Thursday, November 10, 2011
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.
- Lucic and Horton, along with a hot Tyler Seguin will be a handful. The kid line has gone cold facing tough defensemen.
- Zdeno Chara is the ace of spades for the Bruins and the kid line will see a lot of him.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Game Time - 5 PM MT @ Boston on Sportsnet Oilers.