Monday, February 4, 2013
Pre-Game: Game #9 Canucks vs. Oilers
Game #9 and its right around this part of the season the Oilers start to fall apart and settle into the bottom of the league. Will that happen again this season or will the Oilers find some intestinal fortitude? The answer lies in the 20 players suiting up tonight to face the Canucks. The Oilers need to be better in responding to losses. They bounced back well in their first two outright losses by responding with wins in the next game. The Oilers need to continue to do that if the playoffs are to become a reality. Once the losses start piling up, it becomes insurmountable. The Oilers are coming off a lacklustre 3-1 loss in Denver Saturday afternoon. The Canucks will be a tough matchup in this spot. It seems like when the Oilers really need a win against Vancouver, its usually Vancouver that walks away with the victory. The Canucks will be ready, the queston is whether the Oilers will respond. Eric Belanger was placed on the IR after taking two shots. One in the foot, the other in the arm. Magnus Paajarvi was recalled and perhaps there may be a Nordic line reunion. There will be many gutcheck games for the Oilers this season, the is one of them. I have no knowledge of it, but Shawn Horcoff sounds like he might return tonight after being close to returning on Saturday. With Belanger out, the Oilers will need Horcoff experience at centre.
- Neither team is scoring much these days. Both teams stars have gone cold over the past week. The Canucks really miss the versatility of Ryan Kesler. A little more depth on the Oilers.
- Oilers defense has played well but have suffered from epic breakdowns while the Canucks D have been rock solid to start the season. A more reliable top 4 from the Canucks.
- Devan Dubnyk has the been the Oilers MVP up to this point while Roberto Luongo seems to have grabbed the starters job for the time being by only giving up one goal in his past two starts.
Special Teams Canucks
- Oilers PP & PK are 6th and 5th respectively while the Canucks are middle of the pack at both ends to start the season. Oilers special teams have been keeping them in games.
- Alain Vigneault always seems to push the right buttons even if his team is undermanned. Ralph Krueger is still trying to find the right chemistry to get his team scoring 5v5.
- The pressure is on the Oilers to win this game on home ice. They haven't dealt with that well in the past. The Canucks last played Friday night in Vancouver, Edmonton played on Saturday afternoon.
Game Time - 7:30 PM MT @ Rexall Place on Sportsnet West.