Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Felled in Philly

"We need to turn the page from Sunday afternoon’s beating,” said defenceman Chris Pronger before the start of the game. “I would hope everybody is angry. It’s never fun getting beat the way we did. We have something to prove to ourselves, that’s for sure.”

It was supposed to be ugly at the Wells Fargo Arena.

The writers and hockey experts all predicted that tonight's match-up would be difficult for the Oilers versus the Philadelphia Flyers.  Moreover, it was fair to believe that the Oilers were going come out flat and get man handled by one of the NHL's toughest teams, and/or lose by a large sum. 

Predictions aside, it was imminent for the Flyers to win.  The team who had no choice but to notch another 2 points at home, after the "Debacle at MSG".

Though, there were no fists o' fury and no belligerent, quintessential Old Time "Broad Street Bully" Hockey.

It was just brilliant hockey.

The Flyers, smartly bequeathed the Oilers their 36th loss of the season by playing sound defensive hockey which subsequently frustrated the Oilers offense throughout the night.  What the Oilers faced was a Flyers club poised, and hungry for another chance at Lord Stanley. 

"It's one thing to respect your opponent, but it's another thing to respect them and stand still and watch them play. Ultimately, we got our legs under us when the horse was out of the barn," Tom Renney said. "The fact of the matter is we came out in the second and third period and outchanced that team 12-5, but they're up three goals so game, set, and match."

It was hell on ice for the young Oilers who yielded 2 goals out of 17 shots in the first period.  The Flyers came out relentless by peppering Dubnyk, while keeping the Oilers offense to the outside.  

By the 12th minute mark in the first it was all over for the Oilers when Daniel Breire's "breakaway a la roof-job" put the Flyers up 1 zip.   Breire caught Jim Vandermeer flat footed and zipped behind him to collect Matt Carle's two-line laser.

Ladislav Smid was sent to the bin after administering a check from behind shot on Darroll Powe and was promptly assessed a 5 minute major.  On the ensuing power-play (with seconds to go), Jeff Carter shoveled his garbage past Dubnyk to make it 2-0. 

In the middle stanza Jeff Carter tripled the lead with his second of the evening with a wrister from the point. One minute after Carter's 30th of the season, J.F. Jacques drew the Oilers within two after tipping home Smid's bomb for the point.
Late in the second and with some jump in their skates the Oilers pressed for a second goal in the last 3 minutes of the frame, but was denied by the solid goaltending of Sergei Bobrovsky.  

Finally Blair Betts closed the game with an empty netter to help break the Oilers 3 game win streak with a 4 to 1 victory.

"It was frustrating. It feels like we felt our way into that game," said the Oilers captain Shawn Horcoff. "They took it to us early, but we have to give us a little bit of credit. I thought we came back strong in the second, got ourselves back in the game. We came out and played a pretty good third, but you can't give a team like that the start that we did and expect to bounce back."

The Oilers will now fly out to Washington to face the red hot Capitals.  The game will be broadcasted live on TSN at 4 pacific time.

Game Notes

Oilers fans were treated to a familiar voice of Rod Phillips who had the call in Philadelphia.  Phillips is the former Oilers Radio Play-by-Play Commentator who announced his final installment of "Rod's Classics".    

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