Sunday, November 02, 2014

An Unjust Result

As far as an evening of hockey goes, Saturday was one that both the Edmonton Oilers and their fans would love to forget. As if dropping a third consecutive decision to the Vancouver Canucks in their first eleven outings of 2014-15 wasn’t already bad enough, the Oilers managed to also lose the services of Taylor Hall during yesterday’s 3-2 loss at Rexall Place. 

While there has been no confirmation from the organization as to the severity of Hall’s leg injury, after crashing into the Canucks net during a second period rush up ice, the fact he was seen leaving the rink without the need of crutches was certainly a positive sign. Despite playing much of the night without the services of their best player, Edmonton was the better team for much of the evening. 

Unfortunately for them, Ben Scrivens returned to his early season form, allowing a trio of iffy goals against, including Derek Dorsett’s ill-timed third period short-handed winner. While the Oilers starting netminder struggled in between the pipes for Dallas Eakins’ squad, the same could not be said for the man down at the other end of the rink. 

Ryan Miller improved his career mark to 10-0 versus Edmonton, blocking twenty-five of the twenty-seven pucks fired his way and made a point of coming up with a number of timely stops when called upon…none bigger than a breakaway stop off Jordan Eberle with Vancouver nursing a one-goal cushion midway through the final frame. 

Eberle had already found a way to sneak a puck in behind the long-time Buffalo Sabres goalie with a nifty little finish to open the scoring at 12:39 mark of the first but it was the Canucks No. 1 who would shut the door when it mattered most. David Perron also scored for the Oilers in the loss, finally finding the back of the net for the first-time this season with his second period tally, but in the end it came down to goaltenders and it wasn’t even close. 

Defenceman Andrew Ference turned more than a few heads with a massive open ice hit on Zack Kassian during second period action, as he sent the much-maligned Canucks forward tumbling to the ice with what was deemed to an illegal check to the head. While some will argue whether the hit even warranted a penalty being called, one would have to guess the Oilers captain will be getting a call from the league office and possibly even a suspension for the incident. 

Having said that, the fact Kassian has been known for delivering a cheap hit or two of his own and had yet to answer for his stick-wielding incident that broke Sam Gagner’s jaw and essentially railroaded the former Oilers 2013-14 campaign, one could argue it was just a matter of time before something like this took place. Ironically enough, it was Kassian who would have the last laugh…celebrating Dorsett’s game-winner while standing in the Canucks penalty box after taking an ill-advised tripping penalty. 

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