Saturday, February 25, 2012

Pre-Game: Game #61 Oilers vs. Coyotes

Final game before hockey Xmas shows up. For fans, its a blend of euphoria and pure pain, for players, its just a huge pain. It will be interesting to see what happens come Monday for the Oilers. Many players could be on the block, Ales Hemsky will remain an Oiler after signing a 2 year, 10 million dollar deal, meaning the Oiler fans will get more Ales Hemsky. Any variety of Khabibulin, Gagner, Peckham, Gilbert, Barker, Omark could also be moved but are mid to long shots. With Hemsky off the market, Monday trade deadline day could be quiet. The Oilers, as a whole, have played very well in the last two games, playing "October" hockey, the kind of hockey that got them off to a 9-3-2 start. Strong center play, scoring from the kids, sturdy goaltending, all pieces needed to win games. The biggest thing is the Oilers Phoenix comes into this game winners in a shootout 4-3 over Calgary on Thursday night, throwing more dirt on the hopes of the Flames chance of playoffs. Phoenix has playoff aspirations of its own, currently sitting in 7th place in the conference. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins should draw back into the lineup and it sounds like Magnus Paajarvi is good to go as well after taking a knee from Scott Hartnell.

Forwards Oilers
- RNH coming back into the lineup gives Oilers depth. I want to see how Gagner handles RNH back in the lineup.
Defense Coyotes
- Oilers defense coming around but the Coyotes have a couple of studs in Yandle and Ekman-Larsson leading the way.
Goaltending Coyotes
- Mike Smith has played well all year. Dubnyk has had 2 solid starts in a row.
Special Teams Oilers
- Phoenix has the worst power play in the NHL while the Oilers is 4th.
Coaching Coyotes
- Dave Tippett gets the most out of his players. I wonder how Ralph Krueger handles RNH coming back into the lineup.
Intangibles Oilers
- Oilers on a short homestand while the Coyotes are finishing a short Alberta road trip.

Oilers: (my version)






Game Time - 2 PM MT @ Rexall Place on Sportsnet West.

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