Dancing in the Reign: Edmonton Strikes Oil in LA; Kings Fight Back for a Point
The lowly Edmonton Oilers came into Staples Center tonight in an effort to tame the excitement surrounding the surging Kings on Wayne Simmonds Bobblehead night. The Oilers, with the two points gained tonight, still stand as the worst team in the NHL. Edmonton pulled off a 3-2 victory after a shootout that extended to 10 rounds. Yes, the Kings surrendered 2 points to a Western Conference opponent, but to a team that will have nothing to do with the outcome of playoff implications come April. Although we lost to the worst team in the league, we gained a point in the process, and any point earned in this stage of the season is crucial. So, do I actually consider it a loss? Not completely. A team such as Edmonton, with playoff hopes already crushed, earned the victory tonight. Does a shootout loss to the worst team in the league mean panic mode? No. Far from it. That’s what’s great about this league, as a sub-par team such as Edmonton is capable of competing, and beating any team in the league on any given night.
Thoughts on the game:
– Edmonton’s two regulation goals were results of the Oilers capitalizing on failed attempts by the Kings to clear the puck out of their own zone.
– Denis Grebeshkov, who arguably had the best game tonight between both clubs, took advantage of a stick-less Jarret Stoll, who was the high defender on the penalty kill. Grebeshkov, who will be donning the Russian sweater in the Olympics, utilized lateral movement on the point against a helpless Stoll. Seeing an opening, Grebeshkov snapped a low shot to the left corner and found the net after a deflection. Unfortunately, it was Matt Greene with the deflection, while he attempted to lift the stick of a screening Zack Stortini in front of Kings goalie Erik Ersberg.
– Dustin Penner tallied Edmonton’s second goal as he gobbled up an impressive hold on the blue-line from his fellow D-men and buried a tough angle shot past Erik Ersberg. Yes, an NHL goalie needs to stop this shot. Yes, the Kings need to clear this puck. Yes, let’s post the blame 50-50 on this one.
– The Kings tallied two late 3rd period goals to send this contest into extra innings. Both goals came due to great presence in front of Edmonton’s net. If anything was going to get past Edmonton’s Jeff Deslauriers tonight, it had to come with grit.
– Dustin Brown set up shop in front of Deslauriers in time for Rob Scuderi’s slinger from the point. Scuds cannoned a shot on-net and low. And why? For a goal? No. A rebound. Smart. Fucking. Shot. Dustin Brown snatched the rebound and buried it upstairs to cut the deficit in half.
– I mentioned LA’s two regulation goals came with presence in front of the net. Now, who could take part in something like that? Yes, Ryan Smyth. Smyth, where he’s been all year, finished off a shot from Dustin Brown to tie the game with less than five minutes to go. How HUGE was this signing? HOW HUGE? Ryan Smyth has been anything and everything this team could’ve imagined after picking him up in July. Wow. Way to go Smytts. Atta Boy!
– Now, the shootout. I’m not going to get into it. It was 10 rounds, it was dramatic. One thing that stood out to me, however, was the play of Edmonton’s goalie Jeff Deslauriers. How many times did #38 stop LA shooters with the poke-check? Great showing in my opinion.
– It was unfortunate a former King in Lubomir Visnovsky had to clinch the game in the SO. However, how great was it to see former King Patrick O’Sullivan get X’d in the shootout, and robbed late in the 3rd period by Ersberg as well? Especially when the guy talks dirt on LA fans. How’s that 15th spot in the West treatin’ you Sully?