The Edmonton Oilers will have to make do without forward Taylor Hall for two to four weeks. That’s how long the 22-year-old is expected to be out thanks to a leg injury he suffered on Saturday night as his team faced off against the Vancouver Canucks.
This has been a tough run for the Oilers thus far. They dropped the game to Vancouver by a final score of 3-2 despite getting in front early and showing some much-needed jump.
The turning point was clear, too. Hall went down early in the second period after cutting hard to the net and losing his footing. He crashed into the post and spent the rest of the game in the medical room. At that point and time, the score was 2-2 and the Oilers seemed in it.
But then things fell apart. With Hall in the line-up, they generated 14 shots and at least seven scoring chances in the first period. After he was injured, they only managed 13 shots on goal and four scoring chances. Some of that could be attributed to the fact that the Canucks were pressing, but the argument lies that part of the reason the Canucks were pressing was because the Oilers fell apart without Hall.
The Oilers are wrapping up a long home stand with a 4-3-0 record and sit with a 4-6-1 record overall, good enough for sixth in the Pacific Division and next to last place in the Western Conference. Only the Arizona Coyotes are faring worse and they have one fewer game in hand.
The official word is that Hall has an MCL sprain, the team said on Sunday. In 11 games with the Oilers this season, he leads the club in scoring with six goals and 10 points. He is a plus-4 with one power play goal to his credit thus far and 36 shots on goal.
In other words, he’ll be missed. The Oilers, who are already clearly in tough, will have some serious shuffling to do to make up for the loss of Hall. The possibility of his absence for an entire month is not good news, no matter how many clichés Dallas Eakins comes up with, and this hockey club will have to make it work.