After a convincing 4-0 victory over the Calgary Flames on opening night, the Oilers have played two consecutive unemotional, unable-to-complete-a-pass and soft-on-the-forecheck type of games. Whether they can complete consecutive passes tonight is still a mystery, but there should be no lack of emotion or grit when they drop the puck on the second installment of the Battle of Alberta.
The Oilers couldn’t end a 13-game losing streak in Minnesota on Thursday, and tonight they play at the Saddledome where they have lost five straight and haven’t won since Oct 17th, 2008. When you’ve missed the playoffs for four straight years, there’s a good chance the Oilers could end some sort of losing streak every week, but tonight is a great test to see if these Oilers are ready to compete physically.
- It is early, but the Oilers have been getting great production from their backend. They nine points from their blueliners so far, although only Gilbert has a goal. The Flames don’t have one point from their backend so far.
- Foster hasn’t gotten comfortable yet. He needs to shoot more. So far he seems more content looking for the slap pass, rather than just letting it fly. He has a great shot, and he needs to start using it.
- MacIntyre needs to intimidate and set the tone with his shoulders, not his fists tonight. Jackman would fight him if he had to, but tonight MacIntyre and either Jones or Stortini need to keep the Flames on their toes. In the home opener the 4th line set the tone early with some big hits and will need to do the same tonight.
- While the Flames can’t score, Kiprusoff hasn’t been great either with a .890 SV%. He was really good v. the Oilers, but he hasn’t been great in any game. The Oilers need to get traffic in front of him early.
- Paajarvi needs to be better in the corners. His backchecking, skating and effort has been good except he hasn’t won many battles for pucks in the offensive zone.
- Not to harp on the obvious, but "win some %^&*$&* faceoffs" is what Renney should be saying in the room tonight.
- It must be the letter C. Cogliano has five goals v. Columbus, four v. Chicago and three v. Calgary and Colorado. He might show up offensively tonight.
- Gagner also likes playing the Flames. He has five career goals v. Calgary. The only team he has scored more against is Colorado (9).
- Khabibulin has dominated the Flames in his career going 23-7-3. Next closest is LA and St. Louis where he has 19 wins.
After two snoozefests, let’s hope the Oilers at least make the game entertaining tonight. Regardless of the score I’d like to see a few tilts, big hits, nice goals and some animosity. The Flames should be pissed after a 35-minute closed-door meeting yesterday, followed by a 24 minute no-puck skate. The Oilers will need to match the Flames emotion/anger tonight.
I’ve been reading all over twitter this morning, from MSM guys, that Joe Thornton could have gotten more than the three-year $21-million extension he signed with San Jose this morning had he waited until July 1st.
Are you kidding me?
Name the teams that would have lined up to pay a guy more than $7 million a year, who has never taken his team close to the Stanley Cup? Thornton is the posterboy for "can’t win the big one". He also doesn’t score enough goals to be a true impact player in my mind.
He has yet to prove he can carry he team on his back, or score the big goal in the playoffs. He should be pumped the Sharks gave him $21 million over three seasons.
Has Thornton made any of his teammates that much better? I can think of Jonathon Cheechoo for two years and that is it. Thornton is great regular season player, but has yet to be a true impact player in crunch time.
"The Auld Enemy make their first visit to the Moneypit this evening, fresh off a haphazard performance in St. Paul Thursday night that lead to their first loss of the season. The first meeting between these two clubs gave most folks that cheer for the Flames a bad case of agita, but from what I’ve seen of Edmonton since last week, it isn’t because they’re particularly good." – Robert Cleave flamesnation.ca