Saturday, October 08, 2011

Game Day: Penguins vs Oilers **UPDATE**

Pittsburgh (2-0-0) vs Edmonton (0-0-0)

Time:     7:00pm
Where:  Rexall Place
Watch:   Sportsnet
Listen:   630 Ched

Line Combinations

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

** Change of plans upfront as it appears Darcy Hordichuk will get into the starting lineup and Petrell will be scratched. I'm guessing Steve MacIntyre will be in for the Pens.**

Defence Pairings

Not exactly sure on the pairings as of yet but the starting six appear to be:
Gilbert, Barker, Sutton, Peckham, Potter and one of Smid or Petry

** Pairings **
Gilbert - Sutton
Barker - Petry
Smid - Peckham

** Little disappointing to not see Potter in the starting lineup but not overly surprising. I hope they are not rushing back Smid to quickly but he did receive medical clearance to get back out there. **


The Oilers haven't made it official but look for Nikolai Khabibulin to start in goal for Edmonton. Again, this hasn't been confirmed but everything is pointing towards the veteran getting the start over Devan Dubnyk on opening night.

** Devan Dubnyk was the first one off the ice so he will be getting the nod in the opener.Good for Dubnyk and this was the right choice for the staff to make. Also, do not be surprised if it lights a fire under Khabibulin and becomes a win-win situation for the club. **

Sunday Morning Notes
** The power play units will look like this to start: **

Hall - Nugent-Hopkins - Hemsky
Barker - Petry

Paajarvi - Gilbert 

I am surprised to Smyth on the second unit but if Hall - Nugent-Hopkins - Hemsky click, the PP will be much better off with him on group two. Lets hope Hemsky doesn't stick to his usual routine on the man advantage.

Injury Update

  • Ryan Whitney will not go in the opener and with the team not playing again until Thursday, it may be conceivable that the star defenceman may only miss one game. 
  • Sam Gagner hit the ice for the last thirty minutes of practice to test his ankle but is still not close to returning 

Pittsburgh Notes

  • Edmonton will be rusty having been off since October 1st but they are catching a break facing a Penguins club that will be playing their third game in four nights.
  • Break #2: After starting the last two games in goal for the Pens, look for Marc Andre-Fleury to get the night off. Brent Johnson should be making his debut in between the pipes against the Oilers.
  • Even without Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh have scored eight goals to start the season and already have seven different marksmen find the back of the net. That being said, they have also given up three goals against in both outings so one would think that Edmonton should be able to get their share of scoring opportunities in the season opener.
  • It will be interesting to see if coach Dan Bylsma decides to dress former Oiler tough guy Steve MacIntyre against his old club. Don't be surprised to see the big man in the lineup at Rexall Place.

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