One goal in sixty-five minutes, and one point in the standings. A tally by a fan favourite, and a nifty backhand goal by Jordan Eberle in the shootout weren’t enough. Edmonton’s winless streak in Minnesota continues.
Put the daggers away. If you think I’m going to write up a stinkpile for this game, it’s not going to happen. Maybe it’s out of sheer curiosity. We’ve seen two games so far this season, and neither of them have gone the way I would have predicted.
Let’s start with one of the biggest surprises on the night…
Nikolai Khabibulin was good. Very good, in fact. There were a few moments where he played hot potato with the puck, but I’d be pleased overall if Devan Dubnyk turned in that performance.
I’ve given Khabibulin the hot iron quite often over the past two years, but there have been so many absolutely woeful performances that have been turned in by Khabi that it’s difficult being neutral.
Khabibulin was in front of 34 of 35 Minnesota shots. He was .500 in the shootout, but let’s all hold hands and assume that if Hemsky was still in the game that it wouldn’t've gotten that far. A really solid performance by the veteran, and if I’m getting that kind of performance most nights out of Khabibulin, then I’m way beyond happy.
I still want to see Dubnyk play against Vancouver on Saturday.
RYAN SMYTH: IMPORTANT
The Oilers were able to amass one goal in sixty five minutes tonight, and it came off the blade of Ryan Smyth.
Ryan Smyth scored his first goal of the season. Let’s watch.
That’s not a pretty goal by most anyone’s standards, but if he scores 20-25 like that in 2011-12, we’ll be alright with it. This goal is Ryan Smyth’s first goal in an Oiler sweater since 23 February, 2007.
It only seems like longer.
HITTING THE SHUFFLE BUTTON
Please don’t think for a moment that I have an axe to grind with Darcy Hordichuk, for this is simply not the case. I fully understand Hordichuk’s role, and what he’s supposed to do with the team. The part that I have a problem with is that in two (2) games this year, Hordichuk has played a TOTAL of 3:58. That’s not ‘per game’, that’s ‘both games’, as in if you take all his ice time from the game against Pittsburgh and added it with all his ice time from this game against Minnesota and decided to hit the equals button on the calculator, you’d come up with just under four minutes.
Again, I understand that Hordichuk’s role on the team is not one of (oh, I don’t know, say…) Linus Omark’s, but how effective can you be if you’re playing less than 3% of the time? Hordichuk actually tripled his ice time tonight, and he didn’t break three minutes. The next lowest ice time on the Oilers (that didn’t belong to a non-injured player) was Lennart Petrell, who played nine minutes. At least Petrell was actually on the ice for 15% of the game.
If you’re going to dress Hordichuk, then play Hordichuk. If you’re not going to play him, then why is he dressed?
YES, there’s more.