Monday, January 18, 2010

Kerrzy's Notebook: Oilers This Week

Last week:

The Edmonton Oilers dropped all three of the games they played last week, finishing up a four-game home stand with losses to Nashville and Pittsburgh before going on the road and losing in San Jose.

On Tuesday, the Oil went down 4-0 in the first 27-ish minutes against the Predators in a 5-3 loss. They followed that up by blowing a 2-0 lead in a 3-2 defeat at the hands of the Penguins, and then fell 4-2 to the Sharks.

Edmonton has now lost 14-of-15 games with just three of a possible thirty points during that span. The team is currently mired in a seven-game losing skid, their second such streak since mid-December.

This week:

This week, the Oil wrap-up a two-game road trip in Colorado and then host the Canucks and the Stars, part of a four-game stretch at home.

Oilers @ Avalanche
Monday Jan. 18th – Pre game: 5:30, Puck drop: 7pm; 630 CHED

-The Northwest division leading Avalanche have won three straight coming into Monday night’s tilt with the struggling Oilers, who have won two of the three meetings between these two clubs this season. The Avs were dealt a pretty serious blow over the weekend though, when it was learned that Milan Hejduk, the team’s second leading goal scorer, would be out for 2-4 weeks following knee surgery. Paul Stastny leads Colorado in scoring so far this season with 44 points, with Wojtek Wolski’s 16 goals putting him in front of the rest of the team. The Avalanche are in a tight battle with the Canucks and Flames for top spot in the Northwest, so you know they’ll be looking for the two points. Craig Anderson’s 23-11-5 record is a big reason for their success, so the Oilers will have to get to him early if they want to come out on top.

Canucks @ Oilers
Wednesday Jan. 20th – Pre game: 6:30, Puck drop 8pm; 630 CHED

-The Canucks are coming off a big win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night, ending a three-game losing streak that has kept them out of top spot in the Northwest. The Oilers could do the Canucks a favor by beating Colorado on Monday, actually. Anyways, the Oil are 1-3 against Vancouver this season and were outscored 11-4 in their last two meetings. Henrik Sedin currently leads the NHL in scoring with 21 goals and 67 points (as of Monday), but the Canucks have been getting steady offensive production from most of their top six forwards. The Oilers will have to watch out for Alex Burrows, who has 11 goals in his last seven games. The Oilers have a tough task ahead, trying to beat Roberto Luongo, but it can be done.

Stars @ Oilers
Friday Jan. 22nd – Pre game: 5:30, Puck drop 7pm; 630 CHED

-Coming into this week’s action, the Dallas Stars had lost six of their last eight games, but were coming off a shootout win over the Detroit Red Wings. Before they get to Edmonton, the Stars host the Wild and then travel to Vancouver to take on the Canucks, which should be two fairly tough matchups. Brad Richards leads the Stars offence, with 54 points, 22 of which have come on the power play. Loui Eriksson and James Neal both have 19 goals on the season and the Stars roster has players like Mike Ribeiro and Brendan Morrow, who are always dangerous. Marty Turco’s inconsistent play and penchant for making costly mistakes as of late could be a big factor in this game.

Who’s hot:

Patrick O’Sullivan – O’Sullivan had a goal and three assists in the last week for the Oilers, including a two-point effort against the Penguins on Thursday. He seems to have regained a bit of confidence around the net, which is a good sign.

Sam Gagner – Another Oiler forward that seems to have regained his confidence around the net is Sam Gagner. He has points in six of his last seven games (1g, 5a) and has looked really strong with the puck.

Lubomir Visnovsky – After missing three games with a sore ankle, Visnovsky has three points in as many games, also picking up two points against the Penguins.

What to watch for:

The goaltending situation – Now that Jeff Deslaurier and Devan Dubnyk know that they’ll for sure be handling the duties between the pipes for the rest of the season, it’ll be interesting to see who embraces the role and who gets more starts as the season progresses.

Trade talks – It started out as an innocent question from a reporter, but the Sheldon Souray rumors continue to swirl, with ESPN's Pierre LeBrun weighing in over the weekend with a rumor of his own. Should the tough times continue for the Oilers, there will probably only be more of this kind of talk as the trade deadline nears. The team can’t let it distract them.

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