Friday, November 30

Oil 5, Ducks 1


When a team stinks the joint out like the Oilers did in Colorado, these are the type of bounce-back games you expect (hope) to see. It also lends some credibility to the theory that you can build momentum from one game to another. After being down 4-0 through forty putrid minutes in Denver, the Oilers decided they would show some interest, got two goals, and played a very good third period. It seemed to carryover into a good start tonight.

- Early jump led to a power play, and Hemsky finished off a give-and-go with Horcoff to make it 1-0. I think this whole shooting thing that he's discovered is here to stay.

- The Oilers got into penalty trouble in the second period, and the game turned on a long 5-on-3 for the Ducks, when Roloson made a world-class leg save on Getzlaf. The Oilers killed off four straight penalties, and scored two goals in the last minute of the period to send them on their way.

- Shawn Horcoff is making you look silly. You know who you are.

- Gilbert was strong again; great pass to spring Cogliano for his breakaway goal.

- I must say, that may have been Grebeshkov's best game as an Oiler. Smart, simple, and good positionally. It looks like they may have finally coached the "Oh my God!" out of his game. If he continues to play like he did tonight, he could be useful.

- The Ducks defence looked absolutely clueless when Pronger wasn't on the ice. If Niedermayer doesn't come back, they won't win a playoff round with that group.

- Kyle Brodziak's play has been overlooked somewhat this year, but you can tell he's gonna be a MacT favorite. He's always in the right spots, and makes the smart play. MacT already trusts him to kill penalties as a rookie, and he made several nice plays tonight, including the goal. His development reminds me of Horcoff and Stoll. He and Horc have similar skill sets, but if anything, he's probably ahead of where Horcoff was as a rookie. He's also similar to both of them in the way his skating has improved, and that has made all the difference. I remember when he first got a call-up a couple seasons ago, you could see he could think the game, but his skating held him back. Now his skating is a complete non-issue. A 7th round pick who spent three years in the AHL working his butt off; a guy like him is a good example for Robbie Schemp and Marc Pouliot.

- Geoff Sanderson (back) and Hemsky (knee contusion) both left the game early. Looked like Hemsky's was more precautionary as it was 5-1 at the time, but let's hope. Sanderson was playing some his best hockey of late, so hopefully his isn't serious either.

- Roloson was great for the fourth game running. I expect they'll split the back-to-back this weekend. I know players like to face their former teams, but I would go with Garon in Anaheim and freshen-up Rollie for Los Angeles.

- A strong effort, but the Ducks looked tired and flat after playing in Calgary last night. Expect a much tougher chore in the return tilt in Anaheim on Sunday. But those are the kind of challenges that a young team should look forward to. Another good litmus test.