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Preview: Game 5 - Oilers @ Flames

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Winless Oilers face struggling Flames in Battle of Alberta

No pressure at all.
No pressure at all.
Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports


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@

Calgary
0-4-0, 0 points, 0 p/g Ranks 1-3-0, 2 points, .5 p/g
Western Conference - 14th Western Conference - 11th
29th P/G 23rd
23rd ST 25th
4th PK 17th
25th Goal 27th
8:00 PM MDT
TV - CBC / Sportsnet One
Radio - 630 CHED
Scotiabank Saddledome
The opposing view: Matchsticks And Gasoline

It's Time To Start Scoring Some Goals

The Blues came to town and doubled up the Oilers in Edmonton's final home opener at Rexall Place.  Lauri Korpikoski and Taylor Hall scored for the Oilers, but the Blues' Paul Stastny scored the game winner with four minutes gone in the third period.  This was a better game for the Oilers (who were fresh off allowing 52 total shots in Dallas on Tuesday), but it was also the first game of the season where the goaltending was somewhat human.

The time to get off the schneid is now.  Columbus is the only other team with zero points.  The Oilers are in Calgary tonight and Vancouver tomorrow.  A win tonight would draw back the pitchforks for a minute.

Let's go to the tape.

The Oilers are saying

"If they put their heads down and don't stick their chest out it's going to make it even tougher"

Source

That's Oilers head coach Todd McLellan on his team's 0-4 start on the season.

There are a few issues with this team right now.  Let's bring them out in a nice bullet list.

  • They're not scoring nearly enough.  Five goals in four games isn't going to win you very many.
  • The power play is no good right now.  (1-14)
  • The defence isn't very good right now.  Justin Schutlz is what we thought he was, Sekera isn't having the success we'd like to see on the first pair, and whoever is on the third pair is getting their lunch eaten.
Other than that, things are pretty good.  The quickest way to make people forget about this sort of thing is to come out and score six goals, but that's a fairly tall order seeing as how the club hasn't hit that mark over four games.

The opponents are saying

"I have lots of trust in our guys...Right now, in some moments in parts of the game, our execution is very good, and in some parts, our execution is not good at all.  We're making bad puck decisions and w're giving easy pucks away.  Against good teams, against teams that are big, that are physical, you're just giving them the momentum.  That's what we did in the second period."  Source
That's Flames coach Bob Hartley on his team's 3-1 loss to St. Louis earlier in the week.

A ROUGH START

The Flames had a much rosier beginning to 2014-15, going 5-3-1 in their first nine contests.  After four games, they're 1-3, and I wish I could say I felt bad for them.

Have some of this
  • Oilers coach Todd McLellan is furiously trying to make the power play work. One of yesterday's units at practice featured Mark Letestu along with Sekera, McDavid, Yakupov and Pouliot.  Right now, the Oilers aren't scoring goals, and they're not scoring power play goals.  Not sure if Letestu is the straw the stirs the drink, but here's lookin' at you.
  • Cam Talbot will go for the Oilers (0-3-0, .906 SV%) tonight.  Will he get more than two goals support tonight?
  • THIRD PAIR MIXER - Who's going to play on the third pair?  They're getting killed.  One constant is Eric Gryba, who Chiarelli seems to have a "soft spot" (his words on the day he was traded from Ottawa) for Gryba.  When does Darnell Nurse get a look?  How long until Nikitin (shiver) gets called up for the third pair?
  • For Calgary, Lance Bouma is out (leg).  The Oilers still miss Jordan Eberle (shoulder)