TWO MORE YEARS. Photo courtesy Andy Devlin / Edmonton Oilers

Oilers Shutout Rangers 2-0

You remember the last time Edmonton played against NY, right?

It wasn’t too good.

It was bloody.

The Oilers were leading 2-1 before allowing six goals.

Sean Avery sucker-punched Ladislav Smid.

The defence was atrocious.

It really wasn’t fit for human consumption.

Let’s say you’re in the midst of a full-on bender and you happened to miss tonight’s game versus the NY Rangers.

What do you think happened?

I’m a better storyteller when bad things happen.  When good things happen, I’m full of bullet points.  With that being said…

  • Nikolai Khabibulin did it again.  When I say “did it again”, I mean “he played really well”.  Well enough to turn away 100% of the shots he faced tonight.  I don’t know if Khabibulin has begun a different training regimen, or if he’s eating his red Smarties last, or something completely different altogether.  Khabibulin is keeping the puck out of the net, and that’s all that matters.  It’s a nice change of pace compared to last year, and everyone on the Oilers and in the stands at Rexall Place seems to be enjoying this exciting new behaviour.  In all fairness, keep it up.  The fact that Khabibulin already has 20% of his last year’s win total speaks volumes on his play this year.  He’s allowed just three goals total in four games.  Yes, I’m talking about Nikolai Khabibulin again.  The one who plays for the Oilers.
  • Who loves a goal?  You do.  And Ryan Nugent-Hopkins loves a goal, too.  Here’s his fifth on the year.

Really nice feed from Taylor Hall to an open RNH, and he’s not going to miss here. This goal is Nugent-Hopkins’ fifth on the year, and it put the Oilers up 1-0 halfway through regulation.  Nugent-Hopkins finished with two points (1G-1A) on the night.  Solid.

  • Tonight’s game was NY’s third and final game of their Western Conference Tour.  You can argue that the team was weary, but how about the Oiler defence allowing just nineteen shots?  Cam Barker, Tom Gilbert and Ryan Whitney logged over 21 minutes of ice time, while Corey Potter and Ladislav Smid had over 19.  Andy Sutton rounded out the top six with 14+.  It’s hard to point fingers at a crowd that didn’t allow a goal all night, so beers are in order for everyone.
  • Corey Potter’s goal was a powerplay goal that put the Oilers up 2-0.  Two goals isn’t an outburst by any stretch of the imagination, but it will bring Edmonton’s goals per game (which was 1.67 per game before tonight’s game) up ever so slightly.


Is this defence the real deal?  It’s going to take a handful more games to see.  I’m being proven wrong on a few things so far this season, namely defence and Nikolai Khabibulin.   Great to see Gagner back in the lineup, not at all sold on Omark being benched.  This may have not been a ‘must win’ game for the Oilers, but two points today is worth just as much as two points in five months.  A great victory on Hockey Night in Canada for the Oilers tonight.

The Vancouver Canucks drop by Rexall Place for a game against the Oilers on Tuesday.  Let’s not think about it just yet.  Rather, wallow deep in the candy dish that is tonight’s victory over the NY Rangers.  Not at all surprised if Khabibulin gets the nod again on Tuesday.  This isn’t because Dubnyk is playing poorly, because he isn’t.  Rather, Dubnyk is playing well.  Khabibulin is playing absolutely unreal hockey right now, and I’m afraid to ask how long it will last.


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Tags: Andy Sutton Cam Barker Corey Potter Devan Dubnyk Ladislav Smid Nikolai Khabibulin Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Ryan Smyth Ryan Whitney Tom Gilbert

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