Friday, October 21, 2011

Game 6 : Minnesota 2 Edmonton 1 (SO)

The Edmonton Oilers have now lost eight consecutive games to the Minnesota Wild, losing Thursday night by the identical score of 2-1, via the shootout, that they did exactly one week ago in Minnesota. The Oilers led for much of the game by a score of 1-0 but Wild forward Dany Heatley found a way to tuck a puck past Nikolai Khahbibulin, with under two seconds to play, to even the score and send the game to overtime. Edmonton now sets with a record of 0-2-2 against their Northwest Division rivals.   

The Oilers opened the scoring late in the first period when Ryan Jones potted his second of the season on a nice feed from Ryan Smyth. That was it for the scoring until Heatley tied it up late in the third. Both teams had chances to put more goals on the board but strong performances from both Niklas Backstrom and Khabibulin kept that from happening. Forward Taylor Hall returned to the lineup after missing Tuesday's game due to illness but was unable to get on the score sheet.

The Good
  • Khabibulin played another strong game but like his partner in crime, Devan Dubnyk, has received little to no run support to start the season. Edmonton has scored all of five goals in the Russian netminders three starts and one was into an empty net. 
  • Anton Lander easily played his best game of the season and was a factor whenever he hit the ice. The young Swede was punished all night long by the Wild and every time they took liberties, the young man picked himself up and came back even harder.
  • Ryan Whitney played his second game in three nights and seemed much more comfortable on the ice. He played just under 19 minutes on the night and look for him to start getting more time in the coming weeks, especially on the power play.
  • The penalty kill continued it's strong performance this season by killing off all four of the Minnesota power play opportunities. After six games, Edmonton's PK now sits 7th in the league with an 88.9% success rate.

The Bad

  • While the Hall - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle line were not as dominant as they were in previous outings, they still generated a number of chances. The problem being, they did not see the ice nearly enough and saw very little time in the third period. Sorry, but there is no reason anyone could possibly give me that would explain how six forwards that dressed for the Oilers on Thursday night, all saw more ice time then three players mentioned above. 
  • To further my point, Shawn Horcoff played a hair under 24 minutes on the night while Smyth was on the ice for 23:30...
  • This team needs to stop trying to nurse one goal leads home for the last 40 minutes of a game. I get what the coaching staff is trying to do here but it is not having the desired effect. I do not want the Edmonton Oilers to become the Nashville Predators or Minnesota Wild. There is a time to play defense and a time to push the envelope during a game and seize the this moment, this club seems as though they are not being given the opportunity to seize that moment.

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