EDM Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 16 (Jordan Eberle) 7:40
EDM Taylor Hall 27 (PP) (Shawn Horcoff, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins) 19:55
EDM Linus Omark 2 (EN) (Assists: Ryan Smyth 25) 18:27
9:20 Edmonton interference - 2 min L. Smid drawn by R. Umberger
3:20 Columbus hooking - 2 min J. Wisniewski drawn by J. Eberle
8:55 Edmonton high-sticking - 4 min T. Hall drawn by C. Atkinson
17:15 Columbus too many men on ice - 2 min Bench served by C. Gillies
19:49 Columbus high-sticking - 2 min C. Atkinson drawn by L. Smid
0:36 Columbus puck over glass - 2 min R. Nash
1:09 Edmonton hooking - 2 min A. Hemsky drawn by D. Boyce
Shots On Goal - Oilers 27 BlueJackets 22
- It sure does feel good to win, even on as small of a level as tonight's win was. The Oilers played well tonight, even if the offensive execution wasn't quite as high as one would like it to be. The team structure and the dedication to the defensive end were the keys to the in tonight. Vets keeping pucks out of the net plus kids scoring should have been a template for the Oilers this year, but somewhere along the way, it all went wrong. Either the vets were overplayed and couldn't keep up with the demand, or the vets stopped buying in, either way, its a damn shame. The kids haven't stopped scoring this year and to me, they are the least of the worries. What the Oilers need going forward is pay attention to detail, muscle at forward especially in the top 9, and mobility on the backend. Its hard to be to excited about this victory when Columbus is icing 2/3rds of an AHL lineup and have very little emotional investment in this game. They likely needed to lose this game more than the Oilers did because they need help all over the ice. The lines are still a little disjointed, the Oilers have no checking line, but didn't need one tonight because Rick Nash was the only scoring threat they have and he seems to have checked out. As much as everyone wants to tell me that Hall and Hemsky have all kinds of chemisty, I don't see it. I see two guys that want the puck and Hemsky doesn't do much without it. Besides, I'd rather have Hall make the plays which renders Hemsky useless. Jones-RNH-Eberle has some decent dimension but doesn't have the sticks lined up for any quick shots, its more of a cycle line. A win is a win is a win is a win. Good on the Oilers for manning up tonight.
Player of the Game:
- Devan Dubnyk. I always feel obligated to give the POTG to goaltenders when they get a shutout, even it felt like it was of the Chris Osgood variety. Dubnyk made the saves when he was called on, but it was more likely the defense were more stars of the game. Keeping everything to the outside and forcing Columbus to generate offense from the outside. It was the type of formula the Oilers had success with early in the season. The centers didn't cheat for offense and the defense kept themselves between the puck and the net all night. The Oilers could use another puck rushing Dman to keep the other teams forwards honest. There is a winning formual in here somewhere but it relies all on the centers and how they play. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall deserve honorable mention here.
Goat of the Game:
- Sam Gagner. Just as expected, once Ryan Nugent-Hopkins came back in the lineup, Sam Gagner's offense has gone into the tank. It's not really his fault, he's more at the mercy of the system and how the team is built. The Oilers really badly need two-way play from their centers and cheating for offense cannot tolerated. Gagner is really trying to work hard at both ends of the ice but what happens is he becomes subpar at both ends because of it. The Oilers are going to need more size down the middle in the future and it will likely come at the expense of Sam Gagner.
Next Game - Friday March 16, 2012 vs. Flames @ Rexall Place on Sportsnet West 7:30 PM MT.