Sunday, October 16, 2011

Game 3: Vancouver 4 Edmonton 3

The Vancouver Canucks skated into Rexall Place Saturday night and earned a come from behind 4-3 victory over the Edmonton Oilers, despite a hat-trick from rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Defenceman Sami Salo lead the way for the visitors with a three point night, by opening the scoring in the first and potting the winner in third period.

Some would say the Oilers let this one slip away but that would not be giving Vancouver their due. Edmonton was flying high after the first period, up 2-1, on two goals from Nugent-Hopkins. After opening the scoring for the home side on the power play, the rookie centre potted his second of the period with less then 30 seconds to play. Henrik Sedin tied it up on the power play in the second stanza but then last summers first overall selection sent the Edmonton faithful into a frenzy scoring his third goal of the game. To Vancouver's credit, they finished the period off strong and were rewarded with a goal off the stick of Alex Burrows to make it 3-3 after 40 minutes.

The Good
  • The kids were pretty damn impressive!!! Obviously Nugent-Hopkins was the star of the show but the trio really seem to enjoy playing with one another. The thought of these three making up the Oilers top line for the next number of seasons, should put a huge smile on every Oilers fans face. 
  • Now that RNH has four goals in three games, can people stop with the face-off talk already? As far as I'm concerned, if the kid can produce offence, he can go 1 for 15 every damn game!!! He has been a decent face-off guy in juniors and I am sure he'll be better when he gets stronger but if this is what people are hanging their hat on when it comes to him being ready for the NHL game,  it is not even worth mentioning. In fact, it is almost laughable.
  • Jordan Eberle suddenly looked like the Eberle of old. He was engaged and involved from the get-go, which happens when he plays with players that think the game at his level. If Eberle is not on the ice with at least one of Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall or Linus Omark, then he is simply being wasted.
  • Corey Potter had a solid debut playing just a shade under twenty minutes while adding a helper on Nugent-Hopkins hat-trick goal. Did not make any glaring mistakes on the night and looked very comfortable out on the Oilers power play.
  • Tom Gilbert had been the Oilers best defencman by a wide margin thru the first two games and that margin has become even larger after his performance on Saturday night. Gilbert was a rock in his own end and made the right play time after time, while logging over 26 minutes of ice time. Another positive,  he actually looked to shoot the puck a few times on the power play,  which is usually not the case.
  • Edmonton was able to stay with Vancouver all night long and were unlucky to not come away with at least a point on the night. They played well but the Canucks were a little better. They have nothing to be ashamed of. It was a solid effort and if they had played like that against Minnesota, they would be sitting with four points instead of three.

The Bad
  • Devan Dubnyk wasn't bad but he was merely ok on the night. He did not make the timely save when his team needed it and played the Canucks second and fourth goals poorly. His rebound control was weak but he wasn't awful by any stretch. That being said, look for Nikolai Khabibulin to get the call on Monday against Nashville. 
  • Theo Peckham seems capable of a giving away the puck at the worst possible times this season and it cost the Oilers again on Saturday night. It was his poor passing attempt that led directly to Salo's winner and it has become much to common of an occurrence. With the performance of Potter and Ryan Whitney apparently closer to returning, it seems clear that Peckham should be the odd man out.
  • While the team worked hard all night, the bottom three lines did not produce a damn thing. Nevermind goals, the odd scoring chance would have been nice. This is three games in a row that, at most, one line has been going. They need to do something with the bottom nine and change the dynamic because it is not working. I get the Horcoff line had a checking line role against the Sedins tonight but moving forward, the mix has to be changed...can you say Teemu Hartikainen?
  • I will give Darcy Hordichuk credit, for hitting the ice and trying to send a message after Jordan Eberle was pasted into the boards by Alex Edler. However, I will give him a failing grade in his attempt, which ended his night after only five seconds of ice time. Keith Ballard sent the tough guy head over heels with a hip check that caught the veteran off guard. Looks like it could be a knee injury. Regardless, this team could desperately use Ben Eager in the lineup and in a hurry. Edmonton needs a player who can play ten minutes a night and bang guys around the rink. Simply put, Hordichuk is not that player.

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