by Lisa McRitchie on 12/01/11 at 04:30 AM ET
Oilers lose 3-2 to Wild in a shootout
The trouble for the Oilers lately has been shots and consistency. For this game, the Oilers were able to match their opponents in terms of shots but consistency continued to elude the team. The Oilers earned a 2-0 lead and not only let that slide, but also managed to lose in the shootout. Of course what makes it worse is that it was to a division rival.
Goals from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle were not at all a surprise, and neither was the fight between Darcy Hordichuk and Brad Staubitz as soon as they were both on the ice at the same time.
What was a surprise was as mentioned, the Oilers giving up a 2 goal lead at home and that it was former ex-Oiler Kyle Brodziak who would score the Wild’s second goal and the Wild’s winning shootout goal.
Anton Lander missed this game due to an infection in his hand that has developed from a cut, so suddenly the call-up for Ryan O’Marra makes even more sense. O’Marra filled in quite well, especially on the penalty kill where O’Marra has made a name for himself in Oklahoma City. How long O’Marra spends in Edmonton is uncertain, but it’s great the Edmonton has this kind of depth.
As per usual, Tom Renney seemed to take the loss especially well. While most fans, at least on my twitter feed, seemed very upset that the Oilers gave up a 2-0 lead at home, Renney remarked “We just backed off, and what we needed to do was go after them.” Most likely Renney had a bit more emotion when he addressed the team, but then again, earning a point after losing their last two is a bit of a high point.
“It doesn’t really matter who the opponent is. What we’ve got to pay attention to is this is our rink, this is our home. We have to make it tougher to play us here.” Renney further commented on the loss. The toughness needs to come from the entire team, especially when Nugent-Hopkins has been holding his own and several other players should be looking out for the young rookie. The ultimate truth is that if Nugent-Hopkins goes out due to injury, this team is in serious trouble.
The positives from this game had to be the Oilers’ special teams. “Our specialty teams in general have been pretty good to us,” Renney agreed saying that no one should expect everyone to score on every opportunity. “The difference really was how we handled the 5-3 and the 4-3” penalty kill situations Renney elaborated. The Oilers did find themselves with some penalty difficulties, but only allowed a single power play goal.
The Oilers do have four more games in this home stand and Renney “Would rather play to win than play not to lose.” So would we all.
With tonight’s goals, Nugent-Hopkins is now in a three-way tie for fourth place (5th on the top 25 standing though) in the NHL with 27 points. Nugent-Hopkins at the tender age of 18 is tied with Thomas Vanek and Daniel Sedin; that’s pretty great company. What is even more remarkable is that there are two other Oilers on this top 25 list; Jordan Eberle is in a 5 way tie for fifth place with 26 points and Ryan Smyth is slightly behind with 24 points.
The point standings must have been brought up with Renney because he commented on Nugent-Hopkins “It just goes to show you why people go first overall and what makes them special… Maybe he’s already growed [laughs], but he’s a great player.” I think that that is something the rest of the league is catching on to as well.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins himself commented on his points so far this season during the first intermission “I think it’s just a huge compliment to the whole team. They really took me in right away, and they made me feel comfortable here and they made me feel like one of the team right away so the guys that I’ve been playing with, it’s really lucky for me.”
Next up, the Oilers host the Blue Jackets on Friday night. The Jackets are still last in the western conference and so likely a dangerous opponent, much like the Oilers were from time to time over the past two seasons.
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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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