Life must be pretty good when you’re playing a star like Taylor Hall on the third line.
How was Taylor Hall’s first game back from injury? Well, actually it wasn’t magical.
There were some questions about where he would fit into the lineup. The first line of Pouliot-Nuge-Eberle has been deadly lately and the best in the league on the powerplay. So if it ain’t broke… Then of course no one’s going to touch the chemistry between Derek Roy and Nail Yakupov on the second line. So the Oiler’s superstar found himself playing on the third line with Anton Lander and Oklahoma call-up Andrew Miller.
His first period in particular looked especially creaky but by the third period he was having a bigger impact on the ice. Looks like we’ll still have to wait for the dive-at-every-loose-puck electric energy we’ve come to expect from him. There’s no hurry. He still has the third most amount of points among the Oilers despite not playing in the past 20 games.
Flyers goalie Steve Mason left the ice during warm-up, handing the game over to second stringer Ray Emery. Reports said Mason wasn’t feeling well, and this comes amidst drama and discontent around how Flyers coach Craig Berube has treated Mason.
So when Ray Emery enters the game with a save percentage of .892 against Ben Scrivens weighing in with a save percentage of .896, and with both teams struggle to pile much of anything up at the blueline, you can hear people betting on the over from across the internet.
This game was ultimately a battle between Nuge-Eberle vs. Giroux-Voracek, some of the NHL’s highest scoring players that won’t be in a playoff game.
There was some fun back-and-forth. There were some nerve wracking moments when the Oilers defence looked mesmerized by Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek. Just when the Oilers looked strung up against the ropes they’d somehow pop in a goal and find themselves back in the game. Teddy Purcell had a couple standout shifts culminating in a goal and a couple other very tasty chances.
Ben Scrivens once again let in a very soft goal to start the game but managed to pull it together and made several very big saves when they mattered.
Giroux put in two goals while Voracek put up three assists in the game.
And Taylor Hall, like he can’t not get points, even got an assist on Nugent-Hopkins’ game-winner in overtime.
19:09 OILERS GOAL Ryan Nugent-Hopkins assisted by Jordan Eberle. Flyers defenseman mis-handles the puck while retrieving it behind the net. Eberle picks it up and puts it out in front. Nuge whacks it past a sprawling Emery. 1 - 0 Oilers.
15:35 FLYERS GOAL Claude Giroux assisted by Jakub Voracek. Scrivens shoulda had it. Giroux receives pass high in the slot and whips it five hole. Tied 1 - 1.
14:21 FLYERS PENALTY Nicklas Grossman hooking drawn by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
13:52 OILERS PENALTY Taylor Hall interference drawn by Michael Del Zotto. Hall drops his stick and holds Michael Del Zotto back from the puck.
9:07 OILERS PENALTY Andrew Miller, too many men.
8:00 FLYERS POWERPLAY GOAL Claude Giroux assisted by Voracek, Simmonds. 2 - 1 Flyers.
5:43 FLYERS GOAL Ryan White assisted by Zac Rinaldo. TayloreHall tries to drop pass is back to Mark Fayne but it bounces over Fayne’s stick. Leads to a two-on-one with White and Rinaldo. 3 - 1 Flyers.
3:45 OILERS GOAL Teddy Purcell assisted by Derek Roy. 3 - 2 Flyers.
00:30 OILERS GOAL Matt Hendricks assisted by Andrew Ference. Oilers dump it in on the rush. Comes back to Ference who slaps it on Emery and Hendricks pats in the rebound. 3 - 3 Oilers
Shots Flyers 11 - Oilers 11
18:49 OILERS GOAL Jordan Eberle assisted by Benoit Pouliot. Pouliot picks up a puck and takes it out of the zone. Fun to watch Eberle put his head down and kick it right to the net right in time to receive the pass and put it it on off the backhand. 4 - 3 Oilers
17: 14 OILERS PENALTY Ben Scrivens slashing drawn by , served by Rob Klinkhammer. Retaliation after a big hit on Justin Schultz.
5:16 FLYERS PENALTY Nicklas Grossman interference drawn by Taylor Hall.
2:51 FLYERS PENALTY Jakub Voracek tripping drawn by Nikita Nikitin
Shots Flyers 7 - Oilers 11
19:14 FLYERS GOAL Michael Raffl assisted by Jakub Voracek, Mark Streit. Tied 4 - 4.
18:52 OILERS PENALTY Ryan Nugent-Hopkins tripping drawn by Wayne Simmonds.
11:27 FLYERS PENALTY Wayne Simmonds, too many men
Shots Flyers 10 - Oilers 9
2:14 OILERS GOAL Ryan Nugent-Hopkins assisted by Nikita Nikitin, Taylor Hall
Shots Flyers 3 - Oilers 3
Total shots Flyers 31 - Oilers 34
Coming up next
This Monday March 23rd at 7:30 GMT, the Oilers will need everything Hall can bring as they host Winnipeg Jets. Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec has enjoyed a resurgence, including a shutout against the Washington Capitals today. It will also be interesting to see if the Oilers play Luke Gazdic who was creamed by Dustin Byfuglien last time they met.