I hope this first day of 2011 finds you without a hangover, which i’m sure is not the case for Wanye and many of you, and you are filled with thoughts of a prosperous new year. The Oilers will most likely have a rough start to 2011, but another top-three draft pick combined with a complete NHL season for Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi should allow the Oilers to have a strong finish to 2011.
Until then though the growing pains will be plentiful, and tonight the Oilers will ring in the New Year v. the Flames.
The home team has won all three meetings so far this year, with the Oilers opening the season with a 4-0 victory, and the Flames winning on October 16th and 26th in Calgary. I’m currently in Calgary fresh off a rocking start to the New Year, so I’ll keep this short.
Magnus Paajarvi will be a healthy scratch for the first time in his NHL career, and Ryan Jones will move up and play with Ryan O’Marra and Gilbert Brule. J.F. Jacques will play left wing on the fourth line.
Tom Gilbert was on the ice this morning after not skating yesterday, but he’ll be a game time decision. I was told that Tom Renney was non commital in which D-men will be dressing tonight so Shawn Belle, who was called up yesterday, might draw in. Tom Gilbert hasn’t missed a game in his NHL career, and he’ll try to keep his ironman streak of 293 games going.
GAME DAY PREDICTION, OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION AND NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION:
The Flames aren’t that good and the Oilers have to win some games, and tonight they get their second home win of the season over their provincial rivals 4-2. Taylor Hall and Ales Hemsky will lead the way offensively, the Oilers 4th line will actually score a goal and the fans will chant KIPPPPPEEEERRRRR all night long.
It will be a festive atmosphere at Rexall and there will be two tilts in the 300 sections.
Just another regular Saturday night Battle of Alberta. Let’s hope the combatants aren’t from the Nation.
See what the FlamesNation is saying about the game:
"Although we all may remember the humiliating loss Edmonton served Calgary in the first game of the year, that performance failed to portend better days for the Oilers. They’ve since fallen to the bottom of the Western Conference and are only spared the league’s basement by the terrible fortunes of the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders."