Thursday, February 21, 2013

Post Game: Game #16 Wild 3 Oilers 1

No Scoring

EDM Smyth 2 (Belanger, Eager) 12:26
MIN Cullen 2 (Suter) 15:01

MIN Setoguchi 3 2:20
MIN Cullen 3 (Clutterbuck, Gilbert) 13:59

Niklas Backstrom 27/28

Devan Dubnyk 25/28

Game Notes:
- The Oilers lose their 3 game on this 5 game homestand with one game left to go. The Wild took a page out of the Kings playbook and outwaited the Oilers, struck twice in the third period and that was all she wrote. For as many talented players the Oilers have, they sure play an uninteresting style of hockey. Might be the opponent, it might be them, its hard to say for sure. One thing is for certain, the way the Oilers are building their club clearly isn't working. In a conference where teams constantly clog the middle of the ice with big bodies, the Oilers are swimming upstream, constantly going against the grain, met with subpar results. Sure the Oilers have their moments where they shine, like any team does, but what the Oilers don't have is sustainability. Patching together multiple wins has been an epic chore for the Oilers over the past few seasons, and the big reason being is there is a team like the Kings, Wild, Stars, Coyotes always lurking on the schedule, looking at the Oilers as easy prey. More often than not, they are.  So now the Oilers sit with a 6-7-3 record, good enough for 13th in the conference. We've seen this movie before. Much like the Kings, the Wild  brought their "B" game and it was good enough for tonight.

Player Of The Game:
Ryan Smyth LW - Smyth scored the lone Oilers goal of the night and his line with Belanger and Eager was the best Oilers line of the night. Eager was smashing players and Belanger was his usual responsible self. This was the first game of the season where Ryan Smyth looked like his old self tonight. Going to the net with authority and creating havoc when he got there.  This line played like an effective third line tonight. It's too bad for the Oilers that the top 2 lines had nothing going on tonight.

Goat Of The Game:
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins C - The Nuge is struggling all over the ice during the homestand. Struggling offensively, losing battles defensively, seems to be caught in between in his transition game. This is life of a 1st line center in the NHL. If you want to become an elite 1st line center in the NHL, you need to win the matchup with the other teams 1st line center. The Nuge is the player that has the most impact on the game because he has the most ice to cover. So, when he's not going, the team is not going to fly so well, as shown by the offense of the Oilers. One might say its tough to put this kind of pressure on such a young player, but that is life of a 1st line center in the NHL. He's an undeniable talent that is learning on the job.

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