Monday, February 8, 2010

Kerrzy's Notebook: Oilers This Week

Last week:

The Oilers finally broke out of that long winless streak with wins over the Hurricanes and the Flyers, before opening up a five-game road trip with back-to-back losses against Minnesota and Colorado.

In Monday’s win over the ‘Canes, Marc Pouliot potted the game-winner in a 4-2 victory over Carolina and Ryan Potulny scored with 17 seconds left to secure a 1-0 win over Philadelphia. The fun ended there though – the Wild scored a pair of late goals in a 4-2 win and the Oilers were outshot 42-20 in a 3-0 loss to the Avalanche.

This week:

It’s another busy week for the Oil – they continue their road trip with games in Phoenix, Anaheim and LA, before returning home to take on the Ducks again, a game that will take them into the two-week Olympic break.

While Edmonton did manage to bring that 13-game winless skid to an end, another streak looms – they’ve lost nine straight on the road, however that could change this week.

Oilers @ Coyotes
Monday Feb. 8th - Pre game: 6pm, Puck drop: 7:30pm; 630 CHED

-The Phoenix Coyotes had a six-game winning streak snapped on Saturday in a 4-0 loss to the Dallas Stars, but their recent success has vaulted them all the way into a tie for fourth in the conference. In all, the Coyotes have won nine of their last twelve games and one of two against the Oilers so far this season. Phoenix is led offensively by their captain, Shane Doan, who has 17 goals and 43 points, but they’ve got a dangerous group of secondary scorers and that’s what makes them good. Radim Vrbata and Scottie Upshall have 18 goals each to top the team’s goal scoring list, while defenceman Keith Yandle is third among blue liners with ten goals. Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov has the fourth-most wins with 30 and is second in shutouts with six – he’s capable of stealing one for the team.

Oilers @ Ducks
Wednesday Feb. 10th - Pre game: 6:30pm, Puck drop: 8pm; 630 CHED

-The Anaheim Ducks are always a tough team to face because they’ve got a strong core of players and a lot of experience to get them through the tough times. They’ve struggled a bit at times this year, but they’re always dangerous. Coming into this week’s action, the Ducks have won three of four after losing three of four. Before they host the Oilers, they’ll play the second half of a home-and-home with the Kings, who beat them 6-4 last Thursday. Jonas Hiller has started most of Anaheim’s games this season, but with the Ducks trading away JS Giguere last week, any goaltending controversy that there might have been is now gone, which will probably be a positive for the young Swiss netminder. Up front, the Ducks are led by the tandem of Ryan Getzlaf (14g, 56pts) and Corey Perry (20g, 53pts), but that’s not where the threat ends. Bobby Ryan has 25 goals so far this season and players like Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne give Anaheim some serious depth up front.

Oilers @ Kings
Thursday Feb. 11th - Pre game: 7pm, Puck drop: 8:30pm; 630 CHED

-The LA Kings have won nine in a row coming into this week with one game before their meeting with the Oilers, who they are 2-0 against so far this season. The solid 2010 the Kings have been having so far has put them well into the playoff picture – they currently sit tied for fourth in the Western Conference with the Phoenix Coyotes. Anze Kopitar has turned it on as of late with 15 points in his last nine games and he leads the team in scoring with 26 goals and 61 points overall. Second in line is defenceman Drew Doughty, who is having a solid sophomore season on the LA blue line. In all, the Kings have eight players with at least 12 goals, which means they’ve got a very balanced offense that can, at times, score at will. Jonathan Quick leads the league in wins with 34, despite having the 29th best save percentage and the 20th best GAA.

Ducks @ Oilers
Sunday Feb. 14th - Pre game: 3:30pm, Puck drop: 5pm; 630 CHED

-This will be the second meeting between these two teams in a span of four days and takes the Oil into a two-week break.

Who’s hot:

Sam Gagner – The young forward had a five game point streak snapped in that shutout loss to the Avalanche but has eight points in his last nine games.

Marc Pouliot – Pouliot has only played 10 games this season and played very well in last week’s games, notching two goals and an assist.

What to watch for:

The End is near – The fact that the league breaks for two weeks after these next four games could be a factor; will the team play differently knowing they’ve got a long rest coming up?

The goaltending situation – Jeff Deslaurier seems to have taken on the role of number one goalie after splitting time with Devan Dubnyk, who has since been sent back down to Springfield. Deslaurier has allowed two or fewer goals in four of his last five games.

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