Tonight the Oilers will try to win three consecutive games for the first time this season. They’ve won back-to-back games only three times this year, and in their two previous attempts they lost in a SO vs. San Jose and in OT to Detroit. Their inability to put together a winning streak, even a short three-gamer, is the reason why they sit in 12th place in the west.

The Oilers are one of six teams without a three-game winning streak, and not surprisingly all six of them are out of the playoffs. Florida has won two straight game only twice, Oilers have done it three times, the Flames, Avalanche and Flyers four times and the Coyotes have won two straight five times.

No team in the history of the NHL has made the playoffs without a three-game winning streak, so if the Oilers have any post-season aspirations they need a win over the red-hot Vancouver Canucks.

The Canucks skate into Rexall Place on a six-game winning streak. They’ve won all six by with excellent goaltending and an average offence. Corey Schneider has allowed only 6 goals on 166 shots, .963SV%, while the Canucks have only scored 13 goals in the six wins.

The Oilers faced Roberto Luongo in their previous two meetings this year. They won 3-2 in a SO on January 20th in Vancouver and lost 3-2 in OT at Rexall Place on February 4th. While Schneider is playing great, the Canucks offence isn’t that dynamic. They’ve scored 3+ goals in only 4 of their past 14 games, while the Oilers have tallied 3 or more in 6 of their past 9 games.

I doubt the Oilers can beat the Canucks in a defensive matchup, so they should try to turn tonight into a run-and-gun affair.





Dubnyk picked up his 9th win of the season after replacing Nikolai Khabibulin 33 seconds into the third period. Dubnyk stopped all nine shots he faced and he’ll try to end Schneider’s six-game winning streak tonight.

I don’t see any reason Krueger makes any other lineup changes. Only option would be to bring in Fistric for Potter/Whitney.


  • Ralph Krueger benched Taylor Hall for two shifts at the start of the third period, after two bad turnovers in the neutral zone late in the 2nd period. The Oilers can’t afford to sit Hall for an entire period or a game, but Krueger’s message was loud and clear. Benching Hall for two shifts sends a strong message to every player, and Hall admitted after the game that he deserved it. The best part was that no one made a big deal about it. Hall got the message, coach got his team’s attention and Hall will likely be much smarter with the puck tonight.
  • I sat in row one on Thursday and it was a great reminder of how fast the game is. Watching it on TV and from the pressbox makes the game look much easier than it is. It’s amazing how quick the players react, how fast even the slowest NHLer is, and how excellent their hand-eye coordination is. 
  • Thursdays game might have been the best home game of the season, from a pure entertainment standpoint. The goaltending wasn’t great, Khabibulin, but there were three highlight reel goals; Eberle, Anisimov and Hemsky. There were lots of chances, few penalties and an exciting scrap. Fans don’t get to experience many of those games, but that one offered something from beginning to end.
  • Taylor Hall, 31 points in 30 games, is on pace to become the first point-a-game player in Edmonton since Ryan Smyth tallied 31 goals and 53 points in 53 games in 2007. He finished the season with 15 points in 18 games with the Islanders, so his full season wasn’t a point-a-game pace, but he did do it with Edmonton.
  • Doug Weight was the last Oiler to play a full season and average over one point-per-game when he tallied 90 points in 82 games during the 2000/2001 season.
  • The Penguins announced today that D-man Paul Martin will be out for six weeks. The Penguins still have about $4.5 million in cap space, so don’t be surprised if Ray Shero makes another bold move.
  • In the past four days, the Oilers’ playoff chances have jumped up 8%. After back-to-back wins they are up to 12.1% according to Could they jump to 16% with a victory tonight…Dare to dream Oiler fans, dare to dream.
  • Rumblings from Vancouver today is that the Canucks have put David Booth on LTIR, meaning they have the value of his contract, $4.25 million, to spend above the cap. The Canucks desperately need some more scoring, and this move gives Mike Gillis the cap space to make a move.



 GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers will get their first three-game winning streak of the season with a 4-3 regulation win. Eberle, Hall and Gagner will each have two points.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Saturday night game on a long weekend means 25 people will get booted out during the game. I’ll chat with security after the game to see the final tally, but I’m always amazed at how many people spend big bucks to go to the game, but end up allowing the Rexall Beer to get the best of them. Drink responsibly my friends.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Sam Gagner and Alex Burrows drop the gloves in a spirited second-period tilt. Anytime Samwise drops the mitts the fans get energized. Gagner likes to scrap once or twice a year, and after Burrows gives Paajarvi a cheap shot, Gagner flies in to defend his linemate. After the fight the crowd chants, Re-Sign Gagner, Re-sign Gagner… 


  • Quicksilver ballet

    Krueger, what a nimrod. Sits Hall just long enough to see the Bluejackets take the lead early in the third. Taylor Hall suddenly became a whole lot wiser for the rest of the game i bet. Sitting you best left winger, yeah, that ought to teach him Good thing he didn’t sit him 3 shifts, and let the Jackets get up 2….. could’ve been lights out for the Oilers.

    Krueger = minor leaguer all the way. Fire his butt along with Tambellini…..

      • Quicksilver ballet

        He’ll have plenty of time for hunting after this season i’m sure. Once his arse is gone that term “angry hunter” may be more applicable.

        Freddy’s been called everything in the book already this season. Just wanting to keep things fresh. Slang version intended.

      • The Soup Fascist

        Depends on whether you are using the Miriam Webster, Oxford or Sir Bugs of Looney Tunes version of the dictionary.

        “Ignoramus” and “maroon” pose similar problems in interpretation.

  • Bucknuck

    They keep saying “must win”, but I figure if they gotta lose four more games this year, then this is a good candidate. The Columbus game was must win, this one… not so much.

    EDIT – but I am hoping for a win and a three game streak. Go OIL!!

  • KleptoKlown

    Oilers sniffing at a playoff spot? Here comes the Canucks to (once again) put the cOilers where they belong. The drive for 9th is alive and strong in Edmonton.

    @Gregor – you predict Schneider and his .963sv% during this win streak gives up 4 goals…to the Oilers? Bwaaaahahaha. Leave the predictions to Sylvia Brown.

    The funny part of all this is the Canucks are missing half of their top 6 forwards, yet are still finding ways to win. Schneider gets his 3rd shutout this month, with a typical Canucks victory.

  • Bucknuck

    I do wish they would cut Smyth’s ice time and keep him on the wing. I think he can be effective, but not when he’s bagged and playing out of position. I think I prefer Vande Velde or Lander in that role.

    Or better yet, get on the phone and pick up Stafford and Steve Ott from Buffalo for the 1st pick + a prospect.

      • Bucknuck

        I would hope that getting those two would go a long way to making sure they don’t pick in the top five. I think they will be picking somewhere between 8-12, and i HOPE that they will be picking between 15-18.

        Trade the pick and you make a statement to your hockey club. Just like Lowe did in ’06.

  • TayLordBalls

    The Sabres just traded J. Leopold to St. Louis for a 2nd rnd pick and a conditional 5 rnd pick……..Could the Oilers get more for Whitney? Lets say a first? I don’t see why not……..

  • Oilers win tonight in an exciting game,the sedin sisters have a slumber party after and invite hall and ebs,when they show up with hot chicks and beer the sedin sisters spend the rest of the night in the bathroom wondering what could have been!Ebs with 2 goals,Hallsy with 1,horcoff scores and Yaks with the hat trick(and left wondering why he was not invited to party)GO OILERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 24% body fat

    I have stated from day one that 90 per cent of the blame should be put on management. However when the coach starts making players accountable and benches these players for making mistakes. U better be consistant cuz you ll lose the room. At times this has been a problem.

  • 24% body fat


    Really! No mention tonight that is Sam 400 game, and he is only 23.

    8 points (sam gagner hattrick) would top things off nicely.

    Eberle still waiting patiently for your first Hattrick. Taylor probably keeps reminding you of this.

    • oilerjed

      @overpaid wild

      “Really! No mention tonight that is Sam 400 game, and he is only 23. ”

      Didnt notice that, 250 points in 400 (0.625ppg) games is pretty damn good! 10 goals away from 100 isn’t so shabby either.
      Go Oilers!

  • bumblebpete

    Sorry Nucks – your streak is over and ours continues.
    Biggest game of the year [ how many times have we said that already lol]
    Oilers Kick offense into high and Schnieder wilts, 5-3 Oil. please……

    Please retire next year Ryan Smyth- but go down fighting this year.
    Love ya to death but its time Bro.

    Not as good as he once was but be good once as you ever were.
    Tonight Smytty.

  • bumblebpete

    Why not put Yakupov back with Gagner for an easy minutes line and Hemsky with Horcoff for a tough minutes line? They’re at home and have last change, and they’ll need to favourable match-ups to beat the Canucks tonight, imo.

    • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

      I kinda like Yak playing with Horcoff. The kid has a lot to learn and #10 is the best mentor we have. It worked really well when Hall and Eberle broke in the league.

  • Reg Dunlop

    Canucks are not what they were 1 or 2 years ago. The old window has closed for them. However, the window has yet to open for us; van over the oil 3-1. The difference is goaltending, top of the list of things needing adressing this summer.

  • TayLordBalls

    JG……love your comment about how fast the game is down at ice level…….so true.

    I think that every player should watch the occasional game from the press-box /TV as it provides such a unique perspective.

    As far as being on the ice………in todays game positioning is more important, because often all you can do is react……tips, hits, one-timers, etc.

    • Chaz

      Totally agree. All armchair GMs (myself included) should have to sit within the first three rows of an NHL game at least once in their lives. Harder to criticize players when you’re reminded of how incredibly quick the modern game is. What boggles my mind is when they’ll rim a puck in to the zone at about 75 MPH during a Power Play and then the half wall player will control it off the boards and make it look easy. Average beer league player might be able to do that 1 time out of a hundred. Amazing hand / eye is right! Goil!!

  • TayLordBalls

    Kruger should get benched for playing Ryan smyth. I understand we are losing games cuz we can’t score 5 on 5 in our top six or win certain battles. However playing Ryan smyth at centre on the fourth line is a freaking joke. Why not develop lander or another centre from the farm. Waste of time. Put him on wavers ASAP .

    • no way man, by having smyth play centre, there’s 25 feet less ice he has to skate. Ryan Smyth chipping it in and thinking he can outskate the dman and get that puck cycling is a dream he has too often as a winger. At least as the centre he doesn’t get the choice… :)))))

        • well they go back and forth more yup!, but normally smyth on wing tries to be the first guy in on a forecheck, now he is forced to be more defensibly minded, so he can’t just go straight back behind the net lose the puck then be out of position. watching him on thursday, he spent a lot more time between the blue line and the hash marks, instead of behind the red.

    • justDOit

      Your argument might get a little more respect if you could back up your reasoning with some stats or logic of some kind, or maybe even spell Krueger’s name correctly.

      Merely stating that the coach is dumb (and you’re smart) by playing a certain player and not another is not reasonable.

      Lander and Van de Velde both sank abruptly when dumped into the NHL this year. Lander then got injured, and has only played a few games recently in the AHL. With Belanger injured again, there’s little the coach can do about the center position.

      • The Soup Fascist

        No that’s not what I’m saying. If u want to be successful, u can’t pick and choose when u want to make players accountable for playing poorly or making mistakes especially when u have been losing for a long time. Look at how many minutes Ryan smyth plays each game. A lot of time it’s more than players in our top six. He is not a NHL player anymore and should be playing 8 to 10 mins a game. Management has done nothing to prove this team and has not been built properly. I would rather see lander or van de velde play and develop them cuz they are a better NHL centre than Smyth.

    • bumblebpete

      OKC is in playoff race of it’s own. They have a better chance of making the playoffs than the Oilers. The big team has depleted OKC this year at various times and I believe they are leaving Lander there so he can help that team.

      Kruger’s playing Smyth on the fourth line because there is no fifth line!!

      • hunkybill

        I get what ur saying however management refuses to fix the problems within both teams. It’s all about success in the top team and develop the players at OKC to become NHL players. Ryan smyth is not an NHL player anymore. In six years management has sat on there hands for five years and that’s why we’re in this situation.