by Lisa Brown on 11/23/11 at 03:45 AM ET
Oilers beat the Predators 6-2
The fun Oilers team came out to play against the Nashville Predators, but this about face only keeps fans and likely coaching staff guessing on a daily basis. After the Oilers were outmuscled by the Dallas Stars, Taylor Chorney was re-assigned to Oklahoma City and Alex Plante was recalled. At the same time, Magnus Paajarvi and Ben Eager drew back into the lineup while Darcy Hordichuk and Lennart Petrell were healthy scratches. And of course, Devan Dubnyk got his seventh start of the season.
Colten Teubert was not happy with some of the stats at the end of the game and tweeted “Whoever does the hit stat in Nash their Christmas card just got lost in mail. Huge win off to Minnesota! Good to see@JonBlum7 thx for minus” Teubert received credit for only one hit and by the end of the game finished with 0 on the plus minus scale. Teubert didn’t have a smooth game; a poor breakaway attempt in the second period nearly led to a goal against, but continued to play with confidence. Unfortunately a lot of lessons are leaned through mistakes, and with a 3-0 lead a goal against wouldn’t have destroyed everything the team had worked towards.
Magnus Paajarvi is still looking for his first goal of the season, and has not had a better chance than this first shift of the game in the opening minutes. Paajarvi situated himself in front of the Pekka Rinne and had two excellent shots, eventually one will go in for Paajarvi, this can’t continue forever.
Also looking for his first goal of the season is Sam Gagner. Although Gagner didn’t accumulate any points this game, he did add to his fight card. Even if Gagner doesn’t fight again this year, he will have one fight per year of his career, five in total. Gagner is back to playing centre, but still has only 3 assists through 14 games this season. Not every player can score all of the time, but many have felt that this would be Gagner’s make or break season with the Oilers. So far, this is not looking like a make it kind of year.
This was Ales Hemsky’s 500th NHL game. In the first season intermission interview with Gene Principe Hemsky mentioned that he didn’t realize that he had reached that milestone in this game, and also that it had been a long time coming. That of course is due to the shoulder injuries and surgery that Hemsky has undergone. In his 500th game, Hemsky added to his point totals. A man of few words, Hemsky said of the goal “I didn’t know what to do, so I just raised the puck in the net.” For future games, Hemsky has ambitions to “stay healthy and play hockey.” Hemsky also earned an assist on Jeff Petry’s power play goal and didn’t appear to have any issues with his shoulder.
Jordan Eberle had another multi point game; 2 goals and an assist. After a slow start, or at least what appeared to be a slow start, Eberle now has 21 points in 21 games. “I’ve always had confidence in myself. People have doubted me, but personally I’ve always had confidence.” Eberle seems to get his points in clumps and streaks, which is fine, but I wish that he could score more on nights when the Oilers have nothing going, but this is all a part of the process.
Alex Plante once again looked slow, but was playing a physical game that the team brought him up to play, when he could. Plante may have been surpassed on the depth chart by other prospects, but it seems that the ranking is certainly not written in stone. Plante has had a good start to his AHL season, and there is no doubt that the coaching staff are hoping that this can translate to the NHL at some point. Some defencemen take longer and more time, so at 22, Plante could still have a good NHL career in time.
Following the game, Tom Renney remarked on the win “What’s peculiar is that we have had pretty good success here in Nashville and probably that country music that no one else likes but me. That being said, they are a pretty good team if you play outside of your system of play and lose your level of discipline on this team, they’ll bite you every time and we’re not the only victim; a lot of teams pay the price.”
Renney was of course happy with the night’s results, especially compared to the game against the Stars on the previous night. However, Renney seems most satisfied with his team’s ability to recover from losses, at least recently. “We’re still young and sometimes you get tired of watching the kids fall off the bike and get back on, but that’s what we’re here to do.” The loss against Dallas could easily have snowballed into another losing streak, especially since this team is currently on a road trip.
As the Oilers continue to work together and find their chemistry, their road power play stats received a small boost scoring two power play goals with four opportunities on the night. Despite a fast paced start, with three goals the Oilers looked as though they had taken their foot off the gas through the second. In the final frame, the team managed to not only find their pace once again but secure their win. In order to find consistent success and save what few non-white hairs Renney has, the Oilers need to find a way to maintain pressure, pace and play through all three periods.
The Oilers next game is one that I still take issue with. The Oilers are a Canadian team and will play Friday, part of the American Thanksgiving weekend, in an afternoon game. Why the schedulers didn’t have the Minnesota Wild play another American team, or didn’t make this an evening game I have no idea. Of course this game just gets better when you also remember that the Oilers have a 17 game losing streak in the Xcel Center. The Oilers couldn’t beat the Dallas losing streak, maybe because they were saving all of their efforts for the Minnesota streak.
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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.
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