At first glance, Derek Dorsett’s stat line from Saturday night might not have been too impressive. He played 17 minutes and 20 seconds, and only had one shot on goal with six hits and three blocked shots in 24 shifts.
However, Dorsett’s value came not what he was able to accomplish from an offensive perspective,it was what he was able to do in an attempt to shut down the most electrifying playmaker in the National Hockey League today in Connor McDavid. The Oilers captain was a -1 with two penalty minutes after looking fantastic against the Calgary Flames in the Oilers season opener.
McDavid’s space for creativity was limited, and it had a lot to do with the close checking that Dorsett was able to provide.
The Oilers weakness this season is believe it or not offensive depth. After McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, there simply is not much. Even though Oilers fans were critical of Jordan Eberle’s play last season, the bottom line is he solidified the Oilers second line, and Eberle’s departure to the New York Islanders leaves a void that many might not have expected.
The Canucks also need to be thrilled Saturday night by the play of Bo Horvat and Jacob Markstrom.Horvat provided enough offense (two goals) to give the Canucks an impressive two points, while Markstrom settled down after a shaky start. He made 33 saves on 34 shots after giving up the first goal of the game to Oilers defenseman Kris Russell at 1:08 of the first period.
It was only one hockey game, but there were some very positive signs for the Canucks. On Tuesday, they will face an Ottawa Senators squad very hungry for their first win. The Eastern Conference finalists from a year ago lost their first two games of the season in a shootout—5-4 to the Washington Capitals and 2-1 to the Detroit Red Wings.