Khaibibulin, Oilers Hold Off Canadiens

Yes, I do believe that's a fanny pack. Screencap courtesy TSN

The Hit Parade is back, baby.

At least, that’s what I’d like to push.  In reality, Khabibulin played another solid game and the Oilers did just enough to tear out of Montréal with a 3-1 victory in their rear views.

Add to the goaltending extravaganza the fact that Edmonton had a couple of timely goals from some familiar faces, and the team can now prepare for a Thursday night rendez-vous in Boston with the Cup champs.

Join us for teacakes and a review after the jump.

PARTY HATS

Well, sort of .  Take me back a year, and I’ll remember what an awful time we were having.  I’m not about to complain about a victory, but the Oilers cannot get used to winning games in the fashion they did tonight.

The whole 14 shot thing?  Yeah, that’s sort of where we’re headed with this one.  The Oilers managed two goals on 13 shots, and it was somehow enough to put them over the top.  The third goal was an empty netter by Ryan Smyth, making 14 total shots.

Not a whole lot of gold stars to hand out in this one, but let’s try a couple…

  • Ryan Jones gets a big one, as his shorthanded tally opened up the scoring for the Oilers in the second period.  It also got the guy with the fanny pack out of his seat.  Let’s have a look.

Tomas Plekanec is Montréal’s leading scorer, but he’s not doing any favours for the Canadiens’ offence with turnovers like that.  Jones skates in on Carey Price’s right side and tucks this one home for a shorty.  Awesome stuff, Ryan Jones.  I’ve seen a couple of over/under bets on Twitter for Ryan Jones’ goal total this year, and let’s just say that if your number was 15 that it could be closer than you think.  Let’s move on.

  • BACK AGAIN Ales Hemsky is back in the lineup for the first time since the second game of this year.  Hemsky collected an assist on Edmonton’s second goal, scored by Tom Gilbert.  Ryan Smyth was also credited with an assist on Gilbert’s goal.  Cannot stress enough how important Ales Hemsky can be to the Edmonton Oilers…when healthy.  Speaking of which, Ryan Smyth had himself an (empty net) goal to go with his assist, capping a two point night.  Nice work.
  • Nikolai Khabibulin gets a big one tonight too.  Khabibulin’s improbable run continues to amaze, as tonight he turned aside 28 of 29 shots en route to his seventh victory on the season.  Khabibulin sits at 7-0-2, having only allowed nine goals all year.  That averages out to one a game.  That’s not too bad.  Khabibulin is three victories off of his 2010-11 total.
  • Corsi, anyone?  Jeff Petry was the only one with a positive Corsi number.  Two other players were at zero.  Entirely too much time playing defence in this game, not nearly enough time in the Montréal zone.

This was an ugly victory.  There’s no slicing it any different.  These are the games that the Oilers have to win if they are going to contend for the playoffs this year.  Two points, moving on.

I had hoped the Oilers could play .500 hockey on this road trip (3-3, or some variant).  Right now, they sit at 2-1, but the road doesn’t get any easier with Boston tomorrow and Detroit Friday.

One game at a time.

GOILERS

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Topics: Ales Hemsky, Cam Barker, Jeff Petry, Nikolai Khabibulin, Ryan Jones, Ryan Smyth

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