GDB 30.0: Three in four

Jonathan Willis
March 23 2013 12:46PM

Tonight’s game kicks off a stretch of three games in four days – the Oilers host St. Louis this evening, go to Nashville to play Monday night, and then play again on Tuesday in St. Louis. To keep up with the playoff pack, they probably need to win two of three, with tonight’s match and the Monday game representing their best chances to come away with two points.

The Standings & Action Today

Today's games:

  • San Jose @ Minnesota
  • Vancouver @ Los Angeles
  • Columbus @ Nashville
  • Colorado @ Dallas

From an Oilers’ playoff perspective, the most important game here is the one at the top of the list: a regulation loss for San Jose to the Wild would make a lot of teams happy. If cheering for the Wild to win even one game bothers the hardcore fan, feel free to spit after that sentence, so long as you aren’t in a library or something. Meanwhile, Nashville vs. Columbus is a two-edged sword; the Blue Jackets are on the precipice of the post-season but the Predators are still in the conversation. Given how few home games the Blue Jackets have left, I’d suggest a regulation win for them is probably the best case scenario here – sure they’re ahead of Nashville right now, but it’s hard to believe the other shoe isn’t about to drop.

From both a playoff perspective and a draft position perspective, a regulation win by Colorado over Dallas is the Oilers’ preferred outcome. Speaking of the latter view – both Tampa Bay and Buffalo play today; a win for both (combined with an Oilers’ loss) would move the Oilers into the eighth overall pick range, and tied in points with the team’s slated to make picks five through seven.

The magic number for the Oilers to make the playoffs entering action today (and assuming all teams maintain their current paces) is 54 points; they likely need either 12 wins and a regulation loss or 11 wins and three regulation losses in their final 19 games for a post-season berth.

The Lineup

The Oilers' official Twitter feed had the lines from the morning skate, which were as follow:

  • Hall - Horcoff - Hemsky
  • Paajarvi - Gagner - Eberle
  • Jones - Belanger - Yakupov
  • Brown - Smyth - Petrell

On defence, the same six - Smid, Petry, the Schultzes, Whitney and Fistric - will dress, while Nikolai Khabibulin gets the start in net.

Predictions

Game day prediction: St. Louis is a very good team and jump out to a two goal lead, but the Oilers fight back in the third, force overtime and ultimately win 3-2 in the shootout.

Obvious game day prediction: Nail Yakupov, who has just one goal in his last 21 games, scores both of the Oilers’ regulation goals. Asked about the goals after the game, Yakupov shrugs and says ‘We win. We scored more goals. We win.’

Not-so-obvious game day prediction: Ralph Krueger wears a bright orange blazer and borrows the green hat Don Cherry wore last week for his post-game press availability. Before anyone can ask a question, he yells ‘WHAT DID I TELL YA? DIDN’T I SAY WE COULD WIN IN THE PENALTY SHOTS? SMITTY, SHOW THEM WHAT I SAID.’ At this point a much more conservatively dressed Steve Smith, who nobody had noticed until just then, fires up a monitor and a clip from Friday’s availability of Krueger saying “We just have a lot of confidence in our penalty shooting ability” and “we believe in our ability to win in penalty shots.”

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Jonathan Willis is Managing Editor of the Nation Network. He also currently writes for the Edmonton Journal's Cult of Hockey, Grantland, and Hockey Prospectus. His work has appeared at theScore, ESPN and Puck Daddy. He was previously founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue. Contact him at jonathan (dot) willis (at) live (dot) ca.
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#1 The Soup Fascist
March 23 2013, 01:20PM
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DSF wrote:

6-2

I don't think the Oil win by four. Take off the rose coloured glasses, Dude . Oil win by 2 ..... 3 at the most. ;>)

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#2 Johe
March 23 2013, 02:46PM
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DSF wrote:

So far this season, the Blues give up a league low of 24.1 shots/game.

The Oilers give up a league high 33.6 shots/game.

This could get ugly.

This reminds me of the Saturday night game against Colorado when you predicted the Oilers to be heavily outshot and outplayed at evens. You know, the game where the Oilers had 56 shots? So your prediction gives me a good feeling about tonight.

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#3 Walter Sobchak
March 24 2013, 09:27AM
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I can’t really comment on the last part of the game last night as I turned it off, the first time I have ever voluntarily turned an Oilers game off.

I’ve been ripped on Oilersnation and on Lowetide for comments on the Oilers all year.

To me there not negative comments but an indictment of what this team is.

I stand by what I say, but it doesn’t mean I like it.

Players have to go, some because its time, other because it’s a necessity if the Oilers want to get better.

The Oilers got leaned on last game by a playoff team, what was the end result?

The Oilers are nowhere near competitive enough to be in the playoffs. If by miracle they were to get into the playoffs they would get beat as bad as last game.

These players must be changed out if there is going to be an overall improvement.

Whitney – Petry – Smid – Schultz Sr. – Petrel – Jones – Smyth – Belanger – Paajarvi – Gagner – Hemsky – Peckham – Khabibulin – Hartikainen

This team is a borderline lottery team and management has to know this, what they are waiting for is beyond me.

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#5 Klima's Mullet
March 23 2013, 03:00PM
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Am I the only one excited about 91-89-14 as a line? I think they'll pop a couple tonight.

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#6 The Soup Fascist
March 23 2013, 10:41PM
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Men vs boys.

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#7 washed up
March 23 2013, 10:55PM
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thednp wrote:

Compete level on the Ottawa team is totally different than what we're seeing here in Edmonton. PJ stock just nailed it - way too many gaps in the team.

Man, i'd like to punch PJ Stock in the throat. I can't stand that guy!

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#8 Gerald R. Ford
March 24 2013, 10:24AM
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If Katz ran his other businesses like he ran the Oilers, he wouldn't own most of the new arena district, he'd be squeegeeing cars around it. But then, the 16,838 enablers every night aren't helping things, either.

So glad we have Horcoff's leadership to take us to the finish line. He challenged the boys, and they're really pulling through!

Boy, do I miss the pre-bought-and-paid-for Bob Stauffer. Old Stauff would have been ripping off apoplectic two-hour diatribes on this clown circus every day... until they bought him off, of course. Instead, we have the Oiler Brownnose Hour with Bob, Jack, and Milhouse, guest-starring the 1985 Golden Bears and tree-planting.

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#9 Calamus
March 23 2013, 01:02PM
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Oil really need this one if they want to keep the playoff hope alive. 5-3 Blues.

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#10 Virtual_Xi
March 23 2013, 01:27PM
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I say the Oil get up on the Blues and probably cant keep the lead. NO! I must try to stay on the bandwagon, 4-3 Oil Regulation

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#12 Reg Dunlop
March 23 2013, 01:57PM
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What is the point of lining up Yak with Blancmanger? At best he will be a non-factor and he could easily be a liability. Still, Khabbi is due for one of his 3-times-a-year outstanding efforts. Oil shut out the Blues 2-0.

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#13 GM
March 23 2013, 02:02PM
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Lets trade the kids for draft picks, let Smid go and keep this rebuild going!

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#14 Alsker
March 23 2013, 02:09PM
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Huge game for both teams, and another chance for Oil to stand up and be recognized, that said Im still picking with my heart 3-2 for the goodguys( could be 4 points seperating 7 teams for 3 spots..awesome)

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#15 DrDave
March 23 2013, 03:07PM
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GOILERS!! Cone on Habby!! 3-1 Oilers, Nail with a trick into the empty net!!

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#16 Walter Sobchak
March 23 2013, 04:17PM
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Once they lose these three games, they might as well, just trade/get rid of.

Whitney - Smid - Hemsky - Belanger - Smyth - Khabibulin - Jones - Petrel.

6 to 10 does the Oiler's no good in the draft.

If there going to miss the playoff by an inch it might as well be by a mile.

OGDP 5-2 Blues.

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#17 The Soup Fascist
March 23 2013, 05:12PM
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@NewAgeSys

DSF already has 6 to 2 Oilers. Sorry you will have to make a new prediction.

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#18 Coco crisp
March 23 2013, 05:23PM
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Cannot wait to watch that Belanger, Yakupov magic tonight. Literally gets me out of my seat each time their blades hit the ice. Defines chemistry.

Face. Palm.

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#19 quintana
March 23 2013, 05:28PM
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DSF wrote:

Minnesota now has a 97.3% chance at making the playoffs.

Who could have seen that coming? :0

Sharks drop to 41.8%

By next week, Oilers 53% to make the playoffs.....oh yeah Klefbom>>>>>Brodin. MPS >>>>>>Granlund.

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#20 DSF
March 23 2013, 06:11PM
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Newj wrote:

@ Sys.... Nugent-Hopkins even playing?

Don't make eye contact.

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#21 The Soup Fascist
March 23 2013, 09:11PM
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What we really need is a "block" button.

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#22 @Oilanderp
March 23 2013, 09:49PM
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I don't feel comfortable even with Jesus Christ in net given the way this team is playing in front of their goalie.

That's not a knock on the defence... just seems this entire team can't take or make a pass tonight. Oh yeah and they can't shoot either. Other than that everything is great.

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#23 Jay
March 23 2013, 10:33PM
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Lets give smid 6mill a year! Do whatever it takes! The reason were not winning games is because we're not blocking enough shots! It has nothing to do with the fact that were 26th in the league in goals for! And I'm sure that has nothing to do with the fact that we can't transition the puck and get it to our forwards! I'm sure if we just blocked more shots we'd start winning more games

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#24 Quicksilver ballet
March 23 2013, 10:45PM
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Look at the urgency in the Blues players. Tenacious,intensity to spare along with the fact the Oilers are easily outworked and outcoached most nights.

Men against boys again.

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#25 Slats
March 23 2013, 10:47PM
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nice marshmallow game Whitney . . .there's a Greyhound leaving at 11pm please get on it . . .

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#26 thednp
March 23 2013, 10:51PM
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washed up wrote:

When you at rosters like Ottawa and then compare it to the Oilers it really makes a guy wonder.

Compete level on the Ottawa team is totally different than what we're seeing here in Edmonton. PJ stock just nailed it - way too many gaps in the team.

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#27 NewAgeSys
March 23 2013, 10:59PM
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Even Brown didnt show up, this was a big coaching letdown to me.

No use of the timeout when momentum was obviously shifting, no consistant blueline pressure and offensive thrust.

Poor o-zone entry decisions from the 1st line and a critical lack of chemistry on the 2nd line murdered us tonight. Bad line managment ,poor tactical decision making on both sides of the coin at a very bad time.

we didnt attack the middle which is their weak spot all night long, we allowed them to engage the perimeter game for most of the night in our zone and we failed to read and react to the fast rush and fast one-man penetration and shot/pass tactic with the rest of the line beating our defensive transitions to position for the ultrafast and random shot towards net.

Ralph needs help, and we are really going to be looking for a Genie in a Bottle soon if he cant pull out of this next game and be prepared for this team at the end of this stand when we meet again. Techniclly it wasnt that hard to stop them from the GDB here, but Ralph couldnt find a way down there. Not soon enough and not consistantly enough, he showed signs of reaction in several areas but to slowly and not completely or consistantly enough to kickstart the offense.

I say again, the standup defensive structure is what fits our system and we cant ignore that, had we been engaging the proper defensive structure we wouldnt have been giveing them the blueline control they had all night long and we would have denied them the first random catalysing shot/pass all night long. Stand them up at the blueline and pinch the halfboard outlet off and use that transition point to catalyse odd man rushes back at them. We have been through this exact routine already a few times against their system and we should be dominating them by now, this is a coaching issue and even a recording issue because we are repeateing the same learning steps all over every game.

Where is the disconnect catalysing from? This is like a freaking cerebral Black Hole. Why isnt the bench identifying where the opponents system pressure is catalysing from? Why is it taking so long to read and react again? This WAS NOT a Player issue tonight it was another coaching communication/read and react disaster by Ralph and the crew.

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#28 Jay
March 23 2013, 11:16PM
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Slats wrote:

Healey is trying to be the next version of the CBC's Milbury

I can't stand healey. Makes me sad! Remember back in the day when CBC was actually credible? Lets just let CBC cover the leafs only! I'd rather watch sports net or tsn or NBC or oln or the discovery channel. HNIC is dead to me

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#29 Newj
March 23 2013, 11:33PM
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4 game home stand of "meaningful March games" & they get 2 out of a possible 8 points. What is meaningful to this team?

I enjoyed the fans reaction to the outcome in a meaningful game.

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#30 Rob...
March 24 2013, 12:26AM
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Mr sense common wrote:

Like I've been sayin, we need Steve Ott

Sounds like we also could have used Hitchcock. Gosh I wish he was available at some point in the last 3 years. Oh wait, he was.

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#31 common sense
March 24 2013, 01:34AM
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The CBC panel said basically it was the single line of Stewart, Steen and Oshi that was providing all of the St.Louis offensive threat. Swiss Cheese Krueger should've known that and should've done more to neutralize that line. As Rob Brown said on the radio, the St.Louis Blues are just the better team as is most of the NHL. That is the indictment of the management of this organization that it simply hasn't built a good team despite several first overall picks. Bad signings and several missed signings ie.Glencross and this team is simply not good enough. I support this team but I have had it with this mediocre and incompetent management team.

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#32 Mikey
March 24 2013, 09:43AM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

I can’t really comment on the last part of the game last night as I turned it off, the first time I have ever voluntarily turned an Oilers game off.

I’ve been ripped on Oilersnation and on Lowetide for comments on the Oilers all year.

To me there not negative comments but an indictment of what this team is.

I stand by what I say, but it doesn’t mean I like it.

Players have to go, some because its time, other because it’s a necessity if the Oilers want to get better.

The Oilers got leaned on last game by a playoff team, what was the end result?

The Oilers are nowhere near competitive enough to be in the playoffs. If by miracle they were to get into the playoffs they would get beat as bad as last game.

These players must be changed out if there is going to be an overall improvement.

Whitney – Petry – Smid – Schultz Sr. – Petrel – Jones – Smyth – Belanger – Paajarvi – Gagner – Hemsky – Peckham – Khabibulin – Hartikainen

This team is a borderline lottery team and management has to know this, what they are waiting for is beyond me.

Your crazy if you want to give up Paajarvi, Gagner and Hartikainen. The others I get. But Paajarvi and Gagner were two of the four players last night that looked like they cared. Brown and Fistric were the other two.

Hemsky will be gone at this deadline.

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#33 Walter Sobchak
March 24 2013, 10:10AM
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Mikey wrote:

Your crazy if you want to give up Paajarvi, Gagner and Hartikainen. The others I get. But Paajarvi and Gagner were two of the four players last night that looked like they cared. Brown and Fistric were the other two.

Hemsky will be gone at this deadline.

Crazy! Crazy!

Crazy is having these players develop on your team while you burn through ELC contract years of your elite players!!!

Not to mention by the time these players (Paajarvi or Hartikainen) are done developing the Oiler's will be well into burning contract years off there elite players.

That's crazy!

Trade them for established NHL players now.

Edit: Gagner spent a lot of time on his ass last game, was -2 and had a grand total of one shot on net, how come?

Paajarvi had more TOI then Eberle or Hall......That can't happen....Ever! Do you want to know why Paajarvi shooting percentage is so low, because goalies will always save a shot from the perimiter.

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#34 Eddie Shore
March 24 2013, 11:44AM
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cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

daryl katz hates oilersnation people.

Good, cuz i hate him too.

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#35 Mikey
March 23 2013, 12:48PM
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A must win for the oil 3-2 Blues

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#36 Theoren Fleury
March 23 2013, 12:57PM
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Another huge game. 4-2 Blues

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#37 lostdog82
March 23 2013, 01:01PM
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Time to see Yak unload the russian cruise missile on the power play. Kids got a scary one timer, lets see it. Need to see this team play some desperate hockey if the playoffs are a reality. Stop with the too many pretty passes, bring on the dirty gritty goals.

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#38 DSF
March 23 2013, 01:07PM
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6-2

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#39 Håkan Loob
March 23 2013, 01:10PM
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4-3 Blues

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#40 Hayek
March 23 2013, 01:21PM
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Jonathan, do you feel Paajarvi is at risk for being relegated to bottom 6 if he has a poor game? It seems like he is on a very short leash historically with the Oilers, which I believe is undeservedly so.

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#41 dv.asteroid
March 23 2013, 01:23PM
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Need to see Yakupov in shoot out ....oil 5 st. louis 4.

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#42 vetinari
March 23 2013, 01:27PM
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Oilers sing the blues, lose 4-1...

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#43 DSF
March 23 2013, 01:28PM
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@The Soup Fascist

So far this season, the Blues give up a league low of 24.1 shots/game.

The Oilers give up a league high 33.6 shots/game.

This could get ugly.

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#44 The Soup Fascist
March 23 2013, 01:33PM
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DSF wrote:

So far this season, the Blues give up a league low of 24.1 shots/game.

The Oilers give up a league high 33.6 shots/game.

This could get ugly.

What, me worry?

Belanger = instant offence.

I agree though, our Corsi is going to take a beating tonight.

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#45 DSF
March 23 2013, 01:52PM
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Wild 1 Sharks 0

Parise (12) (Koivu, Suter) PP

Halfway through the second period.

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#46 messy Eh!
March 23 2013, 02:11PM
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Oilers win 3-2 tonight. In regulation. Goals by Nuge hall and Gagner.

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#47 Butters
March 23 2013, 02:12PM
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DSF, I hope your post 5 is right(6-2 Oil we are sure you meant) and post 15. 1 goal for the Wild(spit)will be get it done.

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#48 Butters
March 23 2013, 02:14PM
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DSF, duh, just realized IT IS 1-0 for the Wild. *facepalm*

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#49 Alsker
March 23 2013, 02:16PM
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Reg Dunlop wrote:

What is the point of lining up Yak with Blancmanger? At best he will be a non-factor and he could easily be a liability. Still, Khabbi is due for one of his 3-times-a-year outstanding efforts. Oil shut out the Blues 2-0.

In all fairness to Khabbi hes had a couple of those types already and we played like the flames hoping for 0-0 after regulation, as for Mr.no-no(no goals-no desire) he has to show something in next few games if he hopes to be traded out of here,so Yak with a pair set up by "Blancmanger"

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#50 DSF
March 23 2013, 02:29PM
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Wild 2 Sharks 0

Spurgeon (4) Suter, Koivu PP

Suter keeps piling up the points.

Now 26 points in 30 games.

He's on pace for a pro-rated season of 71 points in an 82 game season.

He sure is missing Weber :)

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