The Oilers line up that was dressed on Saturday played great vs. the New York Rangers (and team that absolutely throttled us 8-2 last year, and added some more goal scoring this year)… so why not give them another go? That’s exactly what will happen tonight. Absolutely no changes, including in net.
Khabibulin has been eerily good so far this season. One can definitely say that he hasn’t been tested too much, and I wouldn’t argue against that at all. Although I’ll say that the few times he has been tested, he’s been up to the challenge. He’s had some scary play outside of the net at times though. But we are definitely used to that, aren’t we? I’m hoping that Khabibulin will keep his streak going. Right now he’s doing his best to show that he’s still got it, being #1 in the league in GAA and #2 in SV%. He nearly had two shutouts in a row, as well. Everything is looking good for him. He mentioned in the off-season that the drunk driving case weighed very heavily on him, and he spoke to how much of a relief it was to have it behind him. If this is true, we might see a rejuvenated Khabibulin all year, which would be a real blessing after seeing him shit the bed basically since he got here. Never underestimate a guy who has something to prove (right Penner?… or wait..), but I’ll watch him closely and with great skepticism. As with any Oiler though, I just hope he can turn things around and make us regret this albatross contract a bit less.
There has been some talk about the Nuge sitting a game.. and even being sent back to junior. My take… this kid isn’t going anywhere. Let’s be real. Any comment from Renney or Tambellini that makes us wonder “wow, maybe he’s going back to Junior” is just a way to make us feel like they’ve handled this the right way and aren’t rushing him into the NHL (like many thought we did with Gagner). This guy is ready. He’s leading the team and is already on a PPG pace, all while playing very responsible, defensive hockey. What more do we want? How many of you have already nearly forgotten we still have Eberle and Paajarvi here.. or even Hall.. or Hemsky? Guys will figure him out a bit more, for sure, but he’s going to learn how to adapt to that at the NHL level, not against boys who can’t keep up to him.
Anyways, tonight’s game… can’t help but predict a loss here. It’s Vancouver, after all. They didn’t have either of Kesler or Booth vs. us the last game. Going with a theme that we’ve had the last few years here… we tend to get kicked down to reality big time when things look too good.
Prediction: 6-3 Canucks
Hall – Nugent-Hopkins – Eberle
Smyth – Horcoff – Jones
Paajarvi – Belanger – Gagner
Eager – Lander – Petrell
Whitney – Potter
Smid – Gilbert
Sutton – Barker
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19 Responses to “GDT: Oilers 3, Canucks 2 – Game 8 – 2011-10-25 @ 7:30 PM MST – SNETW”
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