Well here it is folks, the moment we’ve been waiting for – Heatley’s first game in Edmonton since he nixed the trade. The Oilers are coming off a poor showing versus the Kings on Wednesday – a 3-1 loss on home ice. The Sharks are also coming off a loss, having been hammered 7-2 by the Chicago Blackhawks in Marian Hossa’s 2009/10 season debut.
Since the failed trade, Dustin Penner has shown great success this season with a surprising 26 points in 25 games. Ladislav Smid has also been fantastic this year, having grown into a very reliable two-way defenseman. Andrew Cogliano has struggled a bit this season, but he also hasn’t been given much of a chance, spending most of the season in the bottom six. Meanwhile, Dany Heatley has 33 points in 26 games, with Joe Thornton serving up fat pucks on a platter for him on the top line. Whether the Oilers are better off without Heatley remains to be seen, but so far I’d say I’m pretty happy that deal never happened.
So two teams coming off horrible losses.. who bounces back? The way the Oilers have playing, my guess would be the sharks. But I’m hoping that the trade-bait players (Heatley excluded) want to prove that the trade should not have been made to begin with. Is that going to be enough for the Oil, sans-Hemsky?
Edmonton Oilers Projected Line-Up (subject to change)
Penner Gagner Brule
Jacques Horcoff O’Sullivan
Moreau Potulny Cogliano
McDonald O’marra Stortini
San Jose Sharks Projected Line-Up (subject to change)
- no Hemsky today… he is out indefinitely with an “upper body injury”. He had an MRI yesterday, but the Oilers haven’t received the results yet.
- UPDATE ON HEMSKY: As per Robin Brownlee: “I’m hearing that Ales Hemsky will need surgery and is likely done for the rest of the season. No official word from the Oilers yet.” VIA Tencer: Word starting to circulate that Hemsky needs shoulder surgery and could be done for the season… VIA Tencer again: Quinn says no information on Hemsky yet. Says he’s not aware of any surgery talk. There is no confirmation on that, but the rumblings are making the rounds. Will let you know what Quinn says.
- UPDATE AGAIN: It’s official now, per the Oilers official twitter.. Hemsky is having surgery and therefore is done on the year. Disappointing..
- Nilsson, Pouliot and Stone all skated Thursday. Apparently Nilsson was one of the last players to leave the ice and put some extra effort in. I’m still not sold on him at all though, but I’ll keep an open mind.
- Lines were robbed from HFBoards and are very likely to change.
1ST PERIOD SUMMARY
5:23 – SJS – Marleau from Thornton, Heatley
Thornton no look passes from behind the net to Marleau in the slot and he puts it through Deslauriers legs.
- Heatley’s first shift… “BOOOOOOOO”. It’s going to be a long night, Dany.
- Jacques nails Clowe from behind in the open ice just a second after the refs whistle blows, and Fraser McLaren takes exception. Big mistake, as Jacques lands some big shots early. McLaren gets the final shot in and lands on top of Jacques in the end. I’ll try not to get too entirely aggrevated that McLaren defended a tough teammate who was love-tapped and our team watches Hemsky scrape his dead ass off the ice for fear of a penalty.
- Oilers leading in the physicality department so far, throwing their weight around.
- So they just said Heatley called Horcoff to find out what it’s like to be an Oiler.. who thinks Horcoff said “it’s a good city… when we’re winning and when you’re scoring… when you’re not scoring, they hate you no matter how well you did before”. It would be the truth.
- Horcoff line does a great job maintaining puck possession in the Sharks zone in the last minute of the period.
- Potulny smokes 2 players in a row in the Sharks zone and a scrum ensues immediately afterwards as Ortmeyer takes exception. 4-on-4 play after the dust settles.
- Tambellini interview leads me to believe that no trades will be made.. at least yet. As usual, they will take a “wait and see” approach.
2ND PERIOD SUMMARY
11:03 – EDM – Potulny, unassisted
Potulny steals the puck at the Oilers blue line and speeds into the Sharks zone alone with Jumbo Joe trying to catch him. He fakes a slapshot, and dekes out Nabokov, stuffing it five-hole. Beauty goal.
- Staios and Heatley battle for a puck in the Oilers zone. Staios shoves him to the ice, drawing cheers from the crowd.
- Moreau makes a nifty play going in on a a rush with Cogliano to flip the puck out o reach of the defenseman trying to poke the puck off his stick. He gets a shot off on goal but it goes wide.
- Stortini throwing his weight around this period, hits two different players in his first shift of the period.
- Ortmeyer gets a great chance on Deslauriers, but JDD spreads the legs out, Gumby style, completely covering the bottom of the net and makes a great stop.
- O’Marra and McDonald each throw a nice hit on separate Sharks players on a shift mid-way through the period, right after Potulny’s goal.
- San Jose PK is quite good this year (3rd), except on the road (20th). The Oilers are making the Sharks feel at home on the powerplay tonight, however.
- On a partially blocked Visnovsky shot, O’Sullivan gets the “pass” and makes a great shot on goal through traffic, but Nabokov manages to stop it.
3RD PERIOD SUMMARY
2:07 – EDM – Penner from Brule
Gagner chips it behind the net. Penner picks it up there, beating Nichol and passes it to the front of the net where Brule is waiting to jam it home.
4:09 – EDM – Brule from Penner, Gagner
Brule intercepts the stretch pass, carries it in, dekes out a defender at the blue line and gets a shot off on goal. The rebound comes straight out to Penner, who just has to bang it in.
5:55 – SJS – Marleau from Thornton, Demers
Demers passes it down low to Thornton, behind the net and he just threads it through to Marleau, in front of the net and he makes no mistake.
8:28 – SJS – Clowe from Marleau, Vlasic
The rebound off a point shot comes out front to Clowe who spins and puts it behind JDD.
14:57 – EDM – Potulny from Smid, Moreau
Moreau collects his dump in and wheels behind the net. He passes it to the side boards to Smid who tries to pass it to Cogliano but it gets deflected and comes to Potulny who buries it.
18:34 – SJS – SH – Marleau from Thornton
Thornton wins the draw, Marleau gets the puck in front of the net to JDD’s left. He dekes around Deslauriers fairly easily and puts it in for the hat trick.
- The Oilers show some jam this period. The Poltuny line looked good early on, but quickly after that, the Brule/Penner combination hooks up for two quick goals to give the Oil a 3-1 lead. Is there anyone Penner doesn’t have chemistry with?
- Shortly after the Oilers 2nd goal of the period, the Sharks’ top line pressures the Oilers hard in their zone, leading to a Sharks goal.
- Jacques destroys Thornton.. hitting him just as he’s turning to look behind him, and rattles Thornton’s face off the turnbuckle on the Oilers’ bench.
- Jacques again nails Jumbo Joe, this time on the boards at the Sharks blue line, putting him on his ass.
- Again Brule and Penner show more chemsitry.. this time Brule sets up Penner with a pass. from the top of the circle. The shot is saved by Nabokov but he can’t hold it, and Brule chips the rebound over the glass.
- On their next shift, again the top line applies a lot of pressure on the Sharks, generating a couple of good chances.
- Horcoff, Potulny, O’Sullivan and Souray work a good cycle in the Sharks zone, hemming them in and generating a couple of good chances.
- Jacques runs over Huskins from behind in the Sharks zone behind the net.
- The Sharks get a penalty late in the third. On the first shift, they do a great job winning the draw. Boyle skates up ice with it, dekes out Souray and gets a great shot on goal. Deslauriers saves it and hangs on. The next shift, they score.
- With 2.5 minutes left, Souray decides it’s a good time to shave Thornton’s cheek with a high-stick.
- Staios battles in the zone on the PK, and he gets hooked down, drawing the penalty.
- On 3-on-3 action, Cogliano gets a great chance, showing his wheels, blowing into the Sharks zone, but he’s partially covered and can’t beat Nabokov
- In the dying seconds, Pavelski tries to set up Heatley for the one time blast.. ohhh no, it’s Andrew Cogliano making a last second dive to prevent the shot.
- O’Sullivan – Gets in close and Nabby throws the poke check but misses… O’Sullivan brings it forehand but fires it wide.
- Marleau – Marleau comes from ride wide and tries to shoot it to the left side of the net, high glove, but misses.
- Gagner – He shoots from the hash marks and hits Nabokov in the chest.
- Pavelski – He comes wide left, shoots from the hash marks and beats Deslauriers, low-mid glove side.
- Penner – He tries to go forehand backhand, but Nabokov gloves it in, whipping out the trapper.
Well, this was a much closer game than I ever would have thought, brought on my great performances by Brule, Potulny and Penner. Brule and Penner had some great chemistry together, each getting a goal. Potulny had two goals, and his line was jumping tonight. They generated several chances. Jacques also had his typical very physical game. He laid out Thornton twice tonight and also dropped Huskins with a big hit in the Sharks zone. Deslauriers made some hard saves look easy and some easy saves (turning into goals) look difficult.
All in all, this was a surprising game. The Oil showed some resiliency tonight, recovering from 1-0 to get a 3-1 lead, then losing that lead, then regaining it… it was a rollercoaster ride, but the Oil were in it all the way. The only sour note for me was the last 2 minutes of regulation. The Oilers got the powerplay and were overly aggressive, leading to an odd man rush for the Sharks. Deslauriers was forced to hang on for the whistle, and the Sharks tied the game on the next shift. Not good hockey there.
At any rate, very, very impressive performances by youngsters Brule and Potulny. Strudwick called it in the first intermission saying he thinks Potulny would be a guy to step his game up, and he did. That’s one thing to be excited about… that kid has good hands.
Next game, tomorrow night.. 8:00PM on CBC at Vancouver.