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Oilers Fail First Test Without Taylor Hall

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The Oilers sans-Hall dropped their first of a five game road trip against the Flyers.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Change was in the air tonight as the Edmonton Oilers looked to start their five game road trip on a high note against the Philadelphia Flyers. Viktor Fasth and Oscar Klefbom drew into the lineup, while Andrew Ference began his three game suspension and Taylor Hall nursed a sprained MCL.

First Period: Gross

0:45 David Perron with a controlled zone entry that leads to a shot on net and a penalty against the Flyers. Arcobello looks to be in pain after getting tripped up. He stays on the bench.

2:00 Lots of neutral zone pressure from the Flyers on this PP. The Oilers are having a hard time connecting with their passes to gain the zone.

3:59 After a rough defensive zone shift, Jakub Voracek puts a wraparound in off Viktor Fasth’s skate. The Flyers are playing three guys high and the Oilers are having difficulty getting in the passing lanes and applying pressure.

6:30 Martin Marincin with a good stick to break up a back door feed.

7:40 Voracek puts a wraparound off the post, nearly makes it 2-0 for the Flyers. It’s wake up time for the Oilers.

9:00 Marincin comes back with speed to beat Wayne Simmonds to the puck and bail out Jeff Petry on a bad pinch.

12:00 Arcobello makes a nice move in the neutral zone to beat a checker and create a 3-on-2. Purcell feeds it over to Petry who gets a quick one-timer off in the slot. Mason with the save.

12:45 RNH beats two Flyers to a soft feed from Eberle and gets it back to him. Eberle is tied up and can’t get a good shot off.

16:04 Voracek picks up the puck after a Petry shot block and puts away his second of the game. Mark Arcobello and David Perron were in the vicinity, but neither could get a stick on the puck.

18:00 Petry makes a nice play breaking up a pass in front of Fasth to prevent a scoring chance. Petry then takes puck and carries it out of the zone.

The Oilers outshot the Flyers 11-8 in the first, but that’s far from the whole story. Philadelphia has 20 5v5 shot attempts to Edmonton’s 14. Edmonton is having a hard time breaking up the Flyers cycle and taking away their passing lanes, and had to block nine shots in the first just to keep themselves in it.

Second Period: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Is Good

2:30 Draisaitl gives the puck to Simmonds on a soft play along the boards in the neutral zone. The Flyers come back the other way, gain the zone, and get another SA.

4:09 Oscar Klefbom makes a good play to stop the puck up and shield it along the end boards, but then sends it into the corner where Bellemare beats RNH to it and send it up to VandeVelde in the slot. He puts it on net and it trickles in. As the Flyers go up 3-0 early in the second, I think of Connor McDavid and immediately hate myself for it.

9:54 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins puts the team on his back. He goes end to end off a nifty pass from Jordan Eberle, flat out beats the defender when he cuts to the inside, and makes a beautiful move to put it past Mason. Now 3-1 for the Flyers.

12:01 Luke Schenn is left curiously alone out at the hashmarks of the right circle. Brayden Schenn gets it out to him from behind the net. Not an Oiler near Luke on the play. Ugly, ugly, ugly.

12:30 Hendricks and Rinaldo do some face punching.

13:03 Simmonds is off to the box for bopping Marincin with his elbow.

16:00 David Perron keeps the puck on a 2-on-1 and gets a solid shot off from the slot. Mason with the stop.

17:15 The Oilers’ top line has a period of sustained pressure in the Flyers zone, get a couple attempts on Mason.

17:50 Yakupov to Draisaitl to Perron on a 3-on-2 but Mason makes an incredible save. Oilers can’t buy one.

The Oilers seemed to come alive a bit at the end of the second, but one gets the feeling this will be a case of "too little, too late." Thanks to score effects, the Oilers lead with a CF% of 53.33 at 5v5.

Third Period: Nothing Doing

4:45 David Perron muscles his way in front of Mark Streit and draws a holding call as he crashes the net. If the Oilers have any intention of coming back, this is a good place to start.

5:30 Perron nearly puts away a rebound off a Nail Yakupov blast. It was there, but he couldn’t get it onto his stick.

7:15 Fasth with a huge save on Umberger on a 2-on-1.

9:50 Mark Arcobello puts a puck off the crossbar.

10:00 Nick Schultz is called for tripping up Benoit Pouliot. Let’s have another go at this, yeah?

11:30 The Oilers' first powerplay unit is passing well and getting plenty of pucks towards the net—just not IN the net.

13:45 Mark Fayne looks like he takes a puck off the face, but stays out there and finishes the shift.

In Conclusion: No Taylor? Nice Try.

Viktor Fasth had a rough first game back after injury, posting a save percentage of .840 and allowing four goals on 25 shots.

The Pouliot-Eberle-RNH led the team while trailing for almost the entire game, all posting CF% numbers at 5v5 in the low 60s.

The Oilers cannot compete without Taylor Hall, and that’s a problem. Sportsnet mentioned during the broadcast that the Oilers are 11-24-10 with Hall out due to injury.

What a miserable state of affairs.