Eleven games were played in the NHL last night which featured some great rivalries including the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins as well as the battle of Pennsylvania. But this morning we’ll start with the Edmonton Oilers who don’t appear to have much of a pulse at the moment.
Shades of last season are becoming glaringly similar as the Oilers look as though they’re on the verge of packing up camp and mailing it in for another season. Take the high draft pick, hell, might even get first overall again and let’s move on to next year. That’s the feeling you get when you watch this club, especially lately. Last night in Detroit the Oilers were shut out 3-0 and only mustered 22 shots against Jimmy Howard, 9 of which came in the third period.
Granted they are in the middle of a 9-game road trip, but this club has too much young talent to be playing this poorly. The solution? Drop the dead weight and bring in some role players that can make room for guys like Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Nail Yakupov.
As a hockey fan, do we ever get tired of watching the Pittsburgh Penguins play the Philadelphia Flyers? Last year’s playoff series was epic, even though there wasn’t a hint of defense being played, it was still entertaining. Last night’s contest was no different.
After the Flyers roared out to a 4-1 lead after twenty minutes in which they outshot the Pens 18-4, Pittsburgh woke up in the second and showed the Philly faithful that they are not a bunch of pushovers. Outshooting the Flyers 12-3 in the middle frame the Penguins would tie the game after forty minutes, setting the stage for Chris Kunitz and his game winner just 18 seconds into the third. Hockey doesn’t get any better than this and let’s hope these teams meet again this year in the playoffs at some point.
Another great rivalry had the Toronto Maple Leafs in Boston to try and beat the Bruins. The key word here is “try.” You can make it eight straight games in the Garden that the Leafs have not won and after being embarrassed last season, this contest was much closer. A 4-2 final for the Bruins in a game that proved the Leafs are a much tougher team than last season and won’t role over to anyone. Now that they have the toughness down they just need to get Phil Kessel to show up for a game against Boston and they might actually win one.
The third classic rivalry was the battle of New York, held on the long island. In what was a quiet game as far as the Rangers versus Islanders go, it was the blue shirts skating away with the two points thanks to a 2-1, overtime final. Very few penalties were called despite a few scrums throughout the game as both teams seem bent on playing hockey and not worrying about adding another vicious chapter to their historic story.
The upset of the night game in Columbus where the Blue Jackets beat the Vancouver Canucks 2-1 in overtime. Despite throwing 35 shots at Sergei Brobovsky, the Canucks couldn’t buy another goal. Anyone else get the feeling that the Canucks aren’t as good as they have been in years past? Sure they’re without Ryan Kesler but given how inconsistent they’ve been lately, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Mike Gillis make a few bold moves at the trade deadline.
Note, not all games were covered. From here on out just a handful of games will be highlighted and discussed.