December 11 2009 11:06AM
It was only a week ago that many were calling for the Dive For Five, but today you're looking at a potential five-game winning streak that would put the Oilers one point out of the playoffs. How did this happen? Chalk it up to Oilothymia.
It was first diagnosed in 1997 and in the twelve years since, Oilothymia has infected 183 players, all of whom have suited up for the Oilers for at least one game since 1997.
Oilothymia is distinguished by "an inability to maintain or find a consistent level of execution. The symptoms can spread rapidly from player to player, and just when it looks like the execution has leveled off, it can dip or rise rapidly."
The Oilers organization has been infected since the beginning of the 1997 season, and from year-to-year it's impossible for anyone who watches them to get an accurate grasp on what they will do.
So as you get set to watch the game tonight, you can feel comfortable that you aren’t alone in wondering what might happen.
The Oilers have won their last four games in St. Louis, which fits perfectly with their Oilothymia. The Oilers were winless in their first four visits to St. Louis, then they went 10-2-2 in their next fourteen, followed by a 0-6-1 stretch. Then they went 6-2, before crashing back down with a 1-9-3-1, and now they are currently on the upswing again with four straight wins.
If history shows us anything the Oilers should skate away with their fifth straight win in St. Louis and a fifth consecutive win on this road trip. The Oilers’ record for consecutive road wins is eight set from Dec 9, 1986 to Jan 17, 1987, but the Oilers have never won five straight on any sort of road trip.
Playing the Blues, while avoiding 'the blues'
The Blues are a strange team. They're 30th on the powerplay and they’ve only scored 13 PP goals, while their penalty kill is very good at 84.9% good for fifth in the league.
The Oilers’ PK has improved in the last ten games. If you take out the Vancouver debacle, where they allowed four PP goals in five attempts, in the other nine games they have allowed two goals in 27 chances.
If the Oilers can score three goals tonight they should win. The Blues leading scorer is Erik Johnson with 19 points, and that puts them in two less-than-stellar categories. Along with Toronto they are the only teams whose leading scorer is a D-man, and the Blues and Coyotes are the only teams without a 20-point scorer.
The Blues have scored a league-worst 71 goals, but they’ve only given up 77, good for 5th best in the league.
I wonder if Pat Quinn will stick with the same lineup or will he play Denis Grebeshkov tonight? Grebeshkov is very close to being ready to play, and will be a game-time decision. He has skated hard the last few days, and while he does have some discomfort in his knee he is only concerned about his conditioning.
If Grebeshkov is 90% will Quinn go with him, or will he give him three more days rest and stick with the same 20 guys who have won four games in a row? Grebeshkov is more skilled than Jason Strudwick, but if Grebeshkov’s conditioning is a question mark would you still play him, or stick with Strudwick?