The Oilers play tonight against a team whose success is wasted on the Southern California market.
The Ducks are a fantastic Hockey Club and it is a crying shame that they are destined to remain on the back pages of the Orange County Register for the remainder of their entire existence. Anaheim is almost a full 20 points ahead of the Oilers in the regular season standings, and the mental backflips to make this match up favourable to the Oilers has already begun. These guys are already guaranteed their spot. They are fat and content. They have nothing to fight for. Whatever we tell ourselves, this team is far and away better than Edmonton and they will have to play their asses off to beat them.
Not bad considering they have guys like Souray and Cogliano who just werent good enough to play for the mighty Oilers.
The Oil have crapped the bed the last two games considering the streak they had to bring them into 8th spot for about 24 hours. Now this sit in 11th and dangerously close to 13th. The team aimed low with its expectations “Play meaningful games in March/April” and they accomplished it, but I feel rather unsatisfied.
I dont think “Meaningful Games” is an appropriate goal for an NHL team. A team like the Oilers was in tank mode for a long time. The goal was to lose, make no mistake. Now the goal is win, but only a little? That doesnt make any sense. Other organizations dont seem to think that being mediocre is a good thing. Years of drafting outside the top 10 in the mid range was Calgary’s downfall in recent years and Edmonton’s before that. What is the purpose of simply aiming for “Meaningful Games”?
An NHL team that isnt tanking should have its goals set on the Playoffs and nothing less.
Oilers Keys to the Game
1) Wake Up
Slow starts and lead in the skates has been the calling card for the Oilers for a while now and its time to turn that around. The Game starts at 8 Mountain Time, they cant wait until 8 Pacific Time to start playing. The desperation hasnt been there. The fire hasnt been there. That needs to change.
2) All or Nothing
The Oilers, apparently, are an All or Nothing club. They are either dominating or being dominated. The games are not close nail biters. Maybe this is the product of such an inexperienced lineup, but they need to find a medium ground. It is ridiculous that this team could win games 4-1 or 8-2 but havent been in a one goal game in 8 matches.
3) Get Used to Perry & Getzlaf
Figure these guys out now, because the Oiler play the Ducks 3 times in their final 10 games. If these two have their way with the Oilers then this season is lights out. Getzlaf is the 3rd highest scoring Center in the NHL. Perry is a beast of a player, though not in the top 30 of NHL scoring. These two are the heart and soul of Anaheim’s roster. Shutting them down is no easy task, but if Edmonton wants to win then thats the first step.
Puck drops at 8:08 PM Mountain Time. Game On!