by Lisa McRitchie on 10/16/11 at 05:15 AM ET
Oilers fall 4-3 to Canucks
The Edmonton Oilers hosted their division rivals from Vancouver Saturday night in a rare 2011-12 Hockey Night in Canada game on CBC. Headlines going into the game were Devan Dubnyk getting the start in net, and a new kid line of Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle. By the end of the game, the story was all about Nugent-Hopkins and his first NHL hat-trick. Now can I say that he’s here to stay?
The Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle line with all of the goals also seemed to set the pace for most of the game. That line was also responsible for most of the cheering heard throughout Rexall Place. If you didn’t know better, you might have thought it was a playoff game.
The first two Nugent-Hopkins goals were clearly goals scored by the rookie centreman, but Nugent-Hopkin’s third goal of the game will sadly always have an asterisk beside it. Depending on the angle, depending on who you ask, it looked as though it may have actually been Taylor Hall who last touched the puck, while others will swear that it was Nugent-Hopkins. Despite the controversy, RNH will receive a lovely plaque for the wall of wherever the rookie ends up.
Nugent-Hopkins has recently switched hotels to one with a kitchen, but as Robin Brownlee of Oilers Nation says, start looking for a realtor and place for the long haul kid.
Once it was announced that Nugent-Hopkins had scored his first NHL hat-trick, in only his third NHL game, the hats flew from all around. The problem with that however, was that the game was still in play. The Canucks were clearly unhappy with the debris on the ice and fans were warned that further hats would result in a penalty to the Edmonton Oilers. There is always that one fan, and sure enough another hat flew. Despite the warning, the Oilers were not punished with a penalty, but because the warning had been issued to fans and another hat reached the ice the Oilers should have been.
Despite the loss, there were several positives, and Dubnyk played an outstanding game, definitely keeping himself in the race for starting goaltender this season. I am often critical of Gilbert’s game and for many reasons, but at least in the third period Gilbert played with a little more edge. Gilbert had an excellent shot block and at least one great hit in the third period, but this team still desperately needs and misses Ryan Whitney.
While some players shone through sixty minutes, some appeared to be playing at less than their best. Sadly, one of these players was Linus Omark. Omark has so much skill, talent and drive. He is well known and loved throughout Sweden and now Edmonton, but Omark needs to play North American hockey and at an NHL level to stay with the Oilers. There are other players waiting in the wing should Omark not play up to the standards the Renney and the rest of the coaching staff hold.
Darcy Hordichuk left the first period looking a little worse for wear. It was later revealed that the former Canuck had injured his knee. First word is that Hordichuk will be out one to four weeks. That’s just super.
An update on Ales Hemsky was also given and it wasn’t too surprising. Hemsky has a strained right shoulder and will be out week to week. Thankfully Nugent-Hopkins can score, and has chemistry with everyone he plays with, but the Oilers could also benefit from a healthy Ales Hemsky.
Next up, the Oilers host the Nashville Predators Monday night. The team continues to look for their first win in regulation and now that they have proven to themselves that they can beat the Predators last year, this game could be interesting.
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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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