Wednesday, November 30, 2011
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.
- 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.
- The Oilers defense is finally starting to stabilize, good blend of mobility, puck distribution and toughness.
- 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.
- The Oilers have gotten away from a true checking line, unless Paajarvi-Belanger-Jones is a quasi checking line.
- The Oilers are sleeping in their own beds while Minnesota is playing their third game in four nights.
Game Time - 7:30 PM MT @ Rexall Place on TSN.