GDB 28.0: Clinging to life

Jonathan Willis
March 17 2013 01:01PM

Sunday’s game finds two teams in more or less the same place. Nashville has been terrible on the road and find themselves in danger of falling out of the playoff picture in the Western Conference. Edmonton, meanwhile, has struggled mightily at home and is two points back of the Predators in the post-season race.

The Playoff Picture

Adjusting for games played, San Jose is on pace for the final playoff spot in the West and a team hoping to catch them will need 54 points. The chart below shows the current standings projected over 48 games and the record necessary to get to 54 points.

For any of the teams on the outside looking in, it’s going to take an impressive run to make the post-season, one that has to start almost immediately. One of Nashville or Edmonton can knock off one of those needed wins tonight.

The Lineup

Because the Oilers held an optional skate today, it isn’t clear exactly what the lines will be – and Ralph Krueger’s comments yesterday indicated that some players are gameday decisions. Based on yesterday's practice lines and Krueger’s press availability, the following are a good guess for the forwards:

  • Taylor Hall – Shawn Horcoff – Ales Hemsky
  • [Jones or Hartikainen] – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Jordan Eberle
  • Magnus Paajarvi – Sam Gagner – Nail Yakupov
  • Mike Brown – Ryan Smyth – Lennart Petrell

The defence is less clear, but Mark Fistric is expected to return to the lineup in place of Corey Potter. Ladislav Smid and Jeff Petry will likely be one pairing; my guess would be that Justin and Nick Schultz are reunited on one of the other two and that Ryan Whitney and Fistric form the third.

Predictions!

Game day prediction: After getting blanked 6-0 in Nashville, the Oilers will be out for blood, but because the Predators have their backs against the wall it will be close. A 3-2 shootout victory after a blown third period lead helps the Oilers stay alive.

Obvious game day prediction: Mike Brown and Rich Clune find each other for a rematch of the fight they had in the first period the last time these two teams played. Clune manages to keep it closer than he did last time around, but Brown still finishes with the takedown.

Not-so-obvious game day prediction: Nashville is one of two teams that Jordan Eberle has played regularly and has a 20% or better shooting percentage against (Chicago is the other), but last time around he went pointless and minus-3 with just a single shot. He scores in regulation on one of three shots he takes, then pots the game-winning goal in the shootout, ending a recent funk in that department.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Chipper
March 17 2013, 01:05PM
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Many of Brown's fists in the faces of the foe.

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#2 Chipper
March 17 2013, 01:12PM
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Plus the furious fanny of Fistric will flatten the fiends!

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#3 David S
March 17 2013, 01:12PM
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As much as you guys want to see a Brown-SMASH moment, if the Oilers want to win this game he HAS to stay out of the box. This is not debatable.

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#4 Lowetide
March 17 2013, 01:14PM
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http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/sports/penguins/on-the-penguins-17-shopping-days-remain-679687/

Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Gazette has THREE Oiler defensemen on his shopping list for the Penguins. Lordy.

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#5 Mac962
March 17 2013, 01:38PM
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I sense a full 60. Oil 4-2. Score is closer than the game as Rinne stands tough.

Nash has to be tired from this road trip. Cry me a river Preds We will remember the 6-0 loss.

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#6 Rocket
March 17 2013, 02:00PM
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You're correct Willis, most Oilers games this season do have the absurdity of a Monty Python skit.

Although maybe it's more tragedy than farce.

Anyway, GO Oilers!

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#7 Taylor Gang
March 17 2013, 02:02PM
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Game day prediction: oilers win 2-1 in OT

OGDP: Hall gets an assist off a goal by Gagner, both keep their point streaks alive

NSOGDP: Weber gets traded to Edmonton mid-game for a lock of Katz's hair. He then puts on an Oilers jersey and scores on a slap shot past Rinne.

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#8 reidharr35
March 17 2013, 02:46PM
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David S wrote:

As much as you guys want to see a Brown-SMASH moment, if the Oilers want to win this game he HAS to stay out of the box. This is not debatable.

what are you talking about?hes only taken 1 penalty in the 6 games hes played. no reason to worry.

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#9 Alsker
March 17 2013, 03:09PM
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Big big big game, win and we're 2 points out lose and could be 6 back after tomorrow. Anyone who isn't ready from the opening draw has to be on the trading block...dithers better be watching carefully, alas Oil win 5-2 and keep this season interesting

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#10 skeptik
March 17 2013, 03:29PM
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Here come the mighty oil. 63-1. Yeah that's right oilers ar gonna be +62 ,give or take 60 or so. Shea webber kills himself and jesus walks onto the ice and states the rebuild is over, just in time for the end of the world. Unless ralph krueger does a four hour handstand. He fails. One and a half minutes short. All the oilers fans get their wish, tambo and lowe are set on fire. The kids get sent to minny.......yeah that's right dsf. And the world implodes. Happy saint patricks day. Shots keep on shooting

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#11 Walter Sobchak
March 17 2013, 03:31PM
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Tough game to call for sure.

I'll I'm going to predict is the over/ under of 5, I'm going under.

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#12 Time Travelling Sean
March 17 2013, 04:02PM
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We win 6-2. Some of our players are due for a correction in SH% and this is the game it all happens.

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#13 MAC962
March 17 2013, 04:03PM
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Can anyone in Winnipeg read ? Check out their nation or army...lol

0 comments 0 comments 0 comments

Yeah go JETS... Hey dares a game today, lets drink pilsner.

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#14 Slats
March 17 2013, 04:06PM
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Well not predicting return of Jesus at Rexall given how hard it is to still get tickets . . . I'm going with one of those blowout games that we as fans get each year - yes that's right the big 9-3 win. The kind of game that feeds us Oiler faithful when we most need it!!!

Ive watched those last couple of Nashville and something is a miss between the pipes in Music City!!

NSOGDP - Shea Webber gets tossed early in game after fight with FISTric and is seen later in photo, released on exclusively on the ON, having a heart to heart chat with Klowe - the photo shows a handshake and smiles. Klowe gets a 5 year ban for tampering.

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#15 Jay
March 17 2013, 04:06PM
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I wanna see puddles of green on the ice after the refs call back the tying goal and give dubnyk 5mins for playing with a helmet. Don't let me down rexall

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#16 Butters
March 17 2013, 04:42PM
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My Oiler mug overfloweth with Kool-aid. Oilers win 10-0. Yakupov with 5.

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#17 skeptik
March 17 2013, 04:44PM
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@MAC962

Not anymore. I just fisted the hell outta that site That's how I roll. I see something no one wants and will never know about and I take it. But hey between the two of us we just doubled the record views over at jets nation. Sad really

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#18 Butters
March 17 2013, 04:50PM
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1.5 hours until game time and no DSF comments? Single malt Scotch bender maybe?

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#19 Alsker
March 17 2013, 04:51PM
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@skeptik

Nice to see im not the only one to have done this..lol..did it @ leafsnation as well...gonna take time til they see the light i assume..is there a radio station like the team in loserpeg..tsn does the jets games..maybe Sir Kent needs to get one of there guys to write on thier nation

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#20 Chuckpuck5000
March 17 2013, 04:55PM
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I really don't give a &*^% now as seeing my 10,787 $ proline is ruined thanks to the god damn orlando magic. so much for my irish luck. coulda used that money at rexall next saturday to rent a limo and maybe a few girls . you know put a down payment on that @ss. any who .... I'm gonna have to go . 4-2 oil eberle hat trick.

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#22 RexLibris
March 17 2013, 05:13PM
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Rocket wrote:

You're correct Willis, most Oilers games this season do have the absurdity of a Monty Python skit.

Although maybe it's more tragedy than farce.

Anyway, GO Oilers!

Watched many Flames games this year?

;-)

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#23 RexLibris
March 17 2013, 05:17PM
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On a somewhat unrelated note, NHLNumbers has a great article up right now predicting that at their current pace the Oilers will likely be finishing 24th overall (drafting 7th). The current ISS rankings would put Barkov, Monahan, and Zadorov all within range of that selection.

If the team were to improve enough to climb five spots in the standings and still have a chance to draft one of those two centres (not Zadorov, please), that would be a win/win in my books.

Here's the article: http://nhlnumbers.com/2013/3/17/nhl-power-rankings-stats-blackhawks-ducks-bruins-blues-canadiens

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#24 DSF
March 17 2013, 05:35PM
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Butters wrote:

1.5 hours until game time and no DSF comments? Single malt Scotch bender maybe?

Nope too early in the day.

Not much to say about a game between two also rans.

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#25 m3sh
March 17 2013, 05:37PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

In fairness, Jets Nation has only had regular content for a short time now, and the blogosphere in that town is still forming.

Now that we have some consistent writers on the site, we're betting it can grow the same way this site, Canucks Army and Flames Nation have.

~What, no Leaf's Nation mention?~

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#26 skeptik
March 17 2013, 05:51PM
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Fist!

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#27 Mac962
March 17 2013, 05:58PM
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skeptik wrote:

Not anymore. I just fisted the hell outta that site That's how I roll. I see something no one wants and will never know about and I take it. But hey between the two of us we just doubled the record views over at jets nation. Sad really

Lol - they will come around, but there is noting like Oilers Faithful.

Mixing green beers for the game, gotta go.

LETS ROCK FOR 60 OILERS !!!!!! KEEP THIS DAMN THING GOING TILL THE END, NEVER DIE !

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#28 Mac962
March 17 2013, 06:00PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

In fairness, Jets Nation has only had regular content for a short time now, and the blogosphere in that town is still forming.

Now that we have some consistent writers on the site, we're betting it can grow the same way this site, Canucks Army and Flames Nation have.

Well, flames nation is active, Canucks....not so much.

All that really matters to me is .... ALL THINGS OILERS.

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#29 Dog Train
March 17 2013, 06:00PM
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Huge game. A regulation win puts us in 10th and only 2 points out of 8th. All I ask is that we stick around the pack and give us something to talk about other than the draft and which free agents we are going to ship out at the deadline. Is that too much to ask? I am drinking the green kool-aid and saying 4-1 Oilers.

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#30 Mac962
March 17 2013, 06:07PM
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Dog Train wrote:

Huge game. A regulation win puts us in 10th and only 2 points out of 8th. All I ask is that we stick around the pack and give us something to talk about other than the draft and which free agents we are going to ship out at the deadline. Is that too much to ask? I am drinking the green kool-aid and saying 4-1 Oilers.

Lets go Dog. Green beers and red lights, behind Pecker Rinne.

R-E-V-E-N-G-E 6-0 WE REMEMBER.

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#31 djc
March 17 2013, 06:09PM
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DSF wrote:

Nope too early in the day.

Not much to say about a game between two also rans.

The Oilers are an also ran and you are not a fan of the team, yet you find time during your day to read articles about them on an Oilers fan website ... Good grief you must have no life.

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#32 Sanaa Montana
March 17 2013, 06:15PM
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Erin Mouthworth @erinhawksworth eh

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#33 Oasis
March 17 2013, 06:29PM
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reidharr35 wrote:

what are you talking about?hes only taken 1 penalty in the 6 games hes played. no reason to worry.

And that penalty wasn't even a penalty !!!

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#34 NewAgeSys
March 17 2013, 06:45PM
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Their third man back on defense comes in from the n-zone with tight puck pressure but always cuts to the middle when the d-man steps up to pinch, the winger should take the puck to the middle hard and drive in because the defender falling into the middle ALWAYS HAS HIS BACK TURNED when he relays pressure to the d-man he skates straight to the middle with his back turned to the play he doesnt spin around.

If we can wait till they relay the pressure and the d-man pinches letting the support collapse to the middle we can beat the d-man to the inside and fly in right behind the defender collapseing who has his back turned, either we will break in free or he will have to take a penalty because he is always faceing the wrong direction when he collapses he is lazy and doesnt spin first he tries to hustle straight back and takes three trdides, two to many, he is cheating so lets make hi pay for it.

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#35 NewAgeSys
March 17 2013, 06:53PM
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They are flooding our zone when they come in, and we are collapseing to soon, this is giving them prime shots from the outside, we need to keep our pressure up higher and not collapse so soon, this means we need to get a man up into tne n-zone to bust up their numbers flood, we are trying to stop them in the n-zone but they are just flooding the zone and we arent being effective, when they hit our zone in numbers they compress us and if we try to step up they expose us so we cant do that, we need to put more pressure on the puck before they hit our blueline and then use that guy who is alone and deep as a breakout man for the fastbreak pass because they will be flooding the o-zone and he will likely be clear or in a one on one if he draws a man back with him out of the zone, but even with this tactic sending one man deep to bust their numbers advantage by threatening them deep will take their flooding tactic advantage away, I hear they are vulnerable to the odd man rushes lately, this may be why. Just send one man way out front at them to take away one of their men and threaten them deep if we get the takeaway early.

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#36 NewAgeSys
March 17 2013, 07:00PM
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I think our best tactic to traverse the n-zone is to stack two players and just plough through high speed, one guy headmanning and one tight behind him four feet behind, let them have one shot at us in the n-zone because when we do break through straight down the middle we will be going all the way every time with rebound support right behind the puck. Their system has a lot of transitional action in the middle a lot of player action to cover the middle in their zone so it is a soft spot, anywhere you need to make a lot of dynamic actions in your zone is a soft spot, so lets hit em in the middle, stack a few guys and just hammer them down the middle where they are weakest.

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#37 NewAgeSys
March 17 2013, 07:04PM
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Nail needs to be reminded to pursue the puck immediatly after the playaction moves, he is not following through and he needs to adjust right now, he is making life easy for the defense, and it looks like he is giveing up on the play, he needs to stay engaged longer and with wayyy more explosive puck pursuit after he is out of the playaction.

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#38 Sanaa Montana
March 17 2013, 07:05PM
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The only thing more boring than the hockey at Rexall are the fans watching it.

The skilled can fill their people with energy to confront the emptiness of others, while the incompetent drain their people in face of the fullness of others.

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#39 Reg Dunlop
March 17 2013, 07:06PM
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Man, after a period I have to say that these are two bad teams. The oil are SO lucky to still be tied, if they go down one it could be all over.

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#40 NewAgeSys
March 17 2013, 07:18PM
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We need to use an upspeed support man who hits the end of the n-zone five feet before their blueline just as our puck carrier does a fifteen foot soft dumpin because their defense steps up sooo high. Let our puck carrier take it up to their blueline and then do a short soft dumpin and then engage their d-men who always step up , and at that second after the d-men have committed to contact and you execute the short dumpin the upspeed man will bust through their high defensive structure and will cleanly pick up the dumpin from behind their flatfooted defense, the best place to bring the upspeed man in from is the wiiiide wing side as we execute the dumpin from the middle drawing the d-men to the middle and opening up the wing for the upspeed man who will need to time himself to be hitting that spot with high speed, ideally the upspeed man will come from deep in our zone even behind their n-zone pressure tight to the boards , let their n-zone pressure collapse trying to check the man who is going for the dumpin in the middle. We just need to be accurate as to where we engage the upspeed support into the playaction so we can get in behind them and catch them cheating up high. Engage the upspeed man 5 feet before you hit their blueline from the far wing and dump the puck to the middle so the winger with dominant speed can angle in on it and the tender will stay frozen in the net. We want all of our pressure going to the middle after we flatfoot their defense up high. Suck them into contact by telegraphing through the middle of the n-zone- engage the d-men-- and then do a soft short dumpin by curling the puck into the middle as we bring in upspeed support with dominant speed neutralising their n-zone backchecking from the far wide side. Nice job for a well timed d-man with a nose for the net.

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#41 NewAgeSys
March 17 2013, 07:38PM
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Their defense cheat to support the neutral zone flood they use to hit our zone with a numbers advantage, to do this they set up high in their d-zone and stay there, they never catalyse from deep in their zone they dont like to be there, their d-men are not mobile and stay high in their d-zone and also stay high in our zone, they enter the zone in a lateral flood but then they drop back and try to catch us collapsing to early and drop the puck back for a peripheral shot by their defense. We need to make them function deeper in their zone when they set up, letting them set up from high in their d-zone needs to stop we need one man going in to disturb them, not two just one. If we allow them to catalyse so high in their zone its just easier for them to support the zone flood they are useing, we just need ONE player to intentionally overpursue the puck on the forecheck and stop their transition and system initiation from the back end

really we can keep our solid d-zone exits the way they are and just make sure we take it to the middle through the n-zone and do the short dump in with upspeed support, we dont even really need to adjust much.

We do need to make sure we make some contact on our blueline because they are taking it right to the bucket individually, they must have a greenlight. Just enough contact to impede those rushes.

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#42 Poolanov
March 17 2013, 07:39PM
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It seems we've been getting the raw deal......ya Magnum...... Of not getting these teams on their second of two nights when they come west

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#43 Harlie
March 17 2013, 07:45PM
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Where the hell is Eberle's assist? He cleary passed it and quick hands by Pies!

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#44 NewAgeSys
March 17 2013, 07:46PM
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We need to make sure we suck their d-men up high and do this by attacking from the middle, then we do the short dump in and by short I mean 15 feet drop shots, we DONT dump the puck in if their d-men are in mid-zone set up already, we NEED them up high ,so we need to create a threat to bring them up high and then do the dumpin curl/drop shot to the middle and have an upspeed man bust in and through to pick it up after we engage and flatfoot their d-men up high, the pay doesnt work if we dumpin to soon and to deep. Draw their d-men up high first, slow down a tad and go to the middle to draw them up , we are hitting them to fast and they are collapseing to mid zone immediatly, we dont want this we want them stepping up and if we attack from the middle coming out of the n-zone at 75% speed they will have time and be lured into stepping up to us as we need them to do. Then we do the curl shot dumpin and let our upspeed man explode past us all to pick it up as he heads to the net.

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#45 Dennis
March 17 2013, 07:47PM
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Harlie wrote:

Where the hell is Eberle's assist? He cleary passed it and quick hands by Pies!

They gave him the assist. At least it's listed as his on the Oilers page.

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#46 NewAgeSys
March 17 2013, 07:49PM
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Their defense is so slow we really should be challenging for the shorthanded goal, I mean these guys are lumbering slow. And we will likely beat them back to the puck if we challenge them high.

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#47 Harlie
March 17 2013, 07:49PM
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Harlie wrote:

Where the hell is Eberle's assist? He cleary passed it and quick hands by Pies!

All is good...some dimwit asleep at the switch on NHL.com.

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#48 Dennis
March 17 2013, 07:51PM
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Harlie wrote:

All is good...some dimwit asleep at the switch on NHL.com.

Someone is asleep at the wheel on the Oilers site too since none of the people who were on ice for our goal got an increase in plus minus. It took a long time for the points to even show up on the boxscore.

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#49 NewAgeSys
March 17 2013, 07:58PM
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Not pressuring the blueline with a shooter like that who isnt exactly a gazelle is amature, we need more than peripheral stick pressure on that man , we need aggressive straight on pressure. He is always isolated exactly in the middle where he can have the best look, so lets burn him for cheating to the middle, after all thats also the hardest spot to recover from.

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#50 NewAgeSys
March 17 2013, 08:04PM
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We need this win more than they do and I hope we come out in the 3rd period and play like these two points are as important as they are.

We need to leave it all out there tonight, this is a home game and we are not trying to take advantage of the sympathetic reffing that is traditional, we need to go to the middle and force some calls, to go straight to the net from all angles.

If I remeber correctly the wraparound works well on this tender, so lets see a few in the 3rd period. He is real jumpy going side to side.

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