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Canadiens @ Oilers Game 9 Preview

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The Oilers are in search of their fourth consecutive victory, but will surely be tested by the Canadiens.

If this photo irritates you, good.
If this photo irritates you, good.
Claus Andersen


@

oilers logo black text
7-1-0, 14 points, 1.75  p/g Ranks 3-4-1, 7 points, .876 p/g
Eastern Conference - 1st Western Conference - 12th
1st P/G 24th
16th ST 22nd
17th ES 22nd
17th Goal 30th
7:30 PM MDT - SN
Rexall Place
The opposing view: Eyes On The Prize

C'est facile, non?

Four goals in the third period (including one empty netter by Matt Hendricks) helped power the Oilers to a 6-3 victory over the winless Carolina Hurricanes on Friday.  Jordan Eberle had a pair (including one on the PP) helping him erase his doughnut in the goal column.  Leon Draisaitl scored his first career NHL goal, which may sway Oiler brass on whether or not he'll be on the big club for the next couple of months.  The Hurricanes are a very, very bad team this year.  It was a little worrying that the Oilers didn't flat out dominate all three periods, but I'm not going to get angry at six goals.

The Oilers seek their fourth victory in a row, but they'll be up against a formidable opponent in the Canadiens.

The Oilers are saying

"Comfortable.  You never know when you're going to take 'em off for a long time..."
Dallas Eakins was wearing his skates at yesterday's post practice presser.  This was his response.

The first question Dallas Eakins received post practice was one about why he was wearing his skates.  His response was either an off the cuff half laugher, or it was one fully cognizant of what's being written about his future as the coach of the Edmonton Oilers.  Specifically, if the Oilers didn't start winning on their homestand, the club was ready to bring in a Moose to replace him.  While I don't agree with a lot of what Eakins does in regards to player deployment, I'm not sure that bringing in Mark Messier is going to fix what's broken here.   I'm certain it wouldn't.

The Opponent is saying

"It's not like we're the best Habs team in 50 years, but we do have a really good feeling within this room"
This year's Canadiens surely aren't the best Habs team in 50 years, but are they the best Habs team in the last 20? One smokeout loss at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning is the only blemish in eight games so far, and in those eight games, the Canadiens have taken down Boston, the Rangers, and the Leafs.  Yeah, you're right.  The Leafs aren't very good, and neither are the Avalanche, who Montréal toppled by just a goal.  We'll come back to this after the Canadiens do a proper tour of the Eastern Conference.

Have some of this
  • Goaltender Viktor Fasth (groin) is practicing with the club.  This is good news for Ben Scrivens.  Why is this good news for Ben Scrivens?  Ben Scrivens is going to need a break sometime.  There's no timetable for Fasth's return.  Fasth has been kept out of action since the debacle in LA on October 14th.
  • Montréal is doing the Western Canada back-to-back starting tonight.  Tomorrow, they'll be in Calgary, and will play their third game in four nights when they visit Vancouver on Thursday.  The Oilers...well, they can attain a statistical .500 if they slink by the Habs tonight.  So there's that.
  • Hey, you remember Tom Gilbert?  That's right, the soft American who acts disinterested on the ice and doesn't hit worth much?  What's that?  He's averaging just about 23 minutes a game on the second pair in Montréal?  Thirty shifts a game?  With a 33% smaller cap hit than Nikita Nikitin? Power play time?  What the hell do the Canadiens know? They're only first in the East.  Watch the games, nerd.
  • NAIL YAKUPOV ICE WATCH:  Yakupov played 14:35 last game versus Carolina.  That's a couple more shifts and a minute more than the game against Washington.  That's a good thing.  Trust me, I'm a doctor.
  • TELL A FRIEND - the fourth line is finally worth talking about, and not in a "oh look, Uncle Vic is drunk under the tree again" kind of way.  The Oilers' fourth line isn't a constant liability right now, this is a nice change over the past several years when the team felt compelled to dress a 'nuclear deterrent' who couldn't skate or keep up with actual NHL hockey players on the opposing clubs. Granted, the fourth line is also taking up nearly six million in cap space, but I feel a lot better with a six million fourth line than a fourth line that routinely sets grease fires in their own end of the ice.

PROJECTED LINES

Les Canadiens de Montréal

Max Pacioretty - David Desharnais - Brendan Gallagher
Alex Galchenyuk - Tomas Plekanec - P.A. Parenteau
Rene Bourque - Lars Eller - Dale Weise
Travis Moen - Manny Malhotra - Brandon Prust

Alexei Emelin - P.K. Subban
Andrei Markov - Tom Gilbert
Jarred Tinordi - Mike Weaver

Dustin Tokarski

The Edmonton Oilers

Taylor Hall - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle
Teddy Purcell - Leon Draisaitl - David Perron
Benoit Pouliot - Mark Arcobello - Nail Yakupov
Matt Hendricks - Boyd Gordon - Jesse Joensuu

Nikita Nikitin - Justin Schultz
Andrew Ference - Jeff Petry
Martin Marincin - Mark Fayne


Ben Scrivens