Saturday, October 15, 2011

Game Day: Canucks vs Oilers **UPDATE**

Vancouver (1-2-1) vs Edmonton (1-0-1)

Time:     8:00pm
Where:   Rexall Place
Watch:   CBC
Listen:    630 Ched

Projected Line Combinations

Hall - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle
Paajarvi - Belanger -Omark
Smyth - Horcoff - Jones
Petrell - Lander - Hordichuk


Apparently this is the power play setup for tonight:

Hall - Horcoff -Nugent-Hopkins
Eberle - Potter

Paajarvi - Smyth - Omark
Barker - Gilbert

Not a fan of Horcoff on the power play but it all comes down to faceoffs it seems. Not sure why they don't put Smyth on the first line and have Anton Lander slide in on the second unit. The faceoff win is nice and all but if they just hold the puck for a minute and do nothing with it, seems kind of pointless to me. That being said, as soon as it fails I am sure we will get to see Ryan Jones out on the PP again.

Also not a fan of Barker on the second unit, he and Potter should be swapped. Barker was brought in for this purpose, was he not? How about they let him get his feet wet before panicking. Seems to make the most sense to me but...

** UPDATE **

Jordan Eberle will get his chance to play on the top line with Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. This will be the first time this season that Eberle will be playing with players that are capable of getting him the puck. He went from looking like a world beater in the exhibition schedule to being invisible once the season began. Look for number 14 to be much more involved 5-on-5 against Vancouver.

Linus Omark will be back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch against Minnesota. Omark must ensure he's not dogging it at even strength and is making the most of his time on the power play. With Hemsky out, at least for the short term, you would think more opportunity will land at the feet of the talented Swede.

I see the coaching staff has decided to put together a line of Smyth - Horcoff - Jones, which frankly scares me a little. Knowing how this staff tends to use their "core veteran players", that trio has top minutes written all over it, which would be the biggest mistake they could make. The Oilers tend to never seize the moment at Rexall and take the game to their opponents...and this is why that occurs. Instead of putting the teams skilled players out on the ice to dictate the pace of the game and get the fans involved from the get-go, Edmonton does the opposite. They bring the game to a grinding halt by over playing such players and ultimately end up losing "a tight one" against teams like Vancouver. They have to make Rexall Place an uncomfortable place for opposing teams to visit and that will only happen, when the club allows their players to dictate the tempo the game will be played at. Edmonton should be a physical and fast team on home ice and they tend to be the complete opposite. Often they are timid and scared to take chances because they are trying to hard to not make mistakes. Not exactly the way you want to play in your own barn.

Defence Pairings
Gilbert - Smid
Barker - Peckham

Sutton - Potter

The pairings during practice would lead one to believe that Corey Potter will be making his Oilers debut on Saturday night against the Canucks. Jeff Petry has really struggled against Vancouver so having the youngster sit in favour of Potter is not a surprising move. Should be interesting to watch how the Oilers will deal with the Canucks size and speed down low. I have a feeling, Edmonton is going to need a big game out of their netminder on Saturday night.


No shock, Dubnyk will start

Again, no word on who will be between the pipes but one would guess it will be Devan Dubnyk. Makes sense to get hm back between the pipes after his stellar performance opening night. Look for Khabibulin to get the call Monday against Nashville. Hopefully the two will continue to push one another for playing time and hence give the Oilers the best of both worlds.

Physical Play 

Vancouver will try and run the Oilers show, as always, by taking liberties on Edmonton's smaller forwards. The likely culprits being Kevin Bieksa, Alex Burrows, Maxim Lapierre, Aaron Volpatti and Dale Weise. If Edmonton decides to not respond, the Canucks will do it all game long and make life difficult on the forward group. If someone were to knock one of the Sedins into next week, when this occurs, things may turn out a little different. It would be nice to see them respond in such a fashion for a change but I am not holding my breath.

Injury Update

  • Ryan Whitney, Ben Eager and Sam Gagner all remain sidelined and the fact Eager is a no go against Vancouver is a little surprising. If he is as close as they made him out to be, there is no reason for him not to be in the lineup.Obviously he is worse off then the team is making him out to be.
  • Ales Hemsky had his MRI on Friday and the Oilers should get the results sometime Saturday afternoon. One would think, best case scenario has Hemsky missing a week, which would be the next three games at the very least. If that is the case, then the call better be placed to Oklahoma City to get Teemu Hartikainen up with the big club.

   Vancouver Notes
  • As usual the Sedins are leading the way with 5 points a piece in the Canucks first four games but the team has only one win to start the season.
  • Roberto Luongo is off to his usual slow start in October, with his GA hovering around four and a save percentage of just over .850. Backup Cory Schneider is the opposite, with a GA just over two and a save percentage of .940. Fans are starting to become restless with Luongo but he is the guy so they better get used to it.
  • The Oilers will dodge the bullet of having to not deal with Ryan Kesler, as the talented centre is still recovering from off season hip surgery. Always a thorn in the Oilers side, not having the rugged American on the ice will make life much easier for Edmonton.

No comments:

Post a Comment