Friday, February 17, 2012
Pre-Game: Game #57 Oilers vs. Avalanche
Last game left a bitter taste in all of Oilers' fans mouths. A game they should have gotten blown out in, turned into a game they should have won but ultimately lost in overtime. Just a tough game to take all around, officiating was subpar, Oilers came out inexplicably slow, but to their credit, came back to make a game of it. Tom Renney is stuck in a tough spot. Unachieving vets playing with kids that are, while spectacular, still play the game like rookies. Shawn Horcoff has had a tough year playing the toughs while Eric Belanger is getting a shot at the toughs now, looks in over his head. 2 veteran centers that are not getting it done this year. Anton Lander is the heir apparent to that role, but is still trying to break into the NHL. Sam Gagner at the best of times will never be that guy. While they have improved the center position, its still pretty subpar, even with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in the lineup. The Oilers success is based a lot on its center play. When they were playing well earlier in the year, the team was doing well, but over the last 3 months, their play has slipped, so has the team. The team defense does need to get better but while the defensemen need to get better, so do the centers. The Avalanche have the first two games of a 4 game road trip, coming off of a 3-1 loss in Vancouver. The is a winnable game for the Oilers who have been known this year as the "Slumpbusters".
- Hall and Eberle are still clicking along while Matt Duchene is still on the IR.
- The Oilers defense is coming around as long as Cam Barker isn't in the lineup.
- This is a toss up. Giguere has played well as of late. The Oilers are likely to counter with Dubnyk.
Special Teams Oilers
- The Avalanche special teams are pretty good 10th on the PP and 14 the on the PK. The Oilers are slightly better at both. 3rd on the PP and 12th PK.
- Much like the goaltending battle, a toos up. Neither coach is long for their team.
- Long homestand for the Oilers while the Avalanche are in the middle of a roadtrip.
Oilers: (my version)
Game Time - 7:30 PM MT @ Rexall Place on Sportsnet West.