Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Pre-Game: Game #6 Oilers vs. Coyotes
Every year some bottom feeding team has a set off demons that need to be exercised in order to move up the standings and become a playoff team. That game is tonight for the Oilers. The Oilers have always had issues with the Coyotes strength, length and guile. The Coyotes essentially play opportunistic hockey, The Coyotes will wait for the Oilers to turnover the puck (which they will) and turn those odd man rushes into scoring chances. How the Oilers combat this is how many times they do this and how they will bust backside to retrieve pucks. The Oilers need to play an energy/controlled game tonight. If the game gets passive at all, they will get eaten alive by the Coyotes. The Oilers are coming off of a somewhat convincing 4-1 win against the Avalanche. I say somewhat because the Oilers defense went into prevent defense mode forcing Dubnyk to be a little more busy than he otherwise should have been. I know I like to throw the "statement game" around pretty librally, but this is a statement game. The Oilers need to find a way to beat these teams that force them to play patient hocky by playing patient hockey themselves. The Oilers need to learn that they can't score four goals on one rush or all the goals count the same no matter the style they come in. I know around these parts, people love the "pretty" goals but if you want to be a successful hockey team, you need at minimum an equal part grit. Wary game for the Oilers as the Coyotes are off to a slow start, starting 2-4, so you know they will be ready.
- This is a tough call. While the Oilers have better pure skill, the Coyotes have the bigger experienced bodies that will make life tough on the Oilers. Who wins out here will likely win the game.
- Close call here too. While the Coyotes have a more proven top end, their depth will get tested tonight by the Oilers. Oilers are getting spotty production from many of the defense members.
- Giving the edge to Dubnyk and his inconsistent ways. Only because Mike Smith is out with injury and they will roll with the Labarbera/Johnson combo. Be wary of Sean Burke's genius ways.
Special Teams Oilers
- Oilers powerplay is hotter than a two dollar pistol accounting for all four goals scored against the Avalanche. Coyotes have a decent Pk but will have their hands full.
- Dave Tippett always seems to get the most out of his clubs even if they are underskilled. Ralph Krueger is finding a good mix with his hand but its still a tough matchup for the Oilers.
- The Coyotes have been tough at home under the tenure of Dave Tippett. He'll dictate the matchups which means some of the Oilers will have to adjust and play out of their comfort zone.
Game Time - 7:30 PM MT @ Phoenix on Sportsnet West