Saturday, February 9, 2013

Pre-Game: Game #11 Oilers vs. Red Wings

The Oilers are currently mired in a good news, bad news type situation heading into game 11. Good news, the Oilers are 4-3-3 currently sitting in 9th place which is a far cry from where they have been over the last few seasons. Bad news, the Oilers have hit the skids losing the last 4 games. Good news, the Oilers got the "loser point" in three of those games to stay afloat. Bad news, the Oilers center situation is in dire straits forcing the Oilers to recall Chris Vandevelde and forced to move Ryan Smyth to the center position. Good news, Ralph Krueger mixed up the line combos which was something that just needed to be done. Bad news, the new line combos are even more messed up than they were before. Good news, the Oilers get Ryan Nugent-Hopkins back into the fold for this game. Bad news, the Oilers have failed to score more than 2 goals in 5 straight games. The goals have dried up and the kid line wasn't pissing a drop. With the bottom end of the Oilers lineup giving very little offensively, too much of the offensive burden is falling to the 2nd line. The Oilers face an old nemesis in the Red Wings in a place they seldom win. It's not a Red Wings team that the Oilers are accustomed to facing as this Red Wings club is subpar on defense with the recent losses the club has endured. If the Oilers attack with speed and are able execute, they have a chance, but their inexperience also has the ability to bite them in the backside in this game. This could be a turning point game. If the Oilers get blown out and can take nothing from this game, the hangover could last going into the Columbus game on Sunday, but if the Oilers find a way to take something out of the game, it could used as momentum in facing the Blue Jackets. Its a swing weekend for the Oilers and we'll likely get a better feel for where this club is headed after this weekend.

Forwards Red Wings
-  For no reason other than experience at the top end of their lineup. The Oilers young kids have gone cold and the center play is band-aided together.
Defense Oilers
- The Oilers defense has played well as a whole for the most part. The defense errors are magnified by the lack of goals for.
Goaltending Oilers
- Devan Dubnyk has played well for the Oilers although its starting to show that the volume of shots is starting to affect him. Not a big fan of Jimmy Howard who goes flaky at the worst of times.
Special Teams Oilers
Red Wings special teams have really hit the skids without Niklas Lidstrom. 26th on the PP and 29th on the PK. Oilers are sitting 4th on the PP and 7th on the PK.
Coaching Oilers
- Mike Babcock has shown to be great with adjustments as shown by following up a 4-1 loss to Calgary with a 5-1 win vs. St. Louis. Ralph Krueger is still trying to find his way with a depleted lineup.
Intangibles Red Wings
- Oilers have shown to be slow out of the gate in afternoon games, a sign of inexperience. Red Wings have a lot more experience in afternoon primetime games in the U.S.




Red Wings:



Game Time - 12 PM MT @ Detroit on CBC.

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