There hasn’t been much to celebrate this year in Oilers nation, as injuries to key players and poor play on the ice will result in a second consecutive last place finish. Fans scramble to brush up on the top prospect rankings as a top 2 pick looms for the Oilers in this summer’s draft. It’s always nice to stock pile talented young players, but after two dreadful seasons in Edmonton, is there any hope things will be better next year?
There were times this season where the Oilers played well, the rookies clicked, and the team that will be known for it’s speed and skill looked very promising. Goalie Devan Dubnyk has had some very solid starts, and all the injuries were certainly a huge roadblock for the team, as they rarely had a full roster on the ice. This past Saturday, the Oilers gave their fans something to cheer about, as they rolled into Vancouver and walked away with a 4-1 victory over the best team in the NHL. The Canucks recently secured their first President’s trophy in franchise history, and while some might suggest there was little to play for in the game, Daniel Sedin is still looking to secure an Art Ross trophy and possibly a Hart as well, and may have viewed a game vs. the lowly Oilers as a good chance to pad his stats. Obviously, he thought wrong. Daniel went pointless on the night. The Canucks have nearly double the amount of points as the Oilers do, but a trio of rookies led the way as Edmonton snapped their losing streak and gave themselves an injection of confidence.
Kurtis Foster opened the scoring for the Oilers on the powerplay with his 7th of the season near the end of the first period. Ryan Jones and Jordan Eberle picked up the assists. Eberle then tallied one of his own, also on the powerplay early in the second. Foster and Andrew Cogliano drew the helpers. Linus Omark notched his 5th of the season a few minutes later to give the Oilers a 3-0 lead. Late in the second, Alex Burrows got the Canucks on the board, and spoiled Dubnyk’s shut-out bid, but that would be all they could get past him. Magnus Paajarvi sealed the 4-1 win with his 13th of the season midway through the third from Omark and Vande Velde. Devan Dubnyk had an impressive 40 saves for his team, and the Oilers fired 34 at Vancouver back-up Cory Schneider. The two team will meet for the final time this season Tuesday night in Edmonton.
The win won’t improve their place in the standings, and may not be much consolation to some, but to beat the best team in the league in their own barn and stop a losing skid is a nice accomplishment for a team that hasn’t had much reason to smile lately. But, as is the case with last place teams, there’s no where to go but up.