Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Pre-Game: Game #56 Oilers vs. Maple Leafs

The Oilers are back at it again tonight, after having a long layoff between games. Thay have only played one game since last Wednesday, a 4-3 overtimne win against the Ottawa Senators. Taylor Hall played the role of the hero. Less than two weeks away from trade deadline (thankfully!) and the Oilers team is about to take on a different look (thankfully!). Ales Hemsky is all but out the door, a couple of others may be on their way out as well. Two Oilers that are staying are Andy Sutton and Ryan Smyth. Ansy Sutton signed a one year extension on Monday and Ryan Smyth, as well as Steve Tambellini, have declared Smyth an Oiler for likely the rest of his career. Good to see Ryan Smyth not bail on this ship quite yet. The Oilers will still need him but just in a more reduced role. As the the season dwindle down, the Oilers need to rejig their alotted minutes to Shawn Horcoff, Eric Belanger and Anton Lander. Horcoff had a 2 month stretch where he was totally inept, fed too much icetime early and the results have shown. Lately his minutes have been cut back to under 20 minutes/game and the results have been better of late. One player's icetime that could stand to be upped is Anton Lander. They need to find out if Paajarvi and Lander can forge a 2nd scoring going forward or if drafting a scoring center needs to be in the cards. Playing Lander a bit more than his 10 minues a night and playing Horcoff and Belanger less will help this team go forward. The kids need reps, may as well give it to them now as the season closes. The Maple Leafs have lost 4 in a row since beating the Oilers last Monday 6-3. Good time for the Oilers to find another W here.

Forwards Maple Leafs
- The Oilers have to find a way to deal with their speed much better than they did in the last meeting.
Defense Maple Leafs
- The Leafs have one of the deeper defense corps in the NHL, led by Dion Phaneuf.
Goaltending Oilers
- The Leafs goaltending has fallen on hard times lately while the Oilers goaltending is a tough gauge.
Special Teams Oilers
- The Oilers PP is 3rd while the Leafs Pk is 29th. Inroads need to be made here. Last time they played there were no penalties in the game.
Coaching Maple Leafs
- Too many Tom Renney wtf moments this year.
Intangibles Oilers
- Leafs played in Calgary last night while the Oilers haven't played since Satutrday.

Oilers: (my version)



Maple Leafs:



Game Time - 8 PM MT @ Rexall Place on Sportsnet West.

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