Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Pre-Game: Game #73 Oilers vs. Predators

Oilers are down to the final 10 games of the season. They head out on a four game road trip that starts in Nashville, then 2 games in Florida and ends in Columbus. The Oilers start the day in 29th spot in the NHL, 11 points up on Columbus but 5 points behind Montreal and the Islanders for 28th. The Oilers look to be cemented in that spot. The Oilers will need to continue with the defenaive play they have been getting lately. Only Columbus has given up more goals than the Oilers in the Western Conference. It's no accident that goals against and spot in standings go hand in hand most times. The Oilers got taught another lesson at the hands of Phoenix last night. The lesson is to just keep playing the game but also play the game on how the score is dictated. Everyone has given Tom Renney a hard time over the fact that his style seems too "passive" for most people. Welp, the reason why he's so passive came to fruition yesterday. Jeff Petry tried to make a big play, got burned, tie game. There needs to be a better balance of "playing it safe and living to fight another battle" and "going out and making a play". Often the score dictates the situation as does personnel. If your team has a 2-1 lead, its not a good time to go riverboat gambling. I talk about "playing the percentages". Players needs to have that "percentage meter" going off in their heads in regards to whether going in and trying to make a play is a high percentage or low percentage play. The great teams have players that do this and have an excellent sense of timing, something the Oilers are trying to install into the brains of every player. Nashville comes into this game, coming off a 3-1 win in Anaheim. They currently sit in 4th spot of the Western Conference. Nashville will get a boost from Alexander Radulov, who is coming from the KHL in Russia to boost the Predators' offense. Radulov is not likely to play against the Oilers tonight.

Forwards Oilers
- RNH and Eberle continue to make things happen.
Defense Predators
- Weber and Suter are likely the best pairing in the NHL.
Goaltending Predators
- Pekka Rinne is likely a Vezina candidate.
Special Teams Predators
- Edmonton's power play is sitting in 3rd spot now. Nashville's is in 2nd.
Coaching Predators
- Barry Trotz has his Predators team playing Predators hockey.
Intangibles Predators
- Tonight is going to be matchup hell for Tom Renney. The Nuge and Eberle are going to get a heavy dose of Weber and Suter.







Game Time: 6 PM MT @ Nashville on Sportsnet Edmonton.

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