Sunday, April 1, 2012

Pre-Game: Game #79 Oilers vs. Ducks

The Oilers head into Anaheim all battered and bruised. Physically, mentally and emotionally. All is not Disneyland for the Oilers playing out the string. After having a pretty successful road trip, taking 7 out of 8 points, the last two games at home, the offense went stonecold, putting up 2 goals over the two games. Old foes, in the Stars and Kings, styfled the Oilers offense, giving them next to nothing. Without Taylor Hall in the lineup and Magnus Paajarvi in exile in OKC, Oilers speed off the wings is sorely lacking. They have a tough time breaking down teams with good defensive posture, which seems to be over half the teams in the Western Conference these days. Like they say, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. The Oilers defensive posture has been better as of late, minus the epic mental breakdowns, but the centers aren't cheating for offense and the defense is doing its best trying to keep the play in front of them. It doesn't help that flaky goaltending rears its head far too often this season. The problem lies in since the centers aren't cheating for offense, and the wingers aren't as dangerous as they once were, the offense is going to have issues over the next 4 games. It's going to require a lot digging in the trenches and winning some battles, something that I'm not sure the Oilers will be dedicated to. The defensive corps is a mess right now. Jeff Petry and Ladislav Smid were both hurt in the last game, meaning the Oilers recalled Colten Teubert and the return of Cam Barker to the lineup. Since Khabibulin got the last start and looked flaky doing so, I'm guessing Dubnyk gets this start. Anaheim comes into this game losing 4-0 to Phoenix last night. Anaheim doesn't really have much more to play for than the Oilers do.

Forwards Ducks
- Is this Teemu Selanne's final hurrah? Unlikely leader of the team in points.
Defense Ducks
- Oilers defense is decimated with injuries to Smid and Petry.
Goaltending Ducks
- Jonas Hiller has been a bright spot and a work horse for the Ducks.
Special Teams Oilers
- Anaheim is middle of the pack in both PP and PK. Oilers continue to have the 2nd best powerplay.
Coaching Ducks
- Bruce Boudreau stabilized his Ducks team after a dreadful start. Tom Renney is dead man walking.
Intangibles Oilers
- Ducks are in the back half of a back to back. Oilers are in a front end of a back to back.







Game Time - 6 PM MT @ Anaheim on Sportsnet West.

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