The Edmonton Oilers (5-2-1) host the Columbus Blue Jackets (5-2-0) at Rexall Place tonight at 7:30 pm. The Blue Jackets are coming off a recent loss to Calgary (6-3). In fact, the score of their previous loss was also 6-3 in their first game of the season vs. the San Jose Sharks.
Okay, I’ll be honest here… I pretty much have snake eyes in terms of predicting the lineup for the Edmonton Oilers tonight. Who’s healthy? Your guess is as good as mine. If I were a betting man, I would wager that Smid and Brule are out along with the usual suspects (Ryan Stone, Fenando Pisani, Steve Staios, Sheldon Souray, and Marc Pouliot). Today over at Lowetide, Smid’s been proclaimed an “actual NHL player” which is actually quite a term of distinction amongst the Oilogosphere. From what I can discern, as an NHL player, you’re either a “kid” or an “actual NHL player.” Smid has played very well this season so far, and if he’s out does that mean that we’ll see Steve MacIntire drawing in at the blueline?
As for goal tending, we might see what I’ve jokingly referred to as the battle of this year’s Vezina candidates. Garon and Deslauriers are currently ranked #1 and #2 in the league respectively with .977 and .976 save percentages.
Update: Dan Tencer’s apparently back from his recent vacation. According to Tencer, it sounds like the Flu bug has bitten Mike Comrie. Wow, we’re going to be scrambling to put together a lineup tonight. Will Jordan Eberle get an emergency call up?
Update 4:00 pm:
Edmonton Oilers Roster Prediction with applicable nicknames:
***Disclaimer, I don’t want to trigger the J. Willis plagiarism alarm, so I credit many of these nicknames to various comment poster at Lowetide.
Penner (Flying fridge) – Gagner (Samwise, son of Dave) – Hemsky (Hemmer)
Comrie (MC) – Horcoff (Horcs) – O’Sullivan (Patio Lantern)
Jacques (Crazy Train) – Cogliano (Cogs) – Nilsson (Row bear, Nilhouse)
Moreau (Thecaptainethanmoreau, ?Rifles) – Stortini (Zorg, Animal) – MacIntire (Smac)
The Oilers started off the first period with a ton of intensity. You could almost hear the ground shaking at Rexall when the line of Moreau/Stortini/SMac stepped onto the ice. On their first shift, they were out vs. Rick Nash’s line. The Blue Jackets didn’t get a shot on net until after the five minute mark of the game. Gagner scored on a pass from Penner. Nice goal! The pace of the game started to shift midway through heavily favoring Columbus. Nilsson’s playing fairly well with a hit on his first shift, later a blocked shot in his zone, and some decent play.
Grebeshkov’s playing more like Garbagekov this game… Perhaps he’s one of the Oilers with flu-like symptoms. He got beat bad in zone on the first goal by Columbus. Khabibulin left a rebound which was a little sloppy and the puck found the back of the net for a tied game. Nillson drew a penalty against Columbus to give the Oilers their first power play. Garon lost his stick behind the net, but the Oilers couldn’t get a shot on net prior to Penner drawing a penalty for goal tender interference. Garon tripped over Penner’s leg, so it was a somewhat iffy call. CBJ converted on their 45 second powerplay to take the lead in the game. Grebeshkov was on the ice again and the goal came from his side of the defensive zone. Both Gilbert and Grebeshkov are looking a little off tonight.
Cogliano’s line with Jacques and Nilsson has spent much of its ice time hemmed into their own zone. Jacques made an error with the puck in front of Bulin which almost resulted in a goal. Jacques has been pretty brutal in the Oilers zone so far this game. Both top six lines have been playing pretty well. Horcoff missed a pass from Comrie in front of the net.
With the Oilers down two goals, there’s nothing like the astute leadership of thecaptainethanmoreau to help the Oilers get back into the game. He draws yet another offensive zone penalty by knocking a CBJ’s player’s helmet off in front of a ref. Go Moreau! Visnovsky got a what seemed like a very iffy call to head to the box for a 4 minute PK stretch.
Penner nearly scored on a trademark drive to the net which many feel should have resulted in a penalty called on the CBJs. Greb’s has been on for 3 goals against tonight oh and Strudwick was turned into a pylon on a CBJ goal. The CBJ’s sure have some fast wingers.
Penner scored on a redirect in front of the net… Hemsky put a beauty pass from Visnovsky into the net on the power play to make this a hockey game. Score 4-3, so we’re down one heading into the third.
Not much need to even attempt to describe this period–Go watch the replays at NHL.com. Words alone simply cannot describe this game.
Penner/Gagner/Hemsky destroyed Rick Nash leaving him minus 3 on the night. I like many thought that Penner’s blazing start to this season would be a bit of a flash in the pan with the inevitable return to his normally good play. It’s still early, but there’s definitely something more to his game.
Post Game thoughts [after the game]
Here’s time for some honesty… In the second period, the one thing stopping me from turning this game off and calling it a night was just my curiosity about the GagPenSky line. From 4-1 CBJ to the final score of 6-4 Oilers, it was probably one of the most exciting games that I’ve seen in recent memory. Hemsky looked like Hemsky again… Penner looked like something out of this world dominant–even better than his already brilliant start to this season.
- We’ve found our elusive 1st line. Penner-Gagner-Hemsky
- Nilsson played a surprisingly physical yet solid game.
- JFJ was a weak link in our zone and carrying the puck out (JFJ and Moreau were in a close battle to see who could ice the puck the most once passing their own blue line).
- Moreau got his standard offensive zone penalty
- Strudwick is a pylon but played not so bad.
- Bulin got his second tripping penalty of the season with a CBJ player in front of his net.
- Horcoff’s starting to look more like thecaptainethanmoreau on rushes in terms of the same level of finishing ability.
- Chorney was not so noticeable which is actually a good thing as he didn’t look to make any particularly bad mistakes.
- Grebeshkov had a very poor game and was horrible in his zone.
Shot location totals – From CBS Sports.com
Oilers 6 Columbus 3
This shot location display seems to be a little off. I don’t recall the Oilers, in particular, scoring form outside of the blue line. Overall, neither team managed to shot much from prime scoring locations.