Hopefully in about twelve years, stories like this are old hat for Taylor Hall.
Both Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins tallied three points in Edmonton’s 3-2 victory over the visiting Phoenix Coyotes. It must’ve been one of those really good nights, because Nikolai Khabibulin also was in net and victorious against a Coyotes team filled primarily with real NHL players.
A recap follows the jump.
Let’s talk a bit about the play of both Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins tonight.
Nugent-Hopkins scored his first goal in the National Hockey League in tonight’s preseason contest against the Phoenix Coyotes. It was the effort in the set-up by Taylor Hall that afforded RNH a fairly pedestrian tap-in. Let’s watch with intent.
Taylor Hall just cruises by Chris Summers (20), a first round pick by the Coyotes in 2006. Summers was beaten like a ’73 Datsun on this play. Hall is on fifth gear by the time Summers enters the picture. Yes, you did see that Hall appears to have the wherewithal to flip the puck so Summers can’t swat it with his stick (that is, if he could come within two strides of it). By the time Hall gets to the net, Summers is wearing him like a coat. Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith appears to be dazed at the sight of what just happened. Nugent-Hopkins is right there for a pretty little tip, and it’s 1-0 Edmonton on a powerplay goal.
Seriously, did we all just see that? I’m absolutely stunned at the five seconds that occurred before that goal.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins showed off his extraordinary playmaking skills in setting up Taylor Hall for a pair of goals. My concern with RNH on a line with Hall and Eberle or Paajarvi is that one of them is going to get mugged, and unless Cam Barker or Andy Sutton comes to the rescue, we could have problems. Talent (not thuggery) wins hockey games, and if this line rolls out on the ice and has some good times, those good times might transpire into the stands. Great stuff by RNH tonight.
- Offence was clicking tonight. Entire team amassed 33 total shots, Eberle and Petry had points (Petry helped set up that thing that Nugent-Hopkins was able to tip in), and everything seemed to jive.
- Khabibulin…played well enough to win. 18 saves of 20 shots won’t win you any awards (.900 SV%), but the two he allowed weren’t awful either. Full disclosure: they were on the PK, too. Good enough is good enough. Dubnyk ought to get a start in at least one more of these games, and unless it’s a magnificent clunker, I hope management realizes what they have on their hands in DD.
Be impressed by the youth on this club tonight. It’s something we’re banking on for the next fifteen years.
The Oilers will finish with two preseason games on the road, and then they’re all for reals. Next stop is Friday in Minnesota.
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