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Islanders @ Oilers Game 40 Preview

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No longer a laughing stock on Long Island, these Islanders look to be for real.

Jaroslav Halak cost a fourth round pick to acquire, and he's killing it for the Islanders this year.
Jaroslav Halak cost a fourth round pick to acquire, and he's killing it for the Islanders this year.
Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports


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@

Edmonton
26-11-1, 53 points, 1.394 p/g Ranks 8-22-9, 25 points, .642 p/g
Eastern Conference - 2nd Western Conference -14th
3rd P/G 30th
2nd ST 25th
10th ES 29th
21st Goal 29th
7:30 PM MDT
Rexall Place
The opposing view: Lighthouse Hockey

Not Enough

Benoit Pouliot scored in his first game back since breaking his foot eighteen games ago, but that would be the only goal the Oilers would collect in a game where Colorado emerged victorious in the shootout.

The Oilers have four points in their last three games.  If it were September or October, I'd likely be pretty thrilled about all that.  It's January, which means the Oilers are playing games for lottery position.  Excitement abound!

This was the first game that the Oilers were without David Perron, who was traded earlier in the day to Pittsburgh for Rob Klinkhammer and Pittsburgh's first round draft pick in 2015.  Klinkhammer did not play for the Oilers on Friday.  More on that in a bit.

The Oilers are saying

"We had some Grad A chances where we tried to move it and I think if we shoot the puck we'll be rewarded"

That's Oilers interim head coach Todd Nelson on how he believes the Oilers need to shoot the puck a bit more in order to succeed. This quote was taken after Edmonton's 2-1 shootout loss to Colorado on Friday.

Oilers and Avalanche both finished with 28 shots, though Colorado held a 41-34 advantage in Corsi events.  The Oilers are 25th in the league in shots per game with (you guessed it) an average of 28 shots.  Shooting the puck sure can't hurt.

The Opponent is saying

That’s our game plan, we want them to dump the puck and then it’s kind of a free-for-all

"That's our game plan, we want them to dump the puck and then it's kind of a free-for all"
That's Islander defenceman Calvin de Haan talking Islander defence strategy. You mean chip and chase doesn't work against good teams?  What about dump and chase?  No?  Pucks in deep?  No?

THE REAL DEAL

The Islanders have the groceries this year.  Here's a couple of things I've noticed.
  • They got their hands on a goaltender for a fourth round pick in Jaroslav Halak.  Halak is cooking this year with a .918 SV%, and is 21-6-0 with three shutouts.  Halak is under contract for three years after this one.  Not bad.
  • Garth Snow acquired real NHL hockey players  in Mikhail Grabovski, Nikolay Kulemin, Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuck.  All of these guys were better than fringe players, and they're all contributing.
  • Brock Nelson is having a really good year spurred by a hot start.  He's also got eight power play goals, which is a pretty good thing to have going for you.
Have some of this
  • FARE THEE WELL, PERRON AND ARCOBELLO - The tank is on.  It's on the street.  David Perron was dealt to Pittsburgh, where he scored Pittsburgh's only goal in a 4-1 loss to the Canadiens on Saturday night.  It took Perron a whole ten minutes to get on the board.  Life's probably a lot more fun when you've got Sidney Crosby as a linemate.  Mark Arcobello scored in his first game with Nashville in a wild 7-6 affair over the Kings.
  • The Islanders are hot, hot hot.  Goaltender Jaroslav Halak is 21-6 on the year, and he's 18-2 over his last twenty.  Halak turned aside 22 of 23 shots for a victory against Calgary on Friday, and I'd be surprised if he didn't go tonight.  Ben Scrivens had a solid night, but didn't get much help on the score sheet.  Coach Nelson seems to be riding Scrivens a lot, so look for him to start.
  • Look for Rob Klinkhammer to get his Oilers debut tonight.  Klinkhammer is a big, Alberta boy (surprise) at 6'3", 220 who has played both wing and centre.  Klinkhammer has scored six points (4-2-6) in 29 games between Arizona and Pittsburgh this year.  Klinkhammer will wear number 12 on the ice.  In 139 career games at the NHL level, Klinkhammer has 39 career points, or about .28 points per game. Gene Principe will have fun, at least.
  • GOILERS