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Under the Scope: Oilers vs. Ducks

by Ryan Dittrick / Edmonton Oilers

After the Oilers dug themselves a deep hole by going down 2-0 early in the third period, Edmonton pushed back strong and came back to tie the game 2-2 courtesy of Ryan Jones and Dustin Penner.

Although the Oilers pushed the game into overtime and carried the play decisively through the extra period, the game eventually went to a shootout where a 10-round marathon was put to bed by a perfectly-placed Cam Fowler shot.

The Oilers fought back hard and rewarded themselves with an important point, but the shootout loss ended Edmonton's four-game winning streak and dropped the team's record to 10-12-5 overall. Perhaps more importantly, the Oilers lost their captain in the process; Shawn Horcoff suffered a knee injury early in the first period and early results indicate that he'll be missing from action for up to two months.

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

Cam Fowler's shootout goal was the ultimate decider, but the game wouldn't have reached that point without a beautiful goal from Ryan Jones. The play started when Magnus Paajarvi collected a pass just outside the Ducks blueline. Rather than chipping it deep or carrying it in himself, he tapped the puck behind to a streaking Jones. The gritty forward took the pass, drove hard down the wing, and beat goaltender Jonas Hiller to bring the Oilers within one. This goal energized Rexall Place and the Oilers, as the team would eventually tie the game and record an important point.

53 The Oilers won 53% of the draws tonight. Perhaps even more impressively, only one Oiler was below 50% on the night; Andrew Cogliano finished with a 47% efficiency rate.
36 Edmonton recorded an impressive 36 shots on goal tonight. It was only the fifth time this season that the Oilers have outshot their opponent (Anaheim recorded 32).
3 Ryan Jones continues his strong play as he hopes to fill the void left by Ales Hemsky. Jones has now scored three goals in the team's past three games.
36 It was a night dedicated to physical play, as the Oilers and Ducks combined to throw 36 hits (19 by Edmonton, 17 by Anaheim).

Dustin Penner
G A P +/- Shots
1 0 1 E 7

Saku Koivu
G A P +/- Shots
1 1 2 +2 6

Ryan Jones
G A P +/- Shots
1 0 1 E 3

Jonas Hiller
36 34 2 65:00 .944

Nikolai Khabibulin
32 30 2 64:49 .938

Cam Fowler - D

25:37 - 1A, +1 rating

Ryan Whitney - D

30:19 - 0P, E rating

While the Oilers were looking to orchestrate a strong third period comeback, they needed a few big saves early from their goaltender. Nikolai Khabibulin rose to the occasion, making several key saves early in the third. None were more impressive than his stop on Cam Fowler only 1:37 into the final frame. After Fowler beat his man Ladislav Smid wide, the rangy defenceman cut to the net and put a strong wrist shot on goal. Khabibulin came out to challenge the angle and made a brilliant glove save to rob the rookie defenceman. 

Tom Gilbert had a terrific night at both ends of the rink. Gilbert made several assertive passes that resulted in third period goals to spark the comeback. The defenceman's two-point night was a team-high, and his 25:41 ice-time total was second behind Ryan Whitney. Gilbert further contributed by showcasing a strong physical game, willingness to rush the puck, and solid defensive positioning that led to a successful penalty kill. Overall, the puck-moving defenceman had an excellent night.

Magnus Paajarvi continues to have success with his new linemates. Although the combinations were constantly being scrambled due to the captain's injury, the skilled Swede was bringing a consistent effort throughout the evening. Paajarvi's night was capped on the scoresheet with a tremendous play to spring Ryan Jones on the Oilers' opening goal of the night. All told, this was one of Paajarvi's strongest home-ice performances of the season.

Once again, Theo Peckham's physical play turned heads. Although the rugged defenceman didn't have the strongest of nights with the puck, his physical game never waivered. Peckham connected with former-Oiler Joffrey Lupul late in the second period when the forward skated down the wing, with his head down, after chipping the puck deep. Peckham cut towards the side-boards and threw his shoulder into Lupul's chest, creating a cascading wave of ripples through the glass.

Oilers vs. Ducks History:

The fastest four goals scored by both teams in an Oilers game happened against the Anaheim Ducks on February 17, 1999 when the Oilers won 6-2. In only 1:49 in the third period, the Oilers scored three times and the Ducks replied with one.

"Khabi was great for us, especially in the shootout there. We couldn't pull it out for him, but obviously we battled back to get a point and we have to take the positives from that.

To battle back like that is great for our confidence and we've just got to keep pushing forward to try and get better."

Sam Gagner on the shootout loss to Anaheim

Friday, December 10 vs. Tampa Bay
  7:00 p.m. MT (SNET-W / 630 CHED)

With the four-game winning streak snapped vs. Anaheim, the Oilers look to get back on track Friday night when the Tampa Bay Lightning make their only visit of 2010-11 to Rexall Place.

Author: Ryan Dittrick |

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