Only by the quirks of the NHL tie breaking system do the Oilers find themselves out of the darkest, deepest pit of NHL hell. On the night after I reaffirmed that I thought the Oilers had shown stronger underlying numbers, they serve up the seasons most lopsided loss. If it was a test of my resolve, I will say that it took a lot of effort from damning the Oilers to the darkest pits of hell and completely abandoning logic to the warm, seductive embrace of hardcore hate. In some twist of irony, the Oilers actually out-corsi'ed the Hawks 5v5. The hockey gods have a sense of humor after all.
Rather than dissect every nuance of the Hawks hammering the hometown heros, here are some bits:
- The reffing was garbage, for the most part. The call on RNH to put the Hawks up 5v3 made me think the ref had sports select riding on the game. Otherwise, it was uneven, and just non-situational reffing.
- The Oilers didn't lose the game on goaltending, not when you consider either goalie gave up enough goals to lose. I will say, Scrivens could have stopped the first goal but it would have been a tough save for any goalie, even the leagues elite. When the Oilers have been playing as awful as they have recently, they need the spectacular, goalie-probably-shouldn't-have-saved-it level of stop.
- Hall looked frustrated, and since return from his injury, he hasn't been able to stand out like the superstar left winger he is. I think it's mostly the product of a team without confidence and with serious problems in defensive execution. If you are afraid that any stray pass will lead to goal against, there's no question it will affect your game.
- Jeff Petry had the most ice time for the team (23:33), and it's about time Eakins realized that he's currently the teams best defenceman. He's the only defenceman who looks like he can handle the role properly, certainly better than any of the other current Oilers. Justin Schultz played 16.5 minutes, and if the switch between top pair and second pair happens between Petry and Schultz, sign me up.
- The Oilers got burned by virtually every mistake they made. How many times have you seen the Oilers - or in fact any team - make a mistake, and have the opposing team shoot the puck two inches too high, or have their seam pass hit a rut in the ice before a 20 goal scorer can smash it into an wide open 6x4. The Cosmic Curse that's deep-dishing the Oilers ass can't seem to get the hint. At some point, all these laser-precision top corner shots taken moments after an Oilers turnover aren't going to hit toonie sized spots in the sunlight behind the stoppers.
Now what? Some thoughts after the hop.