Former Oiler great Wayne Gretzky once said “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”. For the Edmonton Oilers last night, it was all about the few shots they did take.
Despite being outshot 40-14 by the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Edmonton Oilers came away victorious yesterday, posting a 3-1 victory to snap a five game losing streak. Goalie Devan Dubnyk was outstanding in goal, turning aside 39 shots to help make up for the lack of attempts on net by the Oilers. Dubnyk’s performance did not go unnoticed by his coaches and teammates.
“We were pretty flat for most of the night. Duby was unbelievable for us and kept us in it.” – Sam Gagner
“You need a goalie to steal one for you once in a while. We were flat as a team and he was world-class.” – Coach Krueger. (Edmonton Oilers)
The Oilers have been in a bit of a slump lately, dropping their past five games. A match-up against the lowly Blue Jackets seemed like a perfect occasion to break out, but the team came out extremely lifeless. Every so often a goaltender steals a game for his team. This was just such an occasion. But timely goals also bailed out the Oilers on this night.
Ales Hemsky scored his fifth goal of the season from Taylor Hall to give the Oilers a 1-0 lead in the first period. There was no scoring in the second frame but midway through the third, R.J Umberger scored to tie things up at one. But then a few minutes later, Magnus Paajarvi’s first goal of the season would prove to be a crucial one. His short-handed marker from Gagner and Ladislav Smid gave the Oilers the lead, and Dubnyk would continue to shut the door to preserve the victory. Sam Gagner then added an empty netter to provide some insurance with less than a minute to go.
Gagner’s two points keeps him on top of the Oilers leaderboard with four goals and 13 points, just two ahead of Taylor Hall. The Oilers sit fifth in the league in powerplay proficiency, but went 0-for-4 yesterday. The Blue Jackets had seven chances on the PP but the Oilers penalty kill led by Dubnyk stood tall. Jordan Eberle took a big hit in the game from the Jackets Jack Johnson, but he stayed in the game and Coach Krueger insists he’s okay.
The Oilers play their next game on Tuesday at home against the Dallas Stars. Last week the ageless Jaromir Jagr scored in overtime to give the Stars the win over Edmonton, and the Oilers are looking to avenge that loss. The two teams are tied in points with 13, and the Stars currently hold down the 8th and final playoff spot because they have one more win. Despite injuries and close losses, the Oilers are right in the thick of things for a postseason berth, right where fans hoped they would be. And thanks to Devan Dubnyk, thought by many to be the team’s weak link, a playoff spot is becoming more of a reality.
Marcy, a former hockey player, is a hockey correspondent on CTV News and TSN radio. She began her career as a Sports Journalist in 2009 and has been part of The Hockey Writers since 2010, where she is currently a senior writer and editor.