Oilers notebook: Smid misses shifts after taking shot off arm
Edmonton Oilers defenceman has had run of bad luck
CHICAGO — Edmonton Oilers defenceman Ladislav Smid took a shot off his left arm in the first period as he dove to block the puck and ended up missing several shifts.
“The arm went numb on me,” Smid said after Chicago Blackhawks defenceman Nick Leddy delivered a bullet. “And it’s still pretty sore. It’s hard to squeeze my stick.”
Smid had an adventuresome night at the United Center in the Blackhawks’ 3-2 overtime victory.
He had Patrick Kane’s hopeful backhand on Nikolai Khabibulin go off his stick and past the goalie in the first period.
“An own goal ... I haven’t had one of those in a while,” Smid said, sighing.
The 27-year-old native of the Czech Republic has had a run of awful luck around his net with pucks bouncing in over the years.
Smid was on the ice for Jeff Petry’s short-handed goal in 4-1/2 minutes into the game. He was also on when Viktor Stalberg poked one home to tie it in the third after Michal Rozsival’s bad-angle shot hopped into the blue-paint area.
“Bad bounce,” said Smid, who was all alone on Marian Hossa’s OT winner when Petry, his blue-line partner, made a couple of errors.
“Khabby (Khabibulin) made a heck of a save on Hossa and the puck went right back onto his stick,” Smid said.
“One on one (Patrick Sharp on Petry). He overplayed it up high and in a four-on-four situation, that’s all it takes,” said Oilers head coach Ralph Krueger.
“One time you slide out of position and it opens things up a lot more than on five-on-five. The rebound to Hossa ... we needed somebody to remain in front of the net. Kind of a double breakdown,” Krueger said.
Petry was behind the net on the play.
The Blackhaawks turned up the heat in the third.
“There was a long stretch with no whistles and that was the most pressure we’ve felt this year,” Krueger said. “They’re so strong physically and off a back-to-back (Chicago defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 1-0 on Sunday) how they continued to press was impressive. There’s a reason why they’re the best team in the National Hockey League.
“When it’s all said and done, though, we have to take courage out of this point and we can go .500 on the road trip, at the minimum.”
Quiet night for Eberle
Oilers winger Jordan Eberle, who played 23:50, 13 seconds less than linemate Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for the team lead, had a quiet night offensively with just two shots.
But the Oilers nearly pulled out a victory anyway.
“I thought they were ripe for the picking, playing their second game in two nights. It’s tough when you leave points out there,” Eberle said.
There wasn’t much flow in Monday’s game.
“It was a mucking, grinding game, lots of board battles. That’s the style we have to learn to play.”
Horcoff still hurting
Edmonton captain Shawn Horcoff skated with the team Monday morning, but he might just be along for the ride on the nine-game, 17-day trip.
He’s still in some discomfort with his broken knuckle.
“I can’t grip (a stick) yet. I’m two weeks away,” Horcoff said.
Centres with bad hands can’t take faceoffs either for fear of getting slashed during draws.
Krueger thinks Horcoff could play 11 days from now against the Nashville Predators in Game 7 of the road trek.
Hartikainen put on IR
Teemu Hartikainen was put on injured reserve with a sore shoulder, a souvenir of being clobbered by Colorado Avalanche player Patrick Bordeleau 10 days ago.
Hartikainen played three games after the hit, scoring against the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday at Rexall Place, but he’s been in pain.
“This will allow it to heal,” Krueger said.
Plus, it conveniently allowed the Oilers to keep winger Magnus Paajarvi with the team with Lennart Petrell (concussion) cleared to play. Otherwise, they would have to send Hartikainen or Paajarvi to the Oklahoma City Barons of the American Hockey League.
ON THE BENCH: Igor Larionov, Nail Yakupov’s agent, was at the game. So was former Oilers winger Kirk Maltby, who’s now scouting for the Detroit Red Wings ... The Oilers actually won the faceoff battle against the Blackhawks, one of the few times they’ve come out ahead. They won 29 of 57, with Eric Belanger (11-7) and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (11-8) both having excellent nights in the faceoff circle ... The Oilers didn’t generate nearly enough shots at the net, however. They got 19 on Ray Emery, nine were blocked and five went wide. The Blackhawks had 65 generated at Khabibulin (34 on net, 19 blocked, 12 wide).
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