by Lisa McRitchie on 10/31/11 at 12:45 AM ET
The Edmonton Oilers remain on top of the NW division and the Western Conference with their win over the St. Louis Blues. This was the last Oilers home game until November 17th due to the Canadian Finals Rodeo which will make use of Rexall Place for the next couple of weeks. The only thing that matters to Oiler fans right now is another notch in the win column making it now five in a row. At this time last season, Oiler fans were wondering if they would get five wins on the season; my how things have changed.
Once again this was another Ryan game, Ryan Smyth with a couple of power play goals and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins with another couple of assists. Goals by Shawn Horcoff and Jordan Eberle scored the other Oilers goals while David Backes scored even strength in the second and Alex Pietrangelo found a power play goal in the third.
Honestly, there were some fairly weak calls made through sixty minutes, and Oiler fans were particularly disappointed with the boarding call on Eric Belanger in the third that resulted in the Blues second goal of the night. Not much sense in focusing on calls like that when the team still got their victory.
Things that should be focused on are the continued improve to special teams, Nikolai Khabibulin had another excellent night in goal, and the three Swedes are still looking for their first points of the year. Magnus Paajarvi may have had his best game yet this season, but still struggled without a point on the night.
Speaking of the Swedes, Anton Lander has been a big part of the Oilers penalty kill and his name is often brought up when discussing who will stay and who may be sent down to Oklahoma City with the return of Ales Hemsky. Currently, Sam Gagner has been playing on the wing, but that is where Hemsky needs to fit back in. I don’t have the answers and I’m not entirely sure what Renney will do. I have the feeling that it will be Lander going to OKC as he has a two way contract. It will not be a matter of demotion, just a matter of getting Lander more minutes, and getting all of his players on the ice. Should Lander be sent down, it will be called a step in his development and Lander may indeed learn something. After Taylor Chorney was picked up waivers earlier this month however, I will not be surprised if it is another player sent down instead, one that I never would have thought of. All that is certain is that it cannot be Nugent-Hopkins.
Taylor Chorney was picked up by the Blues, but watched this game from the Rexall pressbox. Andy Sutton also had to watch this game from above or television having been suspended at least one game for his hit on Gabriel Landeskog Friday night. Sadly, this is the Oilers first suspension in a very long time and Sutton not a first time offender. Sutton may be suspended for further games after his in person meeting with Brendan Shanahan on Monday in New York.
Defenceman Alex Plante received a call from Oklahoma City and joined Jeff Petry. Ryan Whitney is still out, and will be for a few more weeks with a sprained knee, and Cam Barker was a scratch due to a sore shoulder. Jeff Petry had another good showing in his seventh NHL game and Alex Plante looked much better than he did in his callup last year. This was Plante’s eighth NHL game, and both young defencemen earned themselves an assist and coincidentally, both assists came on Smyth goals.
The Oilers next game is Thursday in Los Angeles against the Kings a team with which things have not been settled after the Ryan Smyth trade. There is now a scheduled hearing date, but that date is November 16th. The off ice issues will not affect the game iteself, but you can bet the media will try to dig up something.
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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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