Khabibulin gets the start tonight. Dubnyk could probably use the rest, even though it’s been a few days since the last game. Khabibulin has also been rock solid between the pipes so far. It seems that if you pace him very slowly, you can get a lot out of him. If you try and ride him like a starter, he’ll break. Old bones.
Eric Belanger is back. The little Nugget still has the flu, so the Oilers have placed him on IR, retroactive to his last game (Sunday I believe). So whenever he’s healthy, he’ll be able to come back off IR. Works for now.
The defense will remain unchanged from last game. I must admit, I like our blueline the most when Mark Fistric is in it, even if he isn’t doing everything right 100% of the time. Also, message to Steve Tambellin: sign Ladislav Smid any day now, please. Don’t let him walk, and don’t trade him!
The lines.. not our best we’ve fielded. Belanger’s line is where offense goes to turn into a dump in the corner and a line change. So I don’t expect anything of excitement out of that line. It might be disaster if Yakupov plays by his own routine and Jones and Belanger aren’t on the same page.
As of writing this, the Oilers currently sit in 13th in the West. A win would vault them to 11th at best, but has them one point out of a playoff spot (barring outcomes of other games). Things still look pretty good. I hope Tambellini sees this. This is normally where he craps his pants, and goes and hides somewhere until draft day (in which time the wheels completely fall off the bus and we’re left with a #1 pick).
OILERS LINES (Confirmed per multiple media sources)
Hall – Horcoff – Hemsky
Paajarvi – Gagner – Eberle
Jones – Belanger – Yakupov
Brown – Smyth – Petrell
Smid – Petry
N. Schultz – J.Schultz
Whitney – Fistric