Thursday night NHL (Oiler/Colorado) recap

I was anticipating last nights visit from the Colorado Avalanche. Tom Renney had just publicly called out the Oilers for their poor performance and I, along with most Oiler fans, wondered how the team was going to respond.

The Oilers seemed to respond well, and jumped on a flat footed Avalanche team by scoring two quick, lucky goals. The first goal at 1:40 of the first period from Gilbert Brule seemed to bounce off of Peter Budaj and go in as Brule attempted to centre the puck. The second goal came a little over two minutes later from Andrew Cogliano. Cogliano took advantage of a battle behind the net between Brule and Ryan Wilson to sweep up the puck and put it past Budaj.

A little under 2 minutes later the Avs got a goal from the smooth skating rookie Kevin Shattenkirk. So, within the first six minutes of the game the score was 2-1 for the Oilers. It was after this point I started to question whether or not the Oilers had heard Coach Renney’s message. Colorado went on to outshoot the Oiler 11-4 in the first. Matt Duchene scored the equalizing goal in early second and the Avs went on to outshoot the Oilers again 17-7.

During the first and second periods, two players seemed to have received Renney’s message and stepped up their game, Theo Peckham and Martin Gerber. Peckham did not register a point, but he crushed people into the boards and made smart, simple plays with the puck. He also ended up a plus-two for the night. Peckham was rewarded with a third star for his efforts.

After two periods, the Oilers were reeling and were fortunate to be tied 2-2, mostly on the performance of Gerber. Gerber made his first start in the NHL since April 11, 2009, and played extremely well. He stopped 35 of 37 shots for the game. Gerber’s great game may not have anything to do with Renney’s comments, and more to do with the adrenalin of playing in the NHL again. Nevertheless, Gerber has to be commended for keeping the Oilers in the game long enough to win.

In the third, the Oilers seemed to collectively pick their game up. Some noticeable players on the Oilers side were Dustin Penner and Magnus Paajarvi. Penner finished with an assist on Brule’s goal and a plus-two, but he seemed to play as if he were interested in the outcome of the game. When Penner is focused and motivated he is often the Oilers best player and tonight that was the case. Paarjarvi ended up a minus-one for the night, but what excited me was that skating he showcased. With or without the puck this player can dance on the ice, and I think fans saw a little bit of that last night. Paajarvi almost scored the winning goal a couple times himself late in the third. If Paarjarvi continues to play as well as he did last night, the points will come.

The winning goal was scored at 19.31 of the third by Taylor Hall on a pass from fellow rookie Jordan Eberle. It was another lucky goal as Eberle was freed up when the Colorado defenseman lost his stick and bent to retrieve it. Credit to Eberle and Hall, Eberle took advantage of the play and fired a pass to Hall and he made good on it. Sometimes a sustained effort will bring around some lucky breaks, tonight the Oilers took advantage. Hopefully the team learns this lesson.

Three Star Selection
1st Taylor Hall 1g,1a
2nd MattDuchene 1g, 1a
3rd Theo Peckham plus-two and punishing

Coming Up:

The Oilers face the San Jose Sharks in the late CBC game on Saturday night. The Last time the met, the Sharks destroyed the Oilers 6-1. Hopefully, the Oilers can carry over the third period effort against the Avalanche and put a good performance in for all the fans visiting Edmonton for the Grey Cup. Expect to see numerous green jerseys in the stands that night.