Monday, March 22, 2010

Kerrzy's Notebook: Oilers This Week

Last week:

The Oilers went 2-2 in four games last week, snapping a five game losing streak with wins over traditional western conference powers on Friday and Sunday.

In a battle of the conference basement, the Oil fell 5-3 to the Blue Jackets on Monday and dropped a 4-2 decision to the Wild the next night. Things changed for the better on Friday though, in a 3-2 shootout win over the Red Wings which (finally) gave goalie Devan Dubnyk his first career win.

They wrapped things up with a dominant 5-1 win over the San Jose Sharks, as Dubnyk improved his record to 2-8-2.

This week:

Edmonton wraps up a four-game homestand with games against Vancouver and Anaheim before traveling to St. Louis to begin a stretch of four straight road games.

The Oilers come into this week, the third last week of the season, eleven points out of second last Toronto in the overall standings with ten games left on the schedule. Edmonton is the only team officially eliminated from playoff contention.

Canucks @ Oilers
Tuesday March 23rd - Pre game: 5:30pm, Puck drop: 7pm; 630 CHED

-The Oilers are 1-3-1 so far in five meetings with the Northwest division leading Canucks this season, heading into this final meeting between the two clubs. Since their record 14-game road trip on either side of the Olympic break, the Canucks have won three of five, with points in four of those games. So far this season Vancouver is averaging 3.27 goals per game, which is second behind only the Washington Capitals (3.93). The Sedin twins have been huge for their team so far this month, putting up 31 points between them in 11 games, and Mikael Samuelsson has also been very productive with nine goals and 13 points in nine games. Ryan Kesler is another player that has played very well following the Olympics with 12 points in 11 games. All in all, the Canucks are a dangerous team right now as they get set for a playoff run. Roberto Luongo has been solid in goal for most of the season, as he closes in on his second career 40-win campaign.

Ducks @ Oilers
Friday March 26th - Pre game: 5:30pm, Puck drop: 7pm; 630 CHED

-Coming into this week, the Anaheim Ducks sit nine points out of a playoff spot in the West, behind Detroit, Calgary and St. Louis in the battle for position. The Ducks have won four in a row though and are 2-0 this season against the Oil, including a 7-3 win in their last meeting on February 14th. Anaheim has a very potent offence with players like Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan leading the charge. Getzlaf has 69 points in 64 games and is one goal away from his fourth straight 20-goal season. Right behind him is Perry with 24 goals and 68 points, and Bobby Ryan is having a very solid second season with 31 goals, tying his career high, and 56 points in 70 games. In net, Jonas Hiller is a goalie that is capable of shutting the door on opposition players, with a 2.75 GAA and .917 save percentage in 55 games this season.

Oilers @ Blues
Sunday March 28th - Pre game: 2:30pm, Puck drop: 4pm; 630 CHED

-While the Oilers aren't battling for a playoff spot, the Blues are a team that is on the cusp and still has a shot at that eighth spot in the Western Conference. One point up on the Ducks coming into this week, St. Louis is eight points back and plays Detroit, on Wednesday which will be a big game for them if they can win it. They've lost three of their last five coming into this week though and they play six of their last 10 games at home, where they are six games under the .500 mark. The Blues are led by Andy McDonald, who has 21 goals and 47 points this season, but they've got nine players with at least 12 goals this season, which shows a bit of offensive diversity. Chris Mason gets most of the reps in goal for St. Louis and has a 21-21-8 record this season, with a 2.59 GAA and a .911 save percentage. The Blues need literally every point that's still up for grabs if they want to play beyond game number 82, so this should be hard fought game.

Who's hot:

Andrew Cogliano - The young forward hasn't had a great season, but he's been on fire lately. In the past six games, Cogliano has three goals and seven points playing with Gilbert Brule and Dustin Penner.

Dustin Penner - When Penner is hot, the Oilers have a shot. Penner also has seven points in his last six games, and combined with Brule and Cogliano, that line has 18 points in that stretch.

Aaron Johnson - The 26-year-old has five points in his last seven games and he is logging pretty serious numbers on the blue line for the Oil, who are thin on defenders right now. Johnson is playing for a job next season, and so far, is doing a great job.

What to watch for:

The Win Column - The Oil haven't been able to put together more than two consecutive wins since that five-game stretch in early December. With another two-game win streak on the go, can they make it happen?

Win and You're In - Rookie goalies Jeff Deslaurier and Devan Dubnyk have been playing until they lose for the last little while, but Head Coach Pat Quinn says that might not be the case anymore if the team strings together some more wins. For both goalies, this is their last shot of the season to show the coaching staff what they've got.

Eberle's production - Oilers prospect Jordan Eberle is putting up big numbers down in Springfield, which should be music to the ears of Oilers fans. In three games, Eberle has three goals on seven shots and six total points with a plus-three rating.

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