Oilers Shoot from 15th to 12th in the West. What's Next?

The sky is falling in Edmonton, or at least that's what fans, writers and popular opinion around the city seems to suggest.

That is until the Oilers laid a beating on last year Stanley Cup finalists the Detroit Red Wings.

Edmonton was simply a better team, out-shooting the Red Wings in every period, out-working the Red Wings and their players, especially their goaltending, was better. This looked like a Detroit team that is currently sitting on the outside of the playoffs looking in. But this did not look like an Oiler team a the bottom of the Western Conference standings.

So what gives?

How can a team full of injuries, lacking superstars, and full of AHL players beat a team with elite level talent like that of the Detroit Red Wings? "Crust".

It's been a long time since the Oilers can say they produced the kind of "crust" Pat Quinn said this team would have. With the return of Ryan Stone, JF Jacques and the emergence of Ryan Potulny and Gilbert Brule, the Oilers finally seemed to come out with the attitude that to win this game, they'd have to do the things Detroit wasn't willing to.

For Edmonton to be successful in spite of the hurdles facing them, that attitude will not only have to continue, it will have to become their montra.

Players like Robert Nilsson, who returned to the lineup after missing significant time with a concussion, will have to play more than the skill he was gifted with. He'll need to use that skill (which he did, scoring one of the prettiest goals so far this NHL season), and find a second gear in terms of overall teamwork and effort and bring it to the rink every night. He did that against Detroit and it showed.

Patrick O'Sullivan will have to continue to get lucky bounces to get him off of the snake-bitten path. Even lousy goals can boost a players confidence and overall output. Thursdays game showed just how much. He showed effort which was virtually invisible over the past five or six games.

Others will need to continue to step up aswell, because despite how little it would take to go from 15th to 12th, and then say 12th to 8th, with a 5-1 or 6-2 run, the Oilers with lacking games at hand could see the opposite happen if they stand-pat and others develop streaks of their own.


Last nights game was a treat to watch. It was of course extra special that they finally got a needed win but it was enjoyable to see them try. That need to work hard and put in an effort is what the fans need while watching. Always great for a win but even if they had lost, seemed like a possessed team last night with the right mindset to win. Nice to see.

December 4, 2009 at 9:30 AM comment-delete

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