Sunday, November 06, 2011

Game 13: Phoenix 4 Edmonton 2

The Phoenix Coyotes put an end to the Edmonton Oilers six game winning streak, with a well deserved 4-2 victory at the Arena. Rookie centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins potted his sixth of the season midway thru the third period to give the Oilers life but the Coyotes netminder Mike Smith held the fort late, to secure the victory. Devan Dubnyk made 26 saves on the night and watched his record fall to 2-3-0 on the season.

After a scoreless first period, the Coyotes opened the scoring just before the five minute mark of the second, when former Calgary Flame Daymond Langkow surprised Dubnyk with a quick backhand to make it 1-0 for the home side. Up until that point, the Oilers netminder had kept his team in the game but that goal was god awful and a huge momentum changer. Phoenix dominated the remainder of the second allowing Edmonton only three shots in the middle stanza and before the period was out, the lead was stretched to two on a power play marker from Adrian Aucion. His seeing eye blast from the point, found its way past a screened Dubnyk and Phoenix looked as though they had this one well in hand. 

Edmonton cut the lead to one, when Nugent-Hopkins scored with just over ten minutes remaining but Boyd Gordon restored the two goal deficit just over two minutes later. To the Oilers credit, they fought back and once again made it a one goal game, on Theo Peckham's first of the season, with just over six minutes to play. Edmonton had their chances to tie it up but Smith stood tall making a number of big saves, none larger then a point blank stoning of Taylor Hall with just over four and half minutes to play.

The Good

  • While the top line wasn't great, especially Hall who tried doing far too much on his own, the trio still managed to generate the majority of the Oilers chances. Whenever they were out on the ice, you noticed them and they were rarely caught in their own end, unlike the other three lines.
  • Colten Teubert and Peckham were solid all night and both manged to get on the score sheet, when Peckham deflected Teubert's shot/pass from the point to make it a 3-2 game. The assist was the first point of the youngsters career and he looked very good in his first two games as an Edmonton Oiler
  • One positive to take from tonight's game, was the Oilers defence being much more aggressive when pinching in. The entire D core seemed to be making it a priority and it worked well. A perfect example was Peckham's goal, which doesn't happen without his initial pinch. Sure it may cost them every now and again but it will generate more chances in the long run.

The Bad

  • While Dubnyk kept the Oilers in it early, that first goal simply can't go in. He could have helped erase it, with a big save in the third to not allow the Coyotes a third marker but he couldn't get that done either. Overall, the weakest game an Edmonton netminder has played this season and he better follow it up with a strong performance in his next start or he will be watching Khabibulin for the next bit.
  •  Posted an article just before game time entitled "What's Up With Magnus?" that explains the problem with the Oilers so called third line and it was evident, once again, against Phoenix. While Magnus Paajarvi finally picked up his first point of the season on Peckham's goal, the line creating next to nothing all night. The talented Swede played just over ten minutes, trailing only fourth liners Lennart Petrell and Ben Eager in ice time. This needs to be addressed and it needs to be addressed by Tuesday. If Ales Hemsky is ready to go and they decide to pull Paajarvi out to make room, you will have one very unhappy blogger on your hands.
  • As mentioned earlier, the only line that created anything of note upfront was the Nugent-Hopkins line and yet it was the Horcoff line that played more minutes five on five. I understand the mindset when they are looking to shutdown the oppositions top line but Phoenix doesn't have one of those. They should've played the crap out of the kids in third but that didn't happen until the last five minutes or so.
  • Can someone place explain to me why on earth Eric Belanger has been on the Oilers second power play unit the last two games? Lets leave Paajarvi on the bench in a situation he may succeed in, so we can have the faceoff specialist out to take the draw. This is what the Oilers have done for years on their power play and that's why it stinks every year. The three kids have been good on the first unit but the mindset needs to remain the same with the second group. In fact, once Hemsky returns, they need to seriously look at replacing Horcoff on the top unit with Smyth and playing Hemsky with Gagner and Paajarvi on the second unit. Winning the draw on the power play is nice and all but if you can't do anything with the puck when you have it, what is the point.

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