Saturday, February 2, 2013

Pre-Game: Game #8 Oilers vs. Avalanche

The Edmonton Oilers head into Denver to finish off a quick 3 game road trip. Oilers took 3 out of a possible 4 points out of Phoenix and San Jose, places where they were expected to walk away empty handed. Now the Oilers face a different challenge. They face an undermanned Avalanche team. a club they had just beaten on Monday night by a score of 4-1. The Avalanche are also a club that just finished handing the Calgary Flames a 6-3 defeat. It's a game the Oilers cannot take lightly as its point they need if playoffs want to become a possibility. The Oilers are also coming into this game playing 3 games in essentially 3 1/2 days in 3 different cities. Weary bodies and weary minds have to be weighing heavily on them, but this is what every team gets in a condensed, shortened season. Shawn Horcoff practised yesterday and looks to be ready to head back into the lineup while Lennert Petrell sat out of practise. The Oilers need this win for many reasons. One, to keep momentum on their side, losing this game would really put a damper on the road trip after a strong start. Two, its a  game on paper they should win despite heavy fatigue setting in. Three, a shortened season means there are less points to be wasted, losing this game would be a wasted opportunity. If the Oilers truly want to become an upper echleon team, they have to learn how to play like a frontrunner. The Oilers have established a strong base in their play, now its about repetition and playing at the same high level.

Forwards Oilers
- No Landeskog, no O'Reilly. The Oilers should be able to roll the lines and get favorable matchups throughout. Its a matter of keeping the legs fresh and the heads into the game.
Defense Oilers
- The Oilers have a better blend on defense when Mark Fistric is in the lineup. Avalanche have a tough time creating offense from the defense.
Goaltending Oilers
- I'm a Dubnyk believer for the time being. May as well play him until the wheels fall off. He's been great over the last 3 games. Neither Varlamov or Giguere have been all that great to start season.
Special Teams Oilers
- Oilers powerplay has gone a bit dry but they torched the Avalanche with 4 powerplay goals on Monday night. Oilers PK has been spectacular over the last 3 games.
Coaching Oilers
- Ralph Krueger keeps pushing the right buttons. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop but I hope it doesn't
Intangibles Avalanche
- This is the spot where the Oilers may lose this game. 3 games in 3 1/2 days, weary bodies, weary minds. Avalanche were in Calgary on Thursday night.







Game Time - 1 PM MT @ Colorado on Sportsnet West.

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