(SportsNetwork.com) – The Edmonton Oilers were not only unable to bring a
winning streak with them on their upcoming road trip, but they are missing two
key players as well.
The Oilers open a five-game swing on Tuesday night against the Philadelphia
Flyers without forward Taylor Hall and defenseman Andrew Ference.
Both players were lost in Saturday’s 3-2 setback to the Vancouver Canucks.
Hall suffered a sprained MCL in his knee after taking a hit while driving the
net and crashing into the goal post. He is expected to miss 2-to-4 weeks.
Ference, meanwhile, was suspended for three games due to a check he delivered
to the head of Canucks forward Zack Kassian. He will miss games in
Philadelphia, Boston and Buffalo before being eligible to return on Sunday
against the New York Rangers.
While the Oilers will only need to fill Ference’s void for a few games, they
will need a number of offensive players to step up for the foreseeable future
as Hall has posted six goals and 10 points in 11 games this season.
“You have to fill that by committee. One guy can’t pick up the slack, it’s got
to be all of us. I think we did pretty well (against Vancouver). We kept the
pace going,” Edmonton’s Jordan Eberle told his club’s website.
“We feel a lot more comfortable, for sure. When a guy goes down like that you
get an opportunity to play a little bit more.”
Eberle and David Perron scored versus the Canucks, who got the winning goal
shorthanded when Derek Dorsett picked off a bad clearing attempt by goaltender
Ben Scrivens before scoring at 4:05 of the third period.
“I’m certainly not gonna stand here and crucify the guy,” Oilers coach Dallas
Eakins said of the play. “It’s easy to stand back and point fingers, but that
kid kept us in the game at key points. He’ll bounce back.”
Scrivens ended with 27 saves as the Oilers finished a seven-game homestand
with a second straight loss. They had won four in a row before the defeats.
The Flyers also have followed up a winning streak with consecutive setbacks,
claiming three victories in a row prior to defeats against Tampa Bay and
Florida. They were bested 2-1 by the Panthers on Saturday.
Vincent Lecavalier prevented a shutout loss when he scored in the final
seconds of the contest in his return from a seven-game absence caused by a
left ankle injury, while Steve Mason yielded both goals on 30 shots faced.
“I’m just trying to find some positives in a negative situation,” said Mason,
who is 0-4-1 on the season. “I thought I played a pretty good game, but it
could have been better.”
The Flyers will play four straight at home and are expected to debut
defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo. Philadelphia signed the veteran to help out a
banged-up blue line that is without Braydon Coburn and Andrew MacDonald due to
Colaiacovo, who was signed on Oct. 30, has not played an NHL game since April
13 with the St. Louis Blues.
“I feel great. I’m really excited and really looking forward to getting back
in there tomorrow,” Colaiacovo said on Philadelphia’s website following
Monday’s practice. “For me it’s not so much getting into X’s and O’s tomorrow
it’s about keeping it simple, playing my game and moving the puck.”
The Flyers won both of their meetings with the Oilers last season after having
dropped six of the previous seven encounters.