Oh yeah, the Oilers played defense better than usual. They collapsed far better than days of yore, and were chasing less. Who knew, right ?
This game was, at times, hard to watch. It seemed that both teams were reaching, and chasing pucks, or missing passes. I guess that is part of the learning curve for young teams, and one need only look at the stat sheet to see that. The teams combined for 25 giveaways tonight ( Edmonton had a 13-12 edge ).
So, Tank Nation is happy, as the Oilers get two points to draw closer to our local team in the standings. Thoughtful fans are happy, as they saw the youth filled team from Vancouver play hard right to the end, outshooting their hosts 40 to 25, and all the usual suspects had their moments. The last two periods, the Canucks outshot the Oil 32-17, or almost two to one. And the Oilers out blocked the Canucks 26-13 tonight. So, they earned their victory, even while the Canucks were throwing pucks on net all night. But hey, good job, good effort Canucks ! ;-)
- I originally thought of just naming this recap "Burr'" and be done with it. Just post a pic of him and leave it at that. He was that good tonight. It was fun to watch. He was flying, and on a line with Jared McCann and Radim Vrbata, Alexandre Burrows made that line, by his play alone, one of the most dangerous on the night. He has 5 shots on net, and 3 misses ( and more that were blocked, and or tipped by active sticks ) on 21 shifts and 16:21 TOI. I heard him on the radio earlier talking about "being the old guy helping the kids". He was a fine example tonight. If they follow his lead and play like that, we'll be fine.
- The Canucks and Oilers played a fairly even 1st period, with chances at both ends. A big blocker save from Markstom at the death of the Oiler power play on Hall that kept it 0-0 early, and he made a bunch of good saves tonight, but you know he will feel that he should have done better. The first goal came off of a bad turnover, and Eberle and McDavid were in the offensive zone 2 on 1. But from that angle, goalies hate giving up goals, and the second one came off a rebound ( not his fault, a screened shot just hit him... ), where Hendricks bowled him over right after it went in. Other than that, the big man was solid.
- Speaking of big men, I spent a fair amount of this game focusing in on Nikita Tryamkin. He seems to get more comfortable every shift, and his game is actually pretty efficient. He had a shot, a miss, and 2 blocks in his 17:07, and as he gets more comfortable , I do think he has more to give. His positional play was very good, and this is just his second game. So, what he has shown so far has been pretty impressive. Give the guy time to actually get comfortable, and then (!? )
- Alexandre Grenier got another shot with the Twins tonight, and he showed a few flashes ( there was one shift in particular in the third where it looked like he had figured out the SedinCycle, and it was a pretty dominant shift ), but the line that ( all the lines were good, Burr's line, as I said, and Vey's line had their moments as well ) was the most awesome was The Kid Line tonight. Bo Horvat, Brendan Gaunce and Jake Virtanen were on for a goal against, but had a combined 12 shots ( Bo 5, Jake 4, Brendan 3 ), and were strong on the puck most of the night.
- About those goals. Turnovers suck. It was a turnover by Hamhuis up the middle that led to the Eberle goal. Sure, Markstrom probably thought he should have gotten that one, but Eberle is a world class shooter. If anyone gets the goat horns on that one, it is Community Dan. The second one, give the Oilers a bit of credit too. They were able to pressure the puck down low, and get it back to the point for a screened shot, before Hendricks made a good play to drive the net. Markstrom was fine, and goalies can take contact too, but it is funny what is allowed, and what isn't.
- Case in point. Brendan Gaunce made a fabulous play, not long before the 1-0 goal, to battle the puck into the zone from the neutral zone in. He continued to do so all the way to the net, while Nurse was draped all over him ( no call there Mr Charron ? ), and as he was dragged down, the puck went into the net. It was clearly after the whistle. Yet the ref said "no goal" on the ice, and we were told that because if the "incidental contact", it was no goal and non reviewable ? How is it not ? If it was goaltender interference, that is, by RULE Mr Charron, a play open to a coach's challenge. Tough to take a goal away from the young man like that NHL. Did the NHL screw up ? The TV guys tried to help them out and say it went in off his glove, but I watched that back and forth, and all I see on the 50" HD screen is the puck going in off their bodies on the way in. Oh well, good job, good effort Brendan !
- The power play was 0 for 17 going into this one, and 0 for 20 afterwards. They were good, but not good enough. When they were shooting, the Oil were doing a good job blocking shots and passes, and clogging up the middle. ( they passed the shit out of the puck at times on it as well. I guess the Oil get credit for clogging the lanes ? ) The rebounds were getting cleared, and the last line of defense was pretty solid too. His best save may have been one of his last in the third, a toe save on a Virtanen tip, but he was good all night, and did stop all 40 shots for a shutout. But he also had some help. There was a post, I think two that went off the knob of the stick ( the luckiest of all saves for a goalie. Do not tell us you meant to do that goaltenders. It is always luck when it goes off the stick above the blocker ), and there were several where his defenders stopped it before he had to get in position to make the save. I mean, of the 26 blocks by the home team, Reinhart had 8, and Fayne had 5 blocks. Pretty impressive.
- The kerfuffle at the end, in a 2-0 game late, is something worth mentioning for a couple reasons. One, after Nurse tried to bully Sven Baertschi with a late hit after the whistle ( and this is not another bitch about Mr Charron, but I have seen refs call that so different than a bunch of offsetting minors. They would have taken the one guy who caused it all with a late hit. Perhaps it is different if they get the late power play, or would it have mattered anyhow, right ? ), but look at the names that were in there. McCann got a double minor, and was holding his own against guys far bigger than himself in the scrum. Baertschi and Bartkowski each got minors, and I think I even saw a Sedin in there ( the Captain ). Most the guys on the ice at the time for the Oilers were their fourth line types, and the guys held their own. When Maroon tried to use that size on guys like Baertschi and McCann, ( Not to mention his stick on McCann. Check it's location in the photo above) they did not back down. That will have lasting effects "in the room", to be sure.
- The injury list got another name added to it tonight, as Radim Vrbata clipped the heel of Eberle on an innocent play and looked to be in quite a bit of pain. That can be anything from a twisted ankle to a knee ligament on that type of play, so, let's hope it is not too serious. Another spot open for a young player to work, I suppose.
So, the Canucks lost a game that they could have won, and will get the chance to do it all over again at home tomorrow, against a team substantially better in the Blues. Knowing this team, they will probably shut them out 4-0 or something, and go 3 for 4 on the power play.
Hey, a guy can dream, right ?