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Oilers @ Panthers Game 16 Preview

Someone's got to win.

Six ball, corner pocket.
Six ball, corner pocket.
Bruce Bennett



3-10-2, 0.267 p/g
Ranks 3-8-3, 0.321 p/g
Western Conf: 14th Eastern Conf: 12th
29th P/G 28th
25th ST 26th
24th ES 25th
30th Goal 28th

5:30 PM MDT - Sportsnet West

BB&T Center

The opposing view: Litter Box Cats

Top Story:

  • Two teams enter the Thunderdome, only one will emerge victorious. A combined 28 games have been played between these teams, a combined six wins have been gained between them. To say Edmonton's 3-10-2 start to the 2013-14 season has been disappointing is not an understatement. The players are twitchy. The coach is twitchy. We're not even a fifth of the way in yet.

The Oilers are saying:

"We've got a group that is hurting. They're dying. They've lost their confidence"

That's Oilers coach Dallas Eakins quoted by the Sun's Rob Tychkowski

It's official, the honeymoon is over. In a year that was supposed to see the Oilers improve dramatically, they've ambled out of the gate to a 3-10-2 beginning. That's on pace for about 16 or 17 wins. The last two games have seen the Oilers get outcored 9-0. Players are starting to air their grievances through the media only fifteen games into the season. If the wheels haven't yet fallen off, they're a-rockin'.

The Opponent is saying:

"If I got the opportunity, I was going to go in there, work hard and earn a spot on the team. This has been a great opportunity for me here in Florida"

That's Panthers defenceman Tom Gilbert on getting a new lease on life in Florida. Gilbert spent nearly five years in Edmonton before being dealt to Minnesota for defenceman Nick Schultz. Gilbert averages over 21 minutes of ice time with the Panthers, while Nick Schultz was banished to the press box the other night. Tom Gilbert's cap hit is 900K, while Ben Eager's is over 1M. Did I mention the Oilers are last in the Western Conference? They are.

Of note:

The Oilers have recalled defenceman Taylor Fedun from OKC, and it looks like he'll make his NHL debut tonight in Sunrise. Fedun was a tremendous long shot to ever play again after sustaining a devastating injury two years ago, so he'll be a fun one to root for tonight. Corey Potter and Denis Grebeshkov remain in OKC. Fedun is slated to replace Anton Belov, who is out with a knee injury.

Goaltender Devan Dubnyk and winger Ryan Smyth are also set to be active for tomorrow's game. Normally, this wouldn't cause me to be elated, but both Dubnyk and Smyth are NHL players, and either one is a better option on the 1LW than Ryan Jones.

Expected Lines & Pairings:

Ales Hemsky - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle

Ryan Smyth - Sam Gagner -Nail Yakupov

Ryan Jones - Boyd Gordon -Mark Arcobello

Luke Gazdic - Will Acton - Ben Eager

Ladislav Smid - Jeff Petry

Taylor Fedun - Philip Larsen

Nick Schultz - Andrew Ference

Devan Dubnyk

The Panthers expected lineup based on recent practices and updates:

Thomas Fleischman - Aleksander Barkov - Jonathan Huberdeau

Tomas Kopecky - Marcel Goc - Kris Versteeg

Brad Boyes - Shawn Matthias- Sean Bergenheim

Scottie Upshall - Nick Bjugstad - Brad Winchester

Brian Campbell - Tom Gilbert

Dmitry Kulikov - Mike Weaver

Ryan Whitney - Eric Gudbranson

Jacob Markstrom

Somebody's got to win this one. It could be the Oilers.