by Lisa McRitchie on 10/18/11 at 02:15 AM ET
Oilers beat Predators 3-1 in regulation
In the past, the Edmonton Oilers had trouble beating the Nashville Predators. Last year, the curse was broken; the team found wins, and it was even Linus Omark who scored a game winning goal. This is a whole new year, with all new issues. Several Oilers were looking for their first goals because Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had 4 of the Oilers 5 goals through the first 3 games, and the other goal belonged to Ryan Smyth. This game would be only slightly different, but Oilers fans couldn’t be happier.
In a perfect world, you may have been tied up an unable to watch the first two periods, if you were an Oiler fan and wanted to see goals at least.
The first period was scoreless, and each team had two opportunities on the power play. The Oilers did manage 12 shots on goal compared to the Predators 4, but otherwise the first period was quite uneventful.
Sergei Kostitsyn was the first to break the scoreless tie, putting the Preds up just under two minutes into the second period, dampening the hometown crowd on a very festive Ryan Smyth bobblehead night.
Through the second period, Linus Omark shone and reminded one and all what he can do offensively. Omark can maintain puck possession and is always looking for those pretty goals but needs to look for the greasy goals a little more, during game play and even in the shootout from time to time. None the less, I would not complain about Omark’s play at all at the end of this game.
In the third period, things all changed. The Oilers’ penalty kill was running well, successfully killing off every Predator opportunity. The Oilers scored a power play goal, and from more than mere inches in front of the net which was slightly more exciting.
A direct feed from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to Taylor Hall on the side of the net gave the Oilers the opportunity they would need to tie the game and Hall’s first goal of the year and Nugent-Hopkin’s first NHL assist, and keeps the Ryan point trend alive. The icing on the cake was that this was a power play goal, the first of many to come one would hope. The chemistry between Hall and Nugent-Hopkins is definitely there and has prompted the Edmonton sports radio stations to take calls on a new name for the Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle line. There were some interesting ideas throw out, but personally I prefer the H2E proposal by Jason Gregor of the Team 1260. But really, the line doesn’t need a name, it just needs to keep scoring goals.
The Oilers wouldn’t have to wait long to net their second goal of the night. Less than two minutes later, with Pekka Rinne committed to one side, Ryan Smyth swept in and scored open side with a nifty backhand, not a typical greasy bounce in Smytty goal. The crowd roared and 10,000 Smytty bobbleads nodded happily in the stands.
The third and final goal was a selfless tic tac toe open net goal with the puck passed from Ryan Smyth, to Ryan Jones, to Shawn Horcoff and Back to Jones who made no mistake finding the back of the net and securing the Oilers’ first regulation win of the 2011-12 season. The Oilers attempted another empty net goal, but would have to leave the ice satisfied with just one.
Following the game, Smytty commented on his goal with Gene Principe and how many he may get this season. Smyth doesn’t have a number per se, but feels that “It’s a blessing to play this game and I just want to play hard and work hard for my teammates.“ All players say something like that at one point or another in their career, but when Smyth says it, and you’re an Oiler fan you just can’t help but wholeheartedly believe it.
Ladislav Smid had another excellent, hard hitting stay at home defenceman night, while Theo Peckham watched from the press box. Hopefully watching this game will have the desired results, and Peckham’s next game will make his last a distant memory.
The Oilers need to watch their line changes going forward. Taking a too many men on the ice penalty may remind the team just what can and will happen if they don’t.
There is not much time for rest or celebration for the Oilers, but fortunately their second game in as many nights isn’t too far down the road in Calgary. If the Oilers can use the momentum from this game, they might just pull off the win.
There are several Oilers looking for their first goal of the season, but Magnus Paajarvi may be the most likely to score on Tuesday night. Last season, Paajarvi scored a goal and an assist at each game in the Saddledome. Although there are several things I would like to see change from last year, Paajarvi’s streak is certainly not one of them.
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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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