Don’t fool yourself Oiler fans, if there is one team the Wings are scared of this year it is the mighty Oil. In a stat that defies logic, the Oilers are 3-0 against the Wings this season. Can someone please file that under "things I just can’t believe aboutn the 2009-10 Oilers season" along with the "unexplainable 5 game road winning streak in December."
In Edmonton on the hallowed eve of the 29th of October, the Oilers jumped out to a 4-0 lead and then led 5-1, before the Wings scored four goals to send it to OT. It went to the shootout and Nikolai Khabibulin stopped Jason Williams, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg while Patrick O’Sullivan scored the lone goal and the Oilers won 6-5. The Wings outshot the Oilers 45-33 including 20-6 in the 3rd period, but the Oilers won.
On December 3rd the Oilers went into Detroit losers of three straight, without Khabibulin and Ales Hemsky and downed the Wings 4-1. The Oilers led 2-0 before the Wings scored with one second left in the first period. Normally you’d expect a goal like that to crush the Oilers, but O’Sullivan scored a pair of goals in the 2nd period and the Oilers outshot the Wings 36-28 with Jeff Deslauriers getting the win.
And finally ten days ago, the Wings visited Rexall for the 2nd time and they promptly lost in a shootout again. The Wings tied it with one second remaining in the 3rd and we all thought Devan Dubnyk would never win an NHL game, but he stopped Datsyuk and Valtteri Filppula in the shootout and got goals from Ryan Potulny and Gilbert Brule to earn his first NHL win. The team and the fans celebrated like they’d won a playoff series, and why not, because it’s been four long years since this city has had the slightest taste of the playoff nectar.
The Wings are 11-2-1 since the Olympic break, with all three of their losses coming against the western Canadian teams. They lost at home on March 3rd, 6-3 to Vancouver , the Flames beat them 4-2 in Detroit on March 9th and the Oil continued the trend March 19th.
Sure the Wings have won five in a row, and have the best cast of European talent in the league, but the Oilers have Mike Comrie on the top line tonight with Andrew Cogliano and Dustin Penner. Sure, they’ve outscored the opposition 18-8 in their last five games, but the Oilers can beat them with any goalie they dress. Three different goalies, three wins for the Oilers.
Clearly the Wings can’t figure out the Oilers array of different styles between the pipes. And look for Deslauriers to get the start tonight so the Wings will face a new goalie for the 4th straight game. Sure, the Oilers have lost seven straight road games in March, but Jimmy Howard will make his 23rd straight start tonight and he is winless against the 30th place Oilers.
I think the Oilers are in his kitchen, and how can he seriously be considered for the rookie-of-the-year if he can’t beat the lowly Edmonton Oilers? He can’t, that’s how.
DARE TO DREAM
The Oilers have never swept the Wings in a four games season series, and considering the Wings dominated the Oilers 4-0 last season, outscoring them 19-8 in the process the Oilers should be fired up.
Okay, I’m really grasping at straws right now, but considering the Oilers have officially clinched 30th place, don’t you want to them win a game they have no business winning tonight?
The Oilers have given up the most goals, they are tied with Boston for fewest goals scored (190) and they are a league worst 8-25-3 on the road.
Here is the Oilers road record each month this season:
They have won one road game in 2010, a 3-2 shootout victory in LA on Feb 11th, and they’ve been outscored 128-75 on the road this year. But don’t worry they are 3-0 against the Wings.
Prediction: Oilers will be down 4-0 and will tie the game 4-4 with two goals by Tom Gilbert.
Many still feel that Jordan Eberle might get the call to play for Canada in the World Championships, but he won’t be the only young prospect going. Three Swedish Oiler prospects have been invited to Sweden ’s camp. Oilers forwards Magnus Paajarvi Svensson, Linus Omark and Anton Lander all got the invite by former NHLer and head coach Bengt-Ake Gustafsson.
It will be interesting to see if Robert Nilsson gets an invite and if he doesn’t – does that show the Oilers where they should have him slotted on the organizational depth chart?
Anyone want any wings now? I sure do….