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One is the Loneliest Number

Oilers lose 4-1 to Stars
Why the Oilers seem to have so many arenas, as of the last few years, where the team just cannot seem to find a win I can’t say. The last time the Oilers had a win in Dallas was Saturday December 5th, a 3-2 shootout win. The last regulation win was a 2-0 victory… December 8th, 2006. According to Mark Spector of Sportsnet “Oilers powerplay desperately needs a D-man who can shoot/run it. Another loss in Dallas runs record here to 5-26-2-2 lifetime.”


With the win loss, win, loss pattern the Oilers have begun, I can’t help but wonder if maybe the Oilers have been paying too much attention to their rivals down the road. With this win, the Dallas Stars have staved off a 6 game losing streak. The other thing the Stars had going for them going into this game, was of course new ownership. Vancouver businessman Tom Gaglardi was introduced at American Airlines Center as the new owner of the Stars.

Darcy Hordichuk drew back into the lineup after a knee injury, and although Hordichuk wasn’t the most outstanding player on the ice, he made an impact and played the role he was brought in to play. This move put Magnus Paajarvi in the pressbox. As much as I would rather Paajarvi play in the NHL, he’s not, he’s sitting in the press box. It seems as though there is something else going on, that there is a reason that we just don’t know about why Paajarvi hasn’t been moved to Oklahoma City where he would play night in and night out.

The lone Oilers goal came from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Not every goal Nugent-Hopkins has been highlight reel material, but they still always seem nifty or impressive in some ways. A goal is a goal as Ryan Smyth has taught us, and as Tom Renney commented post game, you don’t get points for style.

Far too many Oilers looked a little dazed on the ice, and the road power play needs to find its spark. The Oilers had five power play opportunities, including one in the final 3 minutes of the game. Not even the extra attacker, a six on four attempt could get the Oilers back to within one. Instead, the Stars managed to find the back of the empty net, nothing like this old gem.

 

Colten Teubert appears to be getting more and more comfortable in the NHL and did not appear to be the most “out of place” looking defenceman on the Oilers’ team; this was far from Theo Peckham’s best game. While waiting on Ryan Whitney to return from injury, as well as Cam Barker, Andy Sutton and Corey Potter, the Oilers will need to find a way to play with more consistency and reliability.

It was not just a matter of physical play through 60 minutes, but that was a big part of it. Post game, Renney stated “We have to make sure that we can play as physical as we can. And when we’re healthy, we have enough to push back too.”  Ryan Nugent-Hopkins continues to play as though he is fighting for a spot on the team roster. Nugent-Hopkins took a few hits, but also made sure that he delivered a few and never showed fear going into any situation. This can of course be trouble later, but that should be where Nugent-Hopkins teammates start to look out for him a little more.

“This was completely about the Dallas Stars and our being ready to play them with what we’ve got for assets. We didn’t measure up near what we needed to. We didn’t manage the puck like we have to in order to beat teams like this and anybody else in the league for that matter.” Renney hasn’t given up on his team, nor did he call out any players of positions in particular, but none of what Renney said is new. Turnovers continue to be a constant struggle for this Oilers team, especially turnovers in their own end.

Nikolai Khabibulin played a strong game, and the loss does not fall on his shoulders, but with a back to back situation chances are good that Devan Dubnyk will get the start tomorrow night.

 

Filed in: Edmonton Oilers, Nikolai Khabibulin, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, | Oil Patch | Permalink
 

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About Oil Patch

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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