- Dion Phaneuf – Is it Possible he’ll be an Oiler?
- Oilers Gameday – Vs. Flames
- Is Jake Gardiner A Fit In Edmonton?
- Loyalty Poll
- Oilers Gameday – Vs. Avalanche
- Taylor Hall – Breaking Bad?
- Disaster In The D-Zone
- Making The Grade…David Perron
- Making The Grade – Devan Dubnyk
- It’s All About the Benja…er…Bordens?
Edmonton Oilers Preview Game 3…Is The Season Lost?
- Updated: October 7, 2013
According to the reaction of some fans out there, you may think that. Just refreshing twitter at any point during the Oilers loss to the Vancouver Canucks wouldn’t provide any sort of comfort either. The Oilers have played two games, and have yet to score a point in the standings. In game one, The Oilers blew a 4-2 lead to the Winnipeg Jets, and in game 2, Devan Dubnyk was chased to the bench after facing 33 shots and letting in 5 before the end of the 2nd period. Although the goaltending has been suspect to say the least, the entire roster has had their share of shortcomings. Dallas Eakins has been critical of the compete level of top players and secondary alike, and with good reason. If the Oilers want to have a chance to beat the Devils tonight, they are going to have to do it behind the play of the leaders in the locker room.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Makes His Return
Tonight, The Nuge will take the ice for the first time since undergoing shoulder surgery towards the end of last season. He has been practicing with the team in a physical role, and seems to be feeling up to if not right at, 100 percent. The first key to tonight’s game will be for RNH and the top 3 to generate offense alongside some familiar line-mates in Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle.
Taylor Hall Goes Back To The Wing
After a decent performance at the center position, Taylor Hall may have found a new aspect to his game, but the experiment has been put on hold for now. Dallas Eakins clearly wants to see what he can do with the same line that showed flashes of greatness last season, as well as the minors during the NHL lockout. Taylor Hall shifts back to his natural position at the left side wing, and Oilers fans get a chance to see the player that many considered to be the best Left Wing in the NHL, just a season ago, for the first time this year.
Jason LaBarbera Draws His First Start In The Orange And Blue
Tonight, we will see the response to what has been a poor showing from starting goaltender, Devan Dubnyk in his backup, and replacement for the evening, Jason LaBarbera. LaBarbera came in during Saturday night’s loss to the Canucks in relief of a struggling Devan Dubnyk and stopped everything that came his way. If I had to assess the decision to put in number 1, I wouldn’t think much of it. It has been common knowledge for quite some time now that Dubnyk is the starter of this team, and even after a couple of tough showings, that will not have changed in anyone’s mind two games in, nor should it.
Ryan Smyth A Healthy Scratch
There were many players involved in the last two games, that could be at fault for poor showings, so to say that Ryan Smyth is the number one reason for the 0-2 record is ridiculous. Having said that, he hasn’t been playing at the pace required to have the bounce back season he wanted at the start of training camp. Dallas Eakins is giving him the opportunity to watch his team from the press box tonight, as Ryan Hamilton, gets the call-up and start on the 3rd line.
Solid 4th Line Play
In all of the press conferences since the start of the season, one thing has remained constant to Head Coach, Dallas Eakins. The Oilers 4th line consisting of Mike Brown – Wil Acton – Luke Gazdic, has been thorough in their compete level, and have been playing in their roles extremely well. After Saturday night’s loss to Vancouver, Eakins mentioned that the 4th line should have had more time. Expect them to get it against the Devils tonight.
Oilers Lineup Tonight, Should Look Something Like This
Taylor Hall – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Jordan Eberle
David Perron – Boyd Gordon – Ales Hemsky
Ryan Hamilton – Marc Arcobello – Nail Yakupov
Mike Brown – Will Acton – Luke Gazdic
Ladislav Smid – Jeff Petry
Andrew Ference/Brandon Davidson -Justin Schultz
Nick Schultz – Anton Belov
The Bottom Line
The Oilers have to play better all around, if they want to beat the Devils at Rexall tonight. There are some players that could look to improve more than others, but overall there needs to be more of a synergy to every shift. Dallas Eakins is looking for players to abandon old habits and adopt new ones, otherwise they won’t see the ice, just ask 94. If Ryan Smyth is in the press box tonight, who will be looking to avoid taking his spot in the near future.
Feel Free To Disagree With Me On Twitter @Jthompson2380