Note: I realize that tonight technically isn’t a sequel, but play along. – JG
It is rare in the movie world that a sequel can match or better the original, but it has happened. The Godfather trilogy was awesome. Empire Strikes Back was well above decent. The Bourne Identity threesomes were excellent, but of course you have some sequels that should have never been made. Slapshot II and Caddyshack II were so bad they almost ruined the first one, but of course those originals were so freaking awesome nothing could ruin them.
Matrix Reloaded blew. Teen Wolf Too please. Okay Teen Wolf one wasn’t great, but who doesn’t like Michael J. Fox? And Weekend at Bernies II. He was dead for most of the first one, how could you possibly keep him from rooting for the 2nd?
Those are just a few of the worst Hollywood decisions, but so far this year the Oilers are more like Jason Bourne and Hans Solo in the backend of a double header.
The Oilers will play their 4th back-to-back set of season tonight, and so far this young, 28th place motley crew has been very good when playing on consecutive nights. After a 3-2 SO loss in Columbus on Oct 28th, the Oilers flew into Chicago and blew the Hawks away 7-4.
After Detroit schooled them 6-2 on Nov 11th, the Oilers went into New Jersey and earned a point in a 4-3 OT loss, and to start December they beat the Habs 4-3 in OT on Dec 1st and then skated into Toronto and crushed the Leafs 5-0 then next night.
The Oilers have surprisingly earned five of six points on the second night of consecutive games and they’ve outscored teams 15-8.
How is this possible? I don’t know.
How did Scott Howard (Fox) turn into a wolf in high school and get all the chick in 1985?
Why did Ned Braden strip down to his jock strap and skates in the final scene of Slapshot? Really I’ve never understood that, and it almost ruined the movie for me. Whenever I watch it, I shut it off right before he goes on the ice.
How did Neo all of a sudden understand how to use his powers, and how did Agent Smith speak in such a controlled fashion?
Like those great movie mysteries, the Oilers 2-0-1 record in games on consecutive nights is almost unexplainable. Of course the Hawks, Devils and Leafs aren’t anywhere close to as talented as the Vancouver Canucks, but it is Positive Friday, so don’t worry that the Canucks have 13 more wins and 24 more points than the Oilers.
If Howard could dunk in high school, the Oilers can beat the Sedin Sisters?
The GDP won’t agree with that statement, but don’t worry about it.
LINEUP CHANGES – BRULE OUT
Just as Gilbert Brule looked like he was finding his game, two goals in two games, he will sit out tonight with an upper body injury. Ryan Jones will move into the top nine, and it looks like Zack Stortini will draw in and JF Jacques will likely play for Steve MacIntyre.
Jim Vandermeer re-aggravated his right ankle last night, and according to Tom Renney it isn’t as bad as the first time he injured it and is listed as day-to-day. Kurtis Foster will draw back in, and it will be interesting to see if Renney puts Foster back with Ladislav Smid, or if he plays him with Jason Strudwick.
Devan Dubnyk was solid again last night, and he finally was rewarded with a win. Dubnyk is now 3-3-5 as a starter, and his 0.918 SV% would have him in the top 20, but he doesn’t have enough minutes played to qualify.
Dubnyk will sit tonight and Nikolai Khabibulin will start despite having lost his last five starts. Khabibulin hasn’t been awful, outside of the Buffalo game, but he hasn’t won since beating Columbus on December 16th.
CANUCKS NO SUCKS
The Canucks are scorching hot. Since losing to Phoenix on Nov 21st, they are 16-1-2 in their last 19 games. They’ve scored four or more goals eleven times in those 19 games and have outscored the opposition 76-40. The Oilers somehow have held them to five goals in the two meetings during the Canucks hot streak, although the Oil lost both games 3-2 and 2-1.
After the Islanders completely schooled the Oilers in the faceoff dot last night, Zenon Konopka was a perfect 11-0 and the Islanders won 66% of the draws, the Oilers might be in for another rough night against the league’s leader in faceoffs.
The Canucks are 56.8% in the circle, and basically use three guys. Manny Malhotra is 63.6% (won 450 out of 707), Ryan Kesler is 57.5% (won 404 of 703) and Henrik Sedin sits at 51.6% (won 352 of 682).
The Oilers are at the opposite end of the spectrum.
With Shawn Horcoff (49.2%) out, the remaining centremen won’t have Malhotra and company cowering when they skate into the circle. Andrew Cogliano sits at 43.1% (won 163 of 378), Colin Fraser is 42.8% (won 133 of 311), Sam Gagner is 42.1% (won 240 of 570) and Liam Reddox is 25% (won 2 of 8). Brule is the team’s best faceoff guy (53.2%) and he is out tonight.
It’s a good thing the circles are red, because the blood bath the Oilers will likely take in the draw tonight won’t stand out as much.
EYEING THE FUTURE
GAME DAY PREDICTION: Even on Positive Friday it is impossible to pick the Oilers tonight. The Canucks lead the NHL with 57 points, and after a lacklustre win over Calgary on Wednesday they will come out firing tonight. Oilers will manage to stay in the game and lose 5-3.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Fresh off a perfect 7-for-7 PK performance last night, the Oilers won’t be able to keep the perfect streak going. The Sedins will combine on a nifty tic-tac-toe goal on a first period powerplay. All throughout Oilersnation, fans will moan when Henrik makes some slick cross-ice pass to Daniel, who will one-time it home.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Khabibulin is still pumped from his country’s spectacular comeback on Wednesday night, and he stops every shot by a Canadian tonight. Of course, none of the Canucks’ six leading scorers are Canadians, so that won’t really impact the outcome. Khabibulin’s "stop Canada" strategy will only heighten the Russia/Canada rivalry moving forward.
ICE WOMEN OF THE WEEK
Yes the loss in the WJC hurt, but you can’t hate everything about Russia. There are some very attractive women to come out of the Motherland. Say hello to a few Russian beauties. Irina Voronina is a Playboy Model, Maria Sharapova is a great tennis star and Irina Shayk is a stunning model.
Over at the little brother that could – CanucksArmy – they are talking about the game too:
"The Canucks face the perennial powerhouse Detroit Red Wings tomorrow on Hockey Night in Canada. Tonight they face the last-place Edmonton Oilers. Do you think they might possibly be looking past this game? Maybe just a little?"
If this game tonight was a contest of fan sites on the Nation Network, the OilersNation would throttle the CanucksArmy 100,000-1. They might want to keep that in mind.