Sunday, November 13, 2011

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.







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

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