The Edmonton Oilers completed another 2-1 week last night with a disastrous 5-1 beating at the hands of the Nashville Predators. Typically a 2-1 week is a good week, however, when the loses you have to give are few and far between, a loss is big.
The week started last Thursday as the Oilers played the third game of their five game home stand. The game started with an early goal by Andrew Cogliano. Only 47 seconds into the game, the Oilers were up 1-0; a great way to start the game.
The rest of the first period was fairly even with both teams taking a penalty and the shots favoring the Oilers 9-8. It was the 8th shot for the Kings that made the difference for them though as Kings sensation, Anze Kopitar, roofed a shot over Mathieu Garon's shoulder into the roof of the net.
An even period ended even at one goal apiece.
The second period was totally different as the teams combined for six goals. The Kings scored first at 4:56 as Patrick O'Sullivan blasted a shot by Garon. Ales Hemsky tied the game at 8:02 with a beautiful drive off the right boards to tuck a backhand by Dan Cloutier. That goal was followed by another only 1:01 later as Robert Nilsson scored on a back handed shot that fooled Cloutier.
The Oilers had the lead at 3-2, but that only lasted 57 seconds as the goals came fast and furious. This time it was Dustin Brown finding the twine with a great wrist shot. It was 3-3 halfway through the game.
The Oilers took the lead again at 16:52 as Hemsky again found the back of the net, this time with a wrist shot that Cloutier didn't see as Dustin Penner was screening in front of the King's net.
Only 1:08 later the Oilers increased their lead to 5-3 as Fernando Pisani took a Geoff Sanderson pass in full flight and easily ducked Cloutier and the net was all his to put the puck into. The second period had only one penalty to the Kings and the shots again favored the Oilers, this time by a 10-7 margin.
The third period was relatively quiet compared to the second. The Kings managed a short-handed goal at 11:13 while Rob Blake was serving a penalty for tripping to close the gap down to 5-4. That was as close as the Kings would get as Garon shut the door and the game ended 5-4. The Oilers extended their home winning streak to six games and were on a roll. The shots in the third period favored the Kings 11-8.
The week continued on Sunday as the Oilers hosted the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Jackets dominated the early part of the first period and got the games first goal at 16:39 as Rick Nash was left alone and easily beat Garon. As has been the way things have gone for the Oilers, they tied the game only 23 seconds later with Andrew Cogliano tipping a Sam Gagner shot that Pascal Leclaire had no chance on.
The first period ended tied with the Blue Jackets out-shooting the Oilers 12-7. Both teams were also called for a penalty in the period.
The second period was again dominated by Columbus as they again out-shot the Oilers 12-7 but neither team was able to put a puck in the net. The penalties were again even at three penalties for each team.
The third period again saw some rapid fire scoring with the Blue Jackets grabbing the lead at 10:26 on a goal by ex-Oiler Jason Chimera. The Oilers tied the game up only 1:25 later as Ales Hemsky again found the back of the net. The Oilers took the lead 20 seconds after that goal on one of the strangest goals you will ever see. Steve Staios took a shot from the point. Pascal Leclaire had moved outside the blue paint to take the angle away as he should but as the shot was taken, Columbus forward Manny Malhotra stuck his stick in the way. The puck deflected off his stick, up about 20 feet in the air, and with Leclaire trying to pluck it out of the air, the puck came down, nicking the crossbar and falling into the net. It seemed like that shot took 4-5 seconds to reach the net.
Then with 2:39 on the clock, another ex-Oiler, Dick Tarnstrom stole the puck from ex-Blue Jacket, Curtis Glencross in the Oilers zone and his wrist shot beat Garon high over his shoulder.
For the second time in three games the Oilers would have to go to overtime or the shootout. On this night the overtime would solve nothing with both teams having three shots. Even a late penalty to Columbus wasn't enough for the Oilers to win.
The Oilers were again masterful in the shootout with Mathieu Garon stopping all three Columbus shooters and Ales Hemsky beating Leclaire for the victory. That was the 14th shootout victory for the Oilers and increased their NHL record. Mathieu Garon has also turned into some sort of miracle goalie in the shootout as he has now stopped 30 of 32 shots he has faced in the shootout this year.
Last night was the fifth and final game of the Oilers home stand. Nashville was in town having beaten the Oilers seven straight games including three in a row in Edmonton.
This game was going to be no different. The Oilers, for some reason, just can't play against the Predators. The Preds scored at 55 seconds to put them on their way and added two more in the first period to put the game away.
Nashville started the second period exactly like the first as they scored at 54 seconds. The Oilers did manage to score a goal five minute late to close the gap somewhat but any thoughts of a comeback were crushed four minutes later as the Predators continued their mastery over the Oilers.
That was it for the scoring. All the damage was done in the first half of the game.
The one positive thing from the game was the goal by Tom Gilbert. The goal was his tenth of the season and it broke the Oiler team record for goals in a season by a rookie defenseman. The previous record of nine was set by Hall of Fame defenseman, Paul Coffey.
The game left me with a few questions. First was: what the heck happens to the Oilers when they play the Predators? They fold up like scared little children. It’s unbelievable that one team can dominate like that.
The second is: again what was with some of the officiating? What happened to the rule about jerseys being tied down properly? The Predator's Darcy Hordichuk had a good fight with the Oiler's Zach Stortini. By the end of the fight, Hordichuk was missing his jersey and almost all his pads yet he received just a fighting penalty. Another had to do with a 2-on-1 the Oilers looked to have with Gagner and Nilsson. Nilsson was clearly interfered with a pulled down as he was trying to escape to take a pass from Gagner but there was no call.
The Oilers are now down to 15 games and head off to Columbus for the start of a two game road trip