Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Post Game: Game #15 Kings 3 Oilers 1

No Scoring

LA Fraser 1 (Lewis, Nolan) 4:44
EDM Gagner 5 (Hall, J.Schultz) 16:50 PP

LA Carter 7 (Lewis) 19:10
LA Stoll 3 (King, Doughty) 19:38 EN

Los Angeles
Jonathan Quick 23/24

Nikolai Khabibulin 35/37

Game Notes:
- The more things change, the more they stay the same. Tough loss to take. When it looked as if overtime was about to happen and then a floater with a deft tip beats you, that's just a tough one to take, especially when every point is crucial. Last minute goal by Jeff Carter snuffed out any opportunity to take anything positive out of this game. The Oilers got strong goaltending from Khabibulin throughout the game, but that last goal stunk all kinds of bad. It was a goal given up due to fatigue. Khabibulin couldn't close the five hole fast enough and Eberle didn't have enough mustard to clamp down on Carter's stick. The Kings got stronger as the game wore. Eventually the volume of shots got to Khabibulin and he gave up the winner at the absolute worst time. The Oilers defensive game held up strong for most of the game, but the Kings started using their muscle and it neutralized the Oilers speed. The Oilers scoring chances steadily declined throughout the game. As much as any fan wants to cheer their face off for this Oilers team, one can see that the Oilers are still having issues with experience and muscle. The Kings did not play very well on this night, their execution was horrid but still managed to dominate the play, outshooting the Oilers 38-24. The Kings did enough to win on this night. The Kings team structure allows them to hang around games.

Player Of The Game:
Sam Gagner C - Sam Gagner is the most improved player of the Oilers this season. Scored the lone goal on this night and is constantly around the play. Gagner is finishing his checks, staying in the play and executing plays. He is shooting a lot more which has led to his success. I had mentioned before the season started that if Gagner wanted success, he was going to have to shoot more especially riding shotgun with Ales Hemsky. Gagner has taken that to heart and came into the game 4th on the club in shots on goal. I still don't think Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Sam Gagner can co-exist as the first and second line centers of a contending hockey club. But Sam Gagner has legitmately labelled himself as a legitimate 2nd line NHL center.

Goat Of The Game:
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins C - The Kings are the type of team that the Nuge is going to struggle against. Kings have 3 strong centers they roll through and he had issues with all of them. His line was on the ice for all 3 goals against and ended the night -3. Nuge was able to make some plays offensively tonight but the net execution just wasn't there tonight. Got battered around a bit tonight, took a stiff hit from Dustin Brown that helped the Kings turn the tables in the 3rd period. Teams with bigger, more experienced centers are going to be tough matchups for the Oilers. The Oilers are going to have to delicately balance trying to get the most out of the Nuge while trying to maintain his health.  The Nuge has taken on a lot of heavy minutes early on this season, it will be interesting to see how the wear and tear affect him towards the end of the year.

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