by Lisa McRitchie on 10/01/11 at 04:00 AM ET
Oilers Beat Wild 4-3 in Shootout
The Edmonton Oilers have one game remaining in their pre-season schedule, but are already running out of players due to injury. This was no easy battle for the Oilers, behind 3-1 thanks to two Wild power play goals in the third, but managed to find the back of the net twice in time to tie the game before the end of regulation time. The extra five minutes would solve nothing, and neither team would accumulate many shots on net; both goaltenders had their work cut out for them. Through the shootout, it was a sweet Swede who made the day for the Oilers.
The first period was scoreless despite power play opportunities for both teams. In the second period, the Wild opened up the scoring with a backhand goal by Pierre-Marc Bouchard in the opening seconds of the period. Shortly after the goal, hockey fans were shocked and later sickened. Taylor Fedun was hit hard into the boards by Eric Nystrom in an icing race. Fedun was clearly in agony on the ice, and was taken off on a stretcher.
Following the game, Taylor Hall and Ryan Whitney were quick to chime in with their thoughts on no touch icing on twitter. Hall said “Hoping for the best with Fedun. Need to get rid of touch icings. If not this kind of thing will keep happening.” While Whitney took things further saying, “Everyone in our room thinking about Taylor Fedun right now after a very scary injury touching up an icing. GET RID OF THAT RULE.” There is little doubt that this hit, this injury will inspire many discussions and articles from various sources in the coming weeks.
The Oilers were assessed a penalty shot following Fedun’s injury and Swedish centreman and Oilers hopeful Anton Lander took and made the shot, tying the game. That would be the final scoring for the period on Devan Dubnyk, but Dubnyk turned the scoring attempt aside, keeping the score locked at 3.
The third would see the Wild pull ahead, 3-1 before the Oilers would score again thanks to Linus Omark and an assist from Anton Lander. Ryan Jones stepped up to the plate and tied the game for the boys in blue, well more white wearing the new Oilers road jerseys. Darcy Hordichuk nearly put the Oilers ahead for the first time all game, but the goal was called off due to a cross checking penalty behind the play called on Gilbert Brule.
In overtime, the Wild got the period’s only shot. Devon Dubnyk came up in a big way for his team, even if it was only one shot, his team needed him to be sharp even when faced with few shots.
Through the shootout Linus Omark and Pierre-Marc Bouchard were both denied, but Lander managed to score top shelf with a slapshot feet away from the net. WIld’s Devin Setoguichi was unable to keep the Wild in the game, and the Oilers would walk away with a meaningless pre-season game and short yet another player.
Following the game, news broke that Fedun has a complex fracture of his femure bone. This injury will not heal quickly, and will not be a simple recovery. I spoke with some medical professionals, and the news was not good. The injury could keep Fedun off of the ice 6 months or longer. The hip injury is at risk in this injury, in this instance, but the hip is one of the most secure joints in the body.
Oilers fans will anxiously await news of Feduns’ status, and seemingly all NHLers are hoping for good news for the recent university grad, and newly signed Oiler prospect.
The Swedish Oilers came up big in this game, both in points and in play. While Omark may have played most of last season in Edmonton, nothing is certain for this season and Omark would like to start and complete this season in Edmonton. Anton Lander is definitely looking to make a good impression with the Oilers’ coaching staff. With Gagner out, Lander likely sees a potential opening, even though it sounds clear the most members of the media would prefer Lander start in Oklahoma City and get a slow and gradual introduction to North American hockey. The main argument I have heard is that the AHL would be a softer landing, that mistakes made at the AHL level wouldn’t carry as much weight as in the NHL. I have little doubt that Lander will play in the NHL this season, and unfortunately this will likely be due to another Oilers’ injury. At this point, it looks as though Lander would do well on the Oilers’ roster, but because Lander can play in the AHL and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins can’t and if the Oilers don’t want to have too many rookies on the ice this season, Nugent-Hopkins will likely be the one to make the roster, to start.
At this point, it’s still all speculation, and technically all teams are tied for first place. Sadly, with the rate of injuries for the Oilers, even though pre-season, this year is looking to be a little gloomier than I had ever imagined it could be. The injuries through the game did not end with Fedun unfortunately. Ladislav Smid suffered a shoulder injury and Taylor Chorney a knee injury. That’s three Oilers’ defencemen for those of you keeping track at home. The team was already short a defenceman before the news of Ryan Whitney’s status broke.
The final Oilers’ pre-season game is Saturday night in Vancouver. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins should once again be in the line-up for his final pre-season look. Nikolai Khabibulin will likely get the start, and the competition for opening night starting goalie will continue. Most Oilers fans are pulling for Dubnyk, but there is still one more game to go.
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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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