I give the Oilers a fairly rough go at it sometimes, and I feel that this is every fan's duty to some point (especially if you've been paying any attention over the last decade). That said, I want the team to win every game they play (yes, even those that would take them out of a lottery pick this year). Tuesday night versus Minnesota, they predictably went down 3-0 in the first period, and then...scored the next three goals and emerged victorious in the shootout, of course. The Wild were winners in 23 of 27 games this season when leading after 2 periods, and the Oilers win something ghastly like three per cent of all their games in Minnesota*. Viktor Fasth got his first win in an Oilers swaeter, Oscar Klefbom played in his first game an an Oiler, and things were OK, even if for just one night. Come to think of it, they did something similar against the Islanders recently, although not as dramatic.
Tonight, the Oilers visit the tops of the Western Conference. No sweat, right?
The Oilers are saying
"I (gave up) three goals early in the game and it couldn't get worse than that...Just have to battle your way through and through and fight your way into the game"
That's Oilers goalie Viktor Fasth on his first start in an Oilers sweater.
It can always get worse, Vik. I know that you were just trying to come up with a sports cliché in a language that is not native to you, but we never ever say it couldn't get worse. It can always get worse. After a shaky start, Fasth turned away 22 shots over periods two and three, and he out-dueled the Wild's Darcy Kuemper in the shootout.
The Opponent is saying
"This will be a good opportunity for this team to bounce back after a really nice stretch of five games"
That's Blues goaltender Ryan Miller talking about St. Louis' recent 4-0-1 run. The Stars defeated St. Louis in OT on Tuesday, and the Oilers are a "good opportunity" for the Blues to bounce back into the win column.
If Miller is unaware of the numbers between Edmonton and St. Louis this year, he's not showing it. The last time the Oilers and blues met, the Blues handled the Oilers by a 5-2 margin. The Blues have eleven goals in two games against the Oilers this year, while the Oilers have managed two goals over the same time.
The Oilers will, uh, have their work cut out for them.
Have some of this.
SHOTS - Look for the Oilers to go back to Ben Scrivens tonight. Scrivens (5-5-0, .938 with Edmonton) turned aside 46 of 50 shots in a loss to the Kings on Sunday night. Scrivens faces a touch over 37 shots per game, considerably more than Edmonton's average of 32.6 per night. Does this mean that Edmonton's defence is actually getting worse as the season progresses? It can always be worse. They're certainly allowing more shots since Scrivens has become a member fo the Oilers.
WELCOME TO THE CLUB - Oscar Klefbom played 15 minutes, scored an assist, took two shots, blocked two shots, and he picked up a whopping seven seconds of power play time in his first NHL game.
EASYSTATS, INC - Oilers are fighting an uphill battle in this one. Outscored 11-2 in two games this year against the Blues, they've been outshot 63-41 in those two games, both at Rexall Place. Games get easier on the road, right? I'm being told in my earpiece that this isn't necessarily so. Back to you, Jim.
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