This particular GDB will likely be a little brief because I have something else on my mind today, but I will do my best.
Zach Parise and the Minnesota Wild are in town tonight to take on the Edmonton Oilers. These two clubs strip mined the Free Agent Market last summer in moves that have clearly paid off everywhere but the Standings. The Wild (11th) stole the show by signing Parise and Suter to megadeals that have since been outlawed and the Oilers (13th) took rookie sensation Justin Schultz.
I think its safe to say that Parise and Suter are doing exactly what the club envisioned. Parise is leading the team in scoring (7,5,12) and Suter is 4th while logging 27+ minutes a night. Meanwhile Justin Schultz is leading all Rookies in TOI and has been the offensively minded player we all hoped he could be.
The Oilers have been battling inconsistency all season. Whether it’s the natural regression of Eberle’s shooting statistics or Nuge’s shit luck the Oilers can seem to generate offense night to night. The club is supremely talented and fast but still so young that it is likely unreasonable to expect an even effort every night. This is a team whose longest winning streak is 2 games this season. You cant even call 2 games a streak!
Oilers Keys to the Game
1) Wake Up
They put up a bit of a stinker against the Kings in terms of effort, though despite that they were in the game right up until the dying minutes of the 3rd. They have to have some more jump in their step. The young leadership of the group called it immediately. Gagner (Ahem, Oilers scoring leader) called out the lack of effort almost as soon as the game was over Tuesday night. Taylor Hall has also been open about the disappointment regarding the last game. I fully expect a young team with something to prove showing up at Rexall this evening.
2) Dubnyk’s Bounce-back
I thought it should have been Tuesday against the Kings but Dubnyk should resume his play in Net tonight. It’s now been long enough for the Media to forget all about his last period of Hockey so I imagine he wont be facing so many questions about it before the game. If he plays like he’s capable of then then Oilers will have a chance to win no matter what effort they give. Hopefully the 1st year starter didnt take sitting last game the wrong way.
Where is the secondary scoring support? Eberle, Nuge, and the 3rd line need to score goals. Hall isnt potting many either but he still has 16 points and is driving the play. Thank goodness for Sam Gagner because without his consistent offense the Oilers would be dead in the water any time Hall wasnt on the ice. A little luck and a lot of hard work needs to start going the Oilers’ way.
Puck Drops at 7:38 PM Mountain Time on Sportsnet. Game On!