Well, I’m sure everyone’s heard it by now, but the Oilers haven’t won a game in Minnesota since Taylor Hall was in diapers (13 straight losses on Minnesota home ice, to be exact). But this team has changed immensely since then.
The Oilers last game, the Oil came out pretty flat, and stayed quite flat, with the exception of “MVP” Nikolai Khabibulin. I use the term MVP with a bit of jest towards Steve Tambellini (who insists he was the team’s MVP before being hurt last year). But quite frankly, he was very solid and kept the Oilers in the game and stole that win. That’s something we really need around here, and I think the Oilers success this year does depend a lot on what kind of goaltending we get out Khabibulin (and how many games we see him for).
So, the Oilers skaters fell flat… big problem, right? Well, Tom Renney assures us that it isn’t much of an issue, and attributes the lackluster play to the team being trained to hard the previous day, in Florida. “I think we may have done some damage with how we trained in preparing for Florida, and there was a lactate build-up and we couldn’t flush it out in time to play the way we really wanted to. I think we had heavy legs, because we might have done a little bit too much work in the fitness, skating, metabolic department.” Jason Gregor also had this interview quote from Renney: “We trained too hard off ice and on ice the day before Florida game. It caused us to have heavy legs. I’ll take responsibility”. That’s good enough for me, and I’m sure it won’t be a problem, but we’ll have to wait and see. At least they’ve identified the issue, and Renney was quick to take ownership. I’m impressed with that.
Anyways, I think the Oilers will continue their great start and finally end the drought in Minnesota. So I’ll predict a 3-1 win for the Oilers.
Edmonton Oilers Projected Line-up
Minnesota Wild Projected Line-up (lines from GDT by oilersnyc@HFBoards)
- Jean-Francois Jacques was skating in practice yesterday, on the blueline, Oilers reporter Tom Gazzola noted on Twitter. He also mentioned not to think anything of it (i.e., don’t expect Jacques to be playing the blue line… ever).
- In a recent interview, Horcoff noted that Hall is taking too long of shifts. He’s not alone in that thought. I don’t think Horcoff meant it as a slag towards Hall though. I think he was just asked what Hall needs to work on, and noted the shifts were too long. Renney seems to be in agreement with this, and I don’t foresee it being an issue for too long.
- Is it time to give Jason Strudwick a shot? Perhaps on line 4 wing? Is the lack of playing time for Strudwick a sign that the attachment to him isn’t quite as big as we thought it was?
- If you thought this 3 day break was agonizing, wait until after Saturday’s game against the Flames. The next game is 5 days later (next Thursday), vs. the Wild again. I think I’m already feeling the withdrawls..
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