GDB 60: V-v-v-v-v-v-v Vinny and the Bolts

vbolts

Vinny, Vinny, Vinny and the Bolts. Or maybe it is Marty, Marty, Marty and the Bolts because after those two, the Bolts don’t have much. The Bolts have scored the fourth fewest goals in the league, with 152, but 43% of their goals come from three players in Lecavalier, St. Louis and Ryan Malone.

Tampa gets basically no goals from their D-men. They have a league-low 11 goals from the backend, while the Oilers have 33 from the rearguards, the fifth most in the NHL.

The Bolts have also given up the fourth most goals, 191, so they don’t score much, they don’t defend very well and their goaltending is suspect. This should be guaranteed-win night for the Oilers, but this is a home game for the Oilers and nothing has come easy at home.

The Oil have 30 points in 28 home games, and are tied with LA for the fewest home wins in the Western Conference. What’s even worse for the Oilers is that they have been outscored 75-81 on home ice.

Yes, their offence has been inconsistent, but the biggest reason the Oilers find themselves out of the playoffs today, is because they have no identity at Rexall Place. This isn’t a tough rink for the opposition to come into right now. The Oilers don’t amp up their physical play at home; in fact, they are much more aggressive on the road.

Tonight is the first of three straight home games, against teams that are beatable. Tampa, Columbus and Minnesota are not world beaters, and when you look at key stretches of a season, tonight starts an important three games.

Currently the Oilers are on pace for 87 points, which would leave them outside the playoffs. Columbus, Dallas and Minnesota are all on pace for 90 points. Granted those projections can change quickly with a two-game winning or losing streak, but today they are outside the playoffs. It looks like they will need 92 points to ensure they get in, so they will need to go 13-7-3, or 14-8-1 or 12-6-5 or some combination of that to make the dance.

Tonight is a must-win for the Oilers, and the line-up will be the same as Saturday.

  • 27-10-83
  • 12-89-26
  • 18-13-46
  • 85-51-33

Same D and Roloson will start again. The drive to the playoffs begins tonight, and the Oilers can’t afford to hit the ditch against the lowly Lightning.

  • Peter Pan

    I hate to admit it, but Colin is right. The only thing that is going allow for change is if the Oil drop out of the race and become sellers. But they don't have to sell the entire farm because the sky is not falling. Despite what many people say, we do got some good players here. But it's the wrong mix. People will argue that we lack offensive punch, such as Gregor. And he's right. We do lack it. As he stated, we are one of the lowest scoring teams in the league. But why? Is it because these players lack the ability to score in the NHL? Is it the coaching style of Mac "D"? Or is it because they are all in some type of freak slump and can't find a way out of it? All three factors may play a role, but the most significant factor in my estimation is that this is a very small group of forwards and despite the couple of exceptions in this line up, they play scared. It seems on many nights that these guys lack intensity and grit. But in reality, they all lack balls. They play too small. Tambo needs to get rid of some roster spots and replenish them with some grit. The blue paint is where 80% of their goals should come from. But with these guys, its most goals come from the blue line. Obviously we'd all like to see a Hossa-like player put on our team and that may happen sooner than we think, but a more realistic approach would be to add character to the group.

  • Colin

    @swany:
    Quite frankly I don't give a #%$@ whether MacT is fired this season or next, it would just be a bonus.

    I want this team to dive so Lowe/Tambo don't do something stupid at the deadline. This team isn't going anywhere in the playoffs(spare me the anything can happen rhetoric), so why trade away picks and young players for veterans for a short run? I'd rather sell and since there are so many teams with delusions of mediocrity the price will be high, we could certainly get some good picks or better for some of our veteran chafe(Staios, Moreau,etc).

    I'd rather wait for the future than throw it away for a short run, I think some patience is in order. If you're satisfied with years of mediocre crap than by all means root for a 7/8th place finish and a post season slaughter.

  • swany

    Colin wrote:

    Must lose night, hopefully the Oil don’t blow this one and win. Tanking the next 3 is vital if the Oil will be sellers at the deadline.

    How can you hope for them to lose, if it's to get Mact fired then what happens if a NEW coach comes in and everything is the same who do you blame then, look around the NHL besides 5 or 6 teams everyone is very close so are all the other coaches to blame for the crappy play. Take the Ducks you could say more talent than us but are no better, Unless you have a couple big names you are in the same position as we are. Last time I checked we don't have Iggy, Cammi, Dion, Kippy. So get over it this team is where they should be not enough talent to be in the top four and that's not coaching.

  • @ Kevin:

    I will email you to the address you have supplied to the site when you left your comment Kevin. I don't know that we can necessarily be of any help as we aren't actually affiliated with the Oilers but perhaps we can put you in touch with someone who can.

  • Chris

    I'll be watching Cole closely…

    If he just "mails it in" the next three games we'll all have a pretty good idea about how Cole likes playing in Edmonton. I agree with MacT when he said our second line isn't going to produce unless all three guys are going. MacT also said that team success seems to track the success of that line. We need secondary scoring to make the playoffs.

  • freeze

    @ sittingatmydesk:
    agreed, but considering that the coach is trying to salvage his job, I can't see that happening. Roli will play 20 of the remaining games and then get shelled so bad in the first round against San Jose or possibly Detroit.

  • Must win tonight. Must win. That's all there is to it. Seriously…would it be too much to ask to have this team comfortably in a nice cozy playoff spot with 20 some games to go? Would it be that hard? Who saw this coming!?!

  • Kevin

    Hello, a friend told me about this site and he suggested maybe one of the loyal writers can help me out. Here is my situation.

    I took my daughter to her first Oiler game of the year and I bought her one of the silent auction items. As we are from out of town, we could not take it with us as there were many items. One of the items was a PSP player.

    As the Oiler office is closed on weekends and this is when I was heading back into Edmonton, I had a nice person from the Oiler office drop off all the items I had purchased at the Westin Hotel. I picked up the items and when we got home we noticed that the PSP player was missing. I called the nice lady at the Oiler office and she assured me it was with all the other items. I called the Westin Hotel and the Assistant General Manager assured me the items were under his lock and key until I picked it up.

    Now my concern is I paid over $700 for these items as this was a charitable donation. My little girl was excited to get a PSP player but the PSP player was not there. The Oiler office says there is nothing more they can do and the Westin Hotel says there is nothing they can do.

    Now, do any of you have any idea's on how I can get my little girl her PSP player with my $700 donation to the Oilers.

    Any help would be greatly apprecaited.

  • Ender the Dragon

    Jason Gregor wrote:

    Tonight is a must-win for the Oilers, and the line-up will be the same as Saturday.

    Same D and Roloson will start again.

    People will probably debate this a lot over the coming week or two, and a lot of the answer will rest with what moves (if any) are made at the trade deadline, but my question is this:

    Who do you move off the forward lines to make room for Pisani when he's back? We're told he's close, that he's skating and practicing, but is he good? Is he in game shape? Is he going to be better than someone who's on the ice today?

    The obvious answer, of course, is that SMAc is going to take a seat in the press box. Rightfully so, I think; Pisani is probably going to help the team more overall than SMac. But what about the 2-3 games where you really want to ice a 'deterrent factor'? When you need to keep the Boogeymen of the world honest and off of your star players? Who sits then?

    Is Pisani better than Stortini? Maybe the Stortini of old, but not lately. Reddox? He too is digging the pucks out of the corners and finding chances in the blue paint. Brodziak? Then you have to shuffle the chairs to find someone else to play center.

    Maybe someone goes cold in the next week or so and the question becomes rhetorical, but right now I don't see any obvious choice past SMac to take nights off while Pisani plays.

  • socaldave

    I'm a Scientist! wrote:

    Why wouldn’t JDD be playing? Too important of a game? if there was ONE game that he was going to be in…wouldn’t this be it?
    4-3 Oil.

    ~shrugging shoulders in bewilderment~

    then remembers… FMNF!!

  • shakey

    A must win against a soft team with little other than a few quality players? What can go wrong here?
    Also, it's a Tuesday game…we do well in those don't we?
    Maybe they should wear the retro jerseys for extra luck.
    Anyone on the Bolts looking to bust out of a slump or get their first career goal?
    My Spidey sense is tingling and it's not that 'she looks hot in those lululemon pants' kinda tingling.

  • rindog

    Gregs,

    Were you at practice yesterday?

    Was there any PP practice and if so – what were they working on?

    What do you think about putting Nilsson in Horcoff's spot on the first unit and having Cole, Horcoff & Gagner on the 2nd unit?

    I think our playoff chances are largely resting on the effectiveness of our PP down the stretch – would you agree?