by Lisa McRitchie on 11/29/11 at 04:15 AM ET
Oilers lose 2-1 to Predators
Monday night was Jordan Eberle mini-stick night in Rexall Place. The first 10,000 fans in attendance were given this collectable and much like Ryan Smyth bobblehead night, Eberle would be one of the most effective players on the team. Unfortunately, Eberle’s lone goal in the first period was not enough to earn an Oilers win.
The Jordan Eberle goal from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was further evidence that these two are quite frankly, good players. Together, the two have chemistry and have made some remarkable and memorable plays. Seemingly everyone has spoken about Nugent-Hopkin’s vision and playmaking abilities, but not many focus on his defensiveness and his physical play. Nugent-Hopkins has been proving with every game that it was definitely not a mistake to keep the rookie in the NHL.
Players who were quite forgettable or unremarkable for the Oilers were many. It is extremely disappointing that Ales Hemsky and Ryan Whitney could be found in this grouping. This was only Whitney’s second game back in the lineup, and it’s not as if the rest of the team was stellar, but Whitney is usually a game changer and a difference maker. Not so much in this game.
The Oilers had a fairly good, strong first period, but in the second after a five minute elbowing major penalty to Ryan Jones that will undoubtedly be investigated tomorrow since replays didn’t show any elbow hit, the Predators seemed to take the reins. Following the game, Jones commented that he thought that it was a clean hit, but that “The refs have a tough job, it’s a spur of the moment call and it is what it is.”
Jordan Tootoo took two penalties through the second period and did play his traditional physical and frustrating game. Well, frustrating for his opposition. Tootoo is a pest on the ice, he gets under the skin of those he plays against and although this is not breaking news and is a shock to no one that watches NHL hockey, Tootoo did his job exceptionally well tonight. The Oilers needed to get more shots on net and focus on their offence rather than the guy who was chirping and otherwise being a nuisance.
Predators’ netminder Anders Lindback did not face as many shots as the Oilers would have liked, but did take a shot from Eric Belanger off of his knee. It looked as though Lindback may be out for the rest of the game, but brushed it off and returned to play the final seven minutes. By the end of the game, Lindback turned away 30 shots compared to 16 for Khabibulin.
Renney’s post game comments focused on shots, lack of shooting and again back to shots when he said “I thought our compete level needed to improve and it didn’t. Not that we were satisfied with 1-0 or 1-1 for as long as it was.”
There was a Taylor Hall injury update following the game and at this point it may still be speculation, and without confirming with medical staff but Tom Renney said only that it is a left shoulder injury and that Hall may be out two to four weeks. Hall has not exactly been a scoring machine, but Hall is still a top six forward whose offensive play is an important aspect to the Oilers’ success both current and future.
Next up, the Oilers host the Wild on Wednesday night. So far, the Wild have a 2-1 series lead on the Oilers that needs to be evened out if the Oilers wish to continue holding playoff hopes.
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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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