by Lisa McRitchie on 02/16/12 at 03:15 AM ET
Oilers lose 4-3 to Leafs in OT
The Oilers came to play Wednesday night and while players like Ryan Jones, Ales Hemsky and Magnus Paajarvi would get oh so close, but not find the back of the net, goals by Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle would make the game. As it looked all but certain that the Oilers would drop another decision to the Toronto Maple Leafs, Jordan Eberle charged into the offensive zone and blasted a shot past James Reimer. Jordan Eberle is a pressure player at its best.
Scoring came fast and furious in the opening minutes of this game. By 1:38 in the first period, the Leafs were already ahead by 2 with goals from ex-Oiler and Edmonton product Joffrey Lupul and Matthew Lombardi.
Ben Eager nearly had his first Gordie Howe hat-trick in the first period notching a goal and fighting. The assist would elude Eager through the rest of the game however. For Eager, this is 2 goals in 2 games. Down went Mike Brown as he and Eager exchanged blows, but Eager was the clear victor.
Referees don’t have any easy job. But, with that being said, the officiating was extremely questionable Wednesday night as the Oilers hosted the Leafs. Magnus Paajarvi was assessed a goaltender interference call that may not have been called had the officials seen a replay of the incident. But, the penalty was called, and the Oilers successfully killed the Leafs’ man advantage.
Taylor Hall could score the only goal of the second period but it was one that tied the game and gave fans a reason to keep watching the game. Rexall Place seemed to have been overrun by Leafs fans, but Hall’s goal reminded them that the Oilers are still an NHL team capable of competing. It also gave Hall his 20th of the season.
The Leafs’ third goal would come from Jake Gardiner on a penalty to Ryan Jones for delay of game as the puck flew over the glass. And with the third Leafs goal, it looked as though that would be it for the Oilers. But that is when Jordan Eberle is at his best, he’s always there to score the clutch goals when the Oilers need them. It’s strange to see that Eberle is only credited with three game winning goals this season when he has been such a difference maker. This goal gives Eberle 25 on the season.
In the same span of time that the Leafs scored two goals in the first period, the Leafs finished the game in overtime. The goal from Tim Connolly would mean the second Leafs loss of the month for the Oilers, and that the Leafs would split their Alberta roadtrip.
This game was another example of Ladislav Smid’s impressive shot blocking count and that Jeff Petry has made incredible steps forward this season. Last season, Petry split his time between Edmonton and Oklahoma City. This season, with injuries to veteran Oilers’ defencemen Petry found himself in Edmonton, but since the start of the season, Petry has earned his position here. Petry will only get better from here, he has many years to go.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins skated with the team again Wednesday morning, and hopefully will be ready to play with the team once again soon. After all, Adam Henrique has now surpassed Nugent-Hopkins in scoring. As soon as Nugent-Hopkins returns, Paajarvi will be sent back down. It was a poor puck decision by Paajarvi that led to the game winning goal. Paajarvi had had an excellent game up until that point, but those few seconds are what will most be remembered. “Someone had to lose, I’d have preferred it wasn’t us” spoke Oilers’ head coach Tom Renney following the game. That has to sum up what Oilers fans were thinking.
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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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