by Lisa McRitchie on 04/02/12 at 12:45 AM ET
Oilers beat Ducks (no April fools joke) 2-1
Three first period goals and all scored by a Teemu, this was an NHL first in what may have been Teemu Selanne’s last home game as a member of the Anaheim Ducks. While fans filled the lower bowl with signs asking for one more year, Selanne remained mum on the subject.
While one Temmu is wrapping up his career, the other’s is just beginning. In his 25th NHL game, Hatikainen cleanly scored the games’ opening goal a mere 15 seconds after the whistle. The second goal bounced into the net and past Jonas Hiller giving the Oilers the game winning goal and another point for rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
While the game lacked any more scoring, there were enough aspects to keep interest in a meaningless game.
Cam Barker who spent most of the month of March in the pressbox suited up in place of injured defenceman Ladislav Smid and Colten Teubert received the call up from Oklahoma City for Ladislav Smid. Interestingly enough both make their mark on the game by dropping the gloves. For Barker it was a second period fight with Ryan Getzlaf and for Teubert a third period fight with Sheldon Broobank.
Otherwise, it was yet another game with another allowed headshot. Worst of all, no call on the play. Bobby Ryan was the culprit laying a hit on Corey Potter while the officials looked on. Something that was later called was Nick Schultz’s play of the puck before he was completely out of the penalty box. That’s certainly something you don’t see called very often.
It’s not as though either team stood much to gain from this game, so it’s not as though the officials were trying to make it easier for one team or the other, but it is interesting to see what gets called and what is missed in every game. If there was one thing that was made clear going into this season, it was the league’s position on headshots. And so, that play will likely be reviewed at least a few times in the office of player safety. I’m interested to hear what is said about it in the morning.
The Oilers did not manage a power play goal on the evening, and so the hopes of finishing the season leading something are slowly diminishing for the Oilers. Why they are not even leading in losses anymore! The Oilers did get something perfect however, killing off an extended 5 on 3 penalty.
In net, Devan Dubnyk is doing a remarkable job of winning fans over. With his impressive and consistently good play as of late, Dubnyk should start next season with the starting role being his to lose. Sunday night, Dubnyk turned away 32 of the 33 shots directed his way by standing tall and remaining quick.
At the same time, while the Oilers may be quick on their feet, there was a disconnect with their release, maybe their accuracy or perhaps even their though process. For the second game in a row, the Oilers had less than half of their opponent’s number of shots. While Friday night the Oilers had only 14 shots, Sunday they would tally only 15. It’s shocking that they scored on 2 of those, just imagine what the score may have been had the Oilers had any more shots.
Recently re-signed winger Ales Hemsky was supposed to be feeling the healthiest he has ever felt coming into this season, yet shoulder injuries have plagued him. After signing a 2 year 10 million dollar deal Hemsky seemed to be playing inspired hockey, reminding one and all of the Hemsky that would bring us out of our seats. Instead, Hemsky would leave this game with shoulder pain, not to return. The signing may have been more of a gamble than you may have initially thought.
There are only three more games this season games against the Kings, Ducks and Canucks and all that is left to play for is pride. Oh, and maybe a place with this team or any other. Barker is very likely about to play out his final games as an Oiler and perhaps there will be yet another GM that will believe that he or his team can turn the defenseman’s game around. Perhaps there will be a GM that will say he has to get Eric Belanger on his roster. Anything is possible this summer.
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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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