Thursday, February 23, 2012
Pre-Game: Game #60 Oilers vs. Flyers
It was refreshing to see the Oilers come out and piledrive the Flames on Tuesday night. A thorough beatdown of epic proportions to a team that is fighting for its playoff lives. That loss is going to leave a bad stench in the Flames for awhile. Its a game where you wonder why the Oilers can't bring that level of passion and execution more frequently. Everything was clicking for the Oilers Tuesday night. Tonight is a another game, a different game. Will the Oilers come out with confidence or wilt away in the first 5 minutes? The Oilers are a team that's still trying to find itself so whatever the score maybe is anyone's guess. The Oilers mixed up the line combos against Calgary and much to my surprise they worked. Smyth-Gagner-Eberle, is a good cycle line. Gagner-Eberle have a Sedin type qualities to their game. I have always wanted Gagner to be what Jordan Eberle has become, it looks like they can feed off of each other's vision and quick hands. Hall-Horcoff-Hemsky also played alright on Tuesday night. Hall was bringing it with his speed, Horcoff is likely keeping the seat warm for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Ales Hemsky is keeping the seat warm for a power forward. It's an effective line as long as Hemsky plays well away from the puck and crashes net like he did against Calgary. Eager-Belanger-Paajarvi is a mish mash of a line that was effective against Calgary because they skated hard. As long as this line skates and gets puck to net it will be effective. I'm worried about this line in its own zone though. The Hodichuk-Lander-Petrell line is time filler and you have to hope they run into things when they are on the ice because if they don't they'll just be pylons out there. All in all, while they worked against Calgary, I don't know if they'll stand the test of time because there is no true checking line. Calgary was just terrible on Tuesday night, we all know it, we'll have to sse how it holds up if the other team is playing well. Ryan Jones has to be just beside himself. Being a healthy scratch for the first time this year and the Oilers lay the beatdown on the Flames. Could be awhile before he sees the lineup again. The Flyers come into this game winners on Tuesday night, 5-4 in overtime over the Jets. The Flyers have had an inconsistant February, on a win one, lose one type streak. The Flyers have some formidable talent, so the Oilers should have their hands full. Once again, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will be a gametime decision, I'm guessing they will hold him out one more game because of the success the team had in Calgary.
- Claude Giroux has emerged a superstar this year. Jagr and Hartnell bring up a strong supporting cast.
- Neither team has a true #1 but the Flyers set is a little deeper than the Oilers with the additions of Kubina and Grossman.
- Both sets of goaltending have been wildly inconsistant. At least Dubnyk has an over .900 save percentage.
Special Teams Oilers
- The Oilers are slightly better in both categories.
- Peter Laviolette likely saw what happened in Calgary and will be scheming up something to put a stop to it.
- Flyers are in game 2 in their Western swing while the Oilers are back from a short trek to Calgary.
Game Time - 7:30 PM MT @ Rexall Place on Sportsnet West.