by Lisa Brown on 03/31/12 at 03:15 AM ET
Oilers lose 4-1 to Kings
With four games left in the Edmonton Oilers’ season, the injury bug has struck. The team has been relatively healthy when compared to the past two seasons, but in this one game, the Oilers lost their top two defencemen to injury. Jeff Petry who had a second off night was struck in the face with a puck and needed an x-ray on the injured side of his face. The second injury was to Ladislav Smid who suffered a possible neck injury following a collision behind the Oilers net. Smid has had neck surgery and so there was additional concern, but post game reports indicate that iron man Smid may be fine and keeping him out of the remainder of the game may have just been precautionary.
Friday night’s game was off to an interesting start before it even began. The Oilers recalled winger Magnus Paajarvi from the Oklahoma City Barons first thing in the morning, and made the preparations for him to play. Two hours before the game started Paajarvi was re-assigned to OKC because the league informed the Oilers, that they could only recall Paajarvi on an emergency basis. From the information available the Oilers checked with the league prior to calling up Paajarvi, but perhaps they just didn’t ask their question in the right way. Paajarvi’s initial assignment to the AHL on deadline day counted as one of the four allowed transactions, the count did not start the following day.
Once the game actually started, things got even more interesting. The Oilers didn’t score with their first shot on net, but the Kings did. Before the game’s first minute had expired Anze Kopitar shot one past Khabibulin eliciting groans from the home town crowd. Just 42 seconds later, on the Oilers’ second shot Jordan Eberle would score a power play marker tying the game but also be the Oilers’ final shot of the period. No, seriously, they only had 2 through the first 20 minutes. At least Ryan Nugent-Hopkins earned an assist on Eberle’s goal, but it’s too bad that Gabriel Landeskog earned two points of his own.
The Kings’ final scoring came by committee as Mike Richards scored a shorthanded goal in the first period, Drew Doughty scored a power play goal in the second and Alec Martinez scored the games frinal goal even strength in the third.
As mentioned, Petry had a second off game this week, but this was not nearly as bad as the last game. The first Kings’ goal was one where Petry was the last line of defence before Nikolai Khabibulin. Petry was just a few steps too late in making any real attempt at stopping the scoring chance, but that was just enough. The second Kings’ goal actually bounced in off of Petry and then Petry took a puck to the face midway through the second period.
For the rest of the Oilers, they didn’t have the same battle level they had shown through their recent winning streak. Down to 4 defencemen, the team struggled to move the puck and especially to shoot. By the end of 60 minutes of play the Oilers had a paltry 14 shots on Jonathan Quick while Khabibulin faced 32.
This loss does aid the Kings in their playoff quest and of course helped to smother Flames’ playoff hopes. Perhaps it wasn’t all that bad.
As painful as games like this have been to watch, the summer is lock and lacking in hockey games. At least the Oil Kings will host the first of the second round playoff games against the Brandon Wheat Kings next Friday. And of course, the Oilers can finish no lower than 29th. That is not the improvement that was expected or hoped for, but it is what it is.
The other side.
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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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