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Under the Scope: Oilers at Ducks

by Ryan Dittrick / Edmonton Oilers

Following a disappointing effort and result Saturday night in Los Angeles, the Oilers came into Sunday night's battle with the Ducks looking to wrap up the team's five-game road trip with a victory. Unfortunately, for all the wrong reasons, special teams prevented the Oilers from returning home with an additional marker in the win column. Teemu Selanne scored twice, while Curtis McElhinney stopped 26 of the 28 shots he faced en route to Anaheim's 3-2 victory at Honda Center.

Anaheim was able to establish a 3-0 lead as the midway point of the game was reached, but the Oilers' offensive guns kept charging in an attempt to manufacture a comeback. Two goals 26 seconds apart in the final two minutes of the second period set the stage for that aforementioned comeback effort, but McElhinney stood tall in the final frame to preserve the Ducks' 3-2 advantage.

With under two minutes to play, the Oilers were provided with an additional two power play opportunities as the team searched for the equalizer, but the ensuing two-man advantage was again squandered, as Edmonton concluded the night with an 0-for-5 outing on the powerplay. Overall, the Oilers have now failed to score on 37 consecutive opportunities.

After making way for Devan Dubnyk in the previous two outings, Nikolai Khabibulin returned to the crease tonight and made 25 saves on 28 shots.

All you need to know and more as we go Under the Scope:

Although the Oilers found themselves in a 3-0 second period deficit, the offensive charge was consistent. Edmonton outshot Anaheim 21-16 in the final two periods and even mounted a charge with late second period goals courtesy of Magnus Paajarvi and Sam Gagner. But on this night, it was the power play that ultimately led to the team's downfall. The Oilers finished the night going 0-for-5 with the man advantage, contributing to an 0-for-37 stretch overall. A five-on-three in the game's final minute topped the performance, as the Oilers squandered another glorious opportunity to tie the game.

46 The Oilers won 46% of the draws tonight. Andrew Cogliano took the most out of anyone on the team, and also posted the best efficiency rate. Cogliano enjoyed a 9-7, 56% outing in the faceoff dot.
37 After going 0-for-5 with the man advantage tonight, the Oilers have now failed to score on 37 consecutive power play opportunities.
27 The Oilers and Ducks combined to dish out 27 hits tonight (13 by Edmonton, 14 by Anaheim). Ryan Jones led both clubs, as he was able to accumulate four of his own.
85 With his pair of goals tonight, Teemu Selanne has now scored 85 points in 72 career games against the Oilers (45 goals, 40 assists).

Teemu Selanne
G A P +/- Shots
2 0 2 +1 4

Saku Koivu
G A P +/- Shots
0 0 0 +1 2

Sam Gagner
G A P +/- Shots
1 1 2 +2 5

Curtis McElhinney
28 26 2 57:07 .929

Nikolai Khabibulin
28 25 3 58:11 .893

Cam Fowler - D

  24:38 - 1A, -2 rating

Tom Gilbert - D

28:32 - 0P, +1 rating

It was a sequence that began with a strong rush by Ducks forward Jason Blake. The speedy winger beat his man Ladislav Smid and proceeded to cut to the net. Nikolai Khabibulin had an answer for his shot, and a similar response for the following rebound opportunity. But a third chance arose, with Saku Koivu curling to the other side of the goal, appearing to have the entire net to shoot for. As if from nowhere, rookie defenceman Jeff Petry emerged and slid through the crease to rob Koivu on the goal line. It was a tremendous play that saved a goal and brought the Oilers' bench to life. Click to watch the play

Combined with new linemates and an infectious infusion of energy, Sam Gagner had a terrific evening offensively. The 21-year old centre recorded one goal and one assist on the night, giving him a total of 28 on the season. Although he was unable to help contribute to the team's power play success tonight, Gagner brought the required compete level that the team desperately needed following a disappointing loss to the Kings one night earlier. Overall, it was a successful evening and something to build on as Gagner and the Oilers return home.

Although Jeff Petry was credited with one of the game's most beautiful plays, the two-way defenceman should be recognized for his effort in other areas. Since his call-up and with further injuries mounting on the blueline, Petry has been given the opportunity to shine with plenty of ice-time. Having played 23:25 tonight, the 23-year old was counted on to provide reliable play on both sides of the puck and in a variety of situations. At the end of the evening, Petry accumulated a team-leading three blocked shots to highlight his weekend resume.

Slowly but surely, J-F Jacques is establishing his role on the team's fourth line. Consistent ice-time and linemates has contributed, but Jacques' willingness to get physical will always be the determining factor in his inclusion in the lineup. Jacques responded tonight, as he dished out a bone-crunching hit on Anaheim's Kyle Chipchura midway through the second period. The connection sent the Ducks forward violently to the ice and sparked some nastiness between the two teams as the second period progressed.

The Oilers continue to struggle when the team puts up as many or more shots on goal than their opponent. When outshooting their opponent, the Oilers have a record of 1-5-2. When putting up the same amount of shots (such as tonight, with a 28-28 draw on the shot clock), the Oilers' record is now 0-3-1.

"Our penalty kill was great. We did everything we possibly could to win a hockey game through that. The power play didn't do what it needed to do again, although it showed life, obviously. When you bring a level of intensity to that part of your game, you've got a chance. So maybe we learned something there, at least."

-  Head Coach Tom Renney on special teams following the loss.

Tuesday, January 18 vs. Minnesota
  7:30pm MT (SNET-W / 630 CHED)

Following a road trip in which the team skated away with a 1-4-0 record, the Oilers now return home to begin a three game homestand. First up, a date with the division rival Minnesota Wild at Rexall Place.

Author: Ryan Dittrick |

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