At the start of this four-game road trip the Oilers needed two wins. It didn’t matter how, when or where, but they needed at least two victories. They won in Calgary, lost in Vancouver and LA so that leaves them with no choice but to win in Anaheim.
Simple. Just Win.
Of course, winning in the NHL isn’t that easy.
I could bore you with percentages and how many wins the Oilers need down the stretch to keep their faint playoff hopes alive, but I don’t see the need. Someone smarter than I came up with the saying "Keep It Simple Stupid," and that rings true today.
A win puts the Oilers two points back of Detroit with 9 games remaining, and 7 of those 9 games will be in Edmonton. A win gives Edmonton a chance.
The Ducks played last night, so obviously the Oilers should win. The Ducks have to be fatigued don’t they? That was the reason the Oilers lost in Vancouver on Thursday wasn’t it? They were tired from the night before. So based on that theory the Oilers should take advantage of a tired team tonight.
Ales Hemsky is out with a foot injury, he’s been playing injured for the last 10 days, so Ryan Jones will take his place in the lineup. Mark Fistric take Corey Potter’s place on the 3rd pairing and he will play his first game since March 25th.
Ryan Getzlaf is also a game time decision. Getzlaf loves playing the Oilers, registering 27 points in 23 career games, and obviously it would be better for the Oilers if the Ducks elect to give him another day to rest.
- If you want to see how many people wrote off Alex Ovechkin this season, type in Ovechkin vs. Crosby in the twitter search box. Ovechkin has 20 goals and 33 points in his last 23 games. That is unreal. The hilarious part is how the anti-Ovechkin crew are now suggesting he only scores vs. non-playoff teams. Of course when he scored 9 points in three games vs. Winnipeg and New Jersey both teams were in the playoffs, but because they aren’t in today that crowd suggests he feasts on weaker competition. That is a creative way to use the stats in your favour. Either way, Ovechkin is back to being one of the most exciting players to watch.
- Crosby is better overall, but Ovechkin is a better goal scorer and he’s still one of the best forwards in the game. Adam Oates got him to switch wings this year, and now that Ovechkin is comfortable on his new wing he is lighting it up.
- Sheldon Souray was also written off by many, yet he’s having a great year in Anaheim. Souray has 16 points, is playing 21 minutes a night and he is tied for the league-lead at +26 with Sidney Crosby. Souray adds a lot of toughness and swagger to the Ducks as well. Harsh reality in sports is you can’t let personal feelings get in the way of business. Oilers needed to get something for Souray, but never did.
- Theo Peckham will never be as dominant as Sheldon Souray, but I see similarities in how they’ve been handled. Peckham screwed up royally by not staying in shape, and I applauded the organization for sending him a strong message. But that was six weeks ago. Now all they are doing is lowering his trade value, which wasn’t that high to begin with, and they will have to qualify him or loss him for nothing. Peckham received the message loud and clear. He deserved to be sent to the minors, but when he returns to the NHL he’ll be a decent contributor. If the Oilers let him walk for nothing, that will be another example of bad management.
- I don’t understand why the Oilers have Anton Lander sitting in the pressbox rather than playing in the AHL. He hasn’t played a game since he scored 6 points vs. the Rockford Icedogs on March 30th. How can the Oilers possibly believe sitting in the pressbox, and practicing twice in a week is helping his development. I understood why they recalled him when Belanger was hurt, but once they traded for Smithson I don’t see the value in him not playing.
- I’m guessing Justin Schultz will be booed regularly tonight. Ducks fans are still livid he shunned them and signed with the Oilers. I wonder if they can maintain that all game, the way Oilers fans have voiced their displeasure with many ex-Oilers or Dany Heatley.
- How awesome is Sunday TV right now. Mad Men and Game of Thrones are back, and The Good Wife has another few weeks before their season is over. Excellent way to wind down the week.
- Andrew Cogliano leads the Ducks with 11 ES goals. He’s having a solid campaign with 12 goals and 22 points. Cogliano wasn’t going to fit in Edmonton long-term, once they drafted Ryan Nugent-Hopkings, but he’s a solid NHLer for the Ducks. He’s never missed an NHL game, and tonight he will play his 450th consecutive game.
TONIGHT… (just for you LT)
GAME DAY PREDICTION: Just like they did four weeks ago the Oilers will win a game few expect them to. After back-to-back shutout loses the Oilers went into Chicago and won 6-5. Tonight after uninspired losses in Van and LA the Oilers will entertain you with a 5-4 victory.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers score 3 PP goals. The Ducks PK is 22nd and they’ve given up the 6th most PP goals in the league.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Nick Schultz loves playing the Ducks. Five of his 26 career goals have come against the Ducks. He has 26 goals in 801 games, but he has 5 in 40 games vs. the Ducks. In the 2nd period Schultz jumps up in the play and scores his first of the season.
RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR
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- GDB 36.0: FEASTER OF FAMINE
- MIKE BABCOCK: IF YOU COACH, BE PREPARED
- NO JOKE…IT IS APRIL AND THE OILERS ARE IN THE MIX
- SMID SIGNS FOUR-YEAR DEAL
- GDB 34.0: AN OILERS WINNING STREAK
- GDB 33.0: STAYING IN THE RACE
- TRADE WINDS…
- GDB 32.0: SINGING THE BLUES