I must say, I’m more and more impressed by this team. Before the season started, we were a team that had defensive holes everywhere, but good offensive guns. By a dozen games in, we were a team with a water tight defense and strong goaltending, but were squeaking out wins despite our offensive struggles. Now, this team is 13th in scoring per game, 11th in goals against per game, they have the 4th best powerplay, and the 12th best PK. Plus, Nikolai Khabibulin is 3rd in goals against average, and 6th in save percentage (just 0.003 behind 2nd place Josh Harding). Things seem to be firing on all cylinders. This team can dig deeply from behind and pull off a win. They can get a head on the scoreboard, and .. well .. frequently hang on to a lead. They can score goals in bunches. This is the team we had all been waiting for.
So, can we finally start dominating the Battle of Alberta again? The Flames won the first game of the Battle of Alberta by a score of 2-1 on October 18th. It’s time to show those f—ers what this rebuild was for. I am expecting a hard played game tonight too. I know many of you haven’t been impressed by Darcy Hordichuk. Some more fodder was given when he showboated after a decisive fight victory (which I don’t much like either), earning himself an 2-minute unsportsmanlike penalty. The Oilers likely would have killed that off though, had they not have taken a league leading 7th too many men on the ice penalty. The Blue Jackets scored on the 5-on-3. But that will add fuel to the anti-Hordichuk fire. I didn’t like the antics, but you can either remember Hordichuk as the guy that got a 2-minute penalty that led to a goal against, or you can remember him as the guy that suckered Brad Staubitz into 8-minutes of penalties, plus had the last laugh with him in a fight (I’d say he won it.. although it wasn’t one sided at all), plus ended up knocking Jared Boll on his butt with a hard punch… all in the span of a week. I like what he’s doing. It’s not all going to be good (see the stupid unsportsmanlike penalty), but he’s absolutely embarrassing any contribution Steve MacIntyre gave to the team in those similar few minutes a game he gets. If Ben Eager played with as much fire as Hordichuk did, I think he would be more liked here too (I like him.. he can play hockey as a regular NHLer, but he hasn’t been very physical yet).
Anyways, I think this should be a great game tonight. It’s the fuckin’ Battle of Alberta. Enjoy yourself.
OILERS LINES (PROJECTED)
Smyth – Nugent-Hopkins – Eberle
Gagner – Horcoff – Hemsky
Paajarvi – Belanger – Jones
Hordichuk – O’Marra – Petrell
Smid – Gilbert
Whitney – Petry
Peckham – Sutton
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