The Oilers came into tonight's game 4-3-3 in their last 10 games. The Predators were 4-6-0 in their last 10. The Oilers were looking to move out of 29th spot (not in the cards tonight) in the the NHL while the Predators were looking to surpass Ottawa and Carolina in the standings. This wouldn't be Nashville's night as the Oilers beat them 5-1.
After a few suggestions from some commentors I decided to change things up a bit in tonight's post game review. I will still include the highlights and some of the regular segments but I'm going to introduce the game notes section going forward. Essentially what I am doing is taking hand written notes during the game and use them as talking points. Let me know what you think.
4:26: The Predators took a too many men on the ice pentalty and almost immediately the Predators got another short handed chance. Not liking what he had seen from his power play units up to that point, Dallas Eakins decided that a power play featuring Luke Gazdic, Boyd Gordon and Matt Hendricks would be the best option. In that time the Oilers looked pretty good as Justin Schultz took two slap shots and although he didn't score on them he really made a point with them.
11:46: Mark Fraser took a stupid penalty as anyone would expect. Luckily the penalty killers were able to get the job done and kill it off.
14:59: Patric Hornqvist got the best chance of the period to score a goal as Viktor Fasth stopped the original shot but the puck trickled through him and Fasth was able to make the save. The strange thing about this was that Fasth didn't make the initial attempt to stop the puck. Instead he decided to throw out his glove and hold Hornqvist and stopped him from getting the goal. Really Fasth should've gotten a penalty.
17:07: Andrew Ference gets called for tripping on Hornqvist even though it really didn't look like a penalty. Anyway the Oilers' PK went to work and once again killed it off.
19:25 (GOAL): Taylor Hall picked the puck off at centre ice and carried it into the zone. He was able to get the puck to David Perron who got the puck to Martin Marincin. Marincin shoots the puck and Peka Renne let out a juicy rebound that Sam Gagner was able to bury. An interesting note is that Hall was not given a point on the goal therefore reducing his IPP.
3:51: Nick Spaling hits the post with a shot
6:39: Edmonton heads to the power play. The power play looked a lot better than it had the past couple attempts. Justin Schultz hit the cross bar and there were a few shot attempts.
8:18 (GOAL): With the power play winging down Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored his first goal in 16 games on a wide open net from a beautiful pass from Jordan Eberle.
8:29: Immediately after the power play Boyd Gordon got called for tripping. Although the Oilers allowed 2 shots on net the penalty killers were still able to kill it off.
14:48 (GOAL): Things got kind of stupid at this point. Taylor Hall scores but the puck immediately bounced out of the net. The referee waived the goal off because it appeared to hit the crossbar and bounce out. Play continued for 1:16 in which time Mark Fraser got a holding penalty. At the original 3:56 the whistle blew when the Oilers touched the puck. The play was reviewed and it was determined that Hall had scored. The Oilers went up 3-0 but Fraser was still assessed a penalty. The clock was also reset to the 14:48 (5:12) mark of the period which is a strange rule but not much I can do about it. Also the Oilers killed off the penalty.
18:39 (GOAL): Nashville scores. Gabrielle Bourque scores even strength after almost every player on the ice crashed the net. For what it's worth even with the extra time added to the period there still would have been 5 seconds left in the period at this point so no one can really bitch about it.
With the Oilers up 3-1 one would have expected score effect to kick in and the third period should've belonged to Nashville. That wouldn't really be the case.
6:38: Michael Del Zotto took an interference penalty
8:38 (GOAL): The penalty to Del Zoto only had barely expired and Anton Lander was able to get the puck over to Eberle who scored his first of the game
10:01 (GOAL): Eberle gets a feed from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and scores a sharp angle goal on Peka Renne. That would also be the end of the game for Renne.
The rest of the period was protecting a 4 goal lead. With the exception of some pushing between Luke Gazdic and Rich Clune that was the game. The period ended with the two teams playing 4 on 4.
Game Rating: 9 out of 10
The Oilers had a great game. They were, if you pardon the cliché, firing on all cylinders. They were perfect on the penalty kill, nearly perfect as EV, they got great goal tending and they finally scored on the power play. With the exception of a few mistakes they played the perfect game.
The closest I could come to deciding on a momentum killer would have to be Mark Fraser. He took a couple dumb penalties that could've ended badly and changed the outcome of this game. Luckily he was bailed out by the penalty killers in this game.
The best defenseman in this game was easily Martin Marincin. This kid has played better than anyone could have expected of him. His stick skills are some of the best I've seen by an Oilers' defender in years. He can make passes and plays the puck like a veteran defenseman.
The best forward in this game was Jordan Eberle, even before he scored his two goals he was still driving the play.
This is another section I will be adding to the post game reviews as requested by commenters.
Tonight I'll talk about the newbie Oscar Klefbom. I don't think we'll see Klefbom's name in the highlight reels any time soon. He plays a very smart game almost to the point that you don't notice him. He can move the puck but still makes the mistakes that you'd expect a rookie defenseman to make. Tonight he played a very quiet game but still made the plays he had to make. By eye one can tell that he is still learning but if he keeps up his performance he'll be a good defenseman in this league. He isn't an elite talent but could probably be a really good second pairing defenseman in the next few years. As long as the Oilers don't play him outside of his level he will be good.
When I say that you don't notice him don't misinterpret that as him not being a good player. In fact if he can keep this up he may be the defenseman that Oilers need. He isn't making huge mistakes or taking stupid penalties. He is playing a smart game that makes a difference but doesn't show up on the score board.
The Oilers now have 59 points. They are only 3 points away from surpassing their worst seasons. If they want to secure that though they will have to do that in the next 2 games because after that it will be a battle up hill.
Great another battle of the bottom! The Oilers face the Buffalo Sabres at home on Thursday. If the Oilers can keep up the pace they set in tonight's game they should be able to get another 2 points but that is a big if because we know what this team can do.