The Edmonton Oilers will be hosting the Minnesota Wild tonight at 7:00pm MT at Rexall Place. The game will be available on PPV tonight. Of note, the Oilers are coming off a recent loss to the Chicago Blackhawks and will be missing some key players from their lineup including Sheldon Souray (concussion), Steve Staios (concussion), Marc Pouliot (pubic bone injury, hernia), and now Ales Hemsky (Flu).
Given the recent news that Ales Hemsky will not be playing, it’s speculated that Robert Nilsson will be back in the lineup. As well, Minnesota’s announced that they will be playing Derek Boogard (6’7′) and Jonhnny Scott (6’8″), so it’s possible that we’ll see MacIntire dress tonight. (Update, both Boogard and Scott will not be playing) Previously, Pat Quinn’s been quoted as saying that he doesn’t go bear hunting with a pop-gun.
The Minnesota Wild are missing a number of key players including Martin Havlat, Petr Sykora, and Cal Clutterbuck (what a name…) In addition, the Wild have head a relatively poor start to the season with their 1-4-0 record. As for the Oilers lines tonight, Pat Quinn’s recently announced that he will be running Comrie/Horcoff/Brule as his top line. I find this to be a somewhat interesting choice in that both Comrie and Brule are two of our better faceoff men. Further, it’s a departure from Quinn’s 2 skill players and a coke machine line structure.
If we try to guess the Oilers lines tonight, it’s a bit of a challenge given that Quinn’s starting with Comrie/Horcoff/Brule as it pulls one of our centers onto the wing (Brule) and a potential center as well (Comrie). As such, we have to assume that O’Sullivan will be centering one of the second or third lines. From that, we can speculate with confidence that JFJ and Stone won’t be on the same line. After that, I might guess that O’Sullivan will get the lower quality linemates in the interest of balancing out the roster.
Oilers Line-up tonight (my best guess!)
Comrie – Horcoff – Nilsson
JFJ – Gagner – O’Sullivan
Penner – Brule – Stone
Moreau – Cogliano – Stortini
***Dan Tencer says that we can expect to see Comrie/Horcoff/Nilsson on the first line. Pat Quinn previously said that he was going to play Comrie/Horcoff/Brule, so I guess that we’ll have to see.
Post game thoughts: [Later on tonight]
Well, Boogard did make it out to play tonight despite having a recent concussion injury. Pat Quinn did run with the Comrie/Horcoff/Nilsson for the top line. For the second line, he went with Penner/Gagner/O’Sullivan. The third line is JFJ/Brule/Stone. The fourth line is as above.
The Oilers had two powerplays during this period. The most recent of which came after JFJ was nailed from behind-I missed the name of the Wild player that hit him. Though the Oilers started off keeping the Wild without a shot for much of the first period, they were unable to put much together during the 2 powerplays. In fact, they’ve heavily relied on dumping the puck in to enter the zone on the powerplay.
Nilsson’s had a bit of a rough game in terms of likely pissing off Pat Quinn. On the first powerplay, he tried to thread a cross-ice pass that got interecepted and killed much of the powerplay. In his own zone, he tried to ring the puck around the boards behind the net which is another clearing tactic Pat Quinn dislikes. The puck was easily stopped at the opposite side’s blue line and lead to some pressure in our end. On the second powerplay, he made one pass to an Oilers skate (not stick), then another intercepted pass.
Strudwick’s a pretty dangerous player and it’s scary when he’s on the ice. The Wild clued in on Chicago’s trick of icing the puck on Strudwick’s side then blowing past him to beat the icing. This lead to some sustained pressure in our end and multiple scoring chances. The JFJ line’s been hemmed in our zone for a few different shifts.
Score: 0:0 with the Oilers hitting the post twice (O’Sullivan and Brule).
Period 2. Oilers 3 Wild 1
Tom Renney was interviewed during the game and ask about the low shots on net. Renney said something to the effect that the Oilers have to shoot the puck at the net and then drive to the net. But they don’t want to do that. Gilbert Brule scored the third goal of the game for the Oilers doing just that.
A few concerns during the game–one being that the Oilers continue to get severely outshot even by the depleted roster that is the Wild. The lone goal against the Oilers came with (from what I recall), Strudwick/Chorney on the back end with JFJ/Brule/Stone on the ice. To me, Strudwick’s a pretty scary player to watch as an Oilers fan. The combination of our weakest dmen along with what looks to be a pretty weak line defensively (muscle aside) with JFJ/Stone is a concern.
Comrie scored the first goal of the period off a beautiful pass from Nilsson on the give and go (sort of) near the Wild net. The Duff was in the stands clapping… Penner scored the second goal off a beautiful play/feed by the snake-bitten O’Sullivan who actually layed a check on Boogard which lead to a turnover (no lies). He then carried the puck behind the Wild net and put the puck on Penner’s tape for the backdoor goal.
The Oilers did a good penalty kill during this period. I was surprised to see Chorney on the PK, but it worked out fine. I find Chorney though he’s not really ready to play in the NHL, is less scary to have on the ice than Struds.
Period 3 – Oilers 5 Wild 2
Penner scored his second goal of the game with an end to end play. With the puck at his own goal line, Penner turned on the big man jets and carried the puck down the left wing. He passed the puck to Gagner near the blue line then fought his way to the net to recieve the pass and score.
Brule got his second of the night on the crash line with bodies flying everywhere and nice rebound on the wide open net. Bhulin played a solid game tongiht. The third period started off poorly with the Oilers stuck in their end at even strength with 2 addtitional penalties to kill. Penner’s play created a huge momentum shift in the game.
Overall, it was a tighter game that it should have been in the third with the score 3-2. Penner carried the team on his back tonight and put the game away. If you missed the game, make sure you watch the reply of Penner lighting the fuse and turning on the jets as he carried the puck from the Oilers goal line to the opposition’s blue line. Though he was close to being offside at the blue line he passed the puck cross ice to Gagner and drove to the net. Gagner passed the saucer to him and Penner potted a goal through the back door.