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Avalanche @ Oilers Game 30 Preview


Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports



19-6-0, 1.52 p/g Ranks 9-18-2, .690 p/g
Western Conf: 6th Western Conf: 14th
2nd P/G 28th
18th ST 24th
4th ES 29th
4th Goal 29th
7:30 PM MDT - Sportsnet West

Rexall Place

The opposing view: Mile High Hockey

Top Story:

  • The Oilers weren't going to make the playoffs a month ago, but the wheels have blown off the Cabriolet. Edmonton clunked to an abysmal 6-2 loss at the hands of the visiting Phoenix Coyotes on Wednesday, and Coach Eakins let it all hang out after the game. Ilya Bryzgalov has been placed on injured reserve, the Oilers sent some players down and called some players up. Things are moving and shaking, and I'm not really sold that it'll make the team any better than it already is(n't). Aw, who am I kidding, the team has nine wins in 29 games. Things are great.

The Oilers are saying:

This one's going to be a little windy.

"Tonight I thought he (Arcobello) was way off. I thought he had a rough, rough night. That wasn't the Arcobello that we've seen and that happens to players...when he gets those battles against those bigger men, he's going to have to use his brain and stick more than his brawn"

That's Oilers Coach Dallas Eakins on cancer Mark Arcobello after Edmonton's 6-2 loss to Phoenix.

You're starting to lose me, Coach. You're a new NHL coach with 29 games of NHL experience under your belt. I'm not expecting things to go rosy all the time (right now, they're certainly not), but you're driving me insane. I want to believe, Coach. I want to buy-in, but I can't buy the crops you're selling. I've got a few issues with the way you're running your TV series here. The bottom line is that if the Oilers lose to Colorado today, they'll have nine wins in thirty games. That's a win percentage of 30. Even the Flames win once in a while, Coach.

You're calling out Arcobello about this game? Hang on a second.

You dress a bottom six that contains two or three AHL players on most occasions, but nary a peep from you about their ability to play the game. Your affinity for a 'heavy' line is stupid and should be chided when you scratch Arcobello for Keith Acton's kid. Want heavy? Arcobello leads the freakin' team in hits The best part? Arcobello's line did pretty well against Phoenix's top line, and did moderately well against the rest of the team.

When you finally finish with Arcobello, you unnecessarily lambaste Petry with a sack of doorknobs about his play. Hey, we suck, but Petry should be the guy to catch a night in the box. Hey, it's working (9-18-2) so far. Can we have another sermon about accountability? FItness? "Heavy" lines? Can we go back to scratching Russians again and selling about how it's a learning experience? Goaltender controversy? Nine minutes (a fart in the jug) for Linus Omark? You know, the stuff that works?

What the hell are you thinking when you bring out the fourth line after allowing a goal? You know that Smyth-Acton-Joensuu were on the fourth line, right? You know who didn't have a very good night? I'll give you one guess. Smyth-Acton-Jonesuu got rolled, Coach. You seem like a smart guy, what's going on up there?

I'm irritated about this. I hope you are too.

Bonus Quote!

"My words can hit you faster than my feet or a puck can"

That's Coach Eakins on how the team needs to start communicating more out on the ice.

If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.

The Opponent is saying:

"I never had a shootout when I was playing, but I've been told that Varly is pretty solid in a shootout"

That's Avalanche coach Patrick Roy on goaltender Semyon Varlamov's shootout performance in Colorado's 3-2 shootout victory over Minnesota on Saturday.

The Avalanche are 19-6, but are sixth overall in the West. The five teams ahead of Colorado in the standings have a couple more games played, so the Avalanche are right in the thick of things. How are the Avalanche doing it? In 25 games they've allowed just fifty two goals, good for a nick over 2 goals per game. 52 is the fewest number of goals allowed in the league this year, and 2.08 goals allowed per game trails only Boston, Montréal and Los Angeles in overall team GAA.

The Avalanche have three players in Paul Stastny, Matt Duchene, and P.A. Parenteau who have shot percentages over 16%. (Duchene's is over 17%, and Stastny's is over 18%,) If they can hold that over an entire season, it can only continue to help fuel Colorado's win total.

Of note:

  • Oilers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov has been placed on the IR days after sustaining a head/neck injury. Currently, there's no timetable for his return. Normally I'd say something snarky about how this was a wholly unnecessary signing, but the snark wears off after the fifteen hundredth time you use it in a row.
  • Tyler Pitlick could be a go as soon as this weekend. With the volatile nature of the roster, you can probably pencil him in the bottom six sooner than later. Defenceman Philip Larsen shouldn't be too far off as well.
  • Now, some niceties. The Oilers have called up Anton Lander. Corey Potter is up and so is Martin Marincin. Normally, Anton Lander wouldn't make my day, but Will Acton got sent down to OKC, which is shocking, really. At least, it is considering what we've seen so far. Along with Acton goes defenceman Denis Grebeshkov to OKC.

Projected Lines & Pairings:

The Edmonton Oilers

Taylor Hall - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle

Ryan Jones - Sam Gagner - Ales Hemsky

Nail Yakupov - Mark Arcobello - David Perron

Ryan Smyth - Anton Lander - Jesse Joensuu

Andrew Ference - Jeff Petry

Nick Schultz - Justin Schultz

Anton Belov - Corey Potter

Devan Dubnyk


The Colorado Avalanche

Gabriel Landeskog - Paul Stastny - P.A. Parenteau

Ryan O'Reilly - Matt Duchene - Nathan MacKinnon

Jamie McGinn - John Mitchell - Max Talbot

Cody McLeod - Marc-Andre Cliche - Patrick Bordeleau

Jan Hejda - Erik Johnson

Tyson Barrie - Nate Guenin

Andre Benoit - Cory Sarich

Semyon Varlamov