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Under the Scope: Oilers vs. Lightning

by Ryan Dittrick / Edmonton Oilers

Two goals in the shootout courtesy of Jordan Eberle and Linus Omark -- the latter in "controversial" fashion -- sent the Oilers home with a 4-3 victory Friday night despite being on the wrong end of a 41-23 shot discrepancy.

Nikolai Khabibulin, once again, stood tall and provided his team with the backdrop necessary to come away victorious on a night where it didn't seem likely. Timely goals by Magnus Paajarvi, Taylor Hall and Tom Gilbert earned the regulation time honours, while Khabibulin's 38 saves kept the Lightning at bay.

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

In another game that required a shootout to decide, the Oilers came up big for their first win this season in the skills competition. Two saves by Nikolai Khabibulin and an earlier goal from Jordan Eberle set the stage for recent callup Linus Omark to showcase his unique skill-set. After initially trying this with the Oklahoma City Barons in the AHL, Omark spun in the neutral zone just after collecting the puck. He then skated in and faked a slapshot before releasing a quick snapshot five-hole on Dan Ellis. The goal clinched the game for Edmonton in the most emphatic way possible.

44 The Oilers won 44% of the draws tonight. Colin Fraser, who has struggled of late in the circle, led the way with a 63% efficiency rate.
28 It was a night where the Oilers were heavily outshot and territorily dominated at times. That being said, the Oilers were willing to sacrifice in the defensive zone; the team blocked an incredible total of 28 shots against the Lightning.
31 In addition to the heavy amount of blocked shots in the defensive zone, the Oilers brought an intense brand of physical play. In total, 31 hits were dished out by the Oilers. The Lightning were only able to reply with 14 of their own.
6 The Oilers have now recorded points in seven straight games (5-0-1).

NIkolai Khabibulin
41 38 3 65:00 .927

Magnus Paajarvi
G A P +/- Shots
1 1 2 E 2

Adam Hall
G A P +/- Shots
0 0 0 -1 6

Dan Ellis
23 20 3 65:00 .870

Nikolai Khabibulin
41 38 3 65:00 .927

Martin St. Louis - RW

24:00 - 1A, +1 rating

Tom Gilbert - D

26:02 - 1G, -1rating

It was late in the second period when the Oilers' most recent callups showed up in a big way. On a powerplay that was drawn by the man himself, Linus Omark showcased his incredible skill in tight. After gaining firm possession, Omark carried the puck off the half-boards and drove the net. In the process, he beat two Tampa defenders and drew all the attention on the play. While his shot was turned aside, it left the door open for Tom Gilbert to cash on the rebound. Omark's first career NHL point was a beauty as he recorded an assist on the team's third goal of the evening.

Since returning from his injury, goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin has been lights-out for the Oilers on much of this six-game point streak. Khabibulin continued to carry the defensive load, as he provided his team with 38 saves on the night including two in the shootout to clinch victory. With the Oilers encountering a 17-1 shot discrepancy in the final frame, the heroics of their goaltender provided the team with a much needed two points.

Top defenceman Ryan Whitney went down late in the first period, but returned to start the middle frame. In that stretch, however, Tom Gilbert gathered the reigns and took control of the blueline. Gilbert led the team in ice-time (26:02), provided his team with an important second period goal, had one blocked shot, and recorded three takeaways to highlight his evening. Number 77 for the Oilers provided a consistent effort all night and the results on the scoresheet certainly reflect that.

It didn't take long for recent callup Ryan O'Marra to make his mark. The dependable, two-way forward ignited the team's physical play early with a crushing blow on the Lightning forward Sean Bergenheim. O'Marra came across the ice in the defensive zone where the Tampa Bay winger had just chipped the puck deep. O'Marra laid his shoulder into the side of Bergenheim, stunning him and bringing the Rexall Place crowd to life.

Former Lightning goaltender and now Oilers hero Nikolai Khabibulin has had tremendous success against his former club. Of all teams in the NHL, he boasts his best goals-against average against the Lightning; an impressive 1.68.

"That's my game. I do stuff like that. Why should I stop at this level?"

Linus Omark on his shootout move vs. Tampa Bay

Sunday, December 12 vs. Vancouver
  6:00 p.m. MT (SNET-W / 630 CHED)

With the Oilers now back on the winning track and continuing to roll along with points in their last six outings, the Oilers hope to continue the good vibes when the Vancouver Canucks visit Rexall Place.

Author: Ryan Dittrick |

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