Well, the Oilers head into a new year, and they’ll be thankful to put 2009 behind them. The playoff chance calculator has them at a 0.4% chance of making the playoffs. And as Dustin Penner would remind us, Lloyd Christmas once said “so you’re saying there’s a chance!!” (for those that missed it: Penner on not making Canada: “Like my friend Lloyd Christmas said, what was all this 1 in a million talk?”).
Anyways, the Oilers are coming off a 2-1 loss vs. the Flames yesterday in which Jeff Deslauriers stood on his head to keep the score from being completely out of hand (I’m sure many of you skipped this one, and you were smart to). They’ve lost 8 of their last 9 now. The Sharks, meanwhile have won 7 straight. So hi, uhm.. free spot on the bingo card.
Here are my predictions:
Brain says: Sharks 6, Oilers 2
Sharks 5, Oilers 3 Oilers forfeit before this one starts
Edmonton Oilers Line-Up
Penner — Gagner — Nilsson
Jacques — Horcoff — Brule
Stone — Potulny — O’Sullivan
Moreau — Cogliano — Stortini
Souray — Gilbert
Grebeshkov — Strudwick
Smid — Staios
San Jose Sharks Line-Up
Heatley – Thornton – Marleau
Clowe – Pavelski – Setoguchi
McGinn – Mitchell – Ortmeyer
Shelley – Nichol – Staubitz
Blake – Vlasic
Murray – Boyle
Huskins – Leach
- Visnovsky hurt his left foot falling into the boards while defending against Brandon Prust of the Flames, on Thursday. Amazingly enough, he finished his shift. It was a nearly 3 minute long shift, and after hurting his foot, he played 2 full minutes. He did have a couple of shifts afterwards too. He did have it checked by a doctor yesterday, and the verdict is 7 to 10 days.
- Strudwick will play in place of Visnovsky. He has been paired with Grebeshkov, and Smid will return to a familiar (yet scary) pairing with Steve Staios.
1ST PERIOD SUMMARY
13:10 – SJS – Huskins from Mitchell, McGinn
A shot from Huskins at the point somehow squeezes through a bunch of bodies and then through Deslauriers’ five hole. It appears to go in off of McGinn’s skate.
17:18 – SJS – Murray from Nichol, Staubitz
Similar to the first goal, a slap shot from the point squeaks through Deslauriers’ pads. He should’ve had this one.
9:05 – Cogliano and Penner pair up for the best scoring chance of the period so far. Cogliano skates into the zone and gets a wrister off from a really bad angle. Nabokov kicks the rebound to the slot and Penner gets a shot off that could go in, but it’s blocked by a defenseman.
4:15 – Jacques carries the puck behind the net and wraps a hard, blind pass to the tape of Brule’s stick. He in turn fires a hard shot on net, but Nabokov turns it aside.
2ND PERIOD SUMMARY
0:43 – SJS – Heatley from Thornton, Marleau
Heatley skates from the boards, behind the net, and wraps it into the net
4:06 – EDM – Nilsson from Gagner, Penner
Nilsson breaks in the zone and makes an very nice play, flipping the puck to himself to freeze the defender and getting a shot on net.
13:32 – SJS – Marleau from Thornton, Murray
Gagner is the lone man covering the ride sight of the net, but is lured by a player over to the left side, leaving a huge lane open down the middle of the ice for Marleau. Marleau fakes a slapshot from the point then skates uncontested into the slot and wrists a shot past Deslauriers on the glove side.
15:20 – Strudwick and Clowe go at it. This is a continuation of a battle in front of the net earlier. Clowe really lands the only punches. The announcers go crazy, but I didn’t really think there was much of a fight here. Most of the blows seemed to be glancing, and it looked like Strudwick just lost his balance.
13:36 – Nilsson makes an amazing Dangle move that draws excitement from Lee.
13:22 – Nilsson is bowled over at the blue line by Nichol with a nice hit.
8:52 – GIlbert throws a rare hit, and its a good one.. on Clowe of all people. Very nice hit.
7:05 – CBC points out that the Oilers have 37 GF and 17 GA in the last 10 games. Brutal.
2:56 – Somehow a Gilbert shot that is tipped out front stays out. Another very dangerous chance by the Oilers, but the magic forcefield keeps the puck out.
1:32 – Grebeshkov throws a huge open ice hit on Ortmeyer.
0:46 – Horcoff comes in the zone alone. He delays and drops it back to Brule who fires a shot on net, but Nabokov makes the save.
3RD PERIOD SUMMARY
15:47 – Deslauriers makes a big glove save on a slap shot from Huskins from close range.
14:53 – Murray pops O’Sullivan with a decent hit at the blue line by the Sharks bench.
14:20 – O’Sullivan skates past Murray, goes to the backhand from Nabokov’s left, but Nabby makes the save.
2:51 – The Sharks generate a good chance, with Deslauriers down and out, but the Oilers collapse in front of the net and battle to keep the Sharks from getting a shot on a fairly wide open net.
1:39 – Roughness starts after the whistle. Staios roughs up Mitchell, throwing a gloved punch at him. Staios then drops his gloves with Leach. It is simple a wrestle match though as none get any punches off.
0:30 – Horcoff and Brule exchange good chances from in close, banging away at a loose puck, but can’t beat Nabakov.
Overall I’m going to say this was a decent game played by the Oilers, but this was clearly the case of a last place team playing a first place team. The Sharks out-skilled the Oilers tonight. Maybe not even that… their 4th liners out grinded our 4th liners, and their skill guys looked better than our skill line. They clearly just had a better team. Add to that, Deslauriers had a game completely opposite to the Calgary game. He looked very human in net, and let in a couple he shouldn’t have early on. That may have been the difference, getting the game off to a bad start.
Next game, Tuesday vs. the Coyotes on PPV @ 7:00 PM.