Oilers Beat Flames 2-1, Sam Gagner Injured

Enjoy the replay of the game, courtesy of the Edmonton Oilers website.

Box Score

  • Brendan Mikkleson bumped Sam Gagner off of the puck directly after Gagner threw a wrist shot on net off of the rush.  The bump knocked Gagner off-balance and he crashed into the boards quite awkwardly -- his right leg was on the ice and straigt-legged and Gagner went sakte-first into the dasher.  In the frame-by-frame, it didn't look like anything gave, but he hit with a heavy jolt.  I'll leave the speculation as to the nature of the injury to the physiology experts, but "not good" is my diagnosis.  If he hurt severely, it's terrible luck.  He was set to start the year with Taylor Hall and Ales Hemsky - top-shelf wings who can get a play-making center 60 points.  To see the sequence, click play on the replay above. Go to 1:10:00.
  • Teemu Hartikainen found the cheat codes for the Battle of Alberta tonight.  At the end of the first period, his stat line read two takeaways, three hits.  He added another takeaway and two hits in the second.  The third saw him add three shots, another hit, another takeaway and a pretty touch pass to Hopkins for a scoring chance. The total damage was three shots, four takeaways, six hits and he was a physical force all night long.  It was prototypically Finnish.
  • The top defensive pairing on the penalty kill was Andy Sutton and Theo Peckham.  They both played a physical game and won pucks, but both had difficulty moving the puck up to the forwards and/or clearing the puck on their own.  The forwards were working hard to get low and wide for them and cleared the puck on their own a few times. With Ryan Whitney's health in doubt, those two could end up as the top penalty kill pairing for an extended period and will struggle.
  • I'd forgotten how fun it is to watch Taylor Hall play hockey and forgot his penchant for swooping around the ice like a bird of prey.  On the backcheck, on the forecheck, in the neutral zone or with the puck, he swoops back and forth, constantly worrying the opposition until he gets the puck or until he shoots the puck.  All of that raw athleticism was on display tonight and how does he score?  Cleaning up a rebound.
  • Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins were both hit hard in this one and while Hopkins shook it off, Hall did not.  He tried to line up Mark Giordano but missed.  It's nice to see him stick up for himself, but with the way his season ended in 2011, he needs to keep his head when that happens.
  • Anton Lander and Taylor Hall on the penalty kill?  Alright by me.  Hall should be on the ice as much as possible and as long as it's pre-season, get him the work.  With his raw ability and agility, he could be fantastic short-handed with a little work.
  • Andy Sutton used the lob to clear the zone twice, both times it was tracked down by an Oiler because the Flames defender was struggling to handle the lob. 
  • The Oilers limited the Flames to just 17 shots on goal and outshot them 29-17.  The Flames seemed like they had an inordinate amount of scoring chances on Nikolai Khabibulin, but the Flames actually had 11.  The Oilers gave up scoring chances on 64% of their shots.  Last season, the Oilers gave up chances on 63% of shots on goal.
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