by Lisa McRitchie on 03/11/12 at 12:20 AM ET
Oilers lose 3-2 to Avalanche in SO
Oh to be an NHL on ice official. You’re never right by everyone’s eye. You have to make split second decisions in the game setting that directly affect the outcome of the game, and you cannot let personal feelings about a player influence your calls or it will mean you job. How easy it is a fan, a broadcaster, or a player to say that it was the right or wrong call from their bird’s eye view, but the fact of the matter is that officials are still only human and can only do their best. Saturday afternoon in Denver, Ales Hemsky’s waived off goal will be what will be most remembered by those who watched the game, and most appreciated by the Avalanche, a team still fighting to make the playoffs.
Ryan Smyth started the season off with a hot scoring touch, but playing perhaps too many minutes has left Smyth with less gas in the tank for the final games of the season. Smyth’s scoring rate has slowed, scoring only one goal and five assists through the month of February, but things may be turning around for the month of March. Smyth’s first period goal gives the fan favourite two this week alone.
Two second period Avalanche goals by Cody McLeod and peter Mueller might have taken the wind out of the Oilers’ sails, but the team came out with all cylinders firing in the third.
Unfortunately, that was where the Oilers’ first tying goal was called off. “I thought it was a goal.” Said Oilers’ head coach Tom Renney. “I think [Gabriel] Landeskog made contact and pushed Sam [Gagner] into the goaltender’s line of doing his job but that’s too bad.
“It was a great play all around. Linus [Omark] makes a great play there outside of the blue line that pushed their defender off of the puck and to free it up. And we go in and attack and get the offensive zone. To me it was a good goal but I guess that’s why I’m on the bench and not on the ice refereeing.”
Linus Omark created several scoring chances, and even drew a penalty, something that the Swedish winger is not known to do. He also appears to be establishing some chemistry with Ales Hemsky. While Hemsky never seemed to pass to Magnus Paajarvi, there was been some give and go between Hemsky and Omark. Both are talented, smallish players with great vision on the ice, and it isn’t all that surprising that the two would work well together.
The team did keep pushing however, and although it was veteran scoring that got the team into the game, it was the kid line that pushed the game into overtime as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle fed Taylor Hall for his 25th goal of the year.
Overtime would solve nothing despite chances on either end of the ice. And so it was another shootout game, for the Oilers their 8th of the season and second of the week, and for the Avs, their ninth of the season.
Nikolai Khabibulin looked rusty as Semyon Varlamov shone. Varlamov turned aside both Oilers’ shooters while Khabibulin was beat twice, concluding the game. It seems the afternoon game got the best of the Oilers’ once again.
Devan Dubnyk might have had the opportunity in net had it not been for a minor groin pull that kept him on the bench. “I think that Duby should be ready for Monday with the groin thing, but we’ll see what happens.” Renney explained post game, especially as the Oilers’ season winds down and decisions for next season will need to be made based off of these results.
This was only a one game road trip for the Oilers, who will now return to Edmonton to host the Sharks on Monday night.
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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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