In a night that would have been extremely dull if not for the pending retirement of longtime Oilers forward Ryan Smyth, the Edmonton Oilers sent him riding off into the sunset with a 5-2 win.
It wasn’t for lack of trying, but Smyth failed to get his 127th power play goal that would have given him sole possession of first place in franchise history. The Oilers had 7:48 of power play time in the game and Smyth was on the ice for 7:10 of that time. Smyth wore the captain’s “C” for the first time in his career as a token of appreciation, but he displayed leadership and led by example every shift he played.
Taylor Hall led the way with 3 assists to reach the 80 point mark for the first time in his career. Steve Pinizzotto had two assists, the first two points of his NHL career and Jordan Eberle had a power play goal to tie David Perron for the team lead this season. Roman Horak, Jeff Petry, Will Acton and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also scored for Edmonton, who didn’t manage to reach double digits in shots in any period and were outshot 42-22 in the game.
In the end, it was all about Ryan Smyth, from the pre-game ceremony to the video tributes to being named the first star of the game. It was a good way to go out, and he played a game high 23:46. Captain Canada went out as Captain of the Oilers, and the Oil won their final game with him in the lineup.
It will be a tough and long off-season, as many questions will have to be answered from the top down after a season where strides were supposed to be made went horribly awry.