by Lisa Brown on 12/30/11 at 08:00 AM ET
Oilers lose to Wild 4-3
Before the midway point in this season, in fact before January 1st, the Edmonton Oilers will have played all six games against the Minnesota Wild, their Northwest Division rivals. The results, have certainly not been in the Oilers favour, but are much better than the 0 and 6 results the Oilers had last year, they took two of those six. Fortunately, the Oilers have broken an Xcel Center losing streak that had stretched on for far too long. 17 games too long in fact.
Although this was another Oilers loss, there was one member of the team who did not walk away completely disappointed. That man, is Ladislav Smid, shutdown defenceman who this year has turned goal scorer. Currently, Smid is tied for goals with fellow Oilers Tom Gilbert, Ales Hemsky and Sam Gagner.
The other goal scorers for the night were far less of a surprise than Smid. Taylor Hall and Shawn Horcoff may not lead the team in points or scoring, but are no where near the bottom. Hall currently stands at 4th and Horcoff 5th in team scoring, and are a major reason the team has won as many games as they have.
Horcoff’s13 game goalless streak came to an end with his third period goal. At the same time, the goal was the team’s first four on four goal of the year.
Darcy Hordichuk had not one, but two fights on the night. For a team that is often considered to be too soft, or easily pushed around, Hordichuk’s willingness to stand up for his teammates is a welcomed change. Except of course, the those who abhor fighting, or feel that Hordichuk is taking up a roster spot that should be filled with a more skilled player.
Officiating will be the main story that comes from this game. A missed call on Taylor Hall in particular may have inspired this tweet by Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski
Officiating in this Wild/Oilers game making the case for robots to replace humans in that capacity.
Nikolai Khabibulin was pulled and replaced with Devan Dubnyk, after the second period. Khabibulin allowed all four goals on 18 shots.
Colten Teubert handled himself fairly well on this most recent NHL call-up. This is of course great news for an Oilers team who has suffered injury after injury to their blueline.
The last game of the 2011 calendar for the Oilers is a morning game on Saturday; 11am MST against the Islanders. This could potentially be the only win the team earns on their current road trip, but only if they win the game.
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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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