Image via Josh Weissbock
The Edmonton Oilers are a joke of a team and organization, is something that I wrote this afternoon as part of a preview for tonight’s game. Then the Edmonton Oilers came out onto the ice in front of their fans at Rexall Place, and did the best job they could possibly do to prove me right. And prove me right they did, as their effort’s were more than enough for the Canucks to earn just their 2nd victory of 2014 on Tuesday night, by a 2-1 score.
Maybe one day you’ll get the chance to bounce your grandkid on your knee, as you tell him/her about the time that your favourite team went on the road and won a regular season game thanks to the likes of Kellan Lain, Zack Kassian, and Mike Sullivan. Jaw-dropping, I know.
Fine, Roberto Luongo was pretty darn good when called upon too, but that’s not nearly as fun to talk about. Read on past the jump for a look at what went down.
Kellan Lain played 5:21 more than he did in his debut, taking 10 shifts and recording one shot on goal, one blocked shot, one giveaway, and winning 3 of 5 faceoffs. He also went on to score
his 8th goal as an AHLer 1st goal as an NHLer, putting a rebound of a Dale Weise shot by The Professor to open the scoring. Pretty cool moment that gave even more credence to "no pain, no Lain":
Other than that, though, it was a fairly uneventful opening 20. The only other really noteworthy moment come towards the end of the frame when Kevin Bieksa dropped ’em with Randy Jones. He had his jersey pulled over his head for the majority of the fight, but as you can see below it hardly stopped him from working the body on Jones. Maybe this is something that the Canucks work on at the end of practice (instead of shootouts?)?
GIF via Thomas Drance
Zack Kassian wound up scoring in the 2nd period – finishing off some good work from Daniel Sedin and Ryan Kesler behind the Oilers net – on a wicked shot, but we’ll get to his night in far more detail in just a second. Actually, to hell with it, how about we get there right now..
Zack Kassian Appreciation Night
There was a lot of speculation heading into this game about what would happen between Kassian and the Oilers, and whether the home team would be trying to get some retribution for the way that the Canucks winger had been tormenting them this season. I hope for their sake that they weren’t trying to do so, because if they were.. then they’re more laughable at that facet of the game than they are at actually playing hockey (which seems almost unfathomable).
Early in the first period, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of all people tried to get in his face a little bit. Then it was Gazdic’s turn, though Edmonton’s resident goon and Kassian hardly shared anything more than some words over the course of the entire night. Based on some of his fights that I’ve seen on Youtube, Gazdic is a pretty big badass, but he genuinely looked like he wanted no part of Kassian in a legitimate 1-on-1.
I can’t really blame him.. he wouldn’t be the first, and almost assuredly won’t be the last, to look into Kassian’s deep soulless abyss of a gaze, and think better of it. I don’t think Oilers fans were too understanding..
So nobody’s punched Kassian up and he scored. Gazdic: why?
— mc79hockey (@mc79hockey) January 22, 2014
UPDATE: Dallas Eakins went on to compare the situation to Bertuzzi/Moore in his postgame scrum, which, is definitely something. Don’t really agree with it, though. I think Kassian was more than willing to step up and handle his business. Maybe something would’ve happened if his players weren’t all a bunch of "hold me back! hold me back!" studio gangsters.
So for those scoring at home, Zack Kassian beat ’em on the scoreboard (hilariously enough scoring what wound up going down as the game-winner)..:
.. beat ’em on the mic:
.. and then got some love from his coach:
GIF via The Stanchion
All in all, a pretty good night for Zack Kassian. He’s earned himself some quality time favouriting hate tweets he has received before going to bed.
via Extra Skater
The Canucks still wound up finishing the night with a positive shot differential, but as you can see from the graphic above, score effects reigned supreme on this night. They held a 34-23 advantage through 40 minutes, pretty effectively handling their opponent despite their depleted lineup. They also wound up finishing the night with 16 scoring chances of their own to only 11 by the Oilers (according to our buddy Jonathan Willis).
Edmonton basically went on to throw everything but the kitchen sink at the Canucks in the closing minutes, but Roberto Luongo – aside from the Eberle goal, on which he had no real chance with a massive pile-up blocking him from getting back to man his net – was rock solid (along with the help of his posts, on a couple of occasions), earning himself some "Luuu" chants, the 1st star and the Haida Hat following the game.
GIF via The Stanch, again.
I’d say based on his two most recent performances v. the Alberta teams (acknowledging that they’re the Alberta teams) that there’s no reason for any lingering doubt stemming from his last couple of injuries.
Dan Hamhuis once again logged some big-time minutes (26:59 to be exact), with Chris Tanev (21:05) being the only other blueliner to top the 20-minute mark. Amongst forwards, Mike Sullivan really rode his top guys hard, with Kesler and Daniel Sedin combining for over 49 minutes of ice-time. David Booth on the other hand logged only 9+ minutes, as he appears not to be a Mike Sullivan favourite.
A win is a win is a win is a win, and considering some of the results over the course of this month, I don’t think the opponent really matters as long as the 2 points are achieved. I think that given the circumstances (missing 2 of their top 3 centers) this was a generally positive showing, despite the few tense moments near the end of the game.
Next up are the Nashville Predators on Thursday night. Until then, I’ll leave you with this clip of a drunk beer league goaltender in the Czech Republic (brought to my attention by Justin Bourne):