I must admit, my interest in the game slowly dropped off as it wore on. I thought the Oilers came out flying, especially Taylor Hall (no surprise). But it looked as though that storm was quickly weathered, and the Ducks killed the Oilers in period 2 (although they just had the one goal). Seemed to be a pretty prototype Oilers game.
Quite frankly, there isn’t much to talk about now. The Oilers are officially eliminated from the playoffs (although mid-way through their losing skid, you knew they were done). I guess in a bit of good news, Taylor Hall is officially the first Oiler since Doug Weight to finish a season a point per game player. Of course, this is a shortened season by a fair bit though, so that is a bit “tarnished”. But it is a good sign for him. Also, Yakupov is now just 3 points back of the rookie scoring lead held by Jonathan Huberdeau and Cory Conacher (28 points each). Justin Schultz has 23 points and leads all rookie defensemen in scoring. He sits at 19th in scoring for all NHL defensemen.
There is some talk about whether Ralph Krueger should be fired. I’d say no. The Oilers have tried this a number of times, and it never seems to work. They haven’t had a guy who is the type to really rip into a player though, granted.. you know, like a John Tortorella or Peter Laviolette.. or some would say Lindy Ruff (not sure if that is the case). Really though, I think a coach can only do so much with this kind of team. It is clear to me that the player personnel is wrong, and that is something Craig MacTavish is going to have to do his best to solve. He noted something we’ve (or I have, anyway) felt a while.. this team needs better depth and a better support cast for its young stars. So we’ll see if he can put his money where his mouth is.
I am hoping for a better game tonight from the Oilers tonight, but not getting my hopes up. Some other players besides Hall are going to have to figure out how to score, however. It’s probably long over due to start calling out Gagner, Paajarvi, Jones, and Horcoff.
Eric Belanger is in for Magnus Paajarvi (injured foot), and Ryan Whitney is in for Mark Fistric. Not sure about the lines now.. we have plenty of faceoff talent now! We should win this game now, right?
OILERS LINES (CONFIRMED)
Hall – Gagner – Eberle
Hartikainen – Lander – Yakupov
Horcoff – Smithson – Jones
Smyth – Belanger – Brown
Smid – Petry
N. Schultz – J.Schultz
Whitney – Potter