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Under the Scope: Oilers vs. Thrashers

by Ryan Dittrick / Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers came into this afternoon's game looking to extend their winning streak to three. Through 40 minutes and early into the third, it appeared as though the modest sequence would be snapped. Atlanta led 3-1 early in the third period and held a dominant 23-11 shot advantage at that point in the match. Then, Taylor Hall arrived in emphatic fashion, wowing the the 16,839 on hand to witness his thrilling performance.

The Oilers rookie took over in the final 20 minutes, posting a natural hat-trick (all on the power-play) to propel the Oilers to a 5-3 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers at Rexall place. Ales Hemsky sealed the outcome with an empty net tally at 19:48, while Devan Dubnyk posted 28 saves in his return to crease.

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

Edmonton skated into the third period down by one on the scoreboard and 22-11 on the shot clock. The task of coming back was made all the more daunting when Evander Kane scored at 1:12 of the period, providing the visitors with a two-goal advantage. Moments later, Taylor Hall arrived. Only 30 seconds after the 3-1 score was established, the Oilers rookie capitalized on a power-play chance to bring the Oilers back within one. This was only the beginning of the third period madness that saw Hall score twice more, bringing the Oilers back on even terms and recording the game-winning marker.

55 The Oilers were victorious on 55% of the faceoffs tonight. Captain Shawn Horcoff posted the best result of the regular draw-takers, with a 14-8, 64% outing in the dot.
9 In a game where the Oilers, as a team, produced a total of 26 shots on goal, Taylor Hall collected nine of his own in the victory; an NHL high this season for individual shots.
3 Taylor Hall scored his first career hat-trick. In doing so, the Oilers have now won three consecutive games at Rexall Place for the first time this season. As well, the Oilers scored three power-play goals; a feat not achieved this season until today.
7 Although the Oilers and Thrashers have only met 12 times in history, the Oilers now improve to a 7-3-1-1 all-time record vs. Atlanta.

Taylor Hall
G A P +/- Shots
3 0 3 E 9

Ales Hemsky
G A P +/- Shots
1 2 3 E 1

Dustin Byfuglien
G A P +/- Shots
1 0 1 E 6

Chris Mason
26 22 4 58:44 .846

Devan Dubnyk
31 28 3 59:58 .903

Bryan Little - D

25:30 - 0P, -1 rating

Tom Gilbert - D

24:39 - 2A, E rating

Taylor Hall scored three goals in the third period; all of which displayed an incredibly high level of skill and raw athleticism. The goal that gave the Oilers the lead, however, was his most spectacular addition of the evening. Again on the power-play, Hall found a soft spot in the near corner, where he slid down to open a passing lane. Sam Gagner spotted the maneuver and labeled a pass onto Hall's tape. Wasting no time, Hall cut to the net, released the shot and jammed at the loose puck to will it across the line. The goal further electrified Rexall Place, with hats littering the ice surface at Rexall Place.

19:38 of ice-time, nine shots on goal, and most importantly, a natural hat-trick in the third period to lead his club to an important 5-3 victory. Taylor Hall did it all this afternoon. After a performance that also earned him the game's first star honours, Hall is now tied with Dustin Penner for the team-lead in goals with 20 on the season. It was a spectacular afternoon for the 19-year old rookie as he recorded his first career three-goal performance.

On a night when Taylor Hall captured the show, Ales Hemsky also enjoyed a three-point afternoon in the process. With one goal and two assists (both coming on Hall's first two goals), Hemsky was rewarded with the game's second star honours. After struggling through the mid-season with injury issues, Hemsky has returned to form. Now on the season, Hemsky has scored 13 goals and 40 points in 42 games in overall fantastic abbreviated campaign.

Midway through the second period, J-F Jacques continued his strong physical presence with an extended and overall spirited bout with Atlanta defenceman Mark Stuart. After taking exception to a hit, Jacques stepped in to defend his fallen teammate Liam Reddox. After hastily dropping the mitts, Jacques landed several bombs on Stuart with minimal reply. After landing half a dozen solid shots, the two combatants dropped to the ice and served their time in the box, much to the delight of the Rexall crowd.

After struggling with power-play deficiencies for the past few months, the Oilers accomplished an impressive feat that had not been seen this season. All season, the Oilers had not recorded three power-play goals in a single game. Taylor Hall's trio in the third defeated that statistic.

Of note: The Oilers' franchise record for most power-play goals in a single game is five.

"When you get one, you sort of feel good. I think anyone can tell that there was a change in my play. Those next two goals were great for our team and, like said, it was great to get the win.

Taylor Hall on his performance this afternoon vs. Atlanta

Tuesday, February 22 vs. at Minnesota
  6:00pm MST (SNET-W / 630 CHED)

After concluding the six-game homestand with three consecutive victories, the Oilers hope their winning ways will translate to road success as well. First up on the brief two-game road excursion is a date with the Minnesota Wild. Game-time is 6:00pm MST on Tuesday and can be seen on Rogers Sportsnet West.

Author: Ryan Dittrick |

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