EDMONTON – The Edmonton Oilers continue to show that they are a team that can’t be taken lightly, despite what their record says.
Devan Dubnyk made 35 saves to record his first shutout of the season as the Oilers won their second game in a row, surprising the Philadelphia Flyers 2-0 on Thursday.
Dubnyk, who earned his third career shutout, said this game and the recent 6-1 win over Calgary showed what the team is capable of.
“There’s nothing really magic about what we’re doing,” he said. “We’re using our speed, winning every single race to loose pucks, we’re coming back and creating turnovers the other way.
“It’s been great to watch and it’s fun because there’s no secret behind it and no reason why it can’t continue.”
Jordan Eberle had a goal and an assist and Taylor Hall also scored for the Oilers (24-30-6), who have the second-worst record in the NHL.
“We’re a good team,” Eberle said. “Maybe our record doesn’t show it, but we’re capable of playing with the best teams, and beating them, we’ve shown that we can.
“Our problem is consistency. When we play our game the way we can we can roll with the best of them.”
The Flyers (33-20-7) missed out on a chance to pull into second place in the Eastern Conference.
“I thought we played pretty well in the first period but in the second we didn’t keep with the plan like we should have and it cost us the game,” said Flyer forward Claude Giroux.
Philadelphia’s Scott Hartnell said no team can afford to take a mental break in games at this time of year.
“When you take 20 minutes off in a game against a skilled group like this it is tough to win,” he said. “This is crunch time. Even when you are playing a team that’s near the bottom of the Western Conference, there are no easy games.”
The highlight of the scoreless first period was a marathon fight between the Oilers’ Darcy Hordichuk and Philadelphia’s Jody Shelley eight minutes into the game.
The Flyers had 14 shots on Devan Dubnyk to Edmonton’s nine on Ilya Bryzgalov in the first.
However, the Oilers had the best chance of the opening period as Hall made a nice backhand feed from behind the net to Ales Hemsky, but Bryzgalov came across his crease quickly to make the stop.
Edmonton broke the deadlock on a power play three-and-a-half minutes in to the second. Hall was able to find an inch to squeeze the puck between the post and Bryzgalov’s skate for his 22nd of the season and a 1-0 Oilers lead.
Edmonton went up 2-0 eight minutes into the second as Eberle picked up a loose puck and sent a shot from the slot that bounced off of Bryzgalov’s inside pad before trickling across the goal-line.
It was the 27th goal and 60th point this season for the second-year forward.
Late in the period, Hartnell was given a kneeing penalty after taking a run at Magnus Paajarvi who had to be helped off the ice with what looked like a knee injury.
“I was just finishing my check,” Hartnell said. “It was the end of a long shift and part of my game is being physical. Hopefully he is all right.
“I don’t really know what happened to him. But it wasn’t my intent to injure.”
Edmonton turned the shots totals around with a 15-6 edge in the second period.
The Flyers came very close to getting on the board five minutes into the third as a Jakub Voracek shot got past Dubnyk but was fished to safety by Oilers defender Tom Gilbert before it crossed the goal-line.
The Oilers were awarded a penalty shot with just under three minutes to play as Kimmo Timonen hauled down Shawn Horcoff on a short-handed breakaway.
Horcoff was stopped on the one-on-one opportunity.
“The boys really played hard tonight,” said Oilers associate coach Ralph Krueger, who is serving as head coach while Tom Renney recovers from a concussion. “The defensive effort was fantastic, to keep the best offensive team in the league down to 13 five-on-five chances.”
Notes: It was the only meeting between the two teams this season. … Oilers head coach Tom Renney missed his fifth game with a concussion after taking a puck in the head in practice. Associate coach Ralph Krueger has been guiding the team in his absence. … The Oilers were still without rookie sensation Ryan Nugent-Hopkins but he has started practising with contact and could return from a shoulder injury as soon as Saturday.…Besides the long-term injuries to forward Tom Sestito (groin) and defenceman Chris Pronger, the Flyers fielded a healthy team.…Both teams have been strong on the power play this season as the Oilers came into the game fourth and the Flyers fifth in the league.…Flyers forward Jaromir Jagr still needs just one point to move into eighth place in all-time NHL scoring. He is currently tied with Joe Sakic with 1,641 points.