K.I.S.S. - Keep It Simple Stupid(s)

The Oilers had lost six of seven coming in to Sundays game versus Colorado. If anyone did, very few people expected the Oilers to pull out a victory over the hottest team in the NHL -- one which was going for a franchise record consecutive wins at home. The Oilers missing Ales Hemsky, Sheldon Souray, Shawn Horcoff, JF Jacques, Ladislav Smid and others only added to the evidence that this game should have been a blowout for the Avs.

So the Oilers, who likely had little other choice, came into Denver and played simple effective hockey. They shot the puck, picked up garbage goals, limited the turnovers and wound up winning 5-3 over Colorado, surprising almost everyone.

Their power play was good, their penalty kill was excellent and they're teamwork even better. They didn't necessarily have the skill to play it any other way.

Liam Reddox and Ryan Potulny got the call up in the absence of key players and both, especially Potulny, made a case as a permanent fixture when a number of those missing players return.

Sure, it's only one game, but this isn't new for Potulny who's had this kind of effect in short term stints with the Oilers before. With 3 points in 8 games last season, Potulny contributed with literally no ice time or gravy powerplay time under MacTavish, despite his strengths as a hockey player. It's likely, that while Potulny is with the Oilers this time around, he'll be given a bit more offensive responsibility in areas to which he excels.

Reddox was effective defensively and contributed a gritty or "crusty" spark if you will; that the Oilers had been missing. It was evident in the Oilers style of play.

Keeping it simple and putting pucks on net, helped the Oilers get an early lead. With two of their three goals coming in a somewhat "ugly" fashion, it was those garbage style points that put the Oilers past a team that likely should have beaten them; especially if the Oilers had continued the style of play fans were accustomed to over the last seven contests.

Perhaps for Edmonton, this victory is more than a lucky win. Perhaps its a lesson that goals come in all shapes and forms, but that the only way to score them is to get them on net. For two periods they did that. In the second they didn't, and the game change was evident.

I'm sure Edmonton doesn't want a repeat performance of the 2nd period against the Avs or a reminder of how bad they were in the games leading up to Colorado. Keep it simple, put pucks on net and play with a bit of vigour, and those reminders might be few and far between.

3 comments:

I know you are a big Oilers fan like myself but man, we must have watched two different games last night.

I felt that the Oilers were the luckiest bunch of SOBs this side of the Mississipi. They looked abosolutly horrendous and the stars must have just aligned right to have the Oilers score 4 PP goals on the 2nd best PK team in the league.

On the PPs that the Avalanche did have, the Oilers looked horrible at the end of each of them, being hemmed in for minutes at a time ... Colorado just dominated the Oilers. If Strudwick didn't use up is only good play for the year, we would have faced a loss for sure.

llcooljayce
November 9, 2009 at 8:29 AM comment-delete

That Strudwick play I will admit changed the coarse of the game. That said, fan or not, the Oilers killed off all of those penalties and capitalized on their powerplays -- something they haven't really done all year.

All because they put shots on net. If you want to call that lucky, I won't disagree, but luck can't happen if shots don't make their way towards the netminder.

Potulny and Penner's goals were nice. Cogliano's was effort and the Gilbert and Comrie goals were just the puck finding its way to the right area.

I actually thought the Oilers looked good with the exception of the 2nd period. 20-7 were the shots and that wasn't pretty, but in the first and third I didn't see as much scrambling in their own zone. Win two out of three periods against the opposition, you're bound to win the game. That's what the Oilers seemed to do.

November 9, 2009 at 8:42 AM comment-delete

I think they did pretty good. Id like to to see the same lineup next game. It was a breath of fresh air to see some forechecking. The NHL has changed a bit this year, the successful teams are forechecking and getting grit goals. The teams with pretty players arent doing much. I predict a win against Ottawa.

Marsh
November 9, 2009 at 8:46 AM comment-delete

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