January 03 2014 01:24PM
After a 5-1 attack by the Sharks last night, things don't get any easier for the Oilers tonight when they will try to hand the Ducks their first home regulation loss of the season. The Ducks are 15-0-2 at home, and have outscored their opponents 65-31. The Ducks have allowed three goals twice and four goals once in 17 games, so don't expect much offence from the Oilers tonight.
The harsh reality is that the Oilers are severely overmatched heading into tonight's match. While they try not to think about that, I'm sure it is impossible not to have those thoughts creep into their head. If the Ducks score early, things could get ugly.
Eberle has a knee injury and won't play. It sounds like Jones and Arcobello will return, so we won't know the exact lines until later. If it is me I put Hemsky with Yakupov and Gagner. Yakupov has more success playing with Hemsky than he does any other forward.
The Oilers have recalled D-man Brad Hunt from OKC, and he'll be a game time decision. Maybe an Oiler D-man is banged up, or maybe they want to put someone in the pressbox. Martin Marincin has played well enough to stay in the lineup, and it would be odd to take him out and insert 5'9" Hunt against the Ducks.
Quick scouting report on Hunt... "Smart player. Moves the puck well and fires it hard. Not overly fast, but makes up for it with hockey sense."
Why was Hunt recalled and not Klefbom some wonder? Fair question, but it happened because Hunt is playing better right now, and partially because it is best to keep Klefbom away from a losing environment. Klefbom is also still dealing with an injury, but even prior to that he was only playing okay according to coaching reports.
Either way, the Oilers need a strong effort from all 18 skaters if they have a hope of being competitive tonight.
- Oilers are so far away from the elite teams in the league it is scary. It illustrates just how far they have to go. I don't see a quick fix over the summer.
- I might be in minority, but I think J.Schultz has improved his defensive game a lot the past two weeks. He's making smarter decisions with and without the puck. He's only played 83 NHL games, so he likely needs at least another 100 before he's really solid, but he's been one of the few positives recently.
GAME DAY PREDICTION: Many will ask who is that? It is Nina Agnal, and with -30 weather coming to Edmonton and a likely 4-1 loss to the Ducks tonight, I felt Oilers fans needed a small "pick me up."
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oiler fans will watch, and some will be infuriated when the Oilers make a bad play. I love the passion and the fact fans still have hope that things will change. God love you.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The entire comment section will be full of positive posts. They will only focus on the good plays in hopes that that will change the fortunes of the Oilers. Pointing out every bad play hasn't helped the Oilers, so posters elect to channel their inner "George Costanza" and write the opposite of their first thoughts.