Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Post Game: Game #25 Wild 3 Oilers 2 (SO)

Summary
1st Period
EDM Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 11 (Andy Sutton, Jordan Eberle) 9:58


2nd Period
EDM Jordan Eberle 9 (PP) (Shawn Horcoff, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins) 5:10

MIN Devin Setoguchi 8 (Mikko Koivu, Dany Heatley) 11:31

MIN Kyle Brodziak 6 (PP) (Nick Johnson, Marco Scandella) 14:51


3rd Period
None

EDM Jordan Eberle shootout goal

MIN Pierre-Marc Bouchard shootout goal

EDM Ales Hemsky shootout saved

MIN Mikko Koivu shootout goal

EDM Sam Gagner shootout goal

MIN Matt Cullen shootout miss

EDM Ryan Nugent-Hopkins shootout miss

MIN Devin Setoguchi shootout saved

EDM Shawn Horcoff shootout goal

MIN Dany Heatley shootout goal

EDM Ryan Smyth shootout saved

MIN Kyle Brodziak shootout goal

Penalty Summary
1st Period
2:12 Minnesota fighting - 5 min B. Staubitz drawn by D. Hordichuk
2:12 Edmonton fighting - 5 min D. Hordichuk drawn by B. Staubitz
2:52 Minnesota holding - 2 min M. Lundin drawn by A. Hemsky
10:42 Minnesota tripping - 2 min K. Brodziak drawn by A. Hemsky
12:30 Edmonton too many men on ice - 2 min Bench served by A. Hemsky
16:18 Edmonton interference with goaltender - 2 min R. Jones drawn by N. Backstrom
17:02 Edmonton cross checking - 2 min L. Smid drawn by C. Clutterbuck

2nd Period
4:31 Minnesota roughing - 2 min G. Zanon drawn by M. Paajarvi
12:56 Edmonton interference - 2 min A. Sutton drawn by C. Gillies
14:55 Minnesota high-sticking - 2 min N. Johnson drawn by M. Paajarvi

3rd Period
4:44 Edmonton roughing - 2 min T. Peckham drawn by M. Cullen

OT Period
3:07 Edmonton tripping - 2 min R. Smyth drawn by J. Spurgeon

Shots On Goal - Oilers 30 Wild 29

Game Notes:
- Tough to be critical of this loss, but at the same time, it feels like the Oilers let a point slip away to a divisional opponent. I commend the Oilers for battling their tails off tonight, but ultimately could not score the third goal that would have mattered. Players played, coaches coached, managers continue to sit idly by. Like somehow Ryan O'Marra is the missing ingrediant for what ails this team. I do wonder if Steve Tambellini and company will throw this team a life preserver and get this team some top 6 bigger body help. It might have been the difference tonight, and it may be the difference in many more games this season. Watching a game like tonight and just shaking my head in shame. The Oilerss are close. When I say close, I mean they are only one maybe two pieces away from being a playoff team, this year, I kid you not. The defense is playing hard and limiting mistakes, Khabibulin has been pretty consistant this year, but the forward lines are missing some umph, especially in the top 6. Minnesota should feel fortunate they walked away with two points, much like the last game they played here. A lot of it has to do with the fact the Oilers are not playing with a full deck, some because of injury, some because of management.

Player of the Game:
- Jordan Eberle. Scored a goal, had an assist, scored in the shootout, did everything but deliver the beer. Eberle and the Nuge have really been having a good run of chemistry, pretty much since the beginning of the year. Right now, these two players have been the best options for an Oiler goal over the last 10 games. Eberle is on a nice scoring run these days.

Goat of the Game:
- Eric Belanger. To play almost 20 minutes and not have a shot on goal is mystifying. I know Belanger is here to win faceoffs and kill penalties and he's doing a wonderful job of that. But if you are playing almost 20 minutes a game, you gotta find a way to contribute offensively. Belanger is stuck in first gear offensively and the only way he's getting out of it is shooting the puck. Disappointed to see zero shots by his name.

Next Game - Friday December 2, 2011 vs. BlueJackets on Sportsnet West 7:30 PM MT

Pre-Game: Game #25 Oilers vs. Wild



The Oilers come into this game, losers of 2 in a row, dropping a 2-1 contest to Nashville on Monday night. The Oilers are very close to becoming entrenched in a long drought, at a point in the season where they are on an extended homestand with winnable game on the schedule. It's a make or break point in the season for the Oilers. By the end of the homestand we should figure out what the 2011/2012 version of the Oilers are. The Taylor Hall injury has upset the balance that the forward corps had established up to this point. Hemsky and Paajarvi will have to pick up the pace and start attacking the other teams' defense. Without the up tempo pace, the Oilers will become easy to defend without any muscle to back things up. The Oilers will have to start getting creative to find new ways of generating offense, which will put more pressure on the power play to keep up the pace. It's a slippery slope for the Oilers. They will have to take some more gambles on offense while not giving up anything defensively, all while trying to stay healthy. Minnesota is coming off a 3-1 at home to Tampa Bay. Minnesota, much like Nashville on Monday, are looking for some revenge after losing on home ice to the Oilers last week. It will be interesting to see how the Oilers come out for this game. They definitely need to find more energy.

Forwards Wild
- Without Hall, I have a hard time giving the edge to the Oilers here. The Wild are getting strong center play from Koivu, Cullen and Brodziak.
Defense Oilers
- The Oilers defense is finally starting to stabilize, good blend of mobility, puck distribution and toughness.
Goaltending Wild
- The Oilers have a tough time with Backstrom but they totally own Harding. Its going to depend who is in net.
Special Teams Oilers
- The Oilers will have to win the special teams game if they want to win. They continue to have top 10 PP and PK.
Coaching Wild
- The Oilers have gotten away from a true checking line, unless Paajarvi-Belanger-Jones is a quasi checking line.
Intangibles Oilers
- The Oilers are sleeping in their own beds while Minnesota is playing their third game in four nights.

Oilers:
Smyth-NugentHopkins-Eberle
Gagner-Horcoff-Hemsky
Paajarvi-Belanger-Jones
Hordichuk-Lander-Petrell

Smid-Gilbert
Whitney-Petry
Sutton-Peckham

Khabibulin
Dubnyk

Wild:
Clutterbuck-Koivu-Heatley
Setoguchi-Cullen-Bouchard
Powe-Brodziak-Johnson
Wellman-McIntyre-Staubitz

Schultz-Lundin
Stoner-Zanon
Scandella-Spurgeon

Backstrom
Harding

Game Time - 7:30 PM MT @ Rexall Place on TSN.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Post Game: Game #24 Predators 2 Oilers 1

Scoring Summary
1st Period
EDM Jordan Eberle 8 (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins) 7:07


2nd Period
NSH Shea Weber 4 (PP) (Ryan Suter, Anders Lindback) 11:34


3rd Period
NSH Nick Spaling 3 (Jordin Tootoo, Craig Smith) 12:21

Penalty Summary
1st Period
8:49 Nashville roughing - 2 min S. Weber drawn by A. Hemsky

2nd Period
6:35 Edmonton cross checking - 2 min T. Peckham drawn by J. Tootoo
6:35 Edmonton elbowing - 5 min R. Jones drawn by B. Geoffrion
6:35 Nashville diving - 2 min J. Tootoo drawn by T. Peckham
6:55 Nashville interference - 2 min S. Kostitsyn drawn by R. Smyth
8:31 Nashville tripping - 2 min R. Josi drawn by J. Eberle
18:51 Nashville high-sticking - 2 min J. Tootoo drawn by R. Nugent-Hopkins

3rd Period
2:25 Edmonton high-sticking - 2 min C. Teubert drawn by J. Tootoo

Shots On Goal - Oilers 18 Predators 31

Game Notes:
- The Oilers just didn't have enough "umph" tonight and ultimately one lackluster clearing attempt did them in. Chalk this one under " a game they should have won but lost" category. Nashville's offense is non-existant but simply outworked the Oilers tonight where the Oilers felt Nashville was going to hand over 2 points. The execution was real poor and the Oilers were stuck second guessing themselves all night. The good and the bad of the Oilers this year is, you never know what you're going to get. Welp, tonight was the bad and then the ugly. Getting only 18 shots and applying very little pressure after scoring in the first period is unforgivable. Ryan Jones taking a five minute phantom elbowing penalty really set the Oilers back. It was a bad call, but the Oilers never could get any momentum from that point on. Taylor Hall had an impact on the game without playing in the game. The Oilers sorely could have used his gamebreaking ability tonight. Magnus Paajarvi, taking Hall's spot tonight, had some decent mojo going early, but faded much like the team around him. I still don't know what to make of this team, on one hand I want to rip a strip off their backside, really letting them have it. But, on the other hand, you start to remember last year and then one remembers what they were. The Oilers are making progress on one hand, but on the other hand, you really feel they are leaving a lot on the table by some of the personnel decisions management is making. I fully expect to see more games like tonight as long as management is willing to stand pat and assess.

Player of the Game:
- Colten Teubert. I thought to a man everyone underachieved tonight. I could and probably should give it to Khabibulin but that first goal he gave up was fromage. I have decided to give it to Teubert for his steady play and his toughness since he has shown up here. Oh, who am I kidding, everyone else sucked, but good on Teubert. It's rare for me to give a bottom pairing defenseman kudos, so here it is.

Goat of the Game:
- Sam Gagner. Geez, no shortage here. I could give out three on the winning goal. Gagner for being weak on the puck and coughing it up, Belanger for covering air in front, and for Whitney playing like his ankles are going to shatter any second. There were a lot of passengers tonight. I hate to single out Gagner here, because he did play well tonight. But on a play like that he has to eat the puck along the boards and keep it there as long as he can. He simply threw the puck weakly into the slot allowing Nashville to keep the play alive.

Next Game: Wednesday November 30, 2011 vs. Wild @ Rexall Place on TSN 7:30 PM MT

Pre-Game: Game #24 Oilers vs. Predators


The Oilers come home to start a 6 games homestand, spread out nicely over 12 days. The keys for the Oilers is to remain focused and not take any shortcuts throughout. The games are winnable ones but ones that cannot be taken for granted. The Oilers are coming off a bitter 5-2 loss to the Avalanche where they just looked to have ran out of gas in the third period. The Oilers sit in ninth place in the conference currently, so this homestand could make or break the Oilers in terms of thinking playoffs, or thinking high draft pick again. They really need to make some hay here, so are they ready for primetime or down time? We'll find out shortly. Nashville comes into this game losers of 4 in a row, coming off a 4-1 loss in Detroit. The Oilers beat Nashville 6-2 on Tuesday to help Nashville with four in a row. It will be interesting to see if Nashville comes out with any fire in the belly tonight. I will try and post an update on Taylor Hall's injury as more news is made available.

Forwards Oilers
- Even without Hall, the Oilers have more dynamic forwards than the Predators have.
Defense Predators
- I expect Weber and Suter to be much better tonight than they were against the Oilers on Tuesday.
Goaltending Predators
- Ditto goes for Rinne.
Special Teams Oilers
- The Oilers have some of the best special teams going in the NHL, ranked 4th on the PP and 9th on the PK.
Coaching Predators
- Tom Renney has so many forwards right now that I'm not sure he knows what to do with them.
Intangibles Oilers
- Home ice and last change should get the matchups the Oilers want.

Oilers:
Smyth-NugentHopkins-Eberle
Petrell-Horcoff-Hemsky
Jones-Belanger-Gagner
Paajarvi-Lander-Hordichuk

Whitney-Petry
Smid-Gilbert
Peckham-Teubert

Khabibulin
Dubnyk

Predators:
Wilson-Legwand-Hornqvist
Erat-Fisher-Kostitsyn
Tootoo-Smith-Spaling
Halischuk-Smithson-McGratton

Suter-Weber
Hillen-Klein
Josi-Blum

Rinne
Lindback

Game Time - 7:30 PM MT @ Rexall Place on Sportsnet West.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Post Game: Game #23 Avalanche 5 Oilers 2

Scoring Summary
1st Period
EDM Ladislav Smid 1 (Sam Gagner, Ryan Jones) 2:59

COL Jay McClement 3 (Chuck Kobasew, Matt Duchene) 4:35


2nd Period
EDM Ryan Jones 6 (Eric Belanger, Sam Gagner) 2:24


3rd Period
COL Shane O'Brien 1 (PP) (Ryan O'Reilly, Milan Hejduk) 6:06

COL Stefan Elliott 1 (Ryan O'Reilly) 8:03

COL Jan Hejda 2 (Chuck Kobasew, David Jones) 16:19

COL Paul Stastny 7 (EN) (Milan Hejduk) 18:07

Penalty Summary1st Period
17:40 Colorado cross checking - 2 min K. Quincey drawn by T. Hall

2nd Period
3:55 Colorado hooking - 2 min P. Stastny drawn by A. Hemsky
18:37 Edmonton hooking - 2 min R. Jones drawn by D. Winnik

3rd Period
1:11 Colorado tripping - 2 min M. Duchene drawn by R. Smyth
3:12 Edmonton holding - 2 min R. Whitney drawn by C. Kobasew
4:46 Edmonton slashing - 2 min J. Petry drawn by G. Landeskog

Shots On Goal - Oilers 33 Avalanche 29

Game Notes:
- Tough one to take. The Oilers left point(s) on the table tonight, mostly due to one ill-advised penalty to Petry and Smid showing the down side to blocking shots. The Oilers played well for 50 minutes. I thought even after a point shot went off of Lander's glove and in the net, this game was salvagable. But then a couple of sifters beat Dubnyk, with no help from Smid and it was lights out. Taylor Hall got wiped out early by Ryan Wilson and left the game with an apparent shoulder injury. With Ales Hemsky's career as an Oiler surely winding down, its time for a new set of shoulders to start getting beaten up. No word yet on the severity of the injury, but this is the type of injury that should raise all kinds of red flags, moreso than his ankle injury from last year. Shoulders are things that do not repair easily and will only get worse with the style that Hall plays. Need to treat this injury with kid gloves. The road trip ends 2-2. If the Oilers would have taken that at the beginning of the trip, however I felt this was the most winnable game of the trip and they found a way to let it slip away. I'd say heavy legs would be a concern, but how the last couple goals went in, in my mind these were just mental gaffes. This season has that the ebbs and flows to the season will be sharp. If anything, this year should make every Oiler fan totally bipolar.

Player of the Game:
- Sam Gagner. I felt he was the most dangerous player for the Oilers tonight. Chipped in with 2 assists, including a nice feed to Ladi Smid for his bi-annual goal. He was able to find some space while a lot of the other Oiler players were getting smushed into the glass. Reminded me a lot of his rookie year, which is a good sign he is starting to understand his role better and he might finally be starting to channel his inner Jordan Eberle.

Goat of the Game:
- Devan Dubnyk. There was a lot on Dubnyk's shoulders tonight considering the Oilers were in a back to back, end of the road trip, rarified air, yadda yadda yadda. Dubnyk played for 50 minutes and then wheels fell off. The Oilers really needed Dubnyk to bring this game home, but instead he left it there. Dubnyk and Smid were a mess on the final two goals. I blame mostly Smid because, well if you're not going to block the shots, get the frick out of the way. Smid was running out of gas and did score a goal tonight, so I'll cut him a bit of slack. Dubnyk gave up two sifters and that was that. Just a tough way to lose when being up 2-1 going into the 3rd period.

Next Game: Monday November 28, 2011 vs. Predators @ Rexall Place on Sportsnet West 7:30 PM MT.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Pre-Game: Game #23 Oilers vs. Avalanche



The Oilers keep finding ways to win and keep exercising demons of the past. Every win feels like it comes with a "yeah, but" attached to it. Question is: Do we accept this team the way it is, with all it potential for greatness and all of its flaws? We know there are teams out there that will test the strength and mental will of the Oilers. Both got tested last night and both were beaten into the ground by the Oilers in a hard fought 5-2 victory over the Wild, ending a 17 game losing streak in Minnesota. Sam Gagner and Jordan Eberle are starting to finish their checks, something that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has started and is now starting to be infectious throughout the lineup. The Oilers continued a pattern of scoring first = winning. The last two games against Nashville and Minnesota were likely the two most impressive wins of the year. They played the game the right way. Strong, both mentally and physically. The next step for this team is to battle adversity and win, we know they are comfortable with a lead, but now can they come back when they are down? Stay tuned on that one. They have 2 of 3 on this road trip so far, with the easiest stop on the tour in Colorado on the schedule. This game game against Colorado poses a different threat, one of being the favorite and one of battling fatigue at the end of a road trip. Another game, another test. Colorado comes into this game losers of 2 in a row. They lost Wednesday night to Vancouver 3-0. Colorado is 2-8-1 in November.

Forwards Oilers
- The Oilers forwards are rolling right now after scoring 5 and 6 goals over the last two games. The kids and Ryan Smyth are hot.
Defense Oilers
- Ryan Whitney coming back really helps the depth chart on the backend.
Goaltending Oilers
- Dubnyk seems to have righted himself after a nice start in Nashville.
Special Teams Oilers
- The Oilers have the 5th ranked PP and the 7th ranked PK. Colorado is 2nd and 26th in the same catagories. Oilers can make hay on the power play.
Coaching Oilers
- Tom Renney is pushing the right buttons now, but I'm not sure how long it will last.
Intangibles Avalanche
- Back to backs are killer, especially at the tail end of a road trip.

Oilers:
Smyth-NugentHopkins-Eberle
Hall-Horcoff-Hemsky
Jones-Belanger-Gagner
Paajarvi-Lander-Hordichuk

Whitney-Petry
Smid-Gilbert
Peckham-Teubert

Dubnyk
Khabibulin

Avalanche:
Jones-Duchene-Hejduk
Landeskog-Stastny-Lindstrom
Winnik-O'Reilly-Porter
Galiardi-McClement-Kobasew

Quincey-O'Brien
Hejda-Hunwick
Wilson-O'Byrne

Varlamov
Giguere

Game Time - 5 PM MT @ Colorado on CBC.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Post Game: Game #22 Oilers 5 Wild 2

Scoring Summary
1st Period
EDM Ryan Smyth 12 (Jordan Eberle, Theo Peckham) 5:15

EDM Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 9 (PP) (Sam Gagner, Eric Belanger) 16:29

MIN Devin Setoguchi 7 (PP) (Mikko Koivu, Jared Spurgeon) 19:50


2nd Period
MIN Pierre-Marc Bouchard 2 (Unassisted) 9:00

EDM Taylor Hall 7 (Tom Gilbert, Shawn Horcoff) 15:29


3rd Period
EDM Shawn Horcoff 7 (Ales Hemsky, Taylor Hall) 7:28

EDM Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 10 (EN) (Jordan Eberle, Ryan Smyth) 18:37

Penalty Summary
1st Period
6:35 Minnesota interference - 2 min B. Staubitz drawn by D. Hordichuk
6:35 Minnesota roughing - 2 min B. Staubitz drawn by D. Hordichuk
14:51 Minnesota roughing - 2 min B. Staubitz drawn by D. Hordichuk
14:51 Minnesota cross checking - 2 min B. Staubitz drawn by D. Hordichuk
18:13 Edmonton slashing - 2 min S. Gagner drawn by D. Powe
19:20 Edmonton cross checking - 2 min T. Peckham drawn by D. Heatley

2nd Period
19:34 Edmonton interference - 2 min T. Gilbert drawn by K. Brodziak

3rd Period
3:50 Edmonton hooking - 2 min D. Hordichuk drawn by B. Staubitz

Shots On Goal - Oilers 29 Wild 32

Game Notes:
- The Oilers broke the curse by putting in a full 60 minute, team effort. Everyone played their role well and they scored timely goals. Once again, scoring first let them get the upper hand that they never relinquished. These Oilers are finding great comfort in playing with a lead, something you don't see out of young teams. The Oilers kept the Wild from running them out of the building by matching them hit for hit and gaining the upper hand in the gamesmanship. Hordichuk and Staubitz were after each other all first period, which really set the tone for the rest of the game. The kids had themselves another nice game. RNH, Eberle and Hall had 2 points each. Really setting the pace offensively for the Oilers. Khabibulin was solid all game, only goals he was beaten on were from a 5 on 3 and an RNH giveaway that put Bouchard on a breakaway. Otherwise it was a flawless game from him and the team. Solid win for the Oilers to break the Minny curse and now they have won 2 of 3 in this road trip, finishing up in Colorado tomorrow night.

Player of the Game:
- Shawn Horcoff. Horcoff scored the 4th goal that essentially wrapped up the game. It was a big goal at the time. Horcoff has had himself a nice road trip thus far. Horcoff was the only Oiler that won more than 3 faceoffs today by winning 8. The Oilers lost the majority of the faceoffs today. Horcoff is a good support player for Hemsky and Hall while they do their thing.

Goat of the Game:
- Anton Lander. The game was pretty flawless outside of RNH's gaffe but he made up for it with 2 goals. Lander had a pretty uneventful game. No shots, no hits, 0/7 on the dot. I do think Lander and Paajarvi should not have been broken up in favor of Petrell, but I think Renney wants a nice rotation where no one goes stale in the pressbox, especially considering back to back games. Lander wasn't terrible, but he didn't bring a lot when everyone else was bringing plenty.

Next Game - Saturday November 26, 2011 vs. Avalanche @ Colorado on CBC 5 PM MT

Pre-Game: Game #22 Oilers vs. Wild



Another chance to slay the dragon in Minnesota. 17 lost games in a row in Minnesota. I'm sure the Oilers are sick of hearing it, I know I am. If there was ever a game to "just bring it", today's the day. After laying the beatdown on the Predators 6-2 on Tuesday night, jebus knows what kind of Oilers team is going to show up tonight. Losing game they should win and winning games they should lose, the Oilers have been all over the map this season. I'd say this game is another "big" game, or another litmus test, but since the Oilers have been so sporadic lately, I would think that's a given. I can't even venture a guess how this game will end, but its all a part of the appeal of the 2011-2012 season of the Oilers. I will say scoring first will likely play a big part of it though, that much I can tell you. Minnesota comes into this game with the most points in the NHL. Minnesota comes into this game, winners of 5 in a row. They beat Nashville on Wednesday night 3-2. It should be an inteesting game that might mean a lot come March. Ultimately, I think this is a good matchup for the Oilers, but they just seem so cursed here.

Forwards Oilers
- The Oilers crew is dynamic, but there is no doubt they run hot and cold.
Defense Oilers
- Ryan Whitney coming back will make everyone else better and drop them down a slot.
Goaltending Wild
- The Wild have a team GAA of 1.92 which is the best in the NHL.
Special Teams Oilers
- The Oilers have the 5th ranked PP against the Wild 25th.
Coaching Wild
- Mike Yeo has his team going. With 3 very responsible centers in Koivu, Cullen and Brodziak, the Oilers centers figure to see tough matchups.
Intangibles Wild
- The dreaded 17 game curse will come into play at some point this game.

Oilers:
Smyth-NugentHopkins-Eberle
Hall-Horcoff-Hemsky
Paajarvi-Lander-Eager
Jones-Belanger-Gagner

Whitney-Petry
Smid-Gilbert
Peckham-Teubert

Khabibulin
Dubnyk

Wild:
Heatley-Koivu-Setoguchi
Clutterbuck-Cullen-Bouchard
Powe-Brodziak-Johnson
Gillies-Peters-Staubitz

Scandella-Spurgeon
Schultz-Stoner
Falk-Prosser

Harding
Hackett

Game Time - 2 PM MT @ Minnesota on Sportsnet Oilers.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Post Game: Game #21 Oilers 6 Predators 2

Scoring Summary
1st Period
EDM Shawn Horcoff 5 (PP) (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall) 9:31

EDM Ales Hemsky 2 (Ryan Smyth, Jordan Eberle) 11:39

EDM Jordan Eberle 6 (Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins) 15:51


2nd Period
None


3rd Period
EDM Jordan Eberle 7 (Ryan Smyth, Ladislav Smid) 5:00

NSH Jordin Tootoo 1 (PP) (Shea Weber, Ryan Suter) 11:32

EDM Jeff Petry 1 (PP) (Eric Belanger, Ales Hemsky) 12:22

EDM Shawn Horcoff 6 (Sam Gagner, Ryan Jones) 15:03

NSH Jonathan Blum 2 (Mike Fisher, Jordin Tootoo) 19:40


Penalty Summary
1st Period
9:09 Nashville hooking - 2 min C. Smith drawn by E. Belanger
13:45 Nashville holding - 2 min J. Smithson drawn by R. Jones

2nd Period
6:52 Edmonton hooking - 2 min R. Smyth drawn by P. Hornqvist
8:01 Edmonton holding - 2 min T. Gilbert drawn by C. Wilson
12:24 Edmonton hooking - 2 min J. Petry drawn by D. Legwand
15:22 Edmonton fighting - 5 min S. Gagner drawn by M. Halischuk
15:22 Nashville fighting - 5 min M. Halischuk drawn by S. Gagner

3rd Period
5:46 Edmonton interference - 2 min C. Teubert drawn by J. Tootoo
6:50 Nashville interference - 2 min S. Kostitsyn drawn by S. Horcoff
11:26 Edmonton tripping - 2 min C. Teubert drawn by N. Spaling
12:07 Nashville elbowing - 2 min R. Suter drawn by S. Horcoff
15:31 Edmonton cross checking - 2 min A. Plante drawn by M. Halischuk

Shots On Goal - Oilers 32 Predators 32

Game Notes:
- I do believe scoring early has become a secret to the success of the Oilers. The Oilers scored early, forced the Predators away from the dump and chase game, scored on the power play, and the result is a 6-2 beating of the Predators. This game tonight against the Predators was about as polar opposite as it was last night against the Stars. The Oilers did not score early last night, were pounded into oblivion, and were forced to play catch up all night. For a young team, they do play with a lot of confidence with a lead, which is strange because its usually a sign of a veteran team. What I thought this team would thrive in is comnig back from being down, which they have struggled with all season. They do live and die with the first goal of the game. The Oilers has some interesting duo tonight. I liked the combos of Hall-Horcoff, RNH-Eberle, Jones-Belanger. Paajarvi-Lander. If the only the Oilers had a larger forward with a bit of scoring touch to put on each of those lines. Obviously, Ryan Smyth would be one of those players, but they could use 3 more robust folks. Perhaps Ben Eager can join the masses, whenever he decides to throw a hit. The Oilers take their Jekyll and Hyde gig onto Minnesota for a Friday afternoon affair, a place they never win (I think its at 17 losses in a row in Minnesota). Who knows what Oilers team will show up there. All in all, good stuff by the Oilers, collecting themselves, showing up in Nashville and taking two points.

Player of the Game:
- Jordan Eberle. Its high time I give Eberle a POTG. He's been playing well for awhile but someone always seemingly plays a slightly better game than he does. Time to give props to the guy riding shotgun. Scored a couple of beauty snipes that has been his trademark since coming into the NHL. He and Nugent-Hopkins are really starting to establish some chemistry.

Goat of the Game:
- Ben Eager. Feel free to throw a hit anytime. If there is anything the Oilers need you to do, its hit. Eager got some love by playing with Paajarvi and Lander in a quasi offensive role. They only played 8 minutes and were on the ice for the last goal of the game with 20 seconds left, to likely ruin that lines night. Just gotta come back stronger, but Eager has to find some body contact back into his game.

Next Game: Friday, November 25, 2011 vs. Wild @ Minnesota on Sportsnet West 2 PM MT.

Pre-Game: Game #21 Oilers vs. Predators



Back to back games. How can they find a win in this road trip? Playing all this gritty battle tested lineups that are licking their chops to piledrive the Oilers at every turn. How do the Oilers find two points tonight? I'm thinking Tom Renney is looking at his lineup wondering that himself. I'm guessing Paajarvi and Eager find their way back into the lineup, question is who comes out? Personally, I'd tell Gagner and Hemsky to take a seat but I know they won't do that. Roll with lines Smyth-Horcoff-Jones, Hall-RNH-Eberle, Paajarvi-Lander-Petrell, Eager-Belanger-Hordichuk. Go with as beefy a lineup as one could get with this current team. I know it won't happen, but thats just me. Nashville comes into this game 5-1-2 in November, coming off a 4-3 OT loss against Columbus. The Oilers best line, whatever it might be tonight, will figure to see a lot of Weber and Suter. Much like last night, it figures to be another trap game, difference is Nashville comes in a lot hotter than Dallas did.

Forwards Oilers
- The Oilers have the talent, just not the muscle.
Defense Predators
- Suter and Weber, for my money, are the best pair in the NHL.
Goaltending Predators
- Lehtonen last night, Rinne tonight. Tough sledding.
Special Teams Oilers
- Need to win this battle for victory. Top 7 in both PP and PK.
Coaching Predators
- I'm sure Barry Trotz will know how to approach this game.
Intangibles Predators
- Back to back set for the Oilers while the Predators haven't played since Saturday.

Oilers:
Smyth-NugentHopkins-Eberle
Hall-Gagner-Hemsky
Lander-Horcoff-Jones
Hordichuk-Belanger-Petrell

Smid-Gilbert
Peckham-Petry
Chorney-Teubert

Dubnyk
Khabibulin

Predators:
Wilson-Legwand-Hornqvist
Erat-Fisher-Kostitsyn
Tootoo-Smith-Halischuk
Spaling-Smithson-McGratton

Suter-Weber
Bouillon-Klein
Hillen-Blum

Rinne
Lindback

Game Time - 6PM MT @ Nashville on Sportsnet West.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Post-Game: Game #20 Stars 4 Oilers 1

Scoring Summary
1st Period
DAL Toby Petersen 1 (Tom Wandell, Eric Nystrom) 8:30


2nd Period
DAL Steve Ott 3 (Mike Ribeiro, Brenden Morrow) 8:38

EDM Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 8 (Jordan Eberle, Ryan Smyth) 15:24

DAL Michael Ryder 7 (Nicklas Grossman, Loui Eriksson) 16:14


3rd Period
DAL Radek Dvorak 1 (EN) (Vernon Fiddler 5) 18:36


Penalty Summary
1st Period
8:45 Edmonton slashing - 2 min S. Gagner drawn by J. Benn
18:33 Dallas cross checking - 2 min M. Ribeiro drawn by T. Peckham

2nd Period
17:14 Dallas hooking - 2 min J. Benn drawn by R. Nugent-Hopkins
19:48 Edmonton slashing - 2 min L. Smid drawn by M. Ribeiro
20:00 Dallas interference - 2 min B. Morrow drawn by T. Gilbert

3rd Period
3:34 Dallas hooking - 2 min B. Morrow drawn by L. Petrell
5:51 Edmonton delaying the game - 2 min C. Teubert
13:22 Dallas delay of game - 2 min S. Souray
16:41 Dallas interference - 2 min B. Morrow drawn by R. Jones

Shots On Goal - Oilers 18 Stars 35

Game Notes:
- It's games like this why I wonder Steve Tambellini has a job. I know he's trying to get maximum value for players like Ales Hemsky and Sam Gagner, but these players are eating up space that a more beefy experienced body (Owen Nolan) would be much more suitable. I can't see Hemsky or Gagner making it past this year, they can't not if the Oilers want to start becoming a formidable team that can start winning games anyway the game might be played on any given night. Once again that was evident tonight. The Oilers got pushed around, piledrived and just didn't have enough bullets to do anything about it. The average Oiler fan wants to seemingly pile on Hordichuk, Eager and Peckham for a lack of physicality. While this is true, hockey is a team game, and players are like bricks. One brick doesn't mean anything, but the more bricks you have, the stronger the structure becomes. The Oilers have a bunch of great individual talent, but play the game that way, individually. The best teams play like a team and has everyone playing their role to the best of their ability. Not enough beef on this team for that to happen. This game played out like any other Oilers vs. Stars game has over the last 15 years. The Oilers try, the Stars run them out of the rink, the Oilers get scared, the Stars capitalize on turnovers and badly outshoot the Oilers. Game Over. To me, this ball is in Tambellini's court, what strings he wants to pull will tell us how good he wants the team to be. The longer he waits, the worse the Oilers will be. Tom Renney can't do much with this team when he doesn't have enough soldiers willing to give up mind and body to win a battle.

Player of the Game:
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The only player that I saw being engaged in the game, push and being pushed, but never giving up on a play. The Oilers can learn something from this kid, he brought it tonight, there were just too many other passengers to make his effort matter.

Goat of the Game:
- Ales Hemsky. Hemsky needleesly takes pucks into places he doesn't need too. Dumping the puck in is not in his vocabulary. If it was, maybe he might have shoulders left and not be such a turnover machine. There is such a thing as living to battle another shift, but Hemsky plays every shift like its his last, and one of these days, it will be his last. Gotta be smarter with the puck and his body. On the one time he tried to throw a hit, he barreled assed over Theo Peckham trying to step up and throw a hit, resulting in a 3 on 1 and a goal against. Not one of Hemsky's finer moments.

Next Game - Tuesday November 22, 2011 vs Predators in Nashville on Sportsnet West 6PM MT.

Pre-Game: Game #20 Oilers vs. Stars



And just like that, all is well in Oilerville. The Oilers laid the smack on the Blackhawks 9-2 on Saturday to end a 4 game losing streak in style. If the Oilers keep this up, they will ensure their fans and coaching staff will be totally bipolar by years' end. How do they take the momentum of last game into this game against the Stars? Well, they can't. It was one of those cames where things came very easily for the Oilers and they will have to know that every game isn't going to be like that. They will still have to work hard, keep the puck moving forward and make simple plays. This game against the Stars is a trap game. A game where the Oilers will feel high and mighty, but will they take care of the puck and make smart plays? We'll revisit this one at the end of the game. The Stars come into this game losers of 5 in a row, after a hot start, losing 4-1 to San Jose on Saturday night. Dallas is having all kind of issues scoring goals lately as they have only socred 1 goal in their last 3 games. It will be interesting to see how Dallas approaches this game.

Forwards Oilers
- The kids got back on track Saturday. 5 assists for RNH, 4 points for Eberle and 3 goals for Hall.
Defense Stars
- Stars by a hair as the Oilers defense is being held together by duct tape and binder twine.
Goaltending Stars
- Kari Lehtonen has been the Stars MVP and Vezina worthy season so far from him.
Special Teams Oilers
- The Oilers have the 4th ranked power play in the NHL and the 6th ranked penalty kill. Special teams has been solid this year.
Intangibles Stars
- Long flight for the Oilers after a late Saturday game. The start will be very important for both teams.

Oilers:
Smyth-NugentHopkins-Eberle
Hall-Gagner-Hemsky
Lander-Horcoff-Jones
Paajarvi-Gagner-Eager

Smid-Gilbert
Peckham-Petry
Chorney-Teubert

Dubnyk
Khabibulin

Stars:
Ott-Benn-Ryder
Morrow-Ribeiro-Eriksson
Nystrom-Fiddler-Dvorak
Dowell-Wandell-Peterson

Robidas-Souray
Daley-Grossman
Pardy-Fistric

Lehtonen
Raycroft

Game Time - 6:30 PM MT @ Dallas on Sportsnet Oilers.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Post-Game: Game #19 Oilers 9 Blackhawks 2

Scoring Summary
1st Period
EDM Ales Hemsky 1 (Jeff Petry) 0:48

CHI Patrick Sharp 7 (PP) (Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane) 2:59

EDM Ryan Jones 5 (Shawn Horcoff, Tom Gilbert) 5:47

EDM Ryan Smyth 11 (Jordan Eberle, Jeff Petry) 7:32

EDM Taylor Hall 4 (PP) (Shawn Horcoff, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins) 12:39

EDM Jordan Eberle 5 (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jeff Petry) 15:41


2nd Period
EDM Tom Gilbert 3 (PP) (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle) 5:32

EDM Taylor Hall 5 (PP) (Tom Gilbert, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins) 12:09

CHI Dave Bolland 6 (PP) (Nick Leddy, Steve Montador) 13:55

EDM Shawn Horcoff 4 (PP) (Jordan Eberle, Tom Gilbert) 18:53


3rd Period
EDM Taylor Hall 6 (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins) 9:21

Penalty Summary
1st Period
2:07 Edmonton hooking - 2 min R. Smyth drawn by D. Keith
12:07 Chicago boarding - 2 min D. Keith drawn by T. Hall
16:40 Edmonton puck over glass - 2 min R. Jones

2nd Period
0:26 Edmonton holding - 2 min S. Horcoff drawn by J. Toews
3:20 Chicago high-sticking - 4 min P. Kane drawn by J. Petry
5:18 Chicago holding - 2 min D. Bolland drawn by A. Hemsky
10:15 Chicago puck over glass - 2 min B. Bickell
12:20 Edmonton hooking - 2 min B. Eager drawn by P. Kane
18:28 Chicago unsportsmanlike conduct - 2 min P. Kane
19:22 Edmonton high-sticking - 2 min T. Peckham drawn by M. Hossa

3rd Period
5:10 Chicago tripping - 2 min J. Mayers drawn by B. Eager
11:42 Chicago fighting - 5 min D. Carcillo drawn by T. Peckham
11:42 Edmonton fighting - 5 min T. Peckham drawn by D. Carcillo
11:42 Edmonton misconduct - 10 min T. Peckham
11:42 Edmonton instigator - 2 min T. Peckham drawn by D. Carcillo served by R. Nugent-Hopkins

Shots On Goal - Oilers 34 Blackhawks 36

Game Notes:
- Sometimes hockey is just a difficult game to understand. The Oilers had themselves an out of body experience tonight. Going up against the best team in the Western Conference, the Oilers were on a 4 game losing streak, but laid the boots on the Blackhawks tonight, 9-2. The Oilers were flying tonight, Chicago looked real sluggish. The Oilers scored 48 seconds into the game and really never looked back. So what can you take from a game like this? The power play looked confident tonight, really hellbent on executing plays. All of the kids played well tonight, they made more hay apart than they made together, which is something the coaching staff may have stumbled upon. The defense undermanned, really held up tonight. The pairing of Peckham and Petry had an out of this world type game, each going +5 tonight. They both took a step forward tonight and need to bring that type of game consistantly. Peckham played tough and within his means and Petry was dishing and dealing all night from the backend, he looked real comfortable with the puck tonight. I'm sure the lines are going to be together for a bit considering chemistry tonight. I still think they could stand to be tweaked a bit more, but one thing is for certain, spread the kids out through the lineup. They will expose someone that way.

Player of the Game:
- Taylor Hall. I hummed and hawed over this one for awhile, but decided on Hall. How can you pass up on the kid that got a hat trick and was a line rush machine tonight. He was testing the Blackhawk defense all night and beat them in a lot of battles. Hall was getting stringer as the game went on and looks to have found some of his lost mojo. Eberle, The Nuge, Petry and Peckham, Tom Gilbert all had real strong nights tonight.

Goat of the Game:
- Ben Eager. It wasn't his type of game tonight, it was more run and gun, but Ben Eager hasn't been himself all year. Ben Eager was a player brought in to be robust and in your face. He has brought very little of that so far. I'm hoping he finds himself real soon, perhaps give him a tag team partner in Darcy Hordichuk.

Next Game - Monday November 21, 2011 vs. Stars at Dallas on Sportsnet Oilers 6:30 PM MT.

Pre-Game: Game #19 Oilers vs. Blackhawks



When the Oilers get like this, sometimes its hard to watch. Last game against the Senators was an epic fail on many fronts, lousy execution, lousy intensity, lousy lines, lousy schemes, lousy goaltending, lousy coaching, lousy management, lousy ownership, everyone should be wearing that loss. Question is...what are they gonna do about it? What are they gonna do about it? They should be playing tonight's game pissed right off. I don't if they will be, but they should be. The fact that I even have to ask if they are, is an embarassment in itself. Its time to man up, its time to want the puck and its time to want to make a play, make a positive play. Make many positive plays and good things will happen. I'm happy to see that some of the media around town are starting to think the Edmonton forwards could use a little girth, especially at the top of the lineup. When you have so few forwards that know how to throw a hit, its really difficult to change momentum. The Oilers are really living and dying by the first goal of the game. If they score first, they'll win, if they don't, may as well turn off the lights. Beef in some of the forward scoring spots would help them stay in some games they don't score first in. Chicago is coming off of a 5-2 loss in Calgary last night, before that they were winners of 4 in a row. They still maintain the best record in the Western Conference. The Oilers are fighting for respect, the best we can hope for is they just come out swinging and come out with some fire.

Forwards Blackhawks
- Kane and Toews as the eop 2 line centers for Chicago is a tough matchup for the Oilers.
Defense Blackhawks
- The fact that Chorney and Teubert were both recalled and will likely play is not a good sign for the Oilers trying to break a funk.
Goaltending Blackhawks
- Crawford hasn't been great, but the Oilers goaltending has been abysmal over the last 4 games.
Special Teams Oilers
- The Oilers can make inroads here. Oilers PP and PK are 8th and 7th, while Chicago's is 19th and 26th.
Coaching Oilers
- I think the Oilers coaches are throwing darts at dartboard trying to figure out lines lately. Need clearer role definition.
Intangibles Oilers
- Oilers are getting the Blackhawks in a 2nd game of a back to back set. we'll see if it matters.

Oilers:
Smyth-NugentHopkins-Eberle
Paajarvi-Gagner-Hemsky
Hall-Horcoff-Jones
Lander-Belanger-Eager

Smid-Gilbert
Peckham-Petry
Chorney-Teubert

Dubnyk
Khabibulin

Blackhawks:
Stalberg-Toews-Hossa
Carcillo-Kane-Sharp
Bickell-Kruger-Frolik
Brunette-Bolland-Mayers

Keith-Montador
Leddy-Hjalmarsson
Lepisto-Scott

Emery
Crawford

Game Time - 8 PM MT @ Rexall Place on CBC.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Post-game: Game #18 Senators 5 Oilers 2

Scoring Summary
1st Period
OTT Colin Greening 5 (Milan Michalek, Jason Spezza) 7:30

OTT Kaspars Daugavins 2 (Zack Smith, Erik Karlsson) 7:39

OTT Milan Michalek 12 (Jason Spezza 13) 19:03

2nd Period
EDM Anton Lander 1 (SH) (Lennart Petrell) 2:14

OTT Jesse Winchester 1 (Bobby Butler 3) 7:44


3rd Period
OTT Zenon Konopka 2 (Sergei Gonchar 11) 3:17

EDM Ryan Jones 4 (PP) (Eric Belanger, Ryan Smyth) 19:12

Penalty Summary
1st Period
16:39 Edmonton tripping - 2 min M. Paajarvi drawn by B. Butler

2nd Period
1:05 Edmonton holding - 2 min T. Peckham drawn by E. Condra
16:15 Edmonton tripping - 2 min T. Hall drawn by C. Anderson
18:51 Ottawa boarding - 2 min B. Lee drawn by R. Nugent-Hopkins
18:51 Ottawa roughing - 2 min Z. Konopka drawn by T. Peckham
18:51 Edmonton roughing - 2 min T. Peckham drawn by Z. Konopka

3rd Period
17:51 Ottawa tripping - 2 min F. Kuba drawn by J. Eberle

Shots On Goal - Oilers 24 Senators 16

Game Notes:
- That game was disgusting and disturbing on a lot of levels. Somehow the Oilers managed 16 shots on goal and managed to do so with only playing half the game with 4 Dmen. But how the goals came about was rather unnerving. Bad pinches, turnovers, bad reads, lack of backcheck, and then shabby goaltending. Everything that was the strength of this team early in the year unravelled in one night and now the Oilers are left wondering how they are going to win a game. This was a litmus test game, a game that was supposed to show the resolve of the Oilers, all it showed was that they are the "Not Quite Ready for Primetime Players". The team you got last two years was the team you got tonight. Where do the Oilerws go from here? The first thing they need to do is find some Dmen. Sutton never got off the bench, had some ankle injury and Potter left half way through the game with an ankle injury as well. With Barker and Whitney already on the shelf, is it time to ask what Bryan McCabe is up to? The Oilers need more umph in the lineup. They got credited with 19 hits, but I swear I didn't see more than five. Ben Eager? Where are you? You have to lead the hit parade. Smyth-Horcoff-Hemsky? Minus three tonight? The checking line couldn't check their hats tonight. Please, I implore you, call Owen Nolan and see what he is up to.
My wild imagination next game line combos:
Hall-RNH-Nolan
Paajarvi-Horcoff-Eberle
Smyth-Belanger-Jones
Hordichuk-Lander-Petrell

Smid-Gilbert
McCabe-Petry
Peckham-Teubert

Danis
Dubnyk

The same stuff that showed up last year, showed up tonight, I don't want to see that again. I know Hemsky and Gagner are nowhere to be found and I know the Oilers are saving for that new shiny #1 Dman (Shea Weber), but golly gee willackers, are we just going to let the losses pile up like last season?

Player of the Game:
- Anton Lander. The lone feel good moment of the game. Lander, shorthanded, goes down the right side and snipes a roof job for his first goal of his NHL career. Things have been a little down on Lander lately, with some whispers of maybe sending him down, but he had himself a nice redemption game and got himself a goal to remember.

Goat of the Game:
- Nikolai Khabibulin. Good gawd, I could have picked from ten to twelve players tonight. The defens showed a lot of cracks tonight, but the goaltending couldn't buy a save tonight. 5 goals on 16 shots is no good however you slice it. Khabibulin is starting to kick it ol' school and thats not good news from the Oilers. Everything needed to be better tonight.

Next Game - Saturday November 19, 2011 vs. BlackHawks @ Rexall Place on CBC. 8 PM MT.

Pre-Game: Game #18 Oilers vs. Senators



The Oilers finally get back on the ice after coming back from the "rodeo" trip 2-4, losers of the last three in a row. This is a big game for the Oilers. It's a statement game of sorts to see if this team has a new found resilience or will be like teams of years gone by and bend over. I'm not sure if the Oilers will have their lines combos sorted out yet, but the Oilers will need to figure something out in a hurry to get things back in order. I've been preaching over the last couple of games that Ales Hemsky's return has upset the apple cart of balance. Just not enough going through the wall on this team and being effective. Like I said in the last post, hockey is a game of energy consumption, whoever has more energy at the end of the game will likely win it. All this means is taking the body early and pushing the pace of the game throughout. At the other end of the ice, Tom Gilbert and Ladislav Smid come back a beleaguered bunch. Smid was -5 and Gilbert was -6 in the last 3 games of the trip, against some of the best the NHL has to offer. The Ottawa Senators come into this game winners of 2 in a row, coming off a 3-1 win in Calgary on Tuesday night. This is a winnable game for the Oilers and they cannot allow Ottawa to set the tempo for this game. The Oilers have to come out and take it.

Forwards Oilers
- The Oilers skill and speed will have to take over this game for them to win.
Defense Senators
- Erik Karlsson is one of the craftiest Dmen around. The Oilers could sure use someone like that.
Goaltending Oilers
- Could be the last night in awhile I give Khabibulin the benefit of the doubt. We'll see.
Special Teams Senators
- The Senators have the 3rd ranked power play. A good test for the slowly sliding south 7th ranked PK of the Oilers.
Coaching Oilers
- Back to having last change and hopefully the reforming of a checking line.
Intangibles Oilers
- The Oilers have had 2 practises and 3 days of rest to get their stuff back together. We'll see if they learned anything.

Oilers:
Hall-NugentHopkins-Eberle
Smyth-Horcoff-Hemsky
Lander-Belanger-Jones
Eager-Gagner-Petrell

Smid-Gilbert
Sutton-Petry
Peckham-Potter

Khabibulin
Dubnyk

Senators:
Greening-Spezza-Michalek
Foligno-DaCosta-Alfredsson
Daugavins-Smith-Condra
Konopka-Winchester-Butler

Karlsson-Kuba
Gonchar-Phillips
Lee-Cowen

Anderson
Auld

Game Time - 7:30 PM MT @ Rexall Place on Sportsnet Oilers.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Quarter Pole 2011-2012 Season



With a break in the schedule and the Oilers off until Thursday, I figured it would be a good time to do a rundown on things that have been.

1. Taylor Hall. 3G-7A-10Pts Even. Prediction: Will lead the team in goals. Hall is a little behind the 8ball when his linemate Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is sitting at 7 goals and Ryan Smyth leads the team with 10. Still a lot of hockey to play and I think his best games are still to come.
2. Jordan Eberle. 4G-9A-13Pts Even. Prediction: Will score 25+ goals. He is slightly behind pace. He is on pace for 19 goals up to this point. Like Hall, I still think his best hockey is yet to come.
3. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. 7G-7A-14Pts +1. Prediction: Will not get more than 30 points on the Oilers. I got egg on my face on this one. He has 14 points through 17 games. The only way he's going to be stopped is through injury.
4. Ryan Smyth. 10G-7A-17Pts +2. Prediction: Will score 20+ goals. He has 10 goals in 17 games. He'll have to go stonecold or injured not to break 20 goals this year.
5. Sam Gagner. 0G-2A-2Pts Even. Prediction: Leads team in assists. This prediction has no legs. Gagner is not on the right team or in the right situation to thrive. High ankle sprain out of the gate isn't going to help. I see this prediction being a dud.
6. Shawn Horcoff. 3G-6A-9Pts Even. Prediction: Will be a plus player(+/-). He's sitting at even now, this one could go either way, a lot will depend on the teams' success.
7. Magnus Paajarvi. 0G-1A-1Pts -2. Prediction: Will play 82 games. Welp, this prediction is cooked. He was a healthy scratch twice on the last road trip. Paajarvi and Horcoff with Hemsky would make an intriguing line to get everyone going. I expect better from Paajarvi but he and Belanger had zero offensive chemistry.
8. Ales Hemsky. 0G-4A-4Pts +1. Prediction: Will be traded by the trade deadline. This one will need to be revisited in February. A lot is going to rely on his health and his production. I still think a trade is inevitable, but we'll see what happens.
9. Eric Belanger. 0G-3A-3Pts Even. Prediction: Will score more SH goals than PP goals. For this prediction to have legs he's going to have to score a goal. With him getting more power play time recently, this prediction could be in jeopardy.
10. Ryan Jones. 3G-3A-6Pts +1. Prediction: Will score 15+ goals. He's at 3 goals right now, on pace for 14 goals, so he is relatively on pace. The key here will be whether he continues to get third line minutes or he starts playing on 4th line. Could go either way here.
11. Ben Eager. 0G-1A-1Pts -2. Prediction: Will get suspended at least once. In order to get suspended he needs to be a participant in physical activity. He is an unpredictable fellow, so anything can happen, but Andy Sutton has already beaten him to the principle's office. He needs to bring physicality on a more regular basis.
12. Darcy Hordichuk. 0G-0A-0Pts Even. Prediction: Plays in 50+ games. He has only played in 3 of 17 games so far this year, so this prediction is in a little bit of jeopardy. As long as Ben Eager struggles in his role, Darcy Hordichuk could find himself being more of a regular in the lineup.
13. Linus Omark. 0G-0A-0Pts -2. Prediction: Will have the worst plus/minus on the team. The Oilers beat me to this prediction by putting him in OKC early on this year. Omark didn't have enough time to do damage to his plus/minus. Tom Gilbert is team worst right now at -6.
14. Gilbert Brule. 0G-0A-0Pts Even. Prediction: Will not end the year with the Oilers. Brule's year never got off the ground with the Oilers as he didn't make the team out of training camp. I'd be surprised if he got a callup at any point this season.
15. Anton Lander. 0G-01A-1Pts -3. Prediction: Will be in the lineup opening night. Welp, got this one right, the question is, how long before he gets sent down? He has hit that wall that every rookie runs into. Its where effort meets statistics. He needs to find a way to contribute offensively while maintaining a high level of compete.
16. Teemu Hartikainen. 0G-0A-0Pts Even. Prediction: Plays in 40+ games for the Oilers. This prediction is not looking good now, mostly because the Oilers have been pretty healthy so far this year. I think Hartikainen gets a look at some point this year, how many games is anyone's guess.
17. Curtis Hamilton. 0G-0A-0Pts Even. Prediction: Plays at least one game for the Oilers this year. I think this one will only come true if the Oilers are out of the playoff race by March. There are many ahead in the pecking order for OKC for him to get a look.
18. Tyler Pitlick. 0G-0A-0Pts Even. Prediction: Plays at least one game for the Oilers this year. Same as Hamilton.
19. Ryan Whitney. 0G-0A-Pts Even. Prediction: Has the highest plus/minus on the team. I still think this prediction has legs, but Whitney has to find a way to stay healthy for an extended period of time. Without him the Oilers D gets exposed, especially on the road.
20. Tom Gilbert. 2G-4A-6Pts -6. Prediction: Will be 2nd on the team in defenceman points. So far, so good here. Problem is, I thought he would be 2nd in Dman points to Ryan Whitney. Instead its 2nd in Dman points to Corey Potter.
21. Ladislav Smid. 0G-0A0 Pts -3. Prediction: Will be a healthy scratch at least once this season. I'm not sure what to make of this prediction. He had an outstanding first month in a shutdown role, and then the road trip came and he and Gilbert had a rough time with some of best players in the NHL. A healthy scratch for him could still be in the cards, but he looks to have stabilized his career for now.
22. Cam Barker. 1G-0A-1Pts +3. Prediction: More than 50% of his goals will be on the PP. He has one goal and it was on the power play. Doesn't really mean a lot. He has a bad run with some injuries lately.
23. Andy Sutton. 1G-0A-1Pts Even. Prediction: Will have more than 100 PIMS. He is a 33 PIMS right now and that includes being suspended for 5 games. I feel pretty safe in this prediction.
24. Theo Peckham. 1G-1A-2Pts +3. Prediction: Will play more games than Ladislav Smid. Peckham has only played 13 games while smid has played all 17 games. It will be tough for Peckham to catch up while he tries to survive staying out of the pressbox while Smid is playing at the top of the lineup.
25. Jeff Petry. 0G-1A-1Pts +3. Prediction: Will be in the lineup opening night. Petry made opening night, but then got a stint in OKC, but now is back up with the big club. Petry may draw the short straw once Ryan Whitney comes back into the fold.
26. Corey Potter. 2G-6A-8Pts -3. Prediction: Will play in 10+ games for the Oilers. Welp, that was easy. Who knew much of anything about Corey Potter, I knew the opportunity would be there, but he's taken the ball and ran with it. He's been a revelation.
27. Taylor Chorney. 0G-0A-0Pts Even. Prediction: Doesn't play in any games for the Oilers. I thought I may have been totally safe on this one when he was claimed by St.Louis off waivers earlier this year. But since then, he was reclaimed by the Oilers and sent to OKC. We'll see if he gets a call later this year.
28. Colten Teubert. 0G-1A-1Pts +1. Prediction: Plays in 5+ games for the Oilers. He's got in 2 games so far. He played well enough that I think if injuries arise again, he'll get another look.
29. Nikolai Khabibulin. 1.52GAA .950S%. Prediction: Plays at least one game for OKC. I don't think it will get this bad for Khabibulin, but I don't think those stats are going to hold up either. He's been great up until last night's game where things unraveled for the whole team.
30. Devan Dubnyk. 2.83GAA .910S%. Prediction: Will post under .900 Save Percentage He's at .910 right now. After a hot start, His numbers have steadily slipped. It could go either way for Dubnyk. It will depend a lot on the team in front of him.
31. Yann Danis. 0.00GAA .000S%. Prediction: Plays more games than Khabibulin or Dubnyk with the Oilers. I'm still going to hold out a candle for this one even though a quarter way through the season he has yet to see the big club. I think the goaltending still could go sideways pretty quickly, its all going to depend on coaching and management in how quickly they would pull the trigger on something like this.
32. Olivier Roy. 0.00GAA .000S%. Prediction: Doesn't play a game with the Oilers this season. Since he is playing in Stockton, I figure this one is pretty safe for the year. The Oilers would have to go through 4 goaltenders to get a look this year.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Post-Game: Game #17 Blackhawks 6 Oilers 3

Scoring Summary
1st Period
CHI Jonathan Toews 8 (Viktor Stalberg, Nick Leddy) 4:55

CHI Steve Montador 2 (Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp) 5:29

EDM Ryan Smyth 10 (Jordan Eberle, Tom Gilbert) 11:41

CHI Steve Montador 3 (PP) (Nick Leddy, Duncan Keith) 16:11


2nd Period
CHI Jonathan Toews 9 (Marian Hossa) 0:22

EDM Jordan Eberle 4 (Unassisted) 6:17

CHI Duncan Keith 2 (Marian Hossa) 7:47

EDM Shawn Horcoff 3 (PP) (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Eric Belanger) 19:15


3rd Period
CHI Dan Carcillo 2 (EN) (Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp) 18:15


Penalty Summary1st Period
14:21 Edmonton holding - 2 min J. Eberle drawn by M. Hossa

2nd Period
2:28 Chicago holding - 2 min R. Olesz drawn by B. Eager
4:07 Edmonton high-sticking - 2 min J. Eberle drawn by B. Seabrook
9:23 Chicago high-sticking - 2 min P. Kane drawn by C. Potter
15:01 Edmonton tripping - 2 min R. Smyth drawn by M. Hossa
18:01 Chicago broken stick - 2 min V. Stalberg

3rd Period
12:17 Edmonton holding - 2 min T. Peckham drawn by V. Stalberg

Shots On Goal - Oilers 23 Blackhawks 35

Game Notes:
- Rough ending to a rough road trip. The Oilers came out slow tonight and paid dearly for it. Playing catch up on weary legs is not a winning formula. The Oilers end the trip 2-4 and now on their way home to face Ottawa on Thruusday. The pair of Ladislav Smid and Tom Gilbert were eaten alive tonight. They got matchuped against the Jonathan Toewn line, a matchup the Oilers wanted, and still got run over. Nikolai Khabibulin looked as human as he had all year, almost a re-run of last year's Khabibulin. Just could not make a save when the Oilers dearly needed him to make one. I guess chalk it up to another lesson learned and hopefully this team isn't set too far back in its learning curve. The Oilers need to get back to what was winning games for them earlier in the year. Better defensive center play (no cheating), defenseman getting in lanes (no chase mode), goalies playing their angles, back to a full fledge checking line. Ever since Ales Hemsky came back into this lineup, the Oilers team has looked like junk. No flow, no syncroncity, not enough jam. Hockey is a game about energy consumption and right now the Oiles are getting the other team to waste enough. Time to get back to that.

Player of the Game:
- Ryan Smyth. Ryan Smyth's effort down low is the only reason the Oilers were even close tonight. He had a goal, should have had two if it wasn't for a quick whistle. There wasn't a lot of players that had strong roadtrips but Ryan Smyth had himself a very good roadtrip. Just banging in pucks around the crease and keeping plays alive. I would really hate to see what kind of peril this team would be in if he wasn't on the team right now.

Goat of the Game:
- Nikolai Khabibulin. If I give him the crown when he's great, welp, I gotta give him the horns when he's not. He looked like old school Khabibulin tonight. Pucks were sifting through him, wasn't strong in the crease, rebounds were bouncing off of him. Just not a lot of good things came out of his game tonight. His defense tonight did him no favors as they were back in chase mode again instead of being strong positionally.

Next Game: Thursday November 17, 2011 vs. Senators @ Rexall Place on Sportsnet Oilers 7:30 PM MT.

Pre-Game: Game #17 Oilers vs. Blackhawks



The final game of a 6 game road trip is finally upon the Oilers. The Oilers have been beaten ragged by their last 2 opponents and figure to see more of the same time tonight from the Blackhawks. What does Tom Renney do now? Bring out the blender and start mixing and matching lines? Answer in short is yes. Maybe bring Ben Eager back into the lineup, make someone else a healthy scratch? Yes, I would make Sam Gagner a healthy scratch. Who does he start in goal? Should be Khabibulin, but I'm not sure anymore. Ever since Hemsky has come back into the lineup, the team has not played well. His coming back into the lineup has upset the balance of the team. They put in another smaller, passive, skilled winger into a lineup that already has an abundance of that. As much as I loved the abilities of the kid line, it still reamins pretty one dimensional and anyone with puck possession skills against them, the kid line will struggle with puck retrieval. For awhile now, I have clamored for Owen Nolan, but anyone with a bigger body that could score a little would do. I say Owen Nolan right now, because he's teamless and depending on his desire to still play, wouldn't cost a lot. Without that piece, the Oilers will have to ride the kid a line and pray for some secondary scoring from somewhere. The Blackhawks come into this game winners of 2 in a row, coming off a 4-1 home win against the Flames. The Blackhawks have the most amount of points in the Western Conference coming into this game. Another formidable test for the Oilers tonight.

Forwards Blackhawks
- Toews, Kane, Sharp, Hossa et al. The firepower is there.
Defense Blackhawks
- Who would you rather have? Keith or Seabrook or the beleaguered Gilbert and Smid?
Goaltending Oilers
- Khabibulin is going to have to be brillant against his former team to get his team some points out of this game.
Special Teams Oilers
- Chicago's PP is 25th and their PK is 24th. I give the edge to the Oilers but I do it with great caution.
Coaching Blackhawks
- One has a Stanley Cup ring and the other doesn't know what to do with his lines or his team.
Intangibles Blackhawks
- Last game of a long road trip for the Oilers. 3 games in 4 nights, legs will be super heavy.

Oilers:
Hall-NugentHopkins-Eberle
Paajarvi-Belanger-Gagner
Smyth-Horcoff-Hemsky
Petrell-Lander-Jones

Smid-Gilbert
Sutton-Petry
Peckham-Potter

Khabibulin
Dubnyk

Blackhawks:
Stalberg-Toews-Hossa
Carcillo-Kane-Sharp
Bickell-Kruger-Frolik
Brunette-Mayers-Olesz

Keith-Seabrook
Leddy-Hjalmarsson
Montador-Scott

Crawford
Emery

Game Time - 5 PM MT @ Chicago on Sportsnet Oilers or WGN (Chicago).

Friday, November 11, 2011

Post-Game: Game #16 Red Wings 3 Oilers 0

Scoring Summary
1st Period
DET Drew Miller 1 (Patrick Eaves) 10:35

2nd Period
DET Niklas Kronwall 3 (Jiri Hudler, Justin Abdelkader) 2:05

3rd Period
DET Valtteri Filppula 3 (Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen) 14:52

Penalty Summary
1st Period
15:30 Edmonton tripping - 2 min T. Peckham drawn by D. Miller

2nd Period
2:51 Edmonton fighting - 5 min L. Petrell drawn by J. Abdelkader
2:51 Detroit fighting - 5 min J. Abdelkader drawn by L. Petrell
2:51 Edmonton instigator - 2 min L. Petrell drawn by J. Abdelkader served by M. Paajarvi
2:51 Edmonton instigator - face shield - 2 min L. Petrell drawn by J. Abdelkader served by M. Paajarvi
2:51 Edmonton misconduct - 10 min L. Petrell drawn by J. Abdelkader
5:30 Detroit interference - 2 min N. Kronwall drawn by R. Jones
11:40 Detroit too many men on ice - 2 min Bench served by J. Hudler
19:44 Edmonton high-sticking - 2 min A. Sutton drawn by D. Helm

3rd Period
3:07 Detroit holding - 2 min N. Kronwall drawn by T. Hall
6:04 Edmonton interference - 2 min T. Gilbert drawn by J. Abdelkader
7:45 Edmonton slashing - 2 min R. Jones drawn by D. Cleary

Shots On Goal - Oilers 24 RedWings 30

Game Notes:
- Pretty disgusting game in terms of execution and flat out smarts. Lots of dumb plays and a general lack of common sense out there tonight. The Red Wings have done this to a lot of teams over the years. The Oilers just need to get back to simple and let goals the goals come as they may. It may result in more games like tonight but there really isn't any other way. Hemsky isn't doing much as a secondary option and the kid line is getting checked into the ground. The Oilers just aren't getting the matchups right now they can exploit. Just time to head into Chicago with their tails between their legs and try and muster a point in Chicago. Time to rejig the lines a bit.
Hall-NugentHopkins-Eberle
Paajarvi-Horcoff-Hemsky
Smyth-Belanger-Jones
Eager-Lander-Petrell

Smid-Gilbert
Sutton-Petry
Peckham-Potter

Player of the Game:
-Ladislav Smid. I'm going to give this one to Smid because on a night where offense was non-existant Smid battled hard and kept getting pucks out of harms way. As a player that I was hoping the Oilers would deal away, he has come leaps and bounds in terms of defensive play this year. He has grapsed the concept of defensive posture and not always chasing the player with the puck all over the ice.

Goat of the Game:
- Tom Gilbert. Gilbert looked bagged tonight and it showed in his decision making and battle level. He looked like a guy that has been logging too many minutes recently, kinda like old Tom Gilbert. Petry did him no favors by tossing him a grenade in the first period that resulted in the first Detroit goal. Tough game for a lot of players tonight.

Next Game: Sunday November 13, 2011 vs. BlackHawks on Sportsnet Oilers 5PM MT.

Pre-Game: Game #16 Oilers vs. Red Wings

The Oilers ar in the 2nd half of a back to back set. Yesterday they took on the Bruins and lost 6-3, a game that revealed a lot of things we feared in this years edition of the Oilers. A lack of strength. The Oilers got pushed around for 60 minutes and ultimately lost the game. It was a game that really took its toll on the defense as they coughed up the puck endlessly last night. Tonight, they face a different type of team but a tough one nonetheless. The Oilers take on the battle tested Red Wings as they head a little closer to home. This is Game #5 in a 5 game trip. The Red Wings are coming off a 5-2 win against the Avalanche on Tuesday and are winners of 2 in row. I'm expecting Magnus Paajarvi to be back in the lineup tonight, who comes out is anyone's guess. Andy Sutton should find his way back into the lineup as well after serving his 5 game suspension. Cam Barker looks like he's out for tonight after injuring his ankle. Nikolai Khabibulin, who should have started last night, should start tonight. This is a swing game that could make or break the trip. The Oilers are going to need a good effort tonight, even though the legs may be a little weary.

Forwards Detroit
- Datsyuk and Zetterberg and a cast of Oilers have to be chomping at the bit at the weary Oilers.
Defense Detroit
- Lidstrom will pose a different kind of threat than Chara did last night, but will be equaally as difficult a challenge.
Goaltending Oilers
- Khabibluin will be the lone chance the Oilers have salvaging anything out of the game, as long as he starts right Mr. Renney?
Special Teams Red Wings
- Red Wings power play, year in, year out, is pretty lethal, would be wise to keep the penalties to a minimum tonight.
Coaching Red Wings
- Mike Babcock runs his team like a well-oiled machine and the kid line figues to be in for a rough ride tonight.
Intangibles Red Wings
- Red Wings haven't played since Tuesday while the Oilers are on the 2nd half of a back to back while at the end of the entire road trip.

Oilers:
Hall-NugentHopkins-Eberle
Paajarvi-Belanger-Gagner
Smyth-Horcoff-Hemsky
Petrell-Lander-Jones


Smid-Gilbert
Sutton-Petry
Peckham-Potter

Khabibulin
Dubnyk

Red Wings:
Cleary-Datsyuk-Holmstrom
Filppula-Zetterberg-Franzen
Hudler-Helm-Abdelkader
Miller-Emmerton-Brunnstrom

Lidstrom-White
Kronwall-Stuart
Ericsson-Kindl

Howard
Conklin

Game Time - 5:30 PM MT @ Detroit on Sportsnet Oilers.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Post-Game: Game #15 Bruins 6 Oilers 3

Scoring Summary
1st Period
BOS Johnny Boychuk 2 (David Krejci, Nathan Horton) 7:11

BOS Jordan Caron 1 (Zach Hamill) 8:55

EDM Ryan Smyth 8 (Theo Peckham, Ales Hemsky) 12:02

EDM Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 7 (Taylor Hall) 12:31

2nd Period
BOS Brad Marchand 3 (PP) (Joe Corvo, Tyler Seguin) 3:50

BOS Tyler Seguin 9 (Joe Corvo) 6:24

3rd Period
EDM Ryan Smyth 9 (PP) (Eric Belanger, Ales Hemsky) 15:18

BOS Milan Lucic 8 (PP) (Joe Corvo, Nathan Horton) 17:13

BOS Brad Marchand 4 (Unassisted) 17:57

Penalty Summary
1st Period
18:17 Edmonton roughing - 2 min T. Peckham drawn by Z. Hamill

2nd Period
2:09 Edmonton hooking - 2 min J. Petry drawn by T. Seguin
9:29 Boston hooking - 2 min S. Thornton drawn by T. Hall
16:48 Edmonton interference - 2 min J. Eberle drawn by P. Bergeron

3rd Period
1:05 Edmonton high-sticking - 2 min C. Potter drawn by Z. Hamill
2:08 Boston hooking - 2 min D. Seidenberg drawn by L. Petrell
6:15 Boston hooking - 2 min G. Campbell drawn by R. Jones
13:25 Boston high-sticking - 2 min P. Bergeron drawn by J. Eberle
16:56 Edmonton interference - 2 min C. Barker drawn by T. Seguin
18:42 Boston holding - 2 min C. Kelly drawn by T. Peckham

Shots On Goal Oilers 30 Bruins 28

Game Notes:
- This loss was pretty inevitable. The Oilers, since the Kings game last Thursday, have been going downhill and has filtered down into the game we saw tonight. I didn't think they played well in Montreal and the work showed itself here in Boston. They were essentially outmuscled and outenergized by a bigger, more hungry Boston team. The Oilers really worked hard again tonight but are becoming more and more susceptible to brain cramps lately, a spinoff of a team that starting to find fatigue. The Oilers needed more beef in a game like tonight, but its not in their DNA to be that. The Oilers organization likes its small skill and pizazz type plays. Boston worked them like the Stanley Cup champions they are. So, now the question is, where do the Oilers go from here? All the current Oilers team can do, is pick themselves off the ground and get ready for a Detroit team that is finding its stride. All coaching can do is reinsert Magnus Paajarvi into the lineup and pull out some pint sized forward (ie. Sam Gagner) and hope the formula works a little better. Maybe find out if Darcy Hordichuk is ready to go because Ben Eager looks like he could use a kick in the ass. The thing that management can do is find out how Owen Nolan's trip to Disneyland is going and see if he has any interest in joining the club once he and his family are done there. The kids could use a player like this and it will give the Oilers another bullet to use. The Oilers shutdown pair of Smid and Gilbert were eaten alive and exposed tonight. They got pushed around and outworked, likely once again due to fatigue. Oh well, back to the drawing board.

Player of the Game:
- Ryan Smyth. This guy has been a gift from the gods so far this year. His net presence single handedly gave the Oilers a chance to even be close in this game. Without him tonight, this game would have been a debacle. 2 goals tonight, 9 on the year, team leader.

Goat of the Game:
- Devan Dubnyk. I wonder if Mr. Renney is second guessing his thought on not starting Khabibulin. The result may have been different if he did. Dubnyk was slow and clumsy tonight, made himself real small in the net. Just had a real difficult time staying square to the shooters tonight. After giving up 2 early ones, the Oilers battled back to tie it at 2 in the first, only to give them back the two goal lead in the second period. This could be Dubnyk's last start for awhile. Like I said earlier in a tweet, they fed Dubnyk to the wolves and now there is nothing left but the carcass.

Next Game - Friday November 11, 2011 vs. Red Wings at Detroit on Sportsnet Oilers 5:30 PM MT.

Pre-Game: Game #15 Oilers vs. Bruins



The Oilers are likely fortunate to be 2-1 so far into this 6 game road trip. They bounced back to register a 3-1 victory against the Montreal Canadians. If they put forth the same style of game against the Bruins, they likely will not have the same success. The Bruins are a much more forceful team, they will try to impose their will on the Oilers. The Oilers grit players will have to show up big time tonight. The Oilers defensive play has been spectacular thus far this season. It all starts with the center play, filters down through the defenseman and on to the goaltender. All of these parts are in excellent working order right now, but it is being put under a lot of strain due to a lack of offense. I believe the offense is due to a lot of improper moving parts on the wings. The kid line is drawing the best Dmen in the league these days, forcing the 2nd and third lines to put up some offense, but its been sporadic. Specifically the spots being held by Paajarvi, Gagner and now Hemsky. The Oilers need a bigger horse on that side, someone that will create room for the smaller, less physical Oilers. I've clammering for Owen Nolan for some time now, but I haven't heard a peep if he has any desire to return to the NHL. The Oilers could use his services but that means they would have to make decisions on Hemsky and Gagner immediately and I don't think the Oilers are ready to make such a decision. So on we wait.... This will be a real stiff test for the Oilers, one that I will be stunned, just floored, if they pass. The Bruins, after a slow start, have caught fire, winners of three in a row, beating the Islanders 6-2 in their last outing.

Forwards Bruins
- Lucic and Horton, along with a hot Tyler Seguin will be a handful. The kid line has gone cold facing tough defensemen.
Defense Bruins
- Zdeno Chara is the ace of spades for the Bruins and the kid line will see a lot of him.
Goaltending Oilers
- Yes I will even put Khabibulin ahead of Stanley Cup champion, Vezina Trophy winning Tim Thomas. That's how hot Khabibulin is.
Special Teams Oilers
- The Oilers by the slightest of margins. The Oilers PK is 4th, Bruins is 6th. The Oilers PP is 14th, Bruins is 18th.
Coaching Bruins
- The Oilers need to get their 2nd and 3rd lines straight. Benching Paajarvi for a 2nd straight game isn't going to him or the team any good.
Intangibles Bruins
- This is the part of the road trip where the legs start to get heavy and like I said above, the Bruins have found their stride.

Oilers:
Hall-NugentHopkins-Eberle
Smyth-Horcoff-Hemsky
Jones-Belanger-Gagner
Eager-Lander-Petrell

Smid-Gilbert
Barker-Petry
Peckham-Potter

Khabibulin
Dubnyk

Bruins:
Lucic-Krejci-Horton
Marchand-Bergeron-Seguin
Caron-Kelly-Pouliot
Paille-Campbell-Thornton

Chara-Boychuk
Seidenberg-Corvo
Ference-McQuaid

Thomas
Rask

Game Time - 5 PM MT @ Boston on Sportsnet Oilers.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Post-Game: Game #14 Oilers 3 Canadians 1

Scoring Summary
1st Period
None


2nd Period
EDM Ryan Jones 3 (SH) (Unassisted) 4:38

3rd Period
EDM Tom Gilbert 2 (Ales Hemsky, Ryan Smyth) 16:28

MON Max Pacioretty 6 (Tomas Plekanec, P.K. Subban) 16:50

EDM Ryan Smyth 7 (EN) (Shawn Horcoff 6) 19:17

Penalty Summary
1st Period
4:46 Montreal interference - 2 min H. Gill drawn by B. Eager
6:32 Edmonton tripping - 2 min S. Gagner drawn by J. Spacek
9:07 Edmonton tripping - 2 min C. Barker drawn by M. Cammalleri
12:04 Montreal tripping - 2 min T. Plekanec drawn by T. Gilbert

2nd Period
4:11 Edmonton hooking - 2 min L. Petrell drawn by A. Emelin
7:23 Edmonton hooking - 2 min T. Hall drawn by P. Subban
14:28 Edmonton too many men on ice - 2 min Bench served by B. Eager
16:16 Edmonton interference - 2 min T. Peckham drawn by P. Subban

3rd Period
None

Shots On Goal - Oilers 14 Canadians 29

Game Notes:
- Better to win ugly than lose pretty. The Oilers played real hard tonight and every Oilers fan should be proud of that. The coaching on the other hand tonight was totally bunk and the Oilers won in spite of it. The Oilers need to take this line combinations and throw them in the garbage. The kid line is fine, for now, the 4th line brings it, the defense pairings are solid, the 2nd and 3rd lines are a mess. No chemistry, no offensive rhythm, 14 shots on goal. If the Oilers plan on playing this lineup with this gameplan against the Bruins on Thursday, they will get destroyed. Montreal did not play that well tonight and gift wrapped 2 goals for the Oilers to put in the bank and win with. The Bruins won't do the same, neither would 20-something other teams in the NHL. I don't understand why the Oilers break up what was working. They had the same scheme but because of different personnel and line juggling to try and accomodate everyone, it forced everyone into a different role, outside of the kid line. The scheme really saved them tonight and allowed them to hold on for dear life. The defensive scheme is solid. The personnel and the offensive rhythm is getting worse by the day. Gotta get players back into roles that they would be more comfortable with, meaning some deals need to be an order, ASAP. I really hope Paajarvi finds his way back into the lineup again. He needs to starting attacking the net off the rush, with or without the puck and put someone that can shoot the puck to get him going. The checking line essentially became Smyth-Horcoff-Hemsky, I'm not sure how long Hemsky will embrace that role. I really feel really fortunate that the Oilers won this game. Chalking this victory up to anything more than luck would not be wise. On a side note, the defense collectively battled hard tonight. Petry was a little flaky on some pinches, but all in all everyone was where they needed to be defensively.

Player of the Game:
- Nikolai Khabibulin. No brainer. If Dubnyk had this game tonight, surely they would have lost, much like the Phoenix game. Khabibulin looked real comfortable playing with a 1-0 lead for over half the game. He's looking really unflappable right and is focusing on the things he only needs to focus on. Strong, typical game from Habby. HM's to the Ryans Smyth and Jones. Both had high battle levels and just kept the plays moving forward.

Goat of the Game:
- Sam Gagner. I know its convenient for me to put the player I wanted bench tonight as GOTG, but Gagner brought nothing tonight. He's one of the players, right now that is brutally miscast. Hemsky and Paajarvi are the other ones. Omark was as well in his time here. Belanger is slightly miscast but still effective enough to do what he does. The Oilers need to swap out some round pegs for some square pegs.


Next Game - Thursday November 10, 2011 vs. Bruins @ Boston on Sportsnet Oilers. 5 PM MT.

Pre-Game: Game #14 Oilers vs. Canadians



The Oilers continue on the long road trip bringing their show to the east coast. The Oilers 6 game winning streak was brought to an end by Phoenix on Saturday night in a 4-2 loss. Now we get to see where the true moxie of this team lies. My motto is, you usually know what your team is by how they respond after a loss. Here's the Oilers' chance to put that to the test. Tonight, the Oielrs face the Montreal Canadians. The Canadians are off to a 5-6-2 start coming off a 5-3 loss to the Rangers. Prior to that they had won four in a row. Ales Hemsky should find himself back in the lineup tonight. It's a good a time as any to get him back in after a loss. Seems to be a running debate in the media who should come out for him. They mention everyone from Petrell to Eager to Lander to Jones, heck even Paajarvi. To me, the answer is Sam Gagner. We'll see later tonight where the answer lies in that. This is a very winnable game and a good matchup for the Oilers.

Forwards Oilers
- With Hemsky back in the lineup it gives the Oilers another weapon at forward.
Defense Oilers
- The Canadians defense are struggling at both ends of the ice. The Oilers defense continues to be steady.
Goaltending Oilers
- Price has been inconsistant this year, while Khabibulin should get the chance to continue his hot ways.
Special Teams Oilers
- The Canadians have the 23rd ranked power play while the Oilers have the 6th ranked penalty kill. Should make some in roads there.
Coaching Oilers
- Renney would be wise to just let the lines roll tonight. Get his 4th line out there early and often to pound bodies on the forecheck.
Intangibles Canadians
- Oilers have coming from Phoenix and may have a bit of sea legs. Canadians would be wise to come out fast tonight and score early.

EDIT:
Oilers:
Hall-NugentHopkins-Eberle
Jones-Belanger-Gagner
Smyth-Horcoff-Hemsky
Eager-Lander-Petrell

Smid-Gilbert
Barker-Petry
Peckham-Potter

Khabibulin
Dubnyk

Canadians:
Pacioretty-Plekanec-Kostitsyn
Cammalleri-Desharnais-Gionta
Moen-Eller-Cole
Darche-Nokelainen-Blunden

Gorges-Subban
Diaz-Weber
Emelin-Gill

Price
Budaj

Game Time: 5:30 PM MT @ Montreal on Sportsnet West.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Post-Game: Game #13 Coyotes 4 Oilers 2

Scoring Summary
1st Period
None

2nd Period
PHO Daymond Langkow 3 (Keith Yandle, Mike Smith) 4:44

PHO Adrian Aucoin 1 (PP) (Patrick O'Sullivan) 17:58

3rd Period
EDM Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 6 (Jordan Eberle, Ryan Smyth) 9:27

PHO Boyd Gordon 2 (Ray Whitney, Radim Vrbata) 11:36

EDM Theo Peckham 1 (Colten Teubert, Magnus Paajarvi) 13:47

PHO Ray Whitney 6 (EN) (Radim Vrbata, Boyd Gordon) 19:49


Penalty Summary
1st Period
7:14 Edmonton cross checking - 2 min L. Smid drawn by L. Korpikoski

2nd Period
10:00 Phoenix too many men on ice - 2 min Bench served by R. Torres
16:25 Edmonton interference - 2 min L. Smid drawn by R. Vrbata
19:28 Phoenix hooking - 2 min R. Vrbata drawn by J. Eberle

3rd Period
None

Shots On Goal - Oilers 26 Coyotes 29

Game Notes:
- Whats turn about is fair play. What the Oilers did to the Kings on Thursday night, happened to them tonight. We all wanted to see what would happen if the Oilers didn't score first. That happened tonight and the Oilers played catch up all night. It was a game where the Oilers needed more strength and more bullets and they just didn't have them tonight. Phoenix, for 50 minutes grinded the Oilers right into the ice. The Oilers battled hard and battled right to the end but just couldn't muster the final goal to tie the game. All the lines tonight seem off. Just not a lot of cohesion or chemistry. I still wouldn't mess with the lines, but they have to get back on the same page. Just one of those games where you have to shrug your shoulders and move on to the next one. A lot of unnecessary indecision. Things that the Oilers usually react to quickly, they were double clutching and overthinking plays. When you start doing that, the game's done. Put this one behind you and start thinking about Montreal on Tuesday and start thinking about where matchups can be won.

Player of the Game:
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. There was a long while in this game where I was thinking he could have been the goat of the game. The Oilers offense was dry and there was nothing happening. The kid line was getting stymied at every turn. Then with ten minutes left to play, the urgency in RNH's play was ramped up and he scored the first goal and was doding everything he could to try and get the equalizer. This kid is a special player and early on in his career, he's proving to be a money player.

Goat of the Game:
- Devan Dubnyk. I hate to pin this one on Dubnyk because in the first period the Oilers were flat and he held them in it. But then, he gave the first goal when he inexcusably lost his angle, which for this current Oilers team is crippling. This Oilers team, like many other teams in the NHL have more comfort playing with a lead then chasing. The 3-1 goal was equally crippling. It would have been a tough save, but if he stands his ground instead of lunging towards the puck, the result might have been different. I'm sure Tom Renney will play the "what if" game tonight if he had started Khabibulin, maybe the result might have been different.

Next Game - Tuesday November 8, 2011 vs. Canadians @ Montreal on Sportsnet West 5:30 PM MT.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Pre-Game: Game #13 Oilers vs. Coyotes



The Oilers are on fire! They come into this game with the Coyotes 8-2-2, winners of 6 in a row. The Oilers will try to continue to ride strong defense and timely scoring, in order to continue on the winning streak. This is game #2 of a 6 game road trip. The Coyotes are coming off a 3-0 loss to the Predators on Thursday night. The Coyotes have had a very Jekyll and Hyde type season so far. It will be an interesting test for the Oilers, in the sense, on paper, it should be a game they win. The Oilers have done wonders will some of the harder tests this year, let's see what happens when an easier opponent, at least on paper, is at their disposal. Phoenix is 6-4-2 heading into tonight's game.

Forwards Oilers
- With the 2nd and 4th lines getting into the action, the Oilers are starting to get balanced scoring.
Defense Coyotes
- The Coyotes have mobile D that like to create offense, the Oilers' wingers will have to be wary of this.
Goaltending Oilers
- Would you bet against the Oilers goaltending right now?
Special Teams Oilers
- The Oilers come in with the 10th ranked power play and the 4th ranked penalty kill. Phoenix is 17th and 10th respectively.
Coaching Coyotes
- Dave Tippett always seems to find a way to get more out of his teams than he should.
Intangibles Oilers
- Winners of 6 in a row against a team coming off a 3-0 loss. The Oilers will have to jump on them early and often.

Oilers:
Hall-NugentHopkins-Eberle
Paajarvi-Belanger-Gagner
Smyth-Horcoff-Jones
Eager-Lander-Petrell

Smid-Gilbert
Petry-Potter
Peckham-Teubert

Khabibulin
Dubnyk

Coyotes:
Korpikoski-Langkow-Doan
Whitney-Hanzal-Vrbata
Pyatt-O'Reilly-Boedker
Torres-Chipchura-O’Sullivan

Yandle-Aucoin
EkmanLarsson-Klesla
Schlemko-Morris

Smith
Labarbera

Game Time - 8PM MT @ Phoenix on CBC.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Post Game: Game #12 Oilers 3 Kings 0

Scoring Summary
1st Period
None

2nd Period
EDM Ryan Smyth 6 (Ryan Jones, Tom Gilbert) 11:26

EDM Lennart Petrell 1 (Ben Eager, Anton Lander) 17:38


3rd Period
EDM Corey Potter 2 (Sam Gagner) 1:06


Penalty Summary
1st Period
5:28 Los Angeles hooking - 2 min J. Williams drawn by S. Horcoff
8:14 Los Angeles too many men on ice - 2 min Bench served by D. Penner
18:53 Los Angeles holding - 2 min A. Martinez drawn by M. Paajarvi

2nd Period
4:00 Edmonton tripping - 2 min T. Hall drawn by D. Brown

3rd Period
6:48 Los Angeles roughing - 2 min K. Clifford drawn by B. Eager
6:48 Edmonton roughing - 2 min B. Eager drawn by K. Clifford
6:48 Los Angeles cross checking - 2 min E. Moreau drawn by C. Teubert
15:48 Edmonton interference - 2 min E. Belanger drawn by M. Richards

Shots On Goal - Oilers 27 Kings 19

Game Notes:
- Another statement game, another win, another shutout. The Oilers are taking these challenges and shoving them up people's backsides. They took the Kings physicality and pushed back themselves, the end result is a 3-0 Oilers win. Rinse and repeat, solid goaltending, solid defense, solid center play, all resulting in the Kings not getting a sniff all night. The Oilers have now won 6 in a row, with 5 games still left to go on the roadtrip. The nice thing about this win is the Oilers got it done, without getting a contribution from the kid line. As word gets out, the other team's best Dmen are going to start keying in on them, meaning more well-rounded scoring will be needed, and the Oilers got that tonight. One from the 2nd line, one from the 3rd line and one from the 4th line. The Oilers are slowly starting to find different sources of scoring which will bode well for this team down the line. The defense is also starting to chip in which is also an added bonus. The Oilers seem to be pretty comfortable playing at 0-0, which is nice to see, when they saw opportunity, they seized it and never looked back. Are they for real yet? I'm still not quite sure yet as I'm sure a lot of others aren't either, but they have breathed some new hope into a fanbase that has been dying for some positivity for a very long time. On to the next game....Life of a hockey player, one game at a time.

Player of the Game:
- Tom Gilbert. It's getting kinda boring giving Khabibulin POTG game after game, especially after he got the Chris Osgood style shutout tonight. Its time to give notice to Dmen in front him. At the forefront and logging the most minutes is Tom Gilbert. Gilbert has a new found attitude this year, no more passive, indifferent play from him. Now he takes the body, pushes back, fights for position and takes no guff from anyone. Something the Oilers desperately needed from him. I speak for Oiler fans everywhere and say, "thank you for finding IT". Tom Gilbert logged 25 minutes and chipped in with an assist tonight. New style Tom Gilbert is a treat to watch and a breath of fresh air. He and Smid look like 2 different players this year, and for the better. Keep up the good work.

Goat of the Game:
- Taylor Hall. It hard to find many flaws in a 3-0 win. So here, I'll just pass on a piece of advice for Taylor Hall. His legs are essentially moving faster than his brain right now. He needs to compute what he wants to do and then apply his legs into action, not skate like the dickens and ad lib from there. Him doing that usually ends up with him on his backside and putting himself in needless danger. Essentially, just process the play and then apply your legs and hands into what you want to accomplish. I love the fact that he puts the pedal to the metal on every rush, and I wouldn't want him to change that for anything, but if he picks his spots better, he'll find better results. He's essentially like a pitcher with a 100mph fastball. He needs to develop some kind of change up.

Next Game - Saturday November 5, 2011 vs. Coyotes @ Phoenix on CBC 8 PM MT.