Youth Served As Oilers Take Two In Battle Of Alberta

Almost nothing went wrong this weekend as the Oilers defeated their provincial rivals twice in two days.

How good was it?  Nikolai Khabibulin won a game, and he didn’t look completely lost.

Try and take that one down.

Is This It? Photo courtesy Andy Devlin/Edmonton OIlers

Preseason games aren’t worth the sack they’re carried in, this is true.  I don’t care if these games are played on the moon, beating the Flames twice in two nights is a one-way ticket to a memorable weekend.

  • Khabibulin looked a tonne solid on Saturday night.  I am one of Khabibulin’s toughest critics, but the guy’s got to get some praise when he rolls out a one goal effort.  Khabibulin finished with 16 saves in 17 shots, good for a .941 SV% on the night.  Stats gurus will quickly notice that number is a full .05% better than Khabibulin’s 2010-11 campaign.  Perhaps it’s a small sample size, but I do enough knocking on the guy.  Good for him.
  • Ryan Jones scored a very Ryan Jones-ish goal on Saturday.  Jones took a pass off the boards from Andy Sutton in the dying seconds of the second period and darted over the blue to score a pretty backhand goal while the Oilers were shorthanded.  Jones’ stats got some second looks last year as he seemed to be one of those ‘right place, right time’ kind of guys.  Keep scoring shorthanded goals, and that trend will continue.
  • Taylor Hall scored the game winner on Friday off a rebound from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins with just over a minute remaining in regulation.  If Sam Gagner is out for any length of time, look for RNH to definitely be in Edmonton on opening night against Pittsburgh.
  • Jordan Eberle is some kind of beauty, finishing with a goal and an assist in Saturday night’s game.  The Fedun-Eberle-Omark tic-tac-toe goal is my Preseason Goal of the Year™ candidate so far.  He makes it look effortless.  Eberle’s sense on the ice is just that when I get to talking about it, I start shaking my hands like I’m Neil Peart.
  • While we’re passing out Juno awards here, credit to Taylor Fedun who also had a couple of assists on the night.  Fedun was the firestarter on the the Omark goal, and he was the primary guy on the assist to Eberle’s lazer beam in the third (Although I can’t get the image of Fedun flopping to the ice after dishing the puck to Eberle on the third Oiler goal).  Look to see Fedun for another preseason game.
  • Devan Dubnyk does what Devan Dubnyk does.  Dubnyk cinched a shutout last night, turning aside all thirty Calgary shots.  At the risk of beating a dead horse, this guy starts in October.  There’s no other way I’d have it.  This is a contract year for Dubnyk, and I expect he’ll look to improve on last year’s numbers with that in mind.

Sam Gagner is to have an MRI today after sustaining an ankle injury after a collision in the boards in Saturday night’s contest.  We’re pulling for a ‘day-to-day diagnosis’ as opposed to the ‘lingering, unknown timetable’ sort of injury.

The Oilers play Phoenix on Tuesday night in this year’s final preseason game at Rexall Place.

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Tags: Andy Sutton Devan Dubnyk Jordan Eberle Linus Omark Nikolai Khabibulin Ryan Jones Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Taylor Fedun Taylor Hall

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