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Falling Back to Earth

Oilers lose 5-2 to Senators
So how about that Nail kid? He sounds like he could be great, and “fail for nail” has a certain je ne sais quoi to it.

The Edmonton Oilers drop their fourth in a row, and lose even more defencemen while trade speculation for every healthy player reaches all new highs. It seems that things have returned to the “normal” of the past two seasons.


The Oilers play only four games at home through the entire month of November and surely ticket paying fans wished that this had been another road game. A quick two goals against, nine seconds apart no less, stole most of the enthusiasm from the home crowd through the first period, and that was a deficit the team and the crowd would not recover from.

It was the first NHL goal, shorthanded, by Anton Lander that seemed to breathe some life back into this Oilers team in the second period. This goal in some ways reminded me of Jordan Eberle’s first NHL goal. Both were scored on short handed rushes, both from forward passes off of the boards, but Eberle’s of course had more finesse and pizzazz. For poor Anton Lander, there were no D-men to skate or jump over, and it was a soft looking shot on net, but it still all combined to give the young Swede his first NHL goal, and get his team on the board.

On his first goal of his NHL career, Lander didn’t seem very excited following the game when asked how it felt to get the first one; “Right now it doesn’t matter. But it was a big moment, so give me tomorrow, the day after that, pretty good.” Lander is well known for his leadership and competitive nature. It has been said by a few people close to the team that no one takes a loss worse than Anton Lander.

Sadly, Lander’s goal was not enough to spur this team on to victory. The Senators would of course go on to score another two goals, while only Ryan Jones would score another for the Oilers and in the third period on the power play.

The story of the Oilers loss was just like that of so many other losses in the NHL. There were a few too many giveaways, a few too many turnovers and just not enough goals. There were several scoring opportunities for a few Oilers, and according to head coach Tom Renney “We tried hard, but we’ve got to try hard together and smart. It’s pretty hard to do when you’ve got four defencemen.  That didn’t help, and five for that matter from the opening faceoff. Even more so, that’s why you play the team game and you really work hard collectively.”

Those words were far more kind, and Renney’s demeanor was much more calm following this game than Sunday night’s game in Chicago. And why, well because “I’ve been through this, I was here last year.”

 


Through sixty minutes, the Oilers succeeded to lose a few more defencemen. This came the day we learned that defenceman Cam Barker will be out three months because he will require surgery to repair an ankle injury.

Andy Sutton, according to Gene Principe woke up this morning not feeling great and during warm-up tweaked his groin. This is why the Oilers started their game with only five defencemen.

Corey Potter looked to be in some discomfort throughout the game. Once the dust settled, it was said that he has a sprained ankle. There was no timeline made available following the game.

And finally, Jeff Petry was seen leaving the locker room with the doctor. According to Gene Principe, “Jeff Petry also hurt his hand and was getting x-rays. Tom Renney..thinks..thinks he’ll be fine.”

For those of you counting at home, that means the Oilers are potentially down by three defenceman in a single day. Hopefully all three will not be out for Saturday night’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks. With the success from Sunday night, I imagine many fans will opt out of watching this rare Hockey Night in Canada game.

Ryan Whitney is skating, but not full practices and Barker will be out for three months, which leaves Tom Gilbert, Theo Peckham, Ladislav Smid and any of the players that are healthy enough to play Saturday.

The Oilers AHL affiliate team the Oklahoma City Barons of course play two home games this weekend, but may find themselves short defencemen should the Oilers make any calls. Smart money would be on a call to Colten Teubert and depending on how many players will be needed, perhaps even Alex Plante once again.

Both Oiler goaltenders had an opportunity to play tonight. Khabibulin allowed three goals and Devan Dubnyk allowed two. To say who will start on Saturday would be purely a guess, and something I always seem to get wrong. In this case, I’m inclined to go with Khabibulin to get the start so smart money would likely be to bet on a Dubnyk start.

Every game counts, but the Oilers have already won far more games than many thought they would win through their first three to four months. This team is still learning, still developing and still missing a few pieces. There will be more wins this year, but this is the perfect reminder for everyone that this Oiler team have be some time away from being a true power house. Revel in the wins and goals we get Oiler fans, live in the moment and bunker down for what just might be another tough season after all. The sky is not falling, but with a crippled blue line and goaltenders that no longer look super human things are about to get interesting, and not necessarily in a good way.

In the meantime, there is always speculation over future trades, and what could be got for certain players such as Ales Hemsky, Sam Gagner and even recently Nikolai Khabibulin. There is always something to keep an Oiler fan’s mind occupied.

 

Filed in: Edmonton Oilers, Anton Lander, Ryan Jones, Ryan Whitney, | Oil Patch | Permalink
 

Comments

Avatar

soft-looking shot?

Posted by tuxedoTshirt on 11/18/11 at 05:13 AM ET

Lisa Brown's avatar

It’s been an extremely long two weeks and last night I was not only tired, but searching for words. I meant that Lander’s shot was certainly not a rocket. It was definitely a great goal none the less.

Posted by Lisa Brown on 11/18/11 at 01:06 PM ET

I am the Liquor's avatar

Solid synopsis BB.

Really like the embedded video.

I liked what Renney had to say. Sounds like he has a pretty good grasp of what’s going on.

Posted by I am the Liquor on 11/18/11 at 03:37 PM ET

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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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