Well, nothing like facing a team right after they’ve handed another team their asses. The Blackhawks are coming off a 7-1 punishment of the Flames and are currently on a 5 game winning streak. The Oilers consistency this year has been non-existent, but they’ve won some games that most wouldn’t have expected (ex. vs. the Avalanche twice and vs. the Predators on the road). They currently are on a lengthy one-game winning streak, with an ugly, but exciting, win over the Avalanche on Wednesday.
In recent news, the Quinn/Renney doghouse has been getting a few visitors. In the last game, Gilbert was benched for most of the 2nd period for his defensive issues. Quinn was quoted recently in regards to the teams defensemen “I don’t care that they’re offensive. I want them to defend, first.” Also in the doghouse recently (or perhaps again) is Ales Hemsky, as Renney had some unflattering criticism for him at practice. The Oilers are going to be hopeful for big games from both of these guys tonight. They’re going to need big games from everyone, especially in goal.
I predict a game similar to the one in Chicago, but improved. Lots of odd man rushes and breakaways for the other team, however I think we’ll see the Oilers generating good scoring chances. It won’t be a pretty one. I predict a 6-4 game.. as for who the winner is, I’ll go with the Oilers, since I’m a homer, but my brain says Chicago.
Edmonton Oilers Projected Line-Up (subject to change)
Chicago Blackhawks Projected Line-Up (subject to change)
– Moreau is questionable tonight. He was hurt from a hit from Ryan Wilson in the game vs. the Avalanche on Wednesday.
– The Oilers currently have 8 injured players, including Moreau (Moreau, Grebeshkov, Chorney, Pouliot, Stone, Pisani, Comrie, Nilsson).
– The forward lines above are currently based on recent practice lines and may change. Not sure also if we’ll see Arsene or if it will be Strudwick. I wouldn’t mind seeing more Arsene, although a game vs. the Blackhawks can be pretty demoralizing for a defenseman.
– UPDATE: Khabibulin has a sore back and is out. JDD will get the start and Oil King Torrie Jung will back him up.
1ST PERIOD SUMMARY
3:50 – CHI – Toews from Kane
Smid loses the puck while circling back behind the net. Toews picks it up and stuffs his own rebound up high past Deslauriers.
4:25 – EDM – Souray from Horcoff, Penner
Penner wins the draw back to Souray who wrists it on net. Barker accidentally punches the rebound back under Huet and in the net.
7:20 – CHI – Versteeg from Sopel, Eager
Staios was battling in the corner with Sopel for the puck. Souray (for some reason) went to go help him, and absolutely no one was in front of the Oilers net except Versteeg. The Hawk in the corner won the battle and passed it out to Versteg.. he got a couple shots off.. JDD made some great saves. On the last shot, the puck flips up high and Souray tried to bat it out with his hand out but doesn’t get enough on it and it flutters into the net. Ugly goal.
12:33 – CHI – Kane from Towes, Campbell
Kane blows past Reddox, powerforward-style and goes in on JDD. JDD opens the legs a bit and Kane slides it through the five hole.
– To start the game, JFJ and Stortini come out throwing 3 big hits between the two of them, setting the tone early.
– Penner and Bickle collide in the Hawks zone. Afterwards Bickle looks completely out of it as he may have hit his head (helmet actually) on the ice hard. He leaves the ice.
– Horcoff and Hemsky have a great shift. Hemsky sets up Horcoff in the slots and he gets a good shot off and an even better one on the rebound.
– Cogliano carries the puck into the Hawks zone with full speed on Sopel. Sopel manages to poke the puck loose from Cogliano. Moreau finds it and gets a great shot off, plus tries to jam it in under Huet’s pads, but Huet manages to hang on.
– The fans boo the team as the Hawks put on a clinic in their zone playing a great game of keepaway.
– CBC announcers just pointed out that one Hawk outbattled and won the puck from three Oilers.
– Penner seems to be taking the draws tonight for the top line, since Horcoff has been having issues with his shoulder.
2ND PERIOD SUMMARY
11:02 – CHI – Madden from Brower, Ladd
Ladd finds a rebound in front of Deslauriers and slides it across the crease to Madden before Horcoff gets there and he just has to tap it in.
– The Oilers get a powerplay chance which starts of decent, but the Hawks end up getting two separate short-handed scoring chances.
– O’Sullivan almost gets a clear cut breakaway, but the puck is just a few strides ahead of him and Huet beats him to the puck.
– Apologize for the lack of updates for this period, but my interest is waning a bit.
– With time running down, Hemsky gets the puck behind the net and throws it into the net area and it stays under Huet’s pads. The scoreclock pauses at 0.1 seconds and Horcoff pokes it into the net. After a lengthy review, the goal is waved off because the clock should have run down before the goal was scored.
3RD PERIOD SUMMARY
1:29 – EDM – PP – Penner from Staios, Visnovsky
Just before the powerplay expires, Staios gets a shot off from the point that Penner teps through Huet’s legs. On the play, Staios makes a great play to get around a sprawling Hawk who came up high to block the shot.
8:53 – CHI – PP – Toews from Sharp, Campbell
The powerplay is barely underway. Toews and Sharp give and go and Toews gets it in front of the net and puts a perfect shot upstairs past Deslauriers. I’m not sure I can really blame anyone here.. this is just Hawks awesomeness in effect.
– Shortly after the Oilers 2nd goal, Byfuglien fires a hard wrister from the slot that gets tipped up and just rings under the bar but doesn’t go in. Very close call.
– Souray does a good job on one shift in this period handling Dustin Byfuglien in front of the net.
– Smid gives away another (Lee points out this is number three), this time to Ben Eager who thankfully doesn’t have the best hands and wires it over the net.
– A line of Penner, O’Sullivan and Brule pours it on strong mostly on great play by Penner. They almost get one there but the puck stays out.
So, this one went about how my brain told me it would go. The Hawks showed the Oilers how run and gun hockey was meant to be played. They victimized our defense all night, getting in behind them more than a few times.
A few positives in this one, but not many. Penner looked as good as he has all season. He took several draws tonight for Horcoff, since his shoulder is obviously still an issue. Penner looked good there too, as he was 61% on the night. It was also good to see Jacques back, and he got his hitting game going early on in the game. Deslauriers wasn’t particularly bad… most of the goals were just very well placed shots.
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