SUN Hockey Pool

Dandy debut for Eberle

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:51 AM ET

It's the type of miss conducive to a sleepless night.

Last evening, Jordan Eberle found himself in front of an open net, only to ring a shot off the goalpost.

It proved to be the Edmonton Oilers best chance through the first two periods in a game they would eventually go on to win 3-2 over the New York Islanders.

"I think the puck just got in my skate and I was just trying to shoot off-balance," said Eberle. "But for the most part I rushed it for sure, I have to be more patient around the net."

Despite the miss, Eberle was arguably the Oilers' best forward. Playing on a line with Andrew Cogliano and Dustin Penner, the trio produced the best opportunities of the night and eventually accounted for the team's opening goal in the third period.

CREATED CHANCES

Eberle had another glorious chance in the final frame, but had his attempt deflect over the crossbar. He also set up Penner in front and undressed Islanders defenceman Andy Sutton to create another opportunity.

"I had tons of chances, obviously there were some great plays by my linemates to set me up in the slot," Eberle said. "The main thing is that I am getting chances."

Eberle was making his preseason debut with the Oilers and made a strong case for an extended stay. Last year he got in one exhibition game in Vancouver before being sent back down to his junior team.

Judging by his performance, he's bound to play in another one before the exhibition season is up.

With up to 19 forwards battling for 14 roster spots, however, it might not matter how well the former first-round pick plays. Unfortunately, Eberle could be a victim of the numbers game, forcing the Oilers to send him back to his junior team in Regina.

"The main thing coming in, is that I want to put in a good effort and try to be noticed," Eberle said. "I'm just trying to make the coaches make a tough decision to send me home."


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