Sunday, January 20, 2013

Pre-Game: Game #1 Oilers vs. Canucks

Here we go again. Time for another wild and wacky ride that is the Edmonton Oilers universe. Expectations are higher than usual around these parts, with whispers of playoffs trickling off some people's lips. Whether they are valid or not will lay in the results. Personally, my expectations with this club are tempered. If they win, its because the youngsters have emerged amongst the most exciting in the NHL, the vets have taken on more secondary roles and are relishing those roles, the goaltending has been solid/specatcular, the defense has held up pitching in all areas, and the Oilers injuries would have been kept to a minimum. If they falter once again, its because the kids are having to be in survival mode, the vets haven't bought into roles, the defense will have broken like a weak dam, the goaltending will have faced far too much rubber, and injuries galore. The Oilers have a lot going for it heading into this game. Most of the Oilers are already in mid-season game shape, the Canucks come into this game already dealing with injuries to Ryan Kesler and David Booth. It will essentially be the Oilers youth and energy versus the Canucks experience and guile. It will be interesting to how easily the will of the young Oilers will be broken or how long it will take. The longer they battle, the better they will be for it. The Oilers have struggled with the losing many times over the last handful of seasons. It's a pretty big statement game for both sides early on in this shortened season.

Forwards Oilers
- On paper the Oilers have the advantage, but we'll have to see how the Oilers 2nd and 3rd lines produce. Injuries have hurt the depth of the Canucks but they do have the Sedins.
Defense Canucks
- Canucks are more proven and deeper on the backend. Top 4 of Edler, Bieksa, Hamhuis and Garrison are very formidable, although they looked out of sorts last night.
Goaltending Canucks
- Debatable that the Canucks have two goaltenders better than what he Oilers have, at least that's what history tells us. Devan Dubnyk gets his chance to run with the ball right out of the gate.
Special Teams Oilers
- Ryan Kesler injury gives the Oilers a slight edge. Both teams have excellent powerplays.
Coaching Canucks
- Alain Vigneault has been with the Canucks for quite some time and has an impressive record with them. Ralph Krueger enters his first season as the full time head coach of the Oilers.
Intangibles Oilers
- The Oilers get the Canucks on a 2nd half of a back to back to start. The Canucks got thumped by the Ducks last night. This game will likely tell us more about the Canucks than the Oilers.







Game Time - 7 PM MT @ Vancouver on Sportsnet West

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