Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Pre-Game: Game #50 Oilers vs. Avalanche

Time to get back at it. The next big date on the NHL calendar is February 27, a date the Oilers should be plenty busy on and before. Steve Tambellini isn't one for trades so we'll have to see how this all shakes down. Players that will be brought up as trade bait will be Ales Hemsky, Andy Sutton and Cam Barker, with the possibility of Sam Gagner, Nikolai Khabibulin and even potentially Shawn Horcoff. Cam Barker and Tom Gilbert skated with the Oilers yesterday while Ryan Nugent-Hopkins did not. RNH is recovering from a shoulder ailment and a bout of the flu. The Oilers layed a couple of fantastic games before the AllStar break, a 2-1 shootout win against San Jose and a 3-2 shootout loss. The Oilers have found their defensive structure and work ethic that won them games early in the year. It will be interesting to see how long it stays with them this time around. Colorado comes into this game losers of their last 2 games. They lost 3-2 to Minnesota last Tuesday night.

Forwards Oilers
- Avalanche are without Duchene and Oilers are without RNH, pretty much a sawoff. I look for Taylor Hall to have a big game.
Defense Oilers
- Ryan Whitney, one leg and all, makes a big difference to this defense.
Goaltending Oilers
- Dubnyk has been outstanding in the last two games. It will be interesting to see if he gets another shot here.
Special Teams Oilers
- Oilers have the 3rd best power play in the NHL. Colorado is 7th.
Coaching Oilers
- Both coaches are on the hot seat, but Tom Renney seems to have figured out his line combos for the time being.
Intangibles Oilers
- Both teams should be well rested. Oilers have home ice.

Oilers: (my version)
Hall-Horcoff-Eberle (Sc1)
Smyth-Belanger-Jones (Chk)
Eager-Gagner-Hemsky (Sc2)
Hordichuk-Lander-Petrell (Eng)






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

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