by Lisa Brown on 01/14/12 at 04:15 AM ET
Oilers lose 5-0 to Ducks
Not much was going right for the Oilers Friday night. The only goal scored was one by Anton Lander, but it didn’t count because the referee had lost sight of the free puck and whistled the play down just before Lander hammered the puck in. Nikolai Khabibulin got the starting role for his birthday present, but after allowing 3 goals on 14 shots, Devan Dubnyk went in in relief.
For Khabi, the one goal that will likely stand out on the night, will be the one that deflected off of his own skate. The credit for the Ducks’ power play goal was given to the oldest player on the ice, Teemu Selanne. It’s one thing to feel old on your birthday, even if you are not the oldest in the game, quite another to score a goal on your own net that isn’t called off due to a kicking motion.
Sam Gagner is not the team’s fighter or tough guy, but has doubled his fight count from each of his past five seasons. This season, Gagner has two fights. His latest was against Francois Beauchemin. Gagner was standing up for Taylor Hall and when Beauchemin offered to let Gagner walk away without a fight, Gagner stood his ground. It was good to see some intensity out of Gagner who many had hoped would have his career year.
Fortunately for Gagner, he skated to the penalty box on his own two feet and only required a Band-Aid for his knuckles instead of joining the growing list of Oilers in the pressbox.
For coach Tom Renney, this game was not enough of anything. This was not only the teams’ fifth straight loss, but a shutout, and the day before the team’s annual Skills Competition. While Oiler fans tend to fill the building for this fun charity event, the mood of all involved may be slightly different for Saturday’s activities.
This year’s Edmonton Oilers are certainly far more skilled than last season’s but the depth of the team, especially with the riddled once again by injuries.
Against the Anaheim Ducks, who have also been struggling this season, the Oilers played with slightly more discipline than previous games. The team only took three penalties, but unfortunately they allowed 2 power play goals, bringing down their penalty kill percentage which is much higher than last season’s.
Another big improvement for the Oilers this season has to be their faceoff wins overall. Against the Ducks, the Oilers won 36 of 56 (64%) of the game’s faceoffs. The biggest reason for that faceoff stat is Ryan O’Marra’s 12/15, 80% performance. For the Ducks, the opposite end of the spectrum was Ryan Getzlaf who won 2/11, 18%. The Oilers will not see stats like that every game, but these are indications that talent is there, even in a player like O’Marra who may be moved in a trade for that puck moving defenceman the Oilers, like so many other teams out there, desperately need.
For the Ducks, this game may be just what it takes to spur them onto a winning streak. A decisive win, if even over another struggling team can be quite the morale booster.
There were rumours that Ryan Whitney may be returning to the Oilers lineup for this game. Those rumours will likely continue through Sunday when the Oilers host the Los Angeles Kings, and until Whitney returns to the line-up.
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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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