GDB XXIII: Shooting down the hot ‘Hawks

Tonight is your second last chance to watch a regular season Oiler game at Rexall Place on a Saturday. The last time will be in a month when Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals come to town on December 19th.

And also today, one of our loyal Nation readers will win a pair of tickets for tonight’s game.

While your original thought might be, "SWEET," I feel I should prepare you in case you win.

If you plan on having a few bevies, just remember the heroin beers are $8, and you can only get two at a time. The good news is that you only need three to get a good buzz on.

Preparing for battle

The Blackhawks are 8-1-2 in their last eleven games and they’ve outscored the opposition 33-20. They have dominated in almost every category. They’ve scored 10 PP goals, while surrendering only four. They’ve taken 89 more shots during this stretch, and they’ve had 12 different goal scorers in their recent five-game winning streak.

Even their goaltending has been stellar, with Christobal Huet winning five straight with a 1.80 GAA and a .960 SV%.

You’ve become accustomed to seeing Ice Women every week here on the Nation, but you won’t see any tonight. You might get to see some R&B dancing girls though.

Reasons to believe the Oilers can win

  • Despite going 0-2 last year and getting outscored 12-3, the Oilers are 7-3 in their last ten home games v. the Hawks, and have outscored them 32-13 in the eight homes prior to last year.
  • Khabibulin is 12-7-1 v. the Hawks and is 24-13-2 against his former teams.
  • The Oilers have won seven of eleven home games, while the Hawks have only won three games on the road.
  • The Oilers should have J.F Jacques back in the line up tonight. Jacques, despite missing the last seven games, still leads the Oilers in hits with 53 which is 17 more than any other Oiler. The Oilers missed Jacques’ consistent physical presence much more than his two goals and three assists.
  • You should see lots of offence tonight. The Oilers are averaging 3.35 goals at home, compared to scoring only 2.27 on the road.
  • You won’t have to listen to Cotton Eyed Joe.

If Jacques plays here are the lines you could see:

Penner — Horcoff — Hemsky
Cogliano — O’Sullivan — Brule
Jacques — Gagner — Stortini
Moreau — Potulny — Reddox

These aren’t written in stone, and Pat Quinn isn’t afraid to juggle his lines during the games, based on who is going.

Live hockey: now in colour

If you want to go to the game e-mail me (<– click!) and I’ll pick a random winner to watch the Hawks and Oilers. You can only enter once (duplicate entries will be ignored). Entries MUST be submitted by 5:59pm. Include your phone number in your message. You’ll be directed to pick up your tickets at Will Call. Good luck!