Jan 172010

500px-Logo_Edmonton_Oilers The Edmonton Oilers entered the HP Pavilion (known as the Shark Tank) for a Saturday Matinee game winless in 2010. Their last taste of victory was on December 30th against the almost as hapless Toronto Maple Leafs. 6 games, having been outscored 23-13 over that period and team had to face the top team in the league in order to break out of the winless streak. Not a positive outlook for this team. That with the fact it was an afternoon game which, throughout their history, the Oilers have not done a good job of showing up for.

The Oilers have shown over the first 46 games that their line-up and team make-up is filled with weaknesses. If only took the San Jose Sharks 3:51 to expose one of them. That dreaded weak goal. Patrick Marleau was given credit for the goal as his centering pass from the corner hit Oiler’s starting goaltender Devan Dubnyk’s stick and deflected through his legs and into the net. Definitely not the kind of gift that the league’s top line needs and not the way the Oilers need to start a game.

The Oilers did have a bit of life though and were able to tie the game briefly with 16 minutes gone in the period as some hard work down low by Andrew Cogliano and Sam Gagner lead to a great cross ice pass from Gagner that found the stick of a pinching Denis Grebeshkov who made no mistake beating Shark’s starter Thomas Greiss who was making his 7th start of the season.

That was as close as the Oilers would get though as another of their nemisis bit them less than 3 minutes later. Dustin Penner was nailed for a high sticking call out near center ice. It was one of those lazy, unnecessary penalties that ultimately seems to cost the Oilers and it took the Sharks only 54 seconds to find the twine as Devin Setoguchi gave them the lead for good. Outshot 16-6 in the period the Oilers were lucky to get out only down by 1but some good goaltending by the rookie Dubnyk kept the Sharks circling but not biting.

The Sharks took that final bite out of the Copper and Blue only 22 seconds into the second period as Setoguchi scored his second of the game and it was going to take a miracle for the Oilers to close that wound and win the game. That miracle was not going to happen. In fact that would have been a miracle of huge proportions as the team has had a rough enough time as it is and with the flu bug again hitting the team taking Gilbert Brule out for his second straight game and Fernando Pisani who had just come back from his latest bout with his ulcerative colitus. Ryan Stone also missed the game with his knee bothering him to the point the pain was to much to endure.

Joe Thornton closed the scoring for the Sharks with less than 5 minutes to play in the middle frame with one of the nicest plays you will see as the Sharks passed the puck around quickly with the final cross ice pass finding Thornton for a tap in.

The one positive for the Oilers on this day was that they finally scored a short handed goal. Half way through the third period, with Sam Gagner sitting in the sin bin for hooking, Patrick O’Sullivan blocked a pass in the Oiler zone and went coast to coast beating Greiss for his 10 goal of the season and the Oilers first shorty. It was little consolation with the final score ending up 4-2.

The Oilers were outshot 36-29 in the game. The one stat that really sticks out for me though was that the team only won 30% of the face offs. You are not going to win many games with that kind of win rate. In fact, most games will be a lot worse than this one with that kind of performance at the dot. Shawn Horcoff continued his brutal play and for his multi million dollar contract the Oilers got 18% success rate in the area of his game he is supposed to be strong in. 3 wins and 14 losses. I guess at least that since he was 0 +/- in the game he didn’t increase his lead at the bottom of the leagues plus/minus stat. The team as a whole did a decent job against the top team as they were dishing out the hits, blocking a good number of shots and kept the number of turnovers down, but in the end, a few weak points and a far inferior skill set lost this game.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Leave a Reply