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Oilers' Battle Falls Short, Lose 4-1 to Wild

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Paajarvi with the lone goal tonight sets the Oilers free of their PP woes, well their drought.
Paajarvi with the lone goal tonight sets the Oilers free of their PP woes, well their drought.

Ah, the Minnesota Wild in town to face your Edmonton Oilers. It's a Tuesday night and you might have "chosen" to watch the biggest loser instead of the Oilers game. Is that show even still on on Tuesdays? All I know of that show is that a large number of my Tuesday night group cycle class love that show. Or maybe you watched the Oilers' game. As this season progresses I know that less and less of my friends are seeing games all of the way through. So, don't despair I will try to make it easier for you to enjoy these games and try to help you put that positive spin back into the game.

Like the game itself, you will have to endure the not so good to find the positives but they do exist. Sometimes you have to dig a little deeper or change your expectations but I think it's possible for those who want to to take a positive even from this game.

The first period started out well enough, you know, for the first ten seconds or so. Then, Matt Cullen pulled a "spinorama" in front of Nikolai Khabibulin and scored. It's funny that I don't remember seeing that move very often and thinking it was amazing. Then of course Linus Omark pulled it off in the shootout, and now it's everywhere. It seems the spinorama is the new blue car. You know what I mean? You buy a blue car thinking it will stand out and suddenly you see them everywhere. The spinorama blue car, that's what things have come to.

Brent Burns was the next to score with his quick release from the point that made it through at least four bodies and eluded Khabibulin. The Oilers were down by 2.  Minnesota took the only two penalties of the period, but you guessed it, the Oilers did not score on either one. Nope, that now makes it 39 PP chances and 0 goals. I think that means the Oilers are winning the longest string of PP minutes without a goal. If I'm mistaken, please let me know, but I bet this is yet another win for the Oilers even if the Islanders had a 12 game streak without a PPG. According to Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun and in an article that I think reads similar to something I would write the Oilers have broken a team record for games without a PP goal. If the Oilers was the all time record for games without a PP goal, they just have to stick it out for 15 games to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 14 game record which was set in 1997-98.

The winning streak for the Oilers continued through the second period. The Wild took 4 penalties through the scoreless period, and the Oilers remain unbeaten in the longest streak without a PP goal competition. The news for the Oilers did get worse however. Ales Hemsky left the bench and the Sportsnet announcers remarked that it was nothing too serious, and Oilers fans waited. During intermission fans learned that Hemsky is out with a concussion now. Super! OK, that is awful news for Oilers fans. The surprising thing about the now 40 minutes that have passed without scoring is that the Oilers had out chanced the WIld in both periods; 11 to 8 and 12 to 7.

The third period... well by this time the pain was almost over, or the excitement of getting closer to the top of the bottom pile was ending. Half empty or half full, it's completely your choice. The Oilers did successfully kill off the man advantage that the Wild had the beginning of the third. In fact it was of course immediately after a successful PK that Tom Gilbert couldn't keep his balance, and caused a turnover. The next thing that happened was some happy people in Minnesota thanks to Pierre-Marc Bouchard who made it a 3-0 game.  Those people were made even happier thanks to another Minnesota goal, this time scored 5 seconds into one of Theo Peckham's penalties. You see, there was a lot of kerfuffle; I'm not even going to try to sort it out for you. It seems the Oilers got a little emotional, tempers flared and there were a couple of odd fights. The Wild ended up with the man advantage and it was indeed an advantage as the Wild were up 4-0 on the Oilers.

On the final power play of the evening, it was the Oilers with the man advantage. I can hardly believe what happened next, but I'll take it. My favourite Oiler of the year, Magnus Paajarvi scored the power play goal that broke the streak. I will get over the fact that the Oilers will not have another new record on this season as I love seeing Paajarvi find success in his game.

So, the Oilers lose, but:

  • 1. Were not shut out
  • 2. Were nearly 100% on the PK for the evening (only 1 goal allowed)
  • 3. Out shot the Wild 32-26
  • 4. Scored a PP goal
  • 5. Were 50% in faceoffs!!!!!!!!!

So, like it or not the last three were MAJOR victories. If you were breaking the hockey rule of yelling "shoot" like I was during the last Oilers game, you likely were shouting something else tonight. We don't really need to go into details about what some people were shouting.

It was good to see Peckham, Smid and Stortini showing frustration and aggression. Penner is still battling in front of the net while the Oilers are on the power play, maybe this one goal will lead to many more in the near future and Penner will be ready to tip in or deflect and pucks that may come his way. Paajarvi was all over the ice and I don't think it was a surprise that it was he to break the streak.

The Oilers will miss Hemsky while he is out with injury, but Horcoff could be back soon. Shawn Horcoff, Jim Vandermeer and Jordan Eberle are all listed as day to day. If nothing else, this gives Oilers fans an extending look at players such as Liam Reddox and Linus Omark.

Up next is the second of three weekly meetings with the Dallas Stars. This could be more exciting lottery hockey my friends.