Edmonton Oilers Out-Play Canucks, But Can’t Buy A Save


The most important job for the Edmonton Oilers this off-season has to be finding someone who can stop a puck on the NHL level on a consistent basis. Yes, the Oilers dressed a green-as-grass blue-line, again, and they absolutely had their issues. But if they had gotten one decent save, behind them, the Oilers would have earned 2 points in the season finale, instead of just 1. As it was, a 6-5 O/T loss to the Canucks. 9 Things:

9. Brandon Davidson has a shot at being the 7D on this club next season. As I have described before, I mostly did not notice him in his 15+ minutes tonight. He made one particularly strong play in front of his own net to save a goal, but otherwise was generally steady. We have not had much “steady” this season.

8. It’s kind of nice not to face having to find a 3C in the off-season. Anton Lander would really have to have a bad camp this Fall not to come into 2015-16 as the 3rd pivot on this club. Again tonight, he is consistently on the right side of the puck and his man. Even when he doesn’t create, he is very dependable.

7. Keith Aulie was the worst defenseman on the worst defensive team in the NHL this season, and he capped it off with a simply brutal performance again tonight, ending up at -3 in almost 18 minutes TOI. His crushing hit in the 1st Period was fun…but it was also his only redeeming shift all night. Ugh.

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6. After a seriously rough game for Justin Schultz last time out, the kid was solid against the Canucks. He played just shy of 23 minutes TOI, ended up +1, and made a dandy recovery to prevent a Canucks break-away in the 3rd, and a second later, nearly sprung Taylor Hall on a break-away with a terrific pass.

5. I have to admit that I have not been the easiest Tyler Pitlick convert. But he has looked quite good in these few games, since coming back fro his New Year’s Eve injury. He has the foot-speed and physicality to fill a 3rd/4th role with an NHL club. Will it be the Edmonton Oilers? The club has a decision to make on him.

4. Nail Yakupov scored just a dandy goal, on a pretty pass from his Derek Roy. According to HNIC’s Elliot Friedman, the Edmonton Oilers are serious about re-signing Roy. I am among those who think that would be, for the right dollars and the corrrect term, smart. Roy shares the credit in un-locking the puzzle that was Yakupov. Why risk undoing all that by fixing what is not broken?

3. It is easy to slam Cragi MacTavish for what has been, most nights, a very forgettable season. But at least one of the things that he did turned out splendidly: The signing of Benoit Pouliot. The winger, fresh off a Stanley Cup Final berth with the New York Rangers, delivered as advertised in Edmonton, and then some, ending with a career high 19 goals on the year. He also plays a solid defensive game, ending up at -1. On a team like this, that is a rare bird indeed.

2. The Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Benoit Pouliot 3-some tonight was dominant on most shifts, this evening. Pouliot had 3 points, Hall 1, and Eberle a single. They did only finish at +1, but most of those issues did not come about because of what they did. Hall, in particular, looks driven to salvage a season. It will be interesting to watch him at World Championships.

1. I have been a Ben Scrivens fan ever since he came to Edmonton. But tonight was a really weak performance. When you score 5 goals in this league, you should win. Two dominant Canucks power plays aside, the Oilers out-played Vancouver. But Ben was absolutely swimming all over his crease tonight. His angles were off. His tracking was off. He was small in the net. It pains me to say this. But, tonight? He played like…well…like a guy with a year left on his contract.

Well, that’s it, folks. Game 82. Not the year any of us surely hoped for. Tomorrow morning, watch for my season sum-up at Oil on Whyte.

Thank you kindly for reading along, all season.

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