Two weeks ago the Blues were sitting in 4th spot in the Western Conference, eleven points ahead of the Edmonton Oilers. Fast forward to today, and the Blues have hit the skids, losers of four in a row, while the Oilers have won five of seven and with a regulation win tonight they would suddenly trail the Blues by three points. Injuries to TJ Oshie and David Perron have hurt the Blues, and while Ales Hemsky will sit out his third game with a sore groin, the Oilers have won two straight without their assistant captain.
For the third consecutive game the Oilers face a team whose offence isn’t as dynamic as the Oilers. Edmonton is now averaging 2.72 goals/game, while the Blues sit at 2.50 GPG. The Blues have a better GAA, 2.75 to the Oilers 3.56, but it is obvious that the key to the Blues is the play of Jaroslav Halak.
In Halak’s ten wins he has SV% of 0.967, 0.929, 0.920, 1.000, 1.000, 0.893, 1.000, 0.971, 0.946 and 0.967.
In his seven loses his SV% has been 0.818, 0.733, 0.739, 0.774, 0.864, 0.913 and 0.880.
What is strange about Halak is that in his seven loses he averages 23 shots against, but in his ten wins he faced an average of 28 shots/game. He seems to play better when he gets more rubber directed his way.
Halak’s less than stellar record in games where he gets fewer shots should fit nicely with the Oilers style. The Oilers are averaging the fewest SOG, 25.4, in the league, so if the Oilers play their usual style they could get their fourth consecutive win tonight.
NOT MUCH TWEAKING
With Hemsky still sidelined, the only lineup change looks to be JF Jacques replacing Steve MacIntyre on the fourth line. Nikolai Khabibulin will get another start after his 43rd career shutout on Thursday.
The Blues still don’t have Oshie or Perron, but if you like physical play and fisticuffs, you sure hope that Davis Payne will dress Cam Janssens tonight. Janssens isn’t the greatest player, but he likes to hit and is one of the more exciting light heavyweight fighters in the league. Here’s one of his better tilts with Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond. (Who names their kid that??)
When I wrote the death of ELPH yesterday, I was so worried about Wanye’s state of mind, I completely forgot to add in our weekly Ice Women of the Week feature. After numerous hate emails and demands I get fired for being neglectful, here is a special Saturday edition. Instead of an ice girl, here are three natural beauties you might have seen before.
Brittany Snow is a movie actress, Deepika Padukone is a former Indian model and current actress and daughter of international badminton star, Prakash Padukone and Gaby Espino is a Venezuelan actress and model. All of them are talented, sexy and beautiful.
GAME DAY PREDICTION: With three straight correct predictions, I’ll roll the dice one more time and pick the Oilers to win 4-2. There is lots of talk about how the Oilers struggle the first game back after a long road trip, but since the lockout the Oilers are 16-11-4 after road trips of three or more games. I’ll take Oilers tonight.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: After seeing the three beauties none of you will actually read this, instead you will scroll back up and look at the pics again.
NOT-S0-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: A loyal Oilernation reader will win the 50/50 tonight. Upon winning the $28,964 he will post on the Nation that beers are on him at On The Rocks after the game. Immediately everyone will vacate the Nation posts, except Baggedmilk, because he doesn’t have a car and spent his cab fare on an on-line auction for an alleged pair of Britney Spears panties. BM replies to his own comments for the final ten minutes of the game, and mocks those going to OTR because he will have Brit’s panties by Monday. On Tuesday’s game v. Columbus BM is MIA in the posts because he is in the hospital after trying to parachute from his balcony. He got Brit’s panties monday night, but when he opened them they were size 48 granny panties. Rather than waste them he tried to use them as a parachute while hoping to get on the next version of Jackass. Meanwhile Wanye and The Scientist are overheard laughing about the pair of panties they bought at value village and used in a prank…Coincidence??? You decide.