GAME DAY: Oilers dethrone Kings 2-1 in OT
Oilers overthrow Kings with thrilling overtime win
OILERS 2 - KINGS 1 (OT)An opening-period goal by Josh Green appeared to be enough through 40 minutes, but the Kings marched back and scored the equalizer 6:22 into the third, sending the game to overtime.
On a power-play, Taylor Hall helped conclude the Oilers' three-game homestand on a high note as he scored the winner at 3:06, propelling his club to a well-earned 2-1 win Sunday night at Rexall Place.
AT THE OILERS PRACTICEEdmonton, AB - As the Edmonton Oilers search for answers during their current five-game slide, the club tried something a little different during what was a busy weekend.
With games on Friday and tonight plus the team's annual Skills Competition on Saturday, the Oilers elected to break from tradition and not hold a morning skate today.
Instead, the team practiced hard before the Skills Competition on Saturday morning following a 5-0 loss to the Anaheim Ducks Friday.
"We'll take out of it what's required moving forward, obviously," said Oilers head coach Tom Renney of the team's lopsided loss to Anaheim. "I don't think you dwell on the things that were problematic for you, individually. I think you do that as a team and suggest we have to play with a little more passion and a little more energy and bring that tomorrow."
Renney was very unhappy with the team's performance against the Ducks, categorizing the effort among the team's worst efforts of the season -- a relatively small sample.
"We've had enough to bug me," said Renney. "We've had a couple agaisnt Phoenix, we had one against Carolina and this one last night. As much as we had 30 shots, that was kind of smoke and mirrors. And the last period on the Island bugged me.
"We've had enough that it's problematic if we let it continue. It doesn't matter what our roster looks like, you've got to play hard."
Captain Shawn Horcoff agreed that the team really needs to move past Friday's performance.
"We feel that in the majority of the games, the effort has been there and we're obviously a better team than that so we want to leave that behind and get ready for (Sunday)," Horcoff said.
Number 10 added that the team is very frustrated with its current stretch, which includes only four wins in their last 21 outings.
"We're just frustrated," he said. "To get down after they get a couple of lucky goals is frustrating. When frustration sets in, it's really tough to play the game. You get caught in between trying to do too much and maybe not enough. It's really a fine line. Our best bet, we talked about it today, is just leaving that behind. We had a good skate today and we'll be ready for tomorrow."
GAGNER PROVIDES A SPARK
One topic of discussion following practice Saturday was the fact that, after his fight Friday night against Francios Beauchemin, Sam Gagner now has twice as many fights as Ben Eager this season -- a fact no Oilers fan would have predicted during training camp.
"It takes a lot of courage to go," said Renney, adding he would have liked to see Gagner's fight give the team more spark Friday. "I'd like to have seen a better response from us. At that point in time I'm less concerned about winning the hockey game and more about respect. And making sure that teams know we're ready, willing and able to step up any time we need to.
"My guess is, people in our lineup have a pretty good understanding why they're here. I thought we had enough in our lineup last night that there could be more than one guy making a stand for his team."
Gagner has picked up 18 points (5 goals, 13 assists) in his last 23 games after starting the year with only two assists in his first 13 outings.
"I feel good. I just want to be consistent. That's the most important thing," said Gagner. "You want your teammates and coaching staff to know that they can count on you every night. Espeically for us, we can't take nights off or the hole gets even deeper. That's what I'm focusing on right now."
As for overall team performance, Gagner talked about how the team deserved a better fate on a lot of nights.
"We've played some games pretty good here and weren't able to get the result we wanted," he said, adding Friday was not one of those nights. "It was one of those games you want to move on from. it's never good to play like that."
NEWS AND NOTES
Eric Belanger did not skate on Saturday, a move Renney said was precautionary.
"He hurt his leg last night," said the head coach. "We just kept him off to give him some rehab. He'll skate (Sunday) morning and we'll see how he's doing."
Presumably, if he can't go it would mean that Hordichuk would draw in.
-- Marc Ciampa, edmontonoilers.com