The Oilers hope to regain some of the offence they had in the first 10 or so games of the season against the visiting Rangers, tonight. The Rangers have been going through some offensive struggles of their own, as of late, having only scored 5 goals in their last 4 games. Both teams will be looking for a bit of a rebound. The Oilers have been on a horrible slide, having only one game (in shootout) of their last 6, after starting out 6-2-1 on the season.
The Oilers are hoping for some secondary scoring from Comrie, who returns to the line up tonight, as well as O’Sullivan who will be tried at his natural center position tonight. In addition, Gagner returns to the top line at center, as Horcoff is out with a shoulder injury. Check the game notes for more information on that and several other injury updates.
Edmonton Oilers Projected Line-Up
Penner – Gagner – Hemsky
Comrie – O’Sullivan – Nilsson
Moreau – Cogliano – Pisani
MacIntyre – Brule – Stortini
Grebeshkov – Gilbert
Chorney – Visnovsky
Strudwick – Staios
Opponents Projected Line-Up
Prospal – Anisimov – Gaborik
Avery – Dubinsky – Callahan
Higgins – Boyle – Voros
Byers – Drury – Kotalik
Girardi – Staal
Redden – Gilroy
Del Zotto – Rozsival
- Early word from Quinn on that is that “page 2 of the trainer’s handbook” says 7 to 10 days for Horcoff’s shoulder injury.
- Ryan Stone looks to be 10 to 14 days away.
- Steve Staios returns to the line up tonight. Never a fan of him being paired with Strudwick, but good to see him back, as his loss was bigger than most people in the Oil world would admit, save for the coaches. Staios says he feels pretty good now. “I feel energized again. You realize how much you miss the game when you’re sitting out. You realize how privileged you are to be playing in the league and I’m really excited about getting back in.”
- Sheldon Souray was on the ice today, having a solo skate and is starting to do light workouts. This is great news, but doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be back any time soon. Hopefully things continue to be positive with him.
- You may have noticed that Smid isn’t mentioned above.. he could be back for tonight’s game (gameday decision, I’m sure), but he missed the last practice due to illness.
1ST PERIOD SUMMARY
15:28 – NYR – Higgins from Gilroy, Staal
Higgins gives and goes with GIlroy and gets the pass back in the circle to Khabi’s right and snaps it into the net.
- MacIntyre gets into Quinn’s doghouse for taking a hooking penalty in the offensive zone.
- Callahan undresses Strudwick and gets a shot off on goal. Khabi mishandles it and kicks a juicy rebound in the slot for Boyle who shoots it off the backup goaltender, Steve Staios. But later on the play, Higgins proves he can’t stop them all.
- The Oilers didn’t get a single penalty in Long Island, but they have three powerplays in the 1st period.
2ND PERIOD SUMMARY
10:36 – NYR – PPG – Callahan from Del Zotto, Kotalik
Del Zotto throws the pass to the slot where Callahan manages to tip it through some bodies and past Khabibulin.
14:52 – EDM – Visnovksy from Hemsky
Visnovsky gets it at the point and skates all the way down to the goal line and fires a backhand past Valiquette
16:37 – NYR – PPG – Kotalik from Gaborik, Prospal
Gaborik fires a pass from the corner, goalline to the face off dot to Khabibulin’s right, and Kotalik wires it past the netminder.
- Prospal stands up Gagner at the Oilers blue line on a break out and nearly knocks the moustache off Gagner’s face.
- Visnovsky gets one great chance on the Oilers first full powerplay in the 2nd on a cross ice pass on which he skates in and shoots it, but Valiquette has all angles covered well.
- Penner blasts a shot from 40 feet out, but Valiquette snaps the leather, doing his best Grant Fuhr impersonation.
- Hemsky puts his usual clinic on, dangling into the dangerous region right in the slot but he gets a wiff of a shot off as his stick path was partially blocked.
- Comrie sets up Stortini beautifully giving him a chance on an almost completely open net, but he heels it wide as the pass wasn’t quite in the wheel house.
- Another offensive zone penalty (at least three tonight) for the Oilers as Pisani gets caught for holding.
3RD PERIOD SUMMARY
7:31 NYR – PPG – Gaborik from Kotalik, Prospal
Kotalik fires it from the point and it barely trickles through Khabibulin. Gaborik barely beats to Grebeshkov to the puck and taps it in.
10:17 EDM – Comrie from O’Sullivan, Brule
O’Sullivan digs hard into the zone and can’t quite get a shot off. But he turns and backhands a pass to the net where Comrie is there to put it in.
- Hemsky still firing on all cylinders tonight. He likes to put on clinics versus Eastern Conference teams. Early in the period he dekes through into the Rangers territory and gets a pass to Gagner who almost tips it in.
- Pisani gets tagged with a 4-minute High Sticking penalty.
- Penner gets a great short-handed chance going one on two, deking his way into the crease and nearly getting a goal. Great hands displayed there.
- Moreau takes a horrible penalty in the offensive zone, bowling over Gilroy from behind, in front of the net when the puck is nowhere near him.
- The Oilers do manage to kill off this PP quite well.
- With 2:15 left in the game, with the puck in the Rangers zone and the Oilers getting a free time out due to glass repairs, the Oilers pull Khabibulin.
Not a lot of positives tonight. The Oilers played an OK game. Not a really bad game, but not a good game either. The Oilers took some really stupid penalties though. MacIntyre took one early on and didn’t see a minute of ice time for it. Moreau took one in the third with the team down by two, and he is out in the final minute of the game. A bit of favoritism there.
The top line looked pretty good, as per usual, thanks to Penner and Hemsky. Both were their usual selves and looked like top line skill players, but it wasn’t enough and neither could put any points up. It was also good to see Staios back, although I will again say that him and Strudwick are not a good pairing. But Staios did look good tonight. O’Sullivan earned the second star tonight, and looked good at center on the second line. It was also great to see Comrie back tonight too.
Special teams were the story tonight. The Rangers powerplay looked good (thanks to Kotalik and Gaborik and Prospal) and the Oilers powerplay fell very flat again tonight. Back to the drawing board, folks.