The playoff-hungry Calgary Flames get a break on Saturday, as the Edmonton Oilers will try to play spoiler against them without Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
“RNH” is out with a lower-body injury. The bad side of that is a top line gets a new wrinkle, however, as Taylor Hall slides between Benoit Pouliot and Jordan Eberle according to Fan 960’s Derek Wills.
No Nugent-Hopkins seems like a positive on paper for the Flames, but what if that little change of pace gives Edmonton a little boost? This is a wacky time of year, after all.
The Philadelphia Flyers and Edmonton Oilers, two teams outside the playoff picture, apparently weren’t too caught up on defensive details Saturday.
The Flyers, with Ray Emery in net for a surprise start, jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first period, only to cough it up. The Oilers allowed three straight goals after grabbing an early lead. It was back-and-forth with plenty of chances.
And both teams were able to capitalize off odd-man rushes, taking advantage of the opposing team’s mistakes.
First, Jordan Eberle’s goal, his 20th of the season, which gave Edmonton a 4-3 lead early in the second period. Nice pass from Benoit Pouliot, and even better finish.
Now, here’s a look at a sweet passing play from unlikely candidates Ryan White and Zac Rinaldo. White finishes the playoff, giving Philadelphia a 3-1 lead late in the first period.
Thursday’s contest between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Edmonton Oilers looked like a mismatch before the puck was even dropped and nothing Edmonton did in the first 30 minutes of play suggested otherwise. Edmonton nearly pulled off an incredible comeback though before ultimately suffering a 6-4 loss.
Brandon Sutter gave Pittsburgh plenty of breathing room early on with a shorthanded marker just 4:16 minutes into the game and his 15th goal of the season a little over five minutes later.
Pittsburgh continued to pick on Oilers goaltender Ben Scrivens with David Perron and Sidney Crosby each finding the back of the net to chase the netminder out of the contest just 1:01 minutes into the second frame. With a 4-0 edge, the Penguins’ victory against the lowly Oilers seemed assured, but Edmonton chipped away at that lead until Derek Roy evened the score at 10:04 of the third period.
The Oilers’ efforts didn’t end up providing them with a point though as just over four minutes later Steve Downie scored what proved to be the game-winner.
“It showed a lot, coming back down 4-0 in a town like Pittsburgh… It’s frustrating (we couldn’t win it),” Edmonton’s Benoit Pouliot said, per the team’s Twitter feed.
Pittsburgh has now won three of its last four games as it battles for the Metropolitan Division title. Meanwhile, Edmonton remains locked in 29th place in the league with its sixth straight defeat.
Big development in the McEichel Derby — on Tuesday, the Oilers announced that Taylor Hall was placed on IR:
Per TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the suspicion is Hall suffered a “bone bruise’ that morphed into a fracture, and will miss the next 4-6 weeks as a result.
1) Will Hall play again this year? Assuming he misses the full six weeks, that puts a potential return around Mar. 24, at which point the Oilers will have 10 games left in the regular season. For a guy with a long, troubling history of health concerns — he’s now missed 60 games over his first four-and-a-half years in the NHL — the idea of shutting it down isn’t far-fetched, especially since it could benefit Edmonton in the aforementioned McEichel Derby (but hey, nobody tanks in the NHL.)
2) This latest injury will be a jumping off point for discussions about his future in Edmonton. This is, without question, another disappointing campaign; the Oilers are going to finish well out of the playoff picture and Hall, he of the $42 million deal and $6M cap hit, is on pace for his worst offensive campaign since he was a rookie (difficult to extrapolate given all the time he’s missed, but Hall’s current .71 points-per-game average is his lowest since breaking in during 2010-11.)
Remember, Hall’s already been the subject of trade rumors this year.
The Edmonton Oilers have sent forward Taylor Hall home from the team’s six-game road trip for further evaluation on his left ankle the club announced Sunday.
Hall missed his fifth game due to the injury on Saturday night.
As Stephen Whyno of The Canadian Press points out, Hall and Benoit Pouliot, who missed his second game due to injury on Saturday, account for a quarter of the Oilers’ goals this season.
“That’s an excuse, right? We’re not going to use it, but it is reality: We do miss those guys,” said Matt Hendricks following Saturday’s 5-1 loss to the Leafs. “They play big minutes for us and are big offensive guys for us. But we’ve got to find ways to put pucks in the net.”
Hall has 11 goals and 30 points in 42 games this season.
The Oilers continue their road trip Monday night in New Jersey.