More on the Oilers - so impressed and so surprised with their strong defensive play. Great goaltending helps, but they, as a team, are really making it easy for Khabibulin and Dubnyk to shine. The Gilbert-Smid pairing has been fantastic (who knew Tom Gilbert and fantastic would ever be in the same sentence). Not sure if they can sustain it, but they have already surpassed most expecations for how they would be able to defend this season.

 

The Leafs had several strong performances last night (Scrivens in goal, more on him below).

 

MacArthur scored two, Lupul had two helpers, and Kessel had another good game. JM Liles had a great game on the back end, scoring a goal, adding three shots on goal, and playing minutes on the PP, PK, and at even strength. His acquisition this past summer was one of the more underrated moves in the hockey world.

 

Both Kristian Huselius and Peter Mueller skated yesterday. Mueller is out with concussion-related issues, while Huselius is rehabbing a torn pectoral muscle. Huselius is still likely another month or two away, while with Mueller it is anybody's guess.

 

Evander Kane has three two-point games in his last four contests.

 

Adam Henrique had a goal and assist centering the top line (Parise and Kovalchuk) last night.

 

The Leafs won again, this time thanks to a strong performance (39 saves) from Ben Scrivens.

 

I thankfully missed most of the Canucks/Wild game. Caught the replay of it on my PVR. Thoughts:

 

Canucks were awful. Kevin Bieksa is playing like he did two years ago (bad). He was fantastic last year, but before that had struggled for a few. Hopefully he isn’t regressing backwards.

 

Manny Malhotra clearly is struggling from missing a summer of training. His eye is doing much better, but because of offseason surgery he wasn’t able to train at his peak.

 

Cory Schneider let in five goals but the Canucks could have easily allowed double. If Luongo had let five in people would likely be harder on him (the nature of the market), but Schneider didn’t really have a chance last night.

 

Cal Clutterbuck misses with a punch on Lapierre.

 

Matt Cullen had an impressive game for the Wild. He’s a solid depth option, especially during the hot streaks he has each season.

 

As always, there were a lot of games last night and I inevitably miss stuff. I don’t mean to offend your favourite player by forgetting to mention his stellar performance.

 

The surprising stellar defensive start continues for the Oilers - a 19 save shutout for Khabibulin last night. Edmonton is getting production from the ‘all mullet line’ of Smyth, Horcoff, and Jones. The three vets are able to play the tough minutes, opening up offensive opportunities for the trio of impressive young forwards that come over the boards right after.

 

Interesting stat from mc79hockey on Twitter:

 

Among Oiler forwards - "Time On Ice against Kopitar: Smyth 8.3 Horcoff 8.1 Jones 7.1 Eberle 2.0 Hall 1.5 RNH 1.3"

 

Corey Potter had a goal and played almost four minutes on the PP – Stu McDonald wrote a good piece on him last weekend.

 

The Rangers signed Anton Stralman to a one-year deal. He’s got some upside, as the team clearly isn’t 100% confident in their power play options.

 

Rinne contract – well deserved. He’s paid like one of the best goalies in the league because… well… he is. My own speculation – Suter signs next, and Weber is eventually traded out of town.

 

Rinne, by the way, had a shutout over Phoenix last night (on his birthday, no less). I am glad I used a high draft pick on Rinne in my one year league.

 

Suter and Weber both played 27 minutes – no other Predator skater was over 20. They love to balance the ice time (which is smart, considering their forward group is essentially 12 second or third liners).

 

Keith Yandle pointless again. I am starting to smell a buy low option…

 

After looking lost on Tuesday against the Canucks, Iginla torched Detroit for two goals and an assist last night. The Flames need a center on the top line in the long term, and I’m looking forward to seeing Backlund there once he returns from injury.

 

One reason why Iginla may have seen a spike in production - Olli Jokinen was bumped up to the top line. The two haven't really clicked in the past, but Alex Tanguay can play the role of distributor to two shooters very well.

 

My piece for the Canucks Army yesterday – some general thoughts regarding the team over the past week.

 

Wanted to extend a congrats to Ryan Goddard, Chris Wassel, and Jason Arbuthnot for officially joining the writing team!

 

Lots more coming this morning on the other games from last night.

 

Highlights from the Edmonton/LA game from last night:

 


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Comments (15)add comment

doulos said:

doulos
On the road/Line Matching Pengwin7,

I agree that what you describe is the norm, but it was not what happened last night. Renney line matched like a beast last night, including doing things like not putting Hall/RNH/Eberle out for a single defensive faceoff.

Not sure how he did it, but he did.
November 04, 2011
Votes: +0

HBK said:

smakovits
Malkin He was a monster early last night but seemed to fade at the end like much of the penguins. If Crosby does return the two will be lethal.
November 04, 2011
Votes: +1

Keith Kam said:

Kaphis
... @puckhead

Sorry I meant that as in he feels that he must do more. Not that anyone else expected him to do more. It's all mental in this case and that led to all the mistakes
November 04, 2011
Votes: +0

Sanstanya said:

sanstanya
last change etc. Just want to say this is why this place kicks ass (well beyond the official offerings of the site). Somebody asks a legit technical question and quickly gets solid information from multiple sources (including an official rule citing), in a repsectful manner. No d-bag replies, no punk calls of "noob" or whatever other crap you would have to sift through on far too may other hockey sites forums or comment sections.

Proud to be here and not bothering with there,
Sans.
November 04, 2011
Votes: +0

Pengwin7 said:

Pengwin7
Line Changes NHL Rule 82.
http://www.nhl.com/ice/page.htm?id=26496
It explains it pretty well.

Most line-change match-ups are pre-coached (at practice). And 90% of the time it is the home team that matches. A HOME coach will have designated a checking line (usually Line 3 or Line 4) "I want you guys out there against the (PlayerName) line". So when the road team throws their top forward line, F1, out on the ice - the home team will match with their checking line.

lcbtd - re: Pt. 1. Teams rarely change "almost instantly". And, matter of fact, there is typically only ONE occasion where you will see the "instant change". If a team is on the road, they may find that the home team puts out their top F1 unit against a sub-par checking line. If the faceoff is at the bench-side, neutral-zone dots, the ROAD coach may yell at his forward group that he wants them off (so long as the draw isn't cleanly won by the HOME team). You'll see it right off the dot: Face-off, Quick Road Team change. But that's about it.

Typically, road teams don't invest a ton of strategy into line matching... it's just too hard and they are at a strategical disadvantage.

As mentioned above, some home teams have prepared a plan where one line has been instructed to get out on the ice to check the opposition's top line.
November 04, 2011
Votes: +0

lcbtd said:

germant
Last Change @ Confused - not to steal Pengwin's thunder but just in case he doesn't check in again - at every stoppage of play, the road team must put out it's line out first, the home team then gets to match lines by putting out their lines.

@ Pengwin - great observation. But it doesn't completely change what Angus is saying nor make it any less relevant.

1. you are right re: last change. But, if the Oilers really didn't want that matchup, they could change almost instantly (as soon as they get possession); so ice times really do have some significance, even when teams are on the road.

2. Agreed on the which checking line played agains the Kid Line. If the Kings feel their best 'defensive' line is Kopitar's (a good defense is a good offense if nothing else) then that would tell us how much respect the Kings have for the Kid Line.

November 04, 2011
Votes: +0

Confused said:

Wrist_Shot
Pengwin ...can you explain the difference in line match-ups in Home vs. Road games.

Also,

"Home team gets last change."

Please explain..
November 04, 2011
Votes: +0

Pengwin7 said:

Pengwin7
TOI against Nice rambling today.

A note about the TOI-Against statistics, though.
1. The game was in Los Angeles.
2. Home team gets last change.
3. Therefore, the TOI against Kopitar isn't really so interesting... IMO... because Murray gets to choose when to put Kopitar (& his lines) out there.
4. So saying that the Mullet-Line is playing the "tough minutes" isn't really so relevant during road games - because the Oil don't really have control over picking their lines' match-ups.

*. What would be more interesting is to cite what checking line the Kings were choosing to put out there against the Oilers Kid Line. That would have been "rambling-worthy".

Home vs. Road Line Match-Ups... interesting... when viewed correctly.
November 04, 2011
Votes: +1

Jeff Angus said:

angus
... Bieksa's bad play stems from overcommitting defensively. In my opinion, at least.

Kevin - thanks for Tanguay heads up. Didn't catch the game.
November 04, 2011
Votes: +0

Jared said:

Chesspro
Harding vs Backstrom So whats going on in net with Minnesota...is Harding stealing the number one job?
Is Khabibulin and the Oliers for real?
November 04, 2011
Votes: +0

Kevin said:

mrmojorisin
Tanguay Alex Tanguay was taken off of the top line and did not play with Iginla in the game vs Detroit. Brent Sutter said that he has been looking for Iginla to much an ignoring the other players on the ice.
November 04, 2011
Votes: +0

Puckhead said:

Puckhead
Bieksa...the 'offensive option'? Maybe I am reading this wrong @Keith Kam, but with Salo out, who looks at Bieksa as the offensive option? Even when Salo is in the lineup, Edler is the first guy I consider. Bieksa is simply paying bad hockey right now, and I don't think Mason Raymond's return will fix that...He needs to get back to what makes him effective, playing solid D. He contributes offensively, but his game starts with smart, aggressive plays in his own end. Vancouver doesn't need him to score to get back on track, but when he loses puck battles, and gets off his game with bad penalties, he really hurst the team, and its happening a lot so far this year.
November 04, 2011
Votes: +0

Keith Kam said:

Kaphis
Canucks Salo didn't play because of groin.

Salo not playing completely messed up their defensive pairing and wrecked their game.

He was the only right handed shot with a bomb on the point now that Samuelson is gone. AV has no other option and with the Sedins usually setting on the right boards because they are left handed, the one timer was simply not there today.

Bieksa also tried to do too much because he saw himself as the "offensive option" with Salo being out. He plays the best when his job is shutting down the other team and chipping in on the offence. When he makes a conscious effort to "contribute" offensively, thats when he literally falls flat on his face.
November 04, 2011
Votes: +1

Larry said:

Rollie1967
... All the Canuck dmen have been brutal in their own zone, but especially Bieksa- he spends more time on his belly than Luongo! Even Hamhuis has looked ordinary, not sure why Salo didnt play? Sulzer has played decent- definately more mobile than Alberts.
Watching Minnesota play is usually like watching paint dry- they collapse down low better than most- limiting the quality chances, but for a change- theyve got some offensive depth to capitalize at the other end. The additions of Heatley,Setoguchi and a healthy PM Bouchard (who looked good) is huge.
November 04, 2011
Votes: +0

Dylan said:

mounD
... I just wanted to clarify that from what I've heard Stralman hasn't actually "signed" yet, but the two sides have agreed to terms, whatever that's worth.
November 04, 2011
Votes: +0
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