by Lisa McRitchie on 02/24/12 at 04:15 AM ET
Oilers shutout Flyers 2-0
It was a rare visit by the Philadelphia Flyers Thursday night in Edmonton, so rare in fact that the last time the Flyers won in Rexall Place was March 19, 2001. It’s not as though the Flyers play in Edmonton every year, although that would be a good change, but rather the teams only face each other in Edmonton every two to three years. Still, this victory is sweet for the Oilers; they need all of the wins they can get if only for their own sense of pride.
The Flyers would outshoot the Oilers, but only by 5 shots; this game was won by Oilers’ goaltender Devan Dubnyk. With the injury to Nikolai Khabibulin, now is the time for the team to test Dubnyk and see what he can do at this stretch of the season. Goaltending is still a question for the Oilers, but with the play of Dubnyk being what it has been this week, things may not be as grim as it appeared in January. This of course is only two games, and Dubnyk will have to find his consistency.
Still, this was Dubnyk’s third career shutout, and first of the season. Denying players such as Claude Giroux and Jaromir Jagr will be something that Dubnyk is not soon to forget.
Darcy Hordichuk dropped the gloves with Jody Shelley in a first period fight, Hordichuk’s fifth of the season. And although Hordichuk won the right, he was also assessed an extra two minutes for roughing.
The Oilers’ power play at home continues to impress as Taylor Hall opened the game’s scoring in the second period on the man advantage. It was a pass from Eberle to Whitney at the point that bounced off of the wall to the side of the net that landed on the stick of Taylor Hall to earn the sophomore his 12th power play goal of the season and his 22nd of the year.
An unassisted goal by Jordan Eberle would be the game’s final goal and 14 points in his last 10 games. Eberle continues to lead the team in scoring with his 27 goals and 33 assists giving Eberle his first 60 point season, and the season isn’t over yet.
It wasn’t all good news for the Oilers through the second frame because Oilers’ winger Magnus Paajarvi was the recipient of a dangerous knee on knee hit by Scott Hartnell. Hartnell had a run in with Oilers’ defenceman Corey Potter, but instead of fighting or carrying on in some other way, Potter skated off to join the play. As Hartnell skated towards the bench, he collided with Paajarvi visibly causing Paajarvi extreme pain. Once the play was whistled down, Paajarvi had to the helped off of the ice and down the tunnel to the dressing room.
Despite the injury to Paajarvi, Hartnell was only assessed a two minute minor. That may not be the final call however. From the video available, it’s difficult to say whether or not Hartnell had intentionally stuck out his knee but you can be sure than Brendan Shanahan will be reviewing the play and all video available.
Oilers’ head coach Tom Renney is still not coaching from the bench during games as he is still suffering from concussion symptoms. In his place associate coach Ralph Krueger has been running the bench and addressing the media. Kruger spoke post game on Paajarvi’s injury; “It’s a right leg injury, we all know that. It’s one of those injuries that you have to go through the night and assess that in the morning.
“What do I think of it? Those are just decisions that referees make on the spot. Your stomach as a coach, you would like to see a five minute and they make it a two. It’s a fine line what he sees and what you get to see the video after.”
Shawn Horcoff had two opportunities to give the Oilers a three goal lead but one of them was on a penalty shot. Ilya Bryzgalov easily turned Horcoff’s shot aside, keeping his team within two. And that is where it would remain.
To Flyers’ head coach Peter Laviolette, this game was completely unacceptable from his team. “You’d like to think this serves as a wake-up call, because we’re in a playoff race. Tonight was unacceptable. We eased our way into the first period, the second period was horse****. We had to wake up and try to win a game in the third period. Hopefully this was a wakeup call.”
As much as the Flyers may have underestimated the Oilers, the goal scorers are good and only getting better. Kruger reminds everyone “These are great young men, and Edmonton is going to be proud of them for a long time.”
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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.
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