February 1, 2012
Positives found in Oilers win
By TERRY JONES, QMI Agency
EDMONTON - If you’re looking for positives — and not many are when a team is in 29th place of a 30-team league at this stage of the season — there were a few in the Oilers’ 3-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche.
Not a cause for a parade, any of them, but …
You should know that the Edmonton Oilers have now put points in the standings back-to-back-to back games — three consecutive games — for the first time since Oct. 28, 30 and Nov. 3.
“There was the All-Star break in the middle, I’m not sure that counts” said Devan Dubnyk, who was in goal for all three. He now has a 5-2 record at home this season, with an 8-11-1 record for the year including a 2.83 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage.
Dubnyk stopped 44 shots against San Jose, 33 against Vancouver and 31 last night night against Colorado. That’s 118 shots in three games.
“I’m not sure I’ve been in three consecutive games games in the NHL like that,” said Dubnyk. “But I played goal in Kamloops in junior and having that many shots happened a lot.”
He’s also not sure about that other stat.
“I’m not sure I’ve ever been in goal for three consecutive games in which we’ve managed to get points in the standings. I haven’t had many times when I’ve been in for three consecutive games before.”
He did produce points late last year in three straight games he played. But Nikolai Khabibulin took a turn in there somewhere.
“It’s been nice to get the opportunity to keep going and roll with it.”
And Dubnyk will get Thursday’s game against the Chicago Black Hawks, if coach Tom Renney didn’t speak with a forked tongue at the morning skate when he said he was going with a “win and you’re in” philosophy with his goaltenders the rest of the way.
“Even though it’s a team game, you want to seize the opportunity and run with it,” he told reporters.
“That’s what great goaltenders do. The opportunity is there.”
Asked after the game if Dubnyk was a for sure starter in the next one, Renney waffled.
“I’ll sleep on it.”
Renney’s sleeps have been mostly filled with nightmares this year, but here’s a positive to sleep on.
The Oilers equaled last year’s home-win total at 13 in this one.
That’s right, long-suffering Oilers fans. They’ve already won as many games at home this season as they won all last season!
OK, Colorado is the one team the Oilers have managed to be able to count on beating at home during these past three years at the bottom of the NHL standings.
The Oilers are now 8-1-4 in the last 13 games at home against the Avs.
Another positive is that Jordan Eberle scored his 19th of the season in his 46th game. That’s one more than he had last year in 69 games.
With 46 points, he maintains a point-per-game pace in his second season in the NHL.
“Obviously you want to follow your first year in the league with an even better year,” he said.
“I think your sophomore year is sometimes your toughest because teams start to focus on you more and you see more top defensive pairings,” said the Oilers’ only player in this year’s NHL All-Star Game.
“I didn’t really have a goal for this year,” added the right winger who now projects for a 30 goal, 70-plus-point season.
Taylor Hall, with Mark Messier in the house, scored his 17th of the season in his 40th game, his team-leading (tied with Ryan Smyth) fourth game-winning goal of the season.
Hall now has 34 points and is easily on pace to beat his 22-goal, 42-point season last year in 65 games played.
Hall, who has been compared to Messier, said it was cool to score a game winner with Moose in the building.
“That was a great,” he said of the standing ovation.
“Somebody in the room between periods said ‘Win it for Mess.’ ”
Who better than Hall.
Messier is in town working on details for following Wayne Gretzky at the second-annual Kinsmen’s Legends Dinner next fall.
That’s more positives in one night than usual around this hockey club these days.
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