OILERS: GHOST RIDING THE WHIP

Before Wanye left Iceland to return to Canada, he text me asking me to bring back "Ghost Riding the Whip" if the Oilers swept the Shames.

I can’t confirm if these two ultra-hip grandparents are related to Wanye, but I suspect they might be.

If you watched the Oilers dominating 8-2 victory over Calgary tonight, I suspect this illustrates how most Nation readers feel.

After spotting the Flames a 2-0 lead, the Oilers stormed back with 8 unanswered goals and left the Saddledome in a playoff spot for the first time since opening night.

QUICK HITS

  • Not much you can say about Taylor Hall’s play other than WOW. With a goal and four assists he now has 15 points in his last six games and is 7th in league scoring with 41 points. He is five points out of 2nd place. If Sidney Crosby doesn’t return, Hall has an outside shot at the Art Ross Trophy. No one, not even the most optimistic Oilers fan thought that was possible. A breakout year for Hall.
     
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has found his offensive hands again with 10 points in five games. What I liked most about his game tonight was how hungry he was for the puck. He was excellent on puck retrievals tonight.
     
  • I really liked how guys like Nail Yakupov, Ryan Whitney and others didn’t backdown from the Flames. The Flames will test the Oilers mettle and tonight, not only did they stand up to them, they didn’t let up and ran up the score. Strong message.
     
  • The Oilers special teams are very good. PP is third and their PK is 7th. If they can keep scoring at ES they will make a serious run for the playoffs.
     
  • Magnus Paajarvi is probable for tomorrow’s game, and if he can’t go then Anton Lander will be recalled and Ryan Smyth likely takes Paajarvi’s spot. Krueger said Paajarvi will be re-evaluated in the morning.
     
  • You don’t have to like it, but keeping Ryan Whitney was the smart move. I don’t expect him to get a Gordie Howe hat-trick ever again, most likely, but the Oilers wouldn’t be better off with a 2nd rounder.
     
  • I’d play Dubnyk in Vancouver. He’s playing well, and he’s won four straight. Stick with the hot hand.
     
  • Jordan Eberle’s broken finger is healed and the difference in his shot and stickhandling is obvious. He could have had four goals tonight. His reaction after some chances suggests he is still a bit off on his shots, but when he gets comfortable shooting again, combined with the amount of chances his line is creating, he could end up with 20 goals. Same pace as last year.
     
  • The Oilers top line of Hall (14), Eberle (8) and Nugent-Hopkins (10) have combined for 32 points in the last five games. Very few beer league lines produce like that.
     
  • The Oilers are 8-2-2 since Shawn Horcoff called a player’s only meeting and returned to the lineup. I know the 4/93/14 line is carrying this team, but Horcoff’s message sunk in. The Oilers aren’t near as fancy in their own zone or the neutral zone as they were early in the season. And they have way more players going to the net on a regular basis.
     
  • The Oilers needed to sweep the Flames, and if they can go 7-5, or 7-4-1 in their final 12 games that should be enough for the playoffs. IT will be tough, but not completely unrealistic.
     
  • Nine of those 12 games are against playoff teams, and it will be very interesting to watch how they respond. Enjoy this Oiler fans, you deserve it after seven years of horrific hockey.
     
  • I thought it was very classy of the Oilers to honour Jarome Iginla by scoring 12 goals in two games vs. his former team.

  RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR