The Minnesota Wild are the Vanilla of Hockey clubs. Actually, the Wild make Vanilla seem like Tutti Frutti if Tutti Frutti was served Flaming and out of the Navel of an exotic Dancer.
The last game was an absolute stinker outside of the 23 second it took them to score two goals. It was a good thing I was busy at the Oilersnation 5th Birthday getting my drink on and getting accosted while also trying to watch the game. Whitney played pretty well and put rumours of his demise to rest. He might not be able to maintain a high level of play, but at least we can see that when conditions are favourable he can still affect a game positively. Dubnyk played what I would consider a pretty suspect game. A couple of the one he let by were pretty weak.
Much like when the Oilers went into Dallas they go into Minnesota with a history of losing. Edmonton has only 1 Win in their last 19 on the road against the Wild. That is some kind of sad sack history of losing. Personally I feel as if the Oilers allowed themselves to get too high after finally Winning in Dallas and that played into their piss poor effort against the Blues. If they want to win tonight then they need to find the focus and energy they brought on Thursday.
Hall looks to be out for the game with a strained leg, which might be for the best if the Wild were hoping for some kind of retribution against him. The result for the Oilers will be some line mixing. In the morning skate the Oilers went with RNH between Hemsky and Yakupov for one line and Gagner between Pajaarvi and Eberle for another. I like the idea of Yak playing with RNH as his Center. Silky smooth passer with an effortless shooter, and and Hemsky as another passer/puck carrier. Could be a good.
Oilers Keys to the Game
1) Better Effort
It took the Oilers 7.5 minutes to get a shot on net against the Blues. They have to be ready when the Puck drops. They cant try the pretty things and stay on the perimeter. The Oilers even without Hall are capable to better than that.
2) Dont be afraid to get Gritty
I love the Oil to death but the team in general needs to get a shade dirtier and play meaner. Gagner shouldnt be the only one getting in fights out there. Bring some passion. Bring some elbows. They need to get engaged physically. Sometimes when you play a contact sport you need to hit somebody just to feel like you’re a part of it. The Oilers need to be a part of it more often.
3) Solid Goaltending
Dubnyk needs a bounceback game from Friday’s effort. If he wants to be a legitimate number 1A Goalie then he cant have back to back bad games. Solid goalies have bad games. Never on consecutive nights. Dubnyk was anointed #1 after a combination of his pretty good play and more importantly Khabibulin’s shit play. Is he a real Starting Goalie, or just the best option the Oilers have right now.
Puck Drops at 6:08 PM Mountain on Sportsnet Oilers. Game On!