by Lisa McRitchie on 03/13/12 at 02:00 AM ET
Oilers lose 3-2 to Sharks
The Edmonton Oilers and their fans remember when Jarome Iginla commented that “It’s always fun to play spoilers to the Oilers” as the Calgary Flames knocked the Oilers out of the playoff running. Well Mr. Iginla, revenge is a dish best served cold. Ice cold. It’s true, there are still several more games, but this game has an impact on the standings. Say hello to 10th place Cowtown. Yes, the Oilers are faring much worse in the standings, but once again the team will benefit from the addition of another top prospect. May this be the last year we say that.
The Oilers were playing catch-up all night, but of course that is nothing new for this Oilers season. Both Oilers goals were jaw dropping in their own way however, giving tweeters something else to talk about if even for just a few minutes. In fact, Ryan Whitney’s goal earned the defenceman a spot on Canada’s top trends for a short time. Competing for attention against the likes of the Bachelor, that’s quite the accomplishment.
For Taylor Hall his goal was exactly what fans have come to expect from the fearless and speedy winger. Hall blocked a shot on the blueline, snagged the rebound off of his feed and raced into the offensive zone. Without any hesitation or setup, Hall fired a shot past Sharks’ netminder Antti Niemi.
On the other end of the ice, Devan Dubnyk was both spectacular and awful. It’s not exactly clear how that’s possible, but this game was a bit of everything for Dubnyk and yet another failed attempt for Dubnyk to prove himself as the consistent goaltender of the future. This will be a question mark going forward yet again.
While I would argue that Ladislav Smid has been the Oilers top defenceman this year, there is something to be said about the play of Jeff Petry. And that something has to be “amazing.” Petry may not have been slated in on the roster at the beginning of the season, but he certainly has earned his position with the team now. Petry may not be Gilbert, but it is becoming more and more apparent why the team decided to take the gamble that Petry could step up when the team traded Tom Gilbert.
The Oilers gave up two power play goals to the Sharks on three opportunities, and while we’ve come to expect Oilers’ power play goals, the team did not find the back of the net on either of their two man advantages. Shockingly, the Oilers maintain their #1 power play ranking.
The Oilers’ struggles in this game had to stem from their lack of shots. The team only had 22 through 60 minutes. They didn’t get a single shot through the first 7:22 of the period. That isn’t enough to win you a hockey game. Not when you don’t already have a significant lead.
It was very apparent that head coach Tom Renney was extremely frustrated with his team following this game, and the three points Renney brings up sum things up well:
1) Playing not to lose
2) Two power play goals for your opponents
3) Deciding it was just too hard
Renney is clearly speaking to a few of his players and their attitudes, but Taylor Hall is certainly not one of them. The losing mentality seems to be festering once again in the Oilers room, and it may be more difficult than first imagined to be rid of. While Ryan Smyth was just trying to be a leader, and was fighting for his team to come to life the Oilers’ veteran received another game misconduct with under a minute left to play in the third. His crime? Arguing with a linesman about where the faceoff should take place. No harm was done, and there is something to be said of Smyth’s drive to make things right, but you have to choose your moments.
“There’s a big difference between playing on your heels and playing on your toes. If you’re going to fall, fall forward. Lose going after games. Understand that the ebb and flow of a game is something that you have to cope with and go after.” Renney may have no shortage of catchy cliches but these ones ring true.
Next up for the Oilers is another “likely win” against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Of course these are the games the team seems to struggle with the most. It could be a tight battle for the basement Wednesday night in Edmonton.
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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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