Taylor Hall is not used to being passed over.
Yet on Saturday, the former first overall pick in the NHL draft was held back, not once, but twice in the first period of the Oilers 4-3 win over the Ottawa Senators.
Hall was temporarily benched after taking a pair of penalties in the first period. He responded by scoring the overtime winner.
“It was just a couple of bad penalties by me,” said Hall. “You want to start the game off well as a team, but personally you want to start well, too, and I can’t be taking penalties like that and putting my team down especially against a power play like that.”
Hall took an early tripping penalty after Jordan Eberle fired a cross-ice pass in his own zone just behind the Oilers winger, which bounced off his skate and right to Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson. Later in the period, Hall tripped goaltender Craig Anderson skating past the front of the net.
“He responded well, and that’s what you have to do, it doesn’t matter who you are, it’s one of those things that if you’re going to put our team in a tough spot, you have to coach that way,” said head coach Tom Renney. “Taylor is a passionate kid and the last thing he wants to do is put his team in a bad way. The first thing he wants to do is win a hockey game for them and he did.”
Hall came out of penalty box after his second minor and was replaced on consecutive shifts.
He was back taking a regular shift in the second and went on to score the game winner, 17 seconds into overtime.
“He didn’t say anything he just called my line and didn’t call my name,” Hall said. “I got the message pretty clear and just tried to regroup in the first intermission, come back out and play well.”
The Oilers put a damper on Chris Phillips’s day by pulling out the overtime victory.
The Senators defenceman was honoured for playing his 1,000 career game — all with the Senators — Thursday night.
Prior to Saturday’s game, Phillips was presented with a portrait from local artist Tony Harris, depicting the Senators defenceman clearing the puck from the front of his net.
Harris apparently was up until 4:30 a.m. finishing the painting so it would be ready in time for the presentation.
“I heard that,” Phillips said. “Erin (wife) told me not to back into it, you’ll get wet.”
Ben Eager scored his sixth goal of the season Saturday, getting a pass down the wing, speeding in and blowing a shot through goaltender Craig Anderson.
Jeff Petry and Anton Lander were officially credited with assists on the goal, but Ryan Jones played a large part in it, running interference along the blue-line.
“I was changing for Smytty and at first I thought they were going to blow it down for too-many-men on the ice,” said Eager. “It’s a good thing they didn’t. I was able to catch their defencemen a little flat-footed and I saw some room on the far side, but decided to go five-hole.”
The Oilers got some much-needed production from their veterans Saturday as Shawn Horcoff finished with three points, while Ales Hemsky had a pair of assists.
Their line, which also included Magnus Paajarvi finished with a total of seven points.
“We all needed that and we need that kind of guidance from them in terms of how they navigate their way through a game,” said Renney. “Not every shift goes anywhere near what you want, so you have to fight through the tough ones, continue to lead and point the compass in the right direction.
“I thought those two guys certainly did a great job of that for us (Saturday).”
They may no longer have a team, but the Quebec Nordiques still have fans, and they made their presence felt Saturday in Ottawa.
Roughly 1,000 fans sporting Nordiques jerseys made their way to Scotiabank Place and cheered when the clock read 16:00 in each period, signifying the number of seasons Quebec City has been without an NHL team.