by Lisa Brown on 11/06/11 at 05:30 AM ET
It was bound to happen, but I didn’t think that it would be this soon. The Edmonton Oilers saw their winning streak snapped at six thanks to the efforts of the Phoenix Coyotes.
Of course I only like open net goals when it’s my team scoring them. I would rather pretend that ex-Oiler Ray Whitney never scored in the final seconds at all, but the end result of the game would have been the same.
The Oilers found themselves a little out-muscled it seemed this game and had it not been for the Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle line nothing much would have happened for the Oilers on the score sheet. Down by two Nugent-Hopkins finally found the back of the net. RNH had had a few good opportunities, just never the right bounce until the second period when worries that Nugent-Hopkins could not score on the road simultaneously disappeared.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins continued to pour on the offence, but earned no further points on the night. An Oiler who did earn an assist for the first time in the NHL was Colten Teubert in his second NHL game. I’m not quite sure who was happier for Teubert, Teubert himself or Theo Peckham who scored the goal. Also chalking up an assist on the Peckham goal was Magnus Paajarvi with his first point of the season.
Finally, the Swedes are on the board. For Linus Omark however, he earned three points with the Barons against the Abbotsford Heat and not with the Oilers.
This is just the beginning of the Oilers’ six game road trip, and the next four games will challenge the Oilers. Coach Tom Renney doesn’t seem overly concerned about this one loss though, and looks to the next game on Tuesday night instead. “You build a season. You build as much off of defeat and frustrations and tough nights as you do from the exact opposite of that so we’ll see what we’re made of.”
Renney focused again on the learning and building process his team needs to go through, “I’m excited about the fact that we now have the chance to correct ourselves off a tough loss, and we also get a chance to see what we’re made of.”
Ryan Nugent-Hokins is once again tied with Ryan Smyth for goals and assists. Nugent-Hopkins did all that he could to spark some offence in his team, and to get his club to respond to the Coyotes. “That’s what he does.” Renney said of his young star, “You’ve got to be strong up the middle. I’ve said this analogy before; not have having a centre ice man is like playing scrabble without vowels. And this kid’s a vowel and he’s a real good one… Ryan certainly tried to play the team game.”
I think with all of the noise made over a casual comment by Renney, who was curious how his team would respond without Nugent-Hopkins in the lineup, Oiler fans have the answer. Nugent-Hopkins was a catalyst for this game and without him; the Oilers may have found themselves in more of a hole. So, fans can and should continue to be happy he is in the lineup and to look forward to his next greasy goal. Perhaps Nugent-Hopkins will surprise us before too long with a highlight of the night goal.
Devan Dubnyk had some strong and weak moments in net. That would be expected after not playing for eight games, and with the pressure of the Oilers winning streak on his shoulders, Dubnyk struggled at times. At least it was not a 8-2 blowout, but at the same time, I would expect to see Nikolai Khabibulin start the next game. This situation must be difficult for the Oilers’ coaching staff; both goalies have posted top ten numbers, but only one goalie can play at one time. While Khabibulin has been hot, Dubnyk has had time to cool on the bench, but you want to ride the hot goalie. What is a coach to do? I don’t think that Renney can be faulted for goalie selections, and the goalie is only a portion of the team, there are still five skaters in front of the net.
The Oilers’ moms were on this trip. Last season the Oilers invited the dads out, and so this year it was only fitting that the moms got a chance too. I know the easy comment to add to this would have something to do with the fact that the Oilers are overall so young, but the focus was supposed to be on thanking the women who drove their sons to so many early morning hockey practices and games.
The Oilers have now dropped to 8-3-2 thanks to the Phoenix Coyotes who themselves are doing much better than many people, myself included, would have expected from the team before the season began. The Coyotes are now quietly 7-4-2, but hopefully winning will bring more fans to the stands.
Next up, the Oilers fly to Montreal to take on the Canadiens. The Canadiens are not off to their best start, and the laments out of Montreal have been close to home for Oiler fans; the pain of losing seasons is too recent not to have sympathy for Habs fans. What does this mean? It will be anyone’s game. The Oilers will of course look for another win to start a new streak, and the Habs are still looking to get themselves into a playoff spot.
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Lisa McRitchie is a fairly new writer, online at least, but makes up for inexperience with passion for the game of hockey and memories of Mrs. Leskiw’s English AP class; who knew they would pay off one day.
Oil Patch focuses on the Edmonton Oilers, the Edmonton Oil Kings, The Oklahoma City Barons and Team Canada Hockey with game coverage, news updates, speculation and interviews.
Although the Oilers have had a difficult past decade… or three, here at Oil Patch, the future looks bright.
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