Dwayne Roloson will get his second start of the season tonight. What does this mean?
This is more about Coach MacTavish being frustrated with Mathieu Garon, than it is the Oilers showcasing Roloson. Garon didn’t look good in Vancouver, and he let in a soft third goal in Colorado. The Oilers need him to be better if he’s to be their everyday #1 goalie.
Starting Roloson also is a sign that the coach doesn’t have confidence in young Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers just yet. If he did, tonight would be an ideal time to start the 24-year-old.
This is a huge game for the Oilers. A win puts them two games over .500 before their longest road trip of the season. Then all they would have to do is go 2-4-1 on the road trip and return home .500 after 15 games. If the Oilers are .500 or better after 15 games, with 12 of them on the road they will be ecstatic.
If Roloson plays well, this will muddy the goaltending picture even more, and it will also push Garon to be better. When asked what has been the difference in the last three losses compared to the first four games MacTavish was quick with a response, “Goaltending and special teams, plain and simple.”
That sounds like a coach who is expecting more out of his goalies, and his decision to start Roloson proves that.
Pisani back in
After missing two games with a sore back, Fernando Pisani draws back in centering Ethan Moreau and Eric Cole. Pisani tweaked his back on a snapshot in the morning skate in Chicago, and has been getting treatment for the past four days. He says he feels fine and it shouldn’t be a reoccurring problem.
It looks like Zack Stortini will sit out tonight, as he was the last player on the ice at practice this morning. And Jason Strudwick won’t play due to a sore shoulder.
October and November games matter
After 20 games last season, only one western team that wasn’t in the playoffs at that time (Anaheim) was able to make it in. The Oilers need to be in the playoff race come the first 20 games, or it will be much harder to make up ground. The Oilers schedule could make it easier to make up ground, but they have to be close after 20 games.
—Listen to Gregor weekdays from 3 to 6 pm on the TEAM 1260 or online at www.justagame.ca.