Along with the Sharks game a few nights prior, this is game the Oilers could easily have had two points in. Usually when you hear names like “Stortini” and “Jacques” on the scoring sheet, you’re inclined to pencil in a win.
Unfortunately, that’s not quite how it went.
Another game that Edmonton could’ve had their mitts on. With the exception of the overtime, the game was evenly matched. The Oilers didn’t get horrifically outshot, the goaltending was spot on, and the defence wasn’t an abomination unto God. Edmonton played both San Jose and LA pretty tough on this road trip, and they’ve got just one point to show for all of it.
The quality of the 0n-ice product has been the best it’s been in a few years. Defy it. I dare you.
It’s my belief that we’ve seen tremendous growth from this squad over the past few games. Take me back one calendar year, and I’m miserable. Look at today, and we’ve seen so much from this squad compared to last year’s. So far, I’m not dreading seeing this team play Detroit or Vancouver. Yeah, they might lose. There’s a betting chance they will. But – since the beginning of December, only the Toronto game at Rexall really sticks with me as being a bad performance.
Remember all the hoopla surrounding Taylor Hall and how he didn’t score a goal for his first few weeks of the season? That’s all gone away, as he’s currently one of Edmonton’s leading scorers. Hall also had the first Oiler goal on Thursday. Jordan Eberle…his performance speaks for itself. Paajarvi had a stretch where I’m sure he’d like to forget, but I’ll bet you a ham sandwich that he’ll be a force to be reckoned with in two years. He’s already showing some flashes of brilliance.
The team as a whole is playing pretty damn good hockey in the wake of Ales Hemsky and Shawn Horcoff being out with injuries. That’s not something anyone could’ve said about last year’s squad under most any circumstance.
BETWEEN THE PIPES
If Dubnyk’s in Edmonton long enough to see the Khabibulin saga come to an end, there’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll be the number one. At the start of the season, I wasn’t so sure. He’s had a slew of positive arrows this season, and Thursday’s game was no exception. Dubnyk stopped 27 of 29 shots in regulation, then stopping four of five attempts in the shootout until former Oiler Jarett Stoll had the deal sealer.
Have a great Christmas, and we’ll do it one more time tomorrow in Vancouver.