Brossoit Brilliant in Edmonton Oilers Loss To Sharks


I predict that this was a game a lot of Edmonton Oilers fans will reference, for many years to come. Not because of the result, a 3-1 loss, but because of the sparkling performance by rookie goaltender Laurent Brossoit. He looked, tonight, very much like the team’s #1 goaltender of the future. 9 Things:

9. Sometimes, the Hockey Gods work this way. The Sharks had absolutely out-played the Edmonton Oilers, but still…a ringing post by Nail Yakupov late in the 3rd could have helped earn Brossoit his 1st NHL win. But it didn’t, and the go-ahead goal followed shortly afterward.

8. I am impressed with how Luke Gazdic has improved his game this season. He was always a decent skater, but has proven that he can play a smart enough game to be dependable most nights. And I liked how he walked way from John Scott with the 1-0 lead. It’s a poise he needs to stick in today’s NHL.

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7. The Sharks would score on a play where Justin Schultz was the focus. That’s how too much of his year has gone. To be fair, though, that happens to a lot of good defencemen. But it is an example of why Schultz needs…NEEDS to add another 10+ pounds in the off-season. He’s just not physically strong enough.

6. Before you hold your latest “dump on the Oilers” party, take a look at these two lineups tonight. The Sharks had nearly a full lineup. The Oilers, on the other hand, were 50% OKC Barons. This was a terrible mis-match, on paper, no matter how the Edmonton Oilers played this evening.

5. Curtis Hamilton has taken a very long time to develop in the AHL, and finally made it to the show tonight. In 8 minutes of TOI, he worked hard, and for a guy not billed as being particularly physical, had 4 hits. For the record, I though his 1st Period penalty should have been a minor, only.

4. Both Tyler Pitlick and Matt Fraser had solid games again tonight. There are decisions to be made on both of these young men in the off-season. Pitlick has battled a tremendous number of injuries, and Fraser has been hot & cold…mostly cold. I’m unsure if either of them will be here next season.

3. Nail Yakupov was the Edmonton Oilers 2nd best player, tonight. He was excellent, physical, had his wheels, has become way, way more responsible in his own zone, scored one lovely goal, and set a career high for points. And again, he & Derek Roy have chemistry that is palpable.

2. The young Edmonton Oilers defence had their bones picked clean by the San Jose Sharks all night long. The club allowed 52 shots, and just about every one of them was repeatedly turnstiled this evening. But back away from the ledge. Not one person, not even Craig MacTavish, expects more than 3 of these kids play regularly next season. I’m just saying that you can’t judge much by tonight. Only David Musil (in his 3rd NHL game tonight) was “decent enough”.

1. Quite rightly named the 1st Star of the Game, Laurent Brossoit was absolutely spectacular, at Rexall Place tonight. It had every chance to be a magical evening, the way he was playing. Alas, it was not to be. But that should not take away from this performance. And they were not just saves that he was making. It was how he made them. Calm, square, big in the net, he has the frame, the style and the intelligence to be a #1 goaltender. He SHOULD not be that next year. The Edmonton Oilers would be well advised to give him most of another season in the AHL.

One more game to go, folks. Then, we can enjoy the playoffs and pontificate on what Craig MacTavish will do to make sure that this team has a fighting chance to be in them next season.

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