Hold off on the Miami Vice jackets, break dancing classes and foot-high hair — the 80s aren't back yet.
Not the 80s Oilers, anyway.
The Orange and Blue are still a million miles away from their glorious past, but they did scrape off a little of the ghastly last 10 years Sunday evening in Vancouver, coming back from 2-0 down to beat a team that usually whips them for fun.
"The overall effort and the willingness to stick with what we came here to do was outstanding," said head coach Ralph Krueger, after the Oilers took the first small step in trying to live up to the sum of their brilliant, blue chip parts. "There was a little rust in the first period and we saw some holes in there defensively, but there was never a lack of effort. The way this story evolved was the perfect game — crawling out of a hole like that is always something the strengthens us for the next challenges.
"But more than anything, just the character of the group was outstanding, how they stuck with it all the way through."
Down by a pair late in the second, the Oilers ditched their usual script — falling behind even more — and closed it to 2-1 on sick backhand by Jordan Eberle at 19:57, then tied it 2-2 on Ales Hemsky's goal with 5:55 left in the third.
And the shootout was no contest: 2-0 and done after two shots, with Sam Gagner and Ales Hemsky doing the damage.
These are not your father's Oilers. But it's not 2009, either.
"It gives us a lot of confidence, we're happy with this," said Hemsky. "It's only one game, but we have a lot of great players, lots of depth now, a lot of guys who can play in different positions. Obviously it's a different team."
It's one thing for a team with this kind of skill to win a 6-5 track meet, that's what everyone expects them to do, but to get up off the canvas on the road and grind it to overtime is a good sign.
"We have a ton of talent and we are going to win some high-scoring games, but to be consistently successful, this is exactly what we have to do," said netminder Devan Dubnyk, who refused to give up the back-breaking goal after Edmonton fell behind. "I thought we did a great job of playing the way we wanted to play from start to finish, regardless of whether we were up or down."
Not to get too excited. It's only one game. And might want to use the old break-up line in this one: It's not you, it's me. The Canucks were playing their second it two nights, incredibly tough when you're starting up again after nine months off, and got shelled 7-3 by Anaheim.
Oilers beat Canucks in shootout
Edmonton Sun | Jan 21