Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Pre-Game: Game #10 Stars vs. Oilers
Sink or swim time for the Oilers. The Oilers are coming off a bitter 3-2 overtime loss against the Canucks on Monday night. Literally snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. The Oilers are taking on the Stars tonight, a team more in their weight class and a team that will be on the cusp of a playoff spot much like the Oilers. The Oilers will be without their two veteran centerman Shawn Horcoff and Eric Belanger, forcing the Oilers to play Anton Lander in some primetime minutes and forcing the Oilers to recall Mark Arcobello from Oklahoma City. The Oilers youngsters will be forced to grow up in a hurry if the Oilers are to stay in the playoff hunt. Ralph Krueger also needs to show the ability to adapt and change his lines of necessary. The Oilers have not scored more than two goals in four straight games. Now would be a good time to experiment a little before things start to get out of hand. Dallas comes into this game winners on Monday night, 3-2 over Colorado. Dallas is 4-5-1 to start this season. Its winnable game for the Oilers if they choose to take it. Stars have a veteran laden club so the Oilers need to be smart about this one, but at the same time use their team speed to expose the Stars transition game. On one hand the Oilers need this game bad and play like they do, on the other hand the Oilers have issues with team like the Stars, veteran teams that muck it up and are opportunistic with their chances. Which one will show up will largely be dictated by how the Oilers feel mentally.
- Stars have an excellent blend of skilled vets and role players. Have players for every situation. Oilers are having issues scoring goals these days. Lines could use a shakeup.
- I'm not sure how the Stars could part with Mark Fistric, they are woefully thin on defense. In the same breath the Oilers lose Fistric for this game due to injury. Whitney will draw back in.
- Kari Lehtonen has posted excellent numbers for the Stars for the past three seasons. Devan Dubnyk starting to show some wear and tear. Still has had a wonderful start to the season.
Special Teams Oilers
- Oilers powerplay is still top notch though it struggles vs. Vancouver. Oilers added a shorthanded goal in that game. Oilers PP 5th, Oilers PK 3rd. Stars special teams are mediocre at best.
- I'm giving the edge to Glen Gulutzen and its only because I have found that Ralph Krueger is a little slow to the punch when it comes to switching line combos.
- Gut check game for the Oilers. The Oilers need this game. Both teams played Monday so fatigue should not be a factor.
Oilers: (my version)
Game Time - 8 PM MT @ Rexall Place on TSN