INSIDE HOCKEY » Edmonton Oilers Get Inside! Tue, 23 Sep 2014 21:28:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Photo Gallery: Oilers vs Hurricanes (3/16/14) Mon, 17 Mar 2014 14:48:51 +0000

Scoring Summary
1st Period
EDM 6:43 Matt Hendricks (5) ASSISTS: Boyd Gordon (13), Justin Schultz (18) EDM 1-0
CAR 19:42 Jordan Staal (14) ASSISTS: Eric Staal (36), Justin Faulk (21) TIED 1-1
2nd Period
3rd Period
EDM 9:01 Justin Schultz (9) (PP) ASSISTS: David Perron (23), Taylor Hall (41) EDM 2-1

• Edmonton won the season series, 2-0-0, while Carolina posted a 0-1-1 mark.
• J. Staal extended his point streak to a season-high six games (3/7-3/16: 3g, 6a). He owns seven points (3g, 4a) in seven career
games against the Oilers, including two goals in two contests this season.
• E. Staal now owns four assists in his last five games. He leads the team in points (36) and assists (36) this season. Staal has
recorded 11 points (4g, 7a) in nine career games against Edmonton, including two points (1g, 1a) in two games this season.
• Faulk now ranks fourth on the team in assists (21) and second among defensemen in points (24).
• Ben Scrivens made 29 saves to improve to 13-11-4 this season, including 6-6-0 with the Oilers.
• Schultz (1g, 1a) earned his third multi-point game and first power-play goal of the season.
• Hall registered three points (1g, 2a) in two games against Carolina this season. He owns seven points (2g, 5a) in his last seven
games overall.
• Perron now owns five points (2g, 3a) in his last six games.
• Hendricks’ goal was his first since Feb. 3 at Buffalo.
• Edmonton is now 9-11-2 this season when outshooting its opponent
• Carolina is 9-15-7 this season when outshot by its opponent

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Oilers Snap Rangers Win Streak Fri, 07 Feb 2014 04:29:04 +0000

NEW YORK – The Edmonton Oilers’ record of 20-33-6, last-place in the Western Conference, doesn’t quite indicate how dangerous they can be.

Their play, on the other hand, illustrated that quite clearly on Thursday night.

In a blink, Nail Yakupov, who’s had a sophomore season to forget after scoring 17 goals in 48 games during his rookie campaign last year, scored the go-ahead goal when he was left alone in the slot with 1:38 left in the third period.

Before Rangers goaltender Cam Talbot (29 saves) could react, the quick slapper was past him, Yakupov was celebrating, and the Oilers were a defensive stand away from snapping the Rangers’ four-game winning streak with a 2-1 win at Madison Square Garden.

It was Yakupov’s 11th goal in 54 games this season.

“I was actually quite glad that it was tied 1-1 going into the third period,” said first-year Oilers coach Dallas Eakins. “It’s one of those things you want your team to experience, to settle into that 1-1 game. Finally, we get rewarded.”

“The winning goal was five guys on the ice getting beat to loose pucks and them protecting the puck and finding the open man all alone in the slot, said Rangers coach Alain Vigneault. “There were five puck battles. We lost them all, and it ends up in the back of our net.”

Playing in the 6,000th game in franchise history, the Rangers (31-24-3) came out sluggish, and the Oilers made them pay three minutes in when Ryan Smyth pushed the puck past the goal line after David Perron’s shot bounced over Talbot’s shoulder and sat on the line.

“They came out and they scored the first goal,” Vigneault said. “I thought some parts of our game we were executing and playing fast, and some other parts we were standing still and watching them. We had some good chances prior to their goal, and didn’t hit the net. They buried theirs.”

“I don’t think, consistently through 60 minutes, we played the way we needed to,” said captain Ryan Callahan, who had a second-period shorthanded breakaway denied by Oilers goalie Ben Scrivens (35 saves). “We played kind of in spurts. We got opportunities; we need to score on them. That was the difference.”

The Rangers surged in the second period, scoring 22 seconds into the period when Derick Brassard scored off an Oilers’ defensive zone turnover. But that’s all the offense they got against Scrivens, who improved to 3-3-0 since joining the team in January.

“We said prior to the game they’re a good transition team with a lot of speed,” Callahan said. “We were a little sloppy through the neutral zone, and when you do that against a team like that, it’s going to cost you.”

“I thought we settled in [as the game went on],” Eakins said. “It was night and day from even a month ago. We were way more settled on the bench. There wasn’t a lot of panic on the ice, and I liked our patience.”


The Rangers are back in action Friday in Pittsburgh to wrap up their pre-Olympic schedule. The NHL’s roster freeze goes into effect at 3 p.m. Friday afternoon, at which point no roster moves can be made until February 23, after the Olympics end.

Ryan Callahan’s situation remains unsettled. There were multiple reports his agent, Steve Bartlett, planned to talk to Rangers general manager Glen Sather regarding a new contract. If there is no movement by Friday at 3 p.m., the NHL’s trade deadline is March 5. Sather is rumored to be investigating the possibility of trading his heart-and-soul captain, who will be an unrestricted free agent in July.

During a break in the first period, the Rangers honored the players from both teams heading to Sochi for the Olympics.

The Rangers had zero power plays in the game, the first time they haven’t had a man advantage since Dec. 15, 2011. It was just the third time since 1987-88 the Rangers played in a game when there was a total of two penalty minutes combined between the two teams.

Through 6,000 games, the Rangers have a record of 2,592-2,506-808-94. They’ve played 1,779 games at the current Madison Square Garden, going 935-600-200-44.


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Krejci, B’s Thump Oilers in Ference Return Sun, 02 Feb 2014 14:42:04 +0000

David Krejci might be having his best NHL season yet.

With 46 points in games, Krejci could very well pass his previous season high of 73 points back in 2008, establishing himself amongst the elite.

Many Bruins fans and media alike ponder why Krejci, who’s twice dominated the NHL playoffs in two Bruins runs to the Stanley Cup Finals, and was stellar in the 2010 Olympic games, cant produce as a point-per-game player throughout the regular season.

Some say he’s super clutch, thrives in big moments, and like his team, save’s his best for when it matters most. Others view it as a lack of motivation. Either way, Krejci has put it all together and been consistence in excellence from game one.

His passing is tremendous. He’s shooting more. His end-to-end game continues to improve dramatically.

Krejci has been a joy to watch, and that didn’t change against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.

In a scoreless first period, Krejci made things happen every time he was on the ice.

Creating both even-strength and power play chances, paired with an effective penalty kill shift, Krejci was one of the best players on the ice in the first as he continues to blossom as a player.

In the second period, after an early tripping call to Edmonton goaltender Ben Scrivens, Krejci put the Bruins up 1-0 with a power play tally.

After keeping the puck in the zone and setting up multiple one-timers for Jarome Iginla and others, Krejci was finally fed the puck for a shot of his own which deflected off an Edmonton player and into the net. Krejci singlehandedly kept the power play alive and was rewarded with his 12th goal of the season.

The Bruins never looked back.

A Dougie Hamilton wraparound, Carl Soderberg snipe, and Zdeno Chara to Torey Krug beauty on the power play made it 4-0 as the Bruins throttled the Oilers on home ice.

Edmonton couldn’t get anything going against the stout Bruins defensive system, limited to only 22 shots on net, while surrendering a hefty 41 shots against; never a recipe for success.

One of the big story lines from today’s game was the return of Andrew Ference, who got a tremendous standing ovation from the crowd and spoke about it postgame.

“It was nicer than the game,” joked Ference. “Obviously very well treated by the organization and the city while I was here and while I left and throughout this year too, it’s obviously a tremendous hockey city and the organization has been nothing but great to me so that’s very, very special.”

“I was pretty nervous before the game. [Bruins Assistant Director of Media Relations Eric] Tosi gave me the heads up that it was coming so I was ready for that.  Obviously a lot of memories and a lot of support, it’s hard not to obviously feel very welcomed and extremely appreciative.”

For Krejci, the Bruins, and Ference (despite the on-ice play) it was a day to remember.

Next in line for the black ad gold is a visit from their 2011 Stanley Cup rival the Vancouver Canucks, who thumped the Bruins to the tune of a 6-2 victory earlier this season.


Jarome Iginla 

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Brad Marchand 

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Photo Gallery: Oilers at Bruins (2/1/14) Sat, 01 Feb 2014 20:57:46 +0000

The Boston Bruins beat the Edmonton Oilers 4-0 Saturday afternoon in Boston. Chad Johnston earned his second career shutout with 22 saves.

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Jones Off to Quick Start Wed, 18 Dec 2013 17:16:01 +0000

Jonathan Quick is out. That’s the bad news. Martin Jones is impossible to beat. That’s the good news. The goalie of the moment, Jones, has never, ever, lost an NHL game? OK, so he’s played in only six, but with a perfect record and numbers that look like this coming into Tuesday–.99 GAA and .967 save percentage—he’s holding up his end of the backup-backup deal.

Who knew, when Bernier left, that the team would be playing without him or Quick at midway through the season? Nobody. Who would have thought that the Kings would be OK in that circumstance? Only the Kings’ management, which has, somehow, managed to build incredible goaltending depth for itself.

Here’s the detail on LA’s netminders as of now.

Jonathan Quick has something they call a “grade two” groin injury. He is skating in equipment at the Kings’ practice facility and has been doing so since last week, when the rest of the team was on the road. But he is not going to come back until he is absolutely pain-free, according to Coach Sutter, and that, speculation says, might be sometime around Christmas. The Kings, if you’re unfamiliar with the team’s schedule, play at home until the 23rd, when Dallas is in town. Then they go on the road for three games in four days leading up to the new year. That’s the 28th in Nashville, the 30th in Chicago, and the 31st in Dallas. They finish against the Blues in St. Louis on January 2nd.

Ben Scrivens, as is well known, came over from Toronto in the Bernier trade. He started the season as the backup to Quick, playing in a couple of brief relief appearances and then a win and a loss over the course of the team’s first dozen and a half games. He then started every game between mid-November and early December, amassing six wins, a loss, and four OT losses. He then had a slight injury and relinquished the net to Jones. He thus got to 7-2-4 before watching Jones take to the nets. Scrivens’ next played on the 15th of December against Chicago, facing forty shots and losing after letting in three goals.

For that, or despite it, he was on the bench again Tuesday in favor of Jones. Interesting stat on him: in his first two NHL games, he faced 28 and 16 shots. What does that tell you? That the team is tightening up defensively in front of him perhaps. But get this—the number went to 31, then twice to 39 as he carried on his rookie romp. On Tuesday against Edmonton, he stopped 24 shots, which was all of them.

On the help he has been getting, he commented after Tuesday’s game. “I’ve said it a hundred times. These guys have been unbelievable in front of me. The way they clear the net. There were a couple of plays in the first and second period that a lot of people wouldn’t notice where they made unbelievable plays in front of the net.”

For his start, he was named the NHL’s second star of the week last week. He went on a run, speaking of shots, where he faced 109 against Montreal, Toronto, and Ottawa. He let in just three goals. One of those games was a shutout (against the Habs), a pair to the one he’d had at home against the Isles the game before. Tuesday night makes the third, as the team beat the Oilers, 3-0.

What does Jones look like in net? Much the same as the prototype of today’s goalie. That is, lanky tall, athletic, flexible. You almost can’t tell him from Quick or Scrivens at a glance from the cheap seats. But once he gets moving in the nets, his style varies subtly from theirs.

He has a somewhat peculiar ready posture when the play is far from him. He stands upright, then kind of half crouches and leans his lower back against the crossbar. Often, he is standing upright. On chances, he holds his catching glove high. He goes to his knees to make most saves, as do so many netminders these days, and that’s where he differs from Quick somewhat. Where Quick is lightning on his splits and side-to-side movement, Jones appears to use a more set method which favors positioning over explosive movement.

He tends to hold his glove hand quite high, and he keeps his blocker hand in very tight to his body. To set for shots, he spreads his feet very wide. Sometimes, he has to reset them closer together. He stays up for a long while, then follows the shot down. When the puck comes, he often shrugs it off, pushing it up and out away from the net. He’s the typical product of genetics plus coaching which allows the modern goalie to make the saves using his equipment and perfect body positioning.

Where did he come from? Calgary. North Vancouver. One was home, one where he played his Junior hockey, with the Hitmen. He was undrafted when the Kings signed him in 2008, and promptly registered a record of 45-5-4 that year. He backed that up by going 36-11-1 the next season. He then put in three campaigns for the Kings in the AHL, posting almost even records in wins and losses over the past two years after having a very good first season.

Kings fans got behind him in his first game, played in Anaheim, which is often one-third full of LA fans when the two teams play. He went through sixty-four minutes allowing just two goals, and then faced nine rounds of shootout before finally taking the win.

Coach Sutter downplayed the contribution Jones has made early, saying, “As I’ve said before, we’re a tired hockey team, and our goalies shouldn’t be tired. So . . . they don’t have to play every game.”

Dustin Brown was more effusive in his praise. “The way our goaltending is playing shows the depth of the whole [organization]. Part of it is their preparation and their readiness. It’s a big hole with Quicky went out, but part of it has been that Drew [Doughty] has really elevated his game since [then]. When you have a defenseman who can control the pace of the game, it really helps.”

“The numbers are pretty amazing, but he’s come in and made the saves he needs to. I thought the shutout tonight was one of his harder ones. He made some really good saves for us,” Brown added.

Jones is taking the typical rookie attitude of keeping low key. “It’s my job to work hard in practice and to be ready when I’m called upon,” he said, adding, “At the end of the day, I need to keep my game in order and be ready to play.” Other than that, he didn’t say much. I tried to tempt him to it by asking what they call him in the room as a reflection to what the players call Scrivens, which is “Professor.” He said there’s nothing. “I’m not sure. I don’t have a good answer for that. Nothing like the professor. That’s a good one.”

On his game, he commented that he works on a lot of little things. When asked what those are, he said, “There’s a lot. Just little things. Not changing my game a whole lot to come up here, but just picking up the speed of everything. The game’s quicker. The shots are quicker.” I tried once more, but again he said, “Just cleaning up a lot of little details, rebounds.”

Aha! Finally, one thing. But he would not go further. Is there some kind of rule in the goalie union handbook? Is he trying to fly under the notice of opponents? Who knows. He did sum up his situation simply. “Just to make sure I’m at the top of it [his game].” The numbers say it best. After Tuesday’s shutout, Jones has a .82 GAA and a .972 save percentage. He is the only goalie in Kings’ history to win his first six game with the team.


Kyle Clifford, Willie Mitchell, and Daniel Carcillo were not in the LA Kings lineup on Tuesday night. Having Clifford out of the lineup gives the chance to a guy like Matt Frattin, drawing back in on the fourth line along with Linden Vey and Jordan Nolan. And Fraser’s being absent allows the Kings to dress Trevor Lewis, who came back from injury just at the time Fraser went out. Lewis found himself with Tyler Toffoli and Mike Richards, an offensive line of great potential.

Pond Hockey is my new novel. Please give it a read.

Follow me on twitter @growinguphockey

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Ducks Fly Away Winners Mon, 16 Dec 2013 21:33:08 +0000

The Anaheim Ducks have played just a game since winning on Monday night, that being yet another win, Wednesday with the Minnesota Wild in town. They were on the upper end of a 2-1 score, not quite the blowout they had against the prior two teams they’d played, the Islanders and the Blues, both of whom had gone down 5-2. Nonetheless, looking at the Ducks lineup of games over the past two weeks shows nothing but wins and OT points stretching back to November 26th, when they lost in Dallas , 6-3.

So it was that most of their 16,301 fans on a breezy and warm Sunday late afternoon (5pm local time start) expected another W, especially with the Edmonton Oilers in town. That team was on a two-game skid, having dumped one to Boston at home and then lost to the Canucks in Vancouver. They are now on a four-game road trip that takes them through the old West, all the way from LA to Colorado. Tough sledding for a squad which stares up at the rest of the West from its position at the dead end of the Pacific. They came in with just 11 wins against 20 losses.

The question for Ducks’ fans is when they will start to take their team’s good record for granted. The squad has had more than two handfuls of injuries this year thus far, with the defense most devastated. On Sunday, Francois Beauchemin and Mathieu Perreault came back, but Souray, Silfverberg, Sbisa, and Fasth are all out from weeks to months into the future. It hasn’t mattered, as they’ve found ways to win.

So with Beauchemin and Perreault returning, would the Ducks be a different team? They would have to be, though they clearly couldn’t be much better than they had been in the weeks prior. Going out to make space, for those who keep track of such things, were Mark Fistric and Tim Jackman, whose main strength is picking fights with people who either don’t want to fight him or who get paid to do so. His record this year in 18 games with Anaheim shows him with 58 PIMs. He was, as you might have guessed, a fourth-line fixture. With Perreault having joined Selanne’s line, the second, that dropped Nick Bonino to line four, where he got twelve minutes of action along with Patrick Maroon and Kyle Palmieri. They represent an interesting fourth trio, and maybe this is just where the West is going. Nobody fights. (Beleskey will do that if provoked, but as mentioned, he’s now looked at quite otherwise as a second-liner).

The line proved useful in netting the Ducks’ first goal on the evening. The play was a lazy clear by the Oilers defense, which Bonino was able to corral at the half wall and put low into the corner. The puck was picked up by Palmieri and tossed over to Maroon. He slammed a pass quickly to the slot to where Bonino had made his way, and he put it past Bryzgalov and into the net. It was coordination of a line of the highest order, and perhaps a bit of a message to the non-performing second line to shape up their game. Forcing the under-confident Oilers into mistakes is possible. They’ve got talent, but it’s not on the defensive end of the ice, a point that is easily exploited by their opponents.

The team entered Sunday with the league’s best home record at 12-0-2, and they had pasted their visiting guests in goals, 54-25. Thus it was that people expected a similar performance against the Oilers. They didn’t get it, though they did see their squad win again. About the performance that kept them from a home loss on the year, Dustin Penner said, “We were a lot more desperate after they tied it up [at 2-2].” He said that his line had not been good early, but that they were better later, true naturally since he scored the winning goal on a cross-slot wrist shot. “We haven’t had a lot of home games,” he indicated, “so we put a lot of emphasis on them.” He finished, “We weren’t mentally sharp early on, having had a lot of days off. We obviously had a lot of help. Hiller played great, Beauch[emin]. Teemu hadn’t scored in a while, and we [also] had a great contribution from the other three lines.”

The team as a whole was weak early and better late. They were outshot by the Oilers in period one, 14-8. They had a five minute power play in period two on a hit from behind by Potter of the Oilers. They got just four shots on net, and didn’t look good though they did almost pull even in shots at that point, 16-17. But it wasn’t until the latter part of the period, when Selanne got his first goal in a couple of months, that the Ducks looked committed to playing.

That goal was not just a shot off a flight down the wing. Selanne turned the puck up in the corner and went to the front of the net. The pass came out of the corner from Perreault, and Selanne took it from his skate to his stick and shot it past Bryzgalov.

He said after, “I’ve been waiting for a long time. Obviously, it’s a big relief. [But] it’s been easier because we’ve been winning.” He carried on to say that he’s had contact with friend and former teammate Paul Kariya, who texted him on Saturday. “Go to the net. Good things happen,” Kariya said. Selanne commented, “He knows. . . . When you’re used to scoring those pretty goals, sometimes you don’t go to those ugly areas. You have to remind yourself where the goals are scored these days. From the blue paint almost. You just have to go there. That’s my goal tonight.” He said that he just tried to shoot the puck as fast as he could, but that he wasn’t thinking at the moment that his goal had come.

“Hopefully we can get a few more,” he added. He also said that one person close to the team told him that maybe going to church would work. “If it works, it isn’t funny,” he said, but of course, while laughing.

Perreault said of the goal, “I was on the forecheck. Beleskey got the puck down low and I just saw him [Teemu] going down the slot, and I gave it to him. He kicked it to himself and put it in.” He said that he thought Selanne was feeling relief after having broken the drought he’d been in.

The winning goal, Penner’s, came with just over three minutes to go. Lindholm and Getzlaf assisted on it.

Aside from game action, here are some stories that Ducks watchers are keeping an eye on:

Corey Perry is scoring goals at a tremendous pace. The team played its 35th game Sunday night. The Peterborough native came in with 21 goals, including eight since American Thanksgiving, a span of seven games. On the night, he recorded no points and just one shot of the Ducks’ eventual 34 (Edmonton ended with 25).

The defense, as mentioned earlier, has had some guys in and out of the lineup, but one who is getting more time than perhaps he might have expected is Sami Vatanen, who was playing in his 27th game. He shared the team lead amongst defensemen for goals with three, backed up by four assists. His minutes hover up around 19 some nights, with his high coming in San Jose, 21:04. He is described in local press reports as feeling like he’s having an up and down season, that comment not being restricted to the fact that he was in the minors during mid-November.

Beauchemin was a steady force in his return, logging two seconds under 20 minutes. His coach said after that he appreciated his cool play, never more than when he slowly cleared a puck down the ice with about nine seconds to go and the empty net tempting him. Icing in that circumstance, of course, is a really bad mistake.

Dustin Penner is scoring at a rapid rate. Don’t panic. The world is not ending, at least as far as I am aware. But the big man who Randy Carlyle once said was best motivated by an electric cattle prod now has appeared in 24 games. He had 9-14-23 points coming in to the contest Sunday night before getting the winning goal already mentioned. He was in fine form after the game, giving deadpan answers to the questions reporters posed to him, basically refusing to play along with the game of giving them what they wanted. He did say that his goal was on a cross-slot shot designed to take advantage of where he was on the ice, which was the high left slot.

Ryan Getzlaf, as a captain is often expected to do, is leading the team in points. He has about a 1.10 ppg streak going, which obviously puts him right at 90 when the season ends. His contribution comes in almost balanced goals and assists, too, with the numbers looking like this: 16-22-38 coming into Sunday. He had an assist, which extended his official point streak to 14 games, longest in the NHL right now and the longest since Pascal Dupuis had a similar streak in 2012’s springtime.

Other Anaheim player movement of note includes both young phenoms, Emerson Etem and Devante Smith-Pelly, having been demoted to the minors once more. The former went down Thursday after having been recalled for three games, one of which he didn’t play in. His performance December 9th against the Isles saw him get 14:20 of ice time. Smith-Pelly has been gone since the end of November. He played a cluster of fifteen games before that, and then a sixteenth surrounded by two in which he did not dress.

Also sent down in the past week, David Steckel, who was up for just four games, netting about ten minutes per contest in fourth-line duty. His NHL career to date includes more than 400 games, but just 33 goals. He was a first-round pick, by the Kings, in 2001 (30th overall).

And since we’re on that draft, here are some names and numbers for you: 12 players in that draft have played fewer games than has Steckel. Three never suited up once in the league, and of those who did, 12 have fewer goals than Steckel (four of those being goalies, that’s not unnatural). The most notable name in the group, of course, is the first pick, Kovalchuk. After him came Spezza. Other recognizable monikers are Mike Komisarek, and Mikko Koivu. Forgotten? Jason Bacashihua, a goalie. He’s not gone, though. After playing in nineteen games each of two years with the Blues, he did lots of time in the AHL and is know in the DEL.

To return to the Ducks to finish, the team plays four straight on the road now leading up to Christmas. They’re in Detroit, then new Jersey, on the Island, and in Washington. Maybe while there, they’ll get a chance to see that big tree the Obamas have. Or maybe not. The next home game is not until the 28th, after which the team plays once more on the road. Then it’s home for four straight to open the new year.

Final Note

Christmas gift extraordinaire: one of my books. The newest is Pond Hockey, a novel.

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Photo Gallery: NHL Photos of the Month Wed, 04 Dec 2013 02:38:27 +0000

Here are the November 2013 NHL Photos of the Month from the photographers at Inside Hockey.

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Photo Gallery: Oilers @ Blue Jackets (11/29/13) Sat, 30 Nov 2013 14:00:35 +0000

The Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Edmonton Oilers 4-2 Friday, November 29, 2013 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, OH.  (Inside Hockey – Rachel Lewis)

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Photo Gallery: Oilers vs Flyers (11/09/13) Sun, 10 Nov 2013 03:39:58 +0000

The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the visiting Edmonton Oilers by a score of 4-2.

1st Mark Streit (#32 PHI)
2nd Claude Giroux (#28 PHI)
3rd Jay Rosehill (#37 PHI)

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Giroux Ends Drought, Flyers Beat Oilers Sun, 10 Nov 2013 03:08:02 +0000

In not the most glamorous of matchups, the Philadelphia Flyers held on to beat the Edmonton Oilers today, 4-2, at the Wells Fargo Center. Both teams came into today dead last in their respective divisions. The win was especially a huge relief for Flyers captain Claude Giroux, who finally scored his first goal of the season after missing scoring chances early on in the game – including a wide open net that went wide.

The goal came 11 minutes into the 3rd period as Giroux took the puck from his own zone, went coast to coast, made one move, and snapped a wrister stick side on Oilers’ goalie Devan Dubnyk to give the Flyers a 3-1 lead. It was as if a 300 lb monkey was lifted off of his back. To make the moment that much sweeter, Giroux’s goal came just 3 and a half minutes after Oilers’ Anton Belov earned a match penalty for a hit that targeted Giroux’s head.

After being shut out by the New Jersey Devils 3-0 on Thursday night, Giroux did not talk to the media following the game. He was heavily criticized and as the team captain, the criticism was probably deserved. But today was a different story. As Giroux entered the locker room after today’s win, he was all smiles. Flyers Chairman and owner Ed Snider greeted Giroux with a big hug and congratulated him on finally breaking his scoreless streak.

Although today will mostly be remembered because of Giroux’s first goal of the season and first goal since April 15, dating back to last season, this win was truly a team effort. Four Flyers players tacked on a goal including Jay Rosehill, Scott Hartnell, and Vincent Lecavalier to go along with Giroux. Goalie Steve Mason also played well stopping 24 of 26 shots on goal.

This was a game the Flyers needed to win. Not only are they trying to climb out of the cellar in the Metropolitan division, the Oilers came into the game giving up the most goals allowed of any team in the NHL with 66…make that 70 after today.

On a side note, the Oilers have agreed to terms with former Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov to a 1-year contract yesterday. The Oilers are among the worst teams in the league and can use as much help as they can get. Time will tell if the signing of Bryz will pay off. Flyers fans can speak from experience saying that it probably won’t. It’s just too bad the signing didn’t come a few days ago so Flyers fans could have welcomed him back the same way the Sixers fans welcomed back Andrew Bynum last night.

It can be said that today’s win was a confidence booster the team desperately needed after owner Ed Snider called Thursday night’s performance against the Devils “pathetic.” However, it wasn’t a perfectly played game by any stretch. They were still 0-4 on the power play and made a few bonehead passes in their own zone that could have led to more Oilers goals. Still, a win in the NHL is always hard to come by even against one of its weaker teams.

The Flyers head to Ottawa to face the Senators Tuesday night. Hopefully the momentum of today’s win will carry over into their next game as they make a visit to our neighbors up north.

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