A few of the many things the Edmonton Oilers have struggled with this season are the penalty kill, faceoffs, and shots against. So if earlier today you had told me that the Oilers would be able to hold the Anaheim Ducks to just 22 shots, no power play goals, and a faceoff success rate only slightly better than 50% I’d have guessed that the Oilers would have had a very real chance at winning the game. Of course all those things did happen but if you watched the game you know that there was no real chance of the Oilers coming away with a victory.
Almost from the get go things looked bleak for the Oilers who, after losing games to Chicago and Ottawa, were looking to win their first game of a six game home stand. A poorly timed line change by Ladislav Smid and Jeff Petry less than 30 seconds into the game would leave the home team outmanned and would result in Teemu Selanne’s 17th goal of the season scored 34 seconds into the first period. For the second day in a row, one shot and one goal against. That’s a pattern the Oilers might want to look into breaking.
The first half of the first period was all Anaheim. The Oilers struggled to generate any chances and wouldn’t record even record a shot until after the eight minute mark. The flow of the game would change however after a Magnus Paajarvi lead rush that would give the Oilers their first good scoring chance of the game. The rush seemed to wake the Oilers up and the team competed fairly well over the last half of the opening period.
Unfortunately the change wouldn’t continue beyond the first period. The second period was, to put it simply, terrible. It was just miserably boring hockey to watch. And it was a pretty bad 20 minutes of hockey from both teams but the Oilers were by far the worse of the two. Completing even a single pass became a struggle and the team generated just four shots in the period. About the only thing worth cheering for during in the second frame was the Steve MacIntyre/George Parros fight. I don't see the point of heavyweights punching each other but I guess it's what MacIntyre is in the lineup to do. All in all it wasn't a great fight but when there is nothing else to cheer for you take what you can get.
The Ducks would add to their lead with goals from Brandon McMillan and Bobby Ryan scored 1:14 apart. Devan Dubnyk didn’t have much of a chance on either goal; McMillan’s was tipped in and Ryan’s came off a scramble in front of the net where the Petry had an opportunity to get the puck out.
Any hope the Oilers had of a miraculous third period comeback was dashed just over a minute in when Ryan scored his second goal of the game. From behind the net Ryan Getzlaf moved the puck to Corey Perry near the left faceoff dot; Perry would move the puck to Ryan in the slot for the easy tap in. Dustin Penner is standing in the slot and it doesn’t even look like he knew Ryan was behind him. That play pretty much summed up the Oilers night.
Nikolai Khabibulin would replace Dubnyk following the Ducks fourth goal. Four goals against on 15 shots was the final line for Dubnyk. Not a good night for the youngster but it’s hard to really fault him on any of the goals either. More than anything it just seemed like one of those nights. In relief Khabibulin looked sharp stopping all seven shots he faced. One period is a small sample size but that was one of the better periods that I’ve seen him play in a while.
For those who like the rough stuff, the third period would feature two more fights. First Theo Peckham would square off with Andy Sutton and the Ladislav Smid would drop the gloves with Luca Sbisa. Neither was the kind of fight that’ll be remembered a week from now. For my money the Smid/Sbisa fight was the better of the two scraps with some good punches thrown by a couple of guys that I certainly don’t consider fighters.
Like the fight in the second period, the fights in the third were the high point. The Oilers would continue to generate next to nothing in the way of chances and, after registering five shots in the first period and four in the second the Oilers would take it one step further and would put the puck on the net just three times during the games final frame. Ryan Jones’ shorthanded attempt with eight minutes left to play would count as the Oilers first shot of the period. Based on the Bronx cheer the shot received I wasn’t the only one in the building who realized it was the teams first of the period.
All around it was a lousy game from the home team; lazy turnovers, an inability to make even the simplest of passes, and almost no chances or shots. No wonder the crowd cheered when the last minute of play was announced.
- Taylor Hall had another solid night registering four shots. 33% of the teams total.
- After going 0-for-2 the Oilers powerplay has now gone seven games without a goal. A stretch of 24 powerplay opportunities.
- Shift chart from timeonice.com
- Event summary from NHL.com
- Game summary from NHL.com
- Scoring chances from mc79hockey.com