It didn’t start out so great. Heavily out-shooting their opposition, but facing a 3-0 deficit late the in the 1st period, it was feeling like it’d be a game all too similar to the one against Dallas. Dominate in the shot clock, but get beat by goaltending and end up losing a frustrating affair. Enter Ales Hemsky, whose PP marker late in the 1st gave the Oilers a little bit of life heading into the intermission. The Avalanche would regain a three goal lead early in the second, and from there the Oilers took over the scoreboard, potting two in the second intermission from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Ales Hemsky’s second of the night (and what a goal it was, but more on that later). Forward to the third period, and a Paajarvi game-winner sandwiched between a couple of Jordan Eberle markers, and we have the makings of one hell of a comeback, and fun game to watch in general. Did I mention the Oilers broke a franchise record, with 56 shots on goal?
Let’s look back at the good and bad, shall we?
Devan Dubnyk pulled after one period.
It was a rough start for the Oilers in this one, especially Dubnyk, who didn’t look quite as sharp as he has this year. Bobbling a puck early, which combined with questionable defensive play by Petry and Whitney led to the Oilers being down 1-0. After giving up three goals on twelve shots, the Oilers went with Khabibulin at the start of the second period. Khabby didn’t see a whole lot of action, only facing 17 shots for the rest of the game, his only blemish coming early in the second, screened when John Mitchell made it 4-1 with a powerplay goal. Most surprising however, with the game tied in the 3rd, he came up with an amazing series of saves to keep it that way:
I’m still not a big Khabibulin fan, but props to him for his solid play tonight.
Taylor Hall drives the bus.
Quickly becoming my favourite Oiler to watch out on the ice, Hall was everywhere tonight and notched himself three assists tonight to put him at 12 on the year. He also had 8 shots on goal tonight, giving him 17 in the past six periods of action. He’s at the point where he regularly makes NHL quality defenders look absolutely silly, and you can see the opposition soil themselves when he skates at them, full speed.
The man is magic, what can I say? I shouldn’t be surprised by what he can do, but his second goal of the game was just ridiculous. Shane O’Brien’s head is still spinning:
Not quite as late in the period as his first goal, but still a big one to cut the lead to one before the 3rd period, and with the way the Oilers were playing, I was feeling that we were going to at least tie this game and squeak out with at least a point, that was, until Eberle tied it, and then an unlikey hero notched the go-ahead goal…
Magnus Paajarvi was supposed to be a healthy scratch.
That’s right, Maggie was supposed to sit this one out, but when Petrell took a puck to the head in warmups, he drew back into the lineup again. While driving to the net on an Oilers rush, this happens:
Not bad for someone who was lounging on his couch an hour and a half before puck drop.
Ryan Smyth draws back into the lineup.
You may have noticed the last two highlight videos have something in common. Go back and watch them if you haven’t, both feature head-up plays by the veteran to set up both goals. He forces a turnover, then with a backhand pass, finds Hemsky for the Oilers 3rd tally, and then on the game-winner, he simply shovels Belanger’s pass to the open Paajarvi at the side of the net. The message should be clear, keep him in the lineup. He’s not the player he once was, but he’s still got a lot left to give.
Well, let’s hope this outshooting/outscoring thing sticks around, shall we?
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