In the middle of the week when all the sports media could talk about was how much the they had been losing as of late, the Edmonton Oilers ground out a gritty, come-from-behind win against the Northwest-division leaders, the Colorado Avalanche.
This young Oilers team, undersized in comparison to the Avs and without J.F. Jacques and Ryan Stone in the lineup, showed that it could stand up to the likes of the Scott Hannans and Brett Clarks.
At times during this game it was frustrating to watch some of the defensive gaffs and missed assignments. But so quickly did the tempo of the game change once the Oilers had some wind at their back - home town momentum - that it really made for an emotional roller-coaster-ride.
The Oilers need to get over the age hill and fast. The fact that the team is so young still may contribute to all the highs and lows over the course of a game. The abundance of young players on this team means that there are some really high peaks and some really low valleys.
Luckily for the Oilers (and luckily for the Avs for the second time in two weeks) some of those young guns rode the peak to a come-from-behind win.
A couple of struggling Oilers continued to regain their scoring touch against the Avs.
This included Shawn Horcoff, Patrick O'Sullivan, and Sam Gagner.
Making up for the lost offense of flu-ridden veteran winger Mike Comrie, Ryan Potulny continued his scoring ways by wrecking havoc in the Avs zone along with fellow call-up Liam Reddox.
Wins of this emotional roller-coaster variety are fun, but keep in mind that they also result in losses sometimes too.
It is hard to argue that the Oilers could use more stability in the lineup. Part of the instability is in fact due to the myriad of injuries at different positions in the lineup and at different times so far this season.
But the Oilers can no longer afford to attribute their performance fluctuations to injuries and the flu.
With the Oilers more than deep enough on the blueline with defensive guys like Steve Staios, Jason Strudwick, and Dean Arsene playing beyond expectations so far, GM Steve Tambellini needs to fix the problem of a lack of veteran presence up front.
Increasing the experience of the frontline will take pressure of the defensive corp and lead to increased stability throughout the lineup.
Without defensive forwards Fernando Pisani, Jacques, and Stone in the lineup, the Oilers proved that they could provide a decently gritty yet offensive game—outshooting the Avs.
If and when the three defensive forwards return to the lineup, the Oilers will need to decide whether they should wait until trade deadline to right the ship—or to do it now—before the Olympic break sets in.
Every successful team needs stability and the Oilers need that right now.
The Oilers have shown that they can win-from-behind and they did it against the Avalanche who are a pretty darn good team.
Now can they learn how to protect a lead?