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February 9, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Edmonton Oilers goalie Nikolai Khabibulin (35) makes a save on a shot by Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk (13) in the first period at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Strong Effort By Nikolai Khabibulin Not Enough As Wings Defeat Oilers 2-1

The Oilers go 1/8 on their power play, Nikolai Khabibulin has a surprisingly good afternoon, and the Wings scored two power play goals to defeat the reeling Oilers.

GOOD

  • Holy heck, buy that guy a club soda.  Nikolai Khabibulin was really, really good today.  I was absolutely not happy to hear that he was starting today, but looking back, he was the best Oiler on the ice today.  Khabibulin had 28 saves out of 30 shots, at least a couple of the spectacular variety.  A really nice surprise in net.
  • Justin Schultz had the lone Oiler goal on a heavy wrist shot from the top of the slot.  His fourth goal of the year, and the only power play talley (in eight tries) the Oilers would get today.  Schultz chews ice time like it’s going out of style, he was on the ice for 25:50.  Can we get a couple more of him?

After that, it’s a steep drop.

  • PLEASE HIT RESET AND START OVER  I get that you’re trying to shake up the lines out there, but after practicing with 64-20-91 on Thursday in Leduc, the Oilers tweet that they’re going back to the same top two lines just before the game today.  It was a sham, as Yakupov was with Chris Vande Velde and Magnus Paajarvi.  What’s all that about?  Hartikainen broke through on the top two.  While I’m glad for Hartikainen, what in the world are you trying to accomplish by putting Yakupov on your bottom six?
  • SERIOUSLY Nail Yakupov received a ‘technical unsportsmanlike conduct’ penalty.  I’ve never heard of this, I’m pretty sure he got it because he argued a bad call, but technically, it stinks.
  • HOORAY The Oilers allowed a lot less than 40 shots today!  They only allowed 30, which is a considerable improvement from where they’ve been this year.  Unfortunately, they only put 25 on Jimmy Howard, and Howard yielded only one.
  • TURN ON THE JUICE The power play was 1 for 8.  With four shots total.  That’s one shot for every two power plays.  The Wings were 2/7.
  • DOT’S ALL Oilers were lacking at the dot once again, going 17 for 50, or 34%.  Hard to score if you don’t have the puck.  No Oiler was over 50% at the dot, with Ryan Smyth being the closest at 43%.
  • BACK TO ONE Sam Gagner‘s point streak ends at 10 games.  Time to start it up once more.

The Oilers get little rest, as they land in Columbus tomorrow to take on the Jackets. Eric Belanger is likely to be back tomorrow (which should put Ryan Smyth back on the wing), and Devan Dubnyk will be back in the net.  This team has got to take two points tomorrow in order to stay within running distance of the 6-7-8 crew in the West.

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