Thursday, February 21, 2013
Pre-Game: Game #16 Wild vs. Oilers
The Oilers fresh off another learning experience versus the Kings, get the opportunity to face another team that enjoys a fine taffy pull in the Minnesota Wild. The Oilers stayed patient in the Kings which is a positive sign. Problem was they put themselves to sleep in the process and ultimately stopped getting scoring opportunities. One thing the Oilers have been good at is staying in the games and being opportunistic in crunch time. Last game, the Kings did to the Oilers what they have done to a few teams this season, pull wins out late in games. The Oilers are a work in progress continuing to learn hockey lessons along the way. Ultimately this team will need the fine tooth scalpel and add some strength to the top 6, two-way ability to the bottom six and continue to find reliable defenders. The turnover will continue as the Oilers need to strengthen the center and defense positions. Could use some power forward wingers as well. As much as Oilers fans and hockey pundits enjoy the entertainment value of this team, it isn't built to win over the long haul, at least not yet. The Wild sit one point above the Oilers in 10th place in the standings while the Oilers are 11th. The Wild are a new look team with high price free agent addition in Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. But like teams of the Wild past, they have issues scoring goals, dead last in the conference in goals for. Another test for the Oilers versus a team that can lock things down. The key for the Oilers is sticking with the gameplan and keeping the turnovers to a minimum. Teams like the Wild and the Kings prey on turnovers.
- The addition of Parise gives the club a whole different dimension it didn't have before. The Wild are having issues breaking old habits. The Oilers are having issues with consistency.
- The Oilers defense has played well for most of the year, they have cut the goals against way down. The Wild defense is formidable but not very deep.
- Niklas Backstrom has been a thorn in the side of the Oilers for many years. Devan Dubnyk will likely get the start for the Oilers. Need to see a bounce back game from him.
Special Teams Oilers
- Edmonton's powerplay sits 6th and the penalty kill sits 4th in the league. Minnesota's PP is 22nd and the PK is 9th. Special Teams for the Oilers has been keeping them in games.
- Its pretty much a wash as both clubs have battled inconsistency and have struggled to score goals.
- The Oilers in game 4 of a 5 game homestand with the games nicely spread apart, so fatigue should not be an issue.
Oilers: (my version)
Game Time - 7:30 PM MT @ Rexall Place on Sportsnet West.