by Lisa McRitchie on 03/09/12 at 04:00 AM ET
Oilers lose 5-3 to Canadiens
Edmonton, like so many other hockey cities gets giddy whenever they are visited by an original six team, but none so much more than the Habs. The reason being that it’s usually a guaranteed win. The Montreal Canadiens had not won a game in Rexall Place since 1999-2000 season the Oilers have gone 9 and 2 against the Habs during that time span. Make that 9 and 3.
If you’re looking for the short version of this game story it’s that Theo Peckham took three minor penalties costing his team two goals and the game. Quite simply put of course.
The Oilers did get on the board first, with their league leading power play that just keeps surging forward. With a rocket of a shot from defenceman Cory Potter that was deflected off of captain Shawn Horcoff, the Oilers earned their 50th power play goal and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 40th point of the season. Not bad for a rookie who has missed 20 games due to injury.
Only 6 seconds into Theo Peckham’s first late first period penalty, PK Subban scored his sixth of the season. Super. This of course meant that the Oilers would not begin the second period on the power play, but they no longer had the lead to build upon.
But Montreal came into the second inspired, and looking to spill some oil.
Coming into this game Max Pacioretty had 28 goals and was on the verge of being the first player in four years to notch 30 goals. Pacioretty easily earned his 29th of the year in the second period, but it was a selfless play by Subban that earned Patches his 30th on the Oilers’ empty net.
There was a momentous goal for the Oilers as well though, as Linus Omark scored his first goal since April 2, 2011. That sounds much longer than it’s really been though, there were only 10 goalless games played by Omark in that time span.
Omark knows that he is playing for a contract whether that be with the Oilers or one of the other 29 teams. This goal should help with his confidence and profile, but speaking to the media post game, Omark didn’t sound happy with his game; “I tried to play tough and hit and run to the net adn create scoring chances. But we lost, so it doesn’t matter.” Add Omark to the long list of young Oilers who HATE to lose.
Tomas Kaberle would pot another Habs power play goal on another Peckham Penalty, and Lars Eller an even strength goal to start the third period and give the Habs a two goal lead from which the Oilers couldn’t quite recover.
Taylor Hall got his team close as he earned his 50th point of the season putting one past Peter Budaj gloveside, but that would be as close as the Oilers would get.
This was Peckham’s second game, his first being Tuesday night in San Jose, back on the ice instead of the pressbox since January 31st. Peckham had missed all games during the month of February, and it has never been more evident than this game how much the state of the crippled Oilers D may have affected the development of this young defenceman. Peckham may have been a much better player had he played this season in the AHL as well, but with things as they are, Peckham is in the NHL this season, and is learning the hard way how the league and game works.
For Nikolai Khabibulin, he successfully turned away 22 of 26 shots faced, but that wasn’t enough and neither was his overall play. While it arguably would have been a good idea to put Devan Dubnyk in net because he is still unproven, the Oilers would still have had to have put up a bigger fight in order to take the win.
The Oilers needed a complete game. It didn’t happen.
In the battle for 28th place, the Grigorenko Bowl, the Oilers came out the victors, but this season is far from over. The Oilers power play has been on fire, but so has the Montreal penalty kill. It’s anyone’s guess just who will finish where at this point of the season.
“We could have been a smarter team tonight,” explained Tom Renney post game. He’s right, only perhaps he could have said they they SHOULD have been a smarter team tonight.
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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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