by Lisa McRitchie on 04/06/12 at 04:00 AM ET
Oilers lose 3-2 to Ducks in OT
It was only Jeff Deslaurier’s 3rd start with the Anaheim Ducks, but this game may be his most memorable. Playing against his former team, and against the netminder with whom he had competed against and with for the majority of his professional career in Devan Dubnyk, Deslaurier was the goaltender to walk away with the win.
Both Dubnyk and Deslauriers had the short end of the stick so to speak during their development. Dubnyk and Deslauriers turned pro at a time when the Edmotnon Oilers did not have their own AHL team and so the development of their goaltenders suffered.
By the time the Oilers had their own team, there was no clear front runner but I had given Deslaurier the slight edge. Time passed and the players each had their opportunities to take the reins in the NHL and it was Dubnyk who remained with the Oilers, and after putting together a string of extremely impressive games will be the starting goaltender in Edmonton next year.
What’s interesting is that looking down the Oilers’ depth chart they have another pair of goaltenders who will be looking to make their mark in the next few years, but their path with be quite different. Olivier Roy in his first ECHL season has claimed the starter’s role and even saw time in the AHL with the Oklahoma City Barons while Tyler Bunz finished his Medicine Hat Tigers’ record breaking career in the WHL. Next season, Roy could be in the AHL and Bunz in the ECHL, or there is an outside chance that they could both be in the AHL. The Oilers share their ECHL team with the San Jose Sharks and so things can be a little more complicated.
In the final home game of the season for the Oilers, it looked as though they would end the year the way it started, with a win although in this case not quite the same bang.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is still in the running for the Calder Trophy, as unlikely as he is to win it. It’s interesting that some feel that he is not the most prolific scorer, even if he does surpass Gabriel Landeskog’s totals. It’s unfortunate that so many out there are missing out on the exciting, talented and effective two way player that Edmonton fans have enjoyed watching and cheering for through this often times long NHL season. While the Nuge got his first NHL goal and the shootout winner in the home opener for the final home game Nuge would only elicit oohs, ahs and earn an impressive and important assist.
It was Sam Gagner who got the Oilers on the board after another long string of ineffective games, finally getting a shot past Deslauriers while Dubnyk stood by and watched. Literally. The Ducks did not get their first shot on net until 9:23 in the first period and would not really add to that for another 20 minutes of play. I actually thought that the scoreboard might be broken when it showed only 3 shots for the Ducks midway through the second period, but it was right, the Oilers could have taken this game if only they hadn’t stepped back a little and played a sound game for the full 60 minutes.
Jordan Eberle’s goal was a thing of beauty. Even while being hit into the boards Nugent-Hopkins made a direct pass to Eberle who can make any NHL defenceman look foolish it seems. This pair is dynamic, they will both be superstars and the reason the fans flock to Rexall place for seasons to come. Their chemistry makes it even funnier thinking back to last season’s Oil Change series where Tambellini says he refused a draft day deal because the other GM was asking for Eberle. Keeping young Eberle may be the best move Tambellini has ever made.
This was likely Teemu Selanne’s last game in Rexall Place and while he didn’t register any points on the night, you knew when he was on the ice, there was a sense of interest although not the same electricity that the fans in Anaheim generate. Selanne has had an incredible career, and he will be missed when he retires. It’s difficult to believe that he is player as a 41 year old.
It’s the end of a long season, and the same recurring complaints have come up time and time again. After this game however, the biggest complaint has to be that the team could not bring themselves to salute the crowd after losing in overtime. This was the final home game, and these were the fans that have paid their hard earned dollars for now three consecutive basement seasons. A simple raising of the stick isn’t a lot of effort, and it’s not a catastrophe that it didn’t happen, but it is interesting that the team chose not to give the fans what they wanted, or at least expected.
The Oilers have the chance to register one final loss this season against the Canucks Saturday night. But there is of course a chance that the Nuge scores a hat-trick and the starting goaltender, possibly Khabibulin, stands on his head and the Oilers walk away with the victory. We’ll just have to wait and see.
It wasn’t surprising that ex-Oiler Andrew Cogliano would score his team’s opening goal, that tends to be the way things go. Thankfully it was only a single goal and not a hat trick.
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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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