The Edmonton Oilers are two for two this pre-season, when it comes to delivering underwhelming performances on home ice. Even though Vancouver decided to dress a roster full of rookies and minor league vets, they still managed to beat Edmonton by a score of 2-1. While these games do not count in the standings, this club continues to struggle with their game at Rexall Place and that has to change if they seriously intend to be battling for a playoff spot this season.
In a game that featured a total of four fights, three of them occurring in the first ten minutes of play, the Oilers accomplished very little on the night. The Canucks scored on the power play, as veteran Owen Nolan beat Devan Dubynk in tight to make the score 1-0 just thirteen minutes into the game. Edmonton was given the opportunity to tie it up on a two man advantage to start the second but were unable to beat Eddie Lack in the visitors net. On a positive note, that two man advantage featured a power play unit of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle up front with Jeff Petry and Magnus Paajarvi on the points and they had a puck on a string the entire time. All five players were in constant movement, not a usual staple when it comes to the Oilers power play, and generated many changes. Frankly, it was one of the nicest sequences fans were treated too all night long.
Vancouver made it 2-0 scoring a short handed goal on Yann Danis with just under a minute left in the second but Jordan Eberle responded seventeen seconds later to make the score 2-1 heading into the intermission. Nugent-Hopkins sent a beautiful pass to a streaking Eberle who made no mistake driving to the net and flipping the puck past former Red Wings goalie Manny Legace. Edmonton was not able to find the equalizer in the final stanza and did not muster up much in the way of quality chances in the third.
- Nugent-Hopkins continues to impress. Heading into camp, I felt the kid and Jordan Eberle would feed off each other nicely and it has happened right off the get go.
- Darcy Hordichuk seems to understand his role on this club. He has been in four fights in two games and seems to be trying to send a message every time he hits the ice.
- Taylor Hall is starting to hit his stride and he seems more explosive than last season. I am excited to see him on a line with Ales Hemsky...lets hope it happens sooner rather than later.
- Magnus Paajarvi looked good at the point on the power play and lets hope he gets a long look back there once the season starts. Paajarvi moves the puck quickly and sees the ice so well that he might just be a good fit on the point. He doesn't possess a canon of a shot but it is accurate and he seems to find lanes to get it on net..
- Yet another game that I did not notice Linus Omark. The one thing that Omark does is stand out and to this point, he just looks disinterested. Hopefully that changes because he needs to be engaged on a nightly basis to hold a spot on this team
- The fact that this team seems to find ways to lose games on home ice is very troubling. They play a lot more passive on home ice and always seem afraid to make mistakes. If they want to be a successful club at home, they have to dictate the tempo of the game at the drop of the first puck...not wait until they are down a goal or two. The coaching staff have to find a solution to this problem or they will continue to be a disappointment at home.
- Can this coaching staff not give Hall two quality linemates to play with? No offense to Tyler Pitlick but can they not find him another NHL guy to play with? Would it not make sense to have him pumping on all cylinders heading into the regular season? Seems like a no brainer to me.
- While I think Alex Plante's game has improved over the last couple of seasons, it may be time to look at possibly including him in a package type deal, that will come at some point over the next calender year. Too many players have moved ahead of him on the depth chart and that doesn't even include the kids they drafted in this summers entry draft.