fine throughout the season. Look at shot numbers, the corsi numbers, and the chance numbers. Things like that never went the Oilers way last year, but did last night. It’s a small victory, but a notable one none the less. Good teams win those battles, and Edmonton did last night.
There were a lot of good things last night from the Oilers, and people need to simply take a step back and look at this team from a distance. There were a lot of positives to take from a frustrating loss.
First thing is first, the Oilers out-shot an opponent. That’s a positive thing within it’s own. The Oilers never really out-shot teams last year, but did last night. They kept the attack going even when they had the lead, and pressured for a while once the Jets tied the game. Those are all good signs. If Edmonton keeps the attack going and out shoots teams, the wins will come and this team will be fine.
The Oilers also had better corsi numbers and out-chanced the Jets in both periods one and three, and kept it close in period two. That is again something very rare when looking back at the last few seasons, and needs to be considered a small victory. Again, it’s something the Oilers need to view as a positive, and if they can keep that up they’ll win their fair share of games.
The bottom six was pretty good last night too. Jesse Joensuu continued his strong play and looked awesome last night. Boyd Gordon did too, and might have been one of Edmonton’s best players last night. Luke Gazdic played well last night in his debut, while I also loved Ales Hemsky’s game. People that want Hemsky gone are crazy, this guy can still play at a high level.
The team kept on the attack, out-shot the opponent, out corsi and out chanced the Jets. That’s a small victory for the Oilers, and are the main positives to be taken from last night.
Devan Dubnyk. I stood up for him this summer and made a case for him, but I can’t defend him for last night. Three of the five goals he allowed can’t go in. The Trouba goal was brutal and should never, never, beat an NHL goalie. DD struggled last night, and was one of the main reasons the Oilers failed to get two points. When you score four goals, you have to win.
That said, we all know Devan is a better goalie than he showed last night. If he bounces back like I expect him to in Vancouver on Saturday, then last night will end up getting swept under the rug. DD is a good goalie, and he needs to prove it as he did most of last season.
Ryan Smyth, I love the guy as a player, I really do. He was one of the big reasons I fell in love with the Oilers as a young kid, but his time is up. He couldn’t keep up last night, and just doesn’t look like he can handle the NHL game anymore. It’s a sad sight to see, and he might have been Edmonton’s worst forward last night.
Taylor Hall had a rough night too, which is something I didn’t expect to say much this season. Hall’s brutal turnover led to the game-tying goal, and he had quite a few rough plays during the night. He wasn’t close to the dominate player we all know and come to expect to see night in and night out. Have to think it’s part of the adjustment to the center position.
Overall, the Oilers played a decent game last night. They did a lot of good things and have a lot of positives to take out of game one. That said, there are just as many negatives that need to be ironed out by Dallas Eakins and his goalie. It starts in net, Dubnyk needs to be better if this team wants to win.
Remember people, this was just game one of an 82 game season. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. The Oilers need to take the positives from last night and move on.
The last time Edmonton lost on opening night? October of 2009, year one of the rebuild. Maybe October of 2013 is the end of the rebuild. Don’t sweat it friends, it’s just one game. We can all panic together if this all continues ten games from now.