Oilers Pull Off Rare Home Win Against Tampa

(Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports)
Ilya Bryzgalov (Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports)

It looked like it was going to be the same old story: The Edmonton Oilers blew a two goal lead in the second period, allowing the Tampa Bay Lightning to claw their way back into the game. After a strong first period that saw them up 3-1, on the strength of two goals from Jordan Eberle and one from Luke Gazdic, the Oilers were lethargic in the second. Stuck in their own end, they struggled to defend and let the Lightning storm back. The Edmonton fans were all but silent as the team skated onto the ice tied for the third, preparing themselves for a seemingly inevitable loss.

The Oilers, however, surprised us all. They battled hard in the third, handing the Lightning their first loss of the season when the game was tied after two. Boyd Gordon scored for the second straight game and Taylor Hall made a last ditch effort for the Canadian Olympic team, potting the fifth Oilers goal and securing the win. Maybe not the prettiest of wins, but the Edmonton fans, who have seen their share of horrific games this year, will take it.

Jordan Eberle Still Looking for an NHL Hat Trick 

Jordan Eberle
Jordan Eberle (John E. Sokolowski-US PRESSWIRE)

Unfortunately, it was not the night for Jordan Eberle’s first hat trick. Eberle scored two hat tricks in the AHL last season while playing for the Oklahoma City Barons during the lock out, and had seven in his WHL career. Four seasons into his NHL career, he’s still looking for that first hatty. He came close last night, scoring two in the first period and just missing a couple of glorious chances on a power play in the second.  Tampa Bay pulled their goalie late in the third to try to tie up the game, but Eberle was unable to score on the empty net and secure that elusive hatty.

Dallas Eakins Calls 8 am Practice Monday Morning Following Win

Fans and media alike were shocked by Dallas Eakins’ post game announcement that the Oilers would practice bright and early at 8 am on Monday morning. A practice so early seems more like a punishment, rather than a reward for a team that fought back to win in the third period.

As for his reasoning, Eakins told media following the practice that he wanted his team to think about being back to work following the Christmas break. “The holidays are over,” Eakins said, “Lets’s be like everyone else in this city and get up and go to work early.” Regardless of his reasoning, the players seemed happy to come to the rink. They skated well and the practice, despite its 8 am start, had lots of energy according to the Oilers coach. “It was a good practice,” said Taylor Hall, “And it’s gonna be nice getting home pretty early today.”

Taylor Hall Hopeful He May Still Have a Chance at Olympic Team

(Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)
Taylor Hall (Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)

Taylor Hall did all he could to make the Canadian Olympic team. Now he just has to wait.

The Olympic roster will be announced tomorrow. The Canadian management is in an enviable position, with lots of great players to choose from. Hall is hopeful, but knows that the Oilers struggles may hurt his chances. Steve Yzerman attended the game in Edmonton last night in his role as General Manager of the Lightning, but likely also spent some time watching Hall’s play. Hall, to his credit, had a strong game and scored in the third. Hall says regardless of tomorrow’s Canadian Team announcement, his focus remains on the Oilers. To play for Canada would be great, but he wants to continue to work hard for his team in Edmonton.