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Game Thread: Oilers @ Blues - Gonna dive into a dive I dove into before

This is a dive we're all familiar with.

Frederick Breedon

Khabibulin gets the start, the team lack centre and defensive depth and the fans are defending bad but physical players. This dive is just like all of the freefalls before!

The Oilers are in a freefall, but it's nothing we can't handle. Lose two of the next three and Bob Stauffer starts pumping the tires of Darnell Nurse. I think Katz should leave Lowe in place until he kicks off this rock, just to see if the Oilers can wander the desert for longer than Moses and the Israelites.

Team Reports

However, the 4th line has been playing too much the entire season. Part of the problem with Eager and Brown and Petrell are playing too many even strength minutes. Especially last night, when getting a point was so vital. If there was ever a time to shorten the bench this is it. The Oilers need to ride the following players until they drop: Hall, Nuge, Eberle, Gagner, Yakupov, Paajarvi, Hemsky, Horcoff, Schultz the younger, Petry, Smid and Dubnyk. Starting now.

Oilers Report: Eric Belanger re-injured his groin last night against Nashville, extending the Oilers streak of injuries at centre to forever. There are no call-ups, and Jussi Jokinen, if they claim him, is at least a day away. That moves Ryan Smyth back to centre, a place that hasn't been kind to him or the Oilers. Belanger's injury means Lennart Petrell draws in, so at least Ralph Krueger has someone to play in place of Nail Yakupov all lined up already.

Blues Report: After smacking the Oilers around three days ago, the Blues went out and lost to the Flames. Ken Hitchcock has been juggling his lines, and looks like he's done with his soft minutes killers line of Perron - McDonald - Tarasenko.

Expected Line Combinations

Taylor Hall - Shawn Horcoff - Ales Hemsky

Magnus Paajarvi - Sam Gagner - Nail Yakupov

Ryan Jones - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle

Mike Brown - Ryan Smyth - Lennart Petrell

Ladislav Smid - Jeff Petry

Nick Schultz - Jeff Schultz

Ryan Whitney - Corey Potter

Nikolai Khabibulin

Scratches: Theo Peckham, Lennart Petrell, Mark Fistric

Broadcast Information

Scottrade Center, 6:00 pm MST
TV - Sportsnet
Radio - 630 CHED

By The Numbers

  • If Toronto hangs on and makes the playoffs, the Oilers will have the league's long playoff drought at 7 seasons. 8 of the 10 worst teams in the league since the 04-05 lockout have fired their management teams. Only the Islanders and Oilers have stuck with the men at the helm, and even then, Garth Snow was hired in July of 2006 after Mike Milbury and Neil Smith were fired. The Oilers are the only team that continue to employ the men that got them in the situation in the first place.
  • Nikolai Khabibulin has allowed 5 goals on 23 shots on the penalty kill.

    St. Louis is 2nd in Fenwick close, Edmonton is 27th.

    Edmonton is last in even strength goals for.

    Edmonton is 22nd in even strength goals against.

    Edmonton is 25th in shots for.

    Edmonton is tied for 29th in shots against.

    Edmonton is 30th in shot differential. Even Alex Ovechkin's 4.25 shots per game wouldn't get the Oilers back to even.