Monday, February 6, 2012

Pre-Game: Game #53 Oilers vs. Maple Leafs

The Oilers found their scoring groove once again on that 3 game homestand scoring 15 goals in that span. Sam Gagner re-energized his offense and an entire city through 2 games, getting points on 11 straight goals. Devan Dubnyk has faced a lot of rubber over the last two games but has stood in there. 39 from the Wings and 47 from the Hawks. He has had to withstand a lot and wouldn't be surprised if he got a rest tonight. He seems to be a turning a corner in his career. I's hate to dub him a full blown starter as of yet, but his play as of late has been inspiring and a bit of a head turner. It's something that at least has to be considered as of now. With last games' win, the Oilers leaped past the Anaheim Ducks to now lay claim to the 3rd worst team in the NHL. With the Oilers 11 points back of the 8th place Wild, is there a playoff run in here somewhere? Likely not, but I would keep checking on the standings if the Oilers can continue their run. The games aren't important in the standings yet, but they could be if the Oilers clean out the riff raff on the team and get some pieces they could use come March. I think the Oilers, on the surface, will be a seller on the deadline, but also could be a cloak and dagger buyer as well. All depending on how February shapes up for them. I think the Oilers management is smelling a hint of playoffs, but the Oilers need to keep winning frequently before the thought of playoffs enters everyone's heads. Winning has to be top priority tonight against the Leafs to get the playoff train rolling.

Forwards Oilers
- I'd rather have the kids over Kessel and Lupul, but that's just me.
Defense Maple Leafs
- The Leafs have amongst the deepest defenses in the NHL.
Goaltending Maple Leafs
- Reimer coming off of a 49 save shutout. Dubnyk playing well but I get the feeling Khabibulin gets the start tonight.
Special Teams Oilers
- Oilers are 3rd on the PP and 13th on the PK. Leafs are 5th on the PP and 29th on the PK.
Coaching Maple Leafs
- Tom Renney is starting to find his team. Ron Wilson has had his team playing hard all year, even overachieving.
Intangibles Maple Leafs
- Both teams played Saturday night. Quicker turnaround for the Oilers.

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



Maple Leafs:



Game Time - 5 PM MT @ Toronto on Sportsnet West.

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