The Edmonton Oilers head into Long Island an ugly mess, having been shut out 3 of the last 4 games (we’re all getting tired of hearing that) and allowing Detroit to walk away with 1 point in a game where the Oilers had a 5-1 lead. The Islanders, meanwhile, have been a hot team as of late, winning their last 3 games over a span of 4 days against their conferences top teams (Capitals (2), Sabres (3), Rangers (4)).
The Oilers struggles as of late, have been to find goal scoring, but I believe a lot of that has to do with inability to protect their own zone. You can’t score goals when you spend the majority of the game watching the opponent handle the puck in your zone. “We have to start thinking about the defensive side again and making sure we don’t give up much,” said Quinn. “We do it well sometimes. For half games. (In Boston) we started giving them the puck, turning it over, then the next thing you know, we’re in our zone, not theirs, and thinking about surviving rather than winning a hockey game. Our defencemen need help from the forwards. They need to be much more involved in the play without the puck than they have been.”
Tonight marks Roloson’s debut against his former team. Roloson spent most of last year being a nightmare for opposition shooters and has hopes of doing the same to his former club. Khabibulin should get the start for the Oilers.
Edmonton Oilers Projected Line-Up
Penner – Horcoff – Hemsky
O’Sullivan – Brule – Pisani
Jacques – Gagner – Nilsson
Moreau – Cogliano – Stortini
Smid – Visnovsky
Grebeshkov – Chorney
Strudwick – Gilbert
New York Islanders Projected Line-Up
Moulson – Tavares – Okposo
Bergenheim – Nielsen – Sim
Tambellini – Bailey – Weight
Thompson – Park – Jackman
Streit – Gervais
Sutton – Martinek
Witt – Hillen
GAME NOTES- Lubomir Visnovsky will return to action tonight, knocking Theo Peckham back out of the line up.
- Dwayne Roloson will make his play vs. his former team.
- Shawn Horcoff is the latest to be battling the flu, although it sounds like it won’t keep him out of the line-up.
- Mike Comrie will remain out of the line-up with the flu. Making matters worse for him, Comrie also has asthma issues. The two can be pretty dangerous combined so the Oilers won’t want to take any chances with him.
- Steve Tambellini’s son Jeff scored his first NHL hat trick on Saturday.
- Dan Tencer: Mike Comrie is going to take the pre-game warmup tonight in New York.
1ST PERIOD SUMMARY11:02 – EDM – Moreau from Stortini, Cogliano
Moreau behind the net just trying to fire it out front some how banks it off an Islander’s skate and past Roloson
14:51 – NYI – Tavares from Moulson, Weight
Islanders win a battle behind the Oilers net on a dump in. Moulson passes it out front to Tavares in the slot who won’t make a mistake from that range, and doesn’t.
- Came into this one a bit late as I was hesitant to order it.
- Looks like Visnovsky playing with Smid.
- O’Sullivan and Brule get a 2-on-1. O’Sullivan telegraphs pass all the way, but actually ends up shooting, but Roloson wasn’t buying it and played the angle perfectly.
- Right after the first Islanders goal, Khabibulin makes a great save on another Tavares/Moulson tandem attack.
- Hemsky is a dangle machine already, having had two great moves where he walked in all alone.
- Gilbert carries the puck to the neutral zone and puts his head down to go around one defender. He just barely catches Andy Sutton coming at him to level him and goes low as Sutton comes up high at him. This draws attention from Jacques who drops them with Sutton. Didn’t look like many punches landed here. Lots of jersey punches.
- Jacques gets the instigator, and the Islanders get the powerplay.
2ND PERIOD SUMMARY
2:32 – NYI – Witt from Nielsen
Witt just fires it on net through traffic from the side boards and it eludes Khabibulin and goes through his legs.
12:35 – NYI – Witt, from Weight, Tambellini
Khabibulin is getting bombarded from all angles, but a knuckler from the point from Witt is the one that gets by him.
- Horcoff steps over the blue line and releases a quick wrister that rings off the post.
- Horcoff manages to knock the stick out of Roloson’s hands while in front of the net and for a brief moment the Oilers are scrambling around trying to take advantage. However they only get one half-shot on from a broken stick.
- The Oilers are still struggling in their own zone and the Islanders are walking around pretty freely.
- The whistle goes and Nielsen is still trying to strip the puck off Hemsky who’s playing a little game of keep-away.
- O’Sullivan hits Jackman hard as they both go in the corner, knocking him on his butt.
- Oilers were heavily outplayed for most of this period. They’re giving the Islanders too much respect in the Oilers zone.
3RD PERIOD SUMMARY
- Roloson was way out of his crease and gets bowled over by Penner and draws a penalty as he flops on the ice (same old Roli!).
- Horcoff gets drilled by Sutton.
- Penner does another power-forward impersonation driving to the from the goal line and gets a nice shot on Roli.
- Horcoff limps off to the bench, and Thompson gives him a cheap shove as he’s stepping into the bench. Cogliano gives him a shot in the chest on the way by.
- Khabibulin getting shelled with shots again.
- Announcers point out that Sutton hit Hemsky 3 times in this shift near the end of the period.
- Gagner gets pushed into the net in the last half minute of the game. Gagner pushes back after the whistle and a nice scrum ensues.
Short rant for today. The Oilers were fairly outplayed again tonight. Same old story as the last few games (2/3s of Detroit game, excluded). The Oilers did start off well in the first period, but beyond that, they didn’t really put up an honest effort until the end of the game. The Tavares goal was a nice goal on his part, but the other two, I wouldn’t say Khabibulin looked too good on. But aside from that, he had another solid appearance and really kept the team in the game.