A badly undermanned Edmonton Oilers squad gave up two third period goals, in under 90 seconds, which allowed their provincial rivals to take round one of the Battle of Alberta by a score of 2-1. Tom Gilbert opened the scoring on the power play, with his first of the season, before the game was seven minutes old. It was a lead that the Oilers held until Jay Bouwmeester tied it up with under six minutes to play.
Edmonton were without sophomore forward Taylor Hall, who was a late scratch due to an illness. Hall's health combined with other injuries upfront, left the visitors with a numbers situation that forced them to dress Theo Peckham, as a seventh defenceman. Ryan Whitney returned to the lineup and was brought along slowly in the first period but by nights end, he had logged nearly 22 minutes of ice time.
- Having Whitney back in the fold was great to see. While he didn't have the impact he usually does, his presence alone will make this team a lot better.
- Tom Gilbert was the best Oiler on the ice and it was by a wide margin. He was solid in his own end and scored Edmonton's lone goal. As good as Gilbert has been in the first four games, tonight was his best effort.
- Next to Gilbert, Corey Potter was the best skater on the night. Once again he was solid in his own end and picked up another point on the power play. He is making a strong case for being one of the top six defencemen, which leaves Peckham in a bit of a predicament.
- Sorry but there is no excuse for this team not to have had a healthy body to insert into the lineup for Taylor Hall. They should have had someone called up after the Darcy Hordichuk injury but for some reason, they did not do it. Ultimately, that decision cost the Oilers the game tonight. You could see the guys running out of steam in the third and by the end of the game, they had nothing left in the tank. To matters worse, they play again on Thursday which will make it three games in four nights. A head scratcher indeed.
- I am as big a supporter of Linus Omark you will find but why was he on a line with Nugent-Hopkins and Eberle? Omark has seen limited duty with Eberle on the power play and had not played with RNH before tonight. The logical move, would have been going back to the Smyth - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle line for the night but I guess they didn't want to break up the line of vets...yet another head scratcher
- For the second game in a row, Devan Dubnyk wasn't good enough. Like his performance against Vancouver, he was ok but he could not come up with the big save when the team needed it in the third. Also, his blocker punch clearance attempt, that led directly to the game winner, was down right embarrassing to watch. To make matters worse, Kiprusoff made all the crucial saves that were asked of him to ensure the Flames earned the two points.
- For the love of God, can someone please teach Ladislav Smid how to block a shot? Tonight was the third time this season, that he has decided to drop to block a shot in a very awkward manner. It is an injury just waiting to happen and it may very well, end up being a severe one. Love the heart shown by Smid to drop and block shots but he has to start using his his head if he wants to stay off the IR list.
Tom Renney Post Game Comments.