Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Pre-Game: Game #63 Oilers vs. Blues
Trade deadline is over, 20 games left to go. To give you an idea how far the Oilers are out of the playoff run, if the playoff cut line is 95 pts, the Oilers would have to go 19-0-1 to make it. Nick Schultz will make his Oiler debute tonight. The Oilers made a dealine deal, trading Tom Gilbert for Nick Schultz. It will be interesting to see what dimension Schultz will add. It will also be interesting to see how a small deal like this will effect the offense. The Oilers defense is going to take a more stationary look. Sutton, Smid and Schultz don't bring much offense, Potter is essnetially a stationary cannon on the point, Whitney has a bad wheel that doesn't allow him to be as mobile as he once was, which leaves Petry to do all the skating to make up for all 6 of them. If I was to look in my crystal ball as of today, I'm guessing the Oilers are eyeballing Matthew Dumba as a potential draft pick. The Oilers are bereft of RH shots that have the potential to play in the NHL, with the dealing of Tom Gilbert. Dumba has a cannon that will help the kids on the power play. The Oilers have stabilized the rest of the D with defensive types. It looks to be a direction the Oilers are going in. The Oilers are going to need someone to push the pace from the backend, meaning the Oilers will likely continue the experiment of Sam Gagner and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins as the 1-2 centers on the team. The Blues come into this game as a legitimate to make a Stanley Cup run this year. For my money, the most improved team in the NHL. The Blues are coming off a 3-1 win in Calgary and winners of 3 in a row. The Blues will prove to be a very stiff test for the Oilers. The Oilers have all kinds of difficulties with teams that clog up the middle ice. Teams like the Wild, Coyotes, and Stars. The Blues fall in this category as well. I'd say the Flames too, but thats a team that is losing its identity as we speak.
- The Oilers forward skill is always dangerous. Especially the young ones.
- Two young Dmen in Pietrangelo and Shattenkirk really stabilize their D.
- Halak and Elliot may be the best tandem in the NHL. Both with under 2 GAA.
Special Teams Oilers
- Oilers now have the power play in the NHL, Blues are 25th.
- Ken Hitchcock loves playing the Oilers.
- Oilers have won 3 of 4 and have home ice. Still will be a tough game for them.
Game Time - 8 PM MT @ Rexall Place on Sportsnet West.