Three games on the road this week in Oil Country with the squad beating the formidable Hawks, laying an egg against one team in Florida, and beating the other one after a coach’s call-out. Was it deserved? Craig and Brent dig deep into this abbreviated week in Oilers hockey and play another round of predictions with a game that has gone on far too long, Predicsh! Seriously. It’s been a really dumb joke.
We predicsh a good time!
Predicsh Score: Chicago 3 Oilers 1
Actual Score: Oilers 3 Chicago 1
Craig Douglas: I am happy to have been wrong about this one. The Oilers were looking to take advantage of their opponents coming off their bye week. As we’ve seen this year, teams tend to be pretty awful when they take five consecutive days off in the middle of a six month grind. It didn’t exactly work out like that, but it worked out just great on the scoreboard and standings! Chicago came out flying and stormed the Oiler end of the ice with shots all game long, but a certain amazing goalie wasn’t giving up a thing. It’s fairly rare for one team to get outplayed this badly and still come away with a clear win, but the good teams do it once or twice a year, and the Oil accomplished that tonight. Outshot 39-22 and out worked on the face-off circle 31-17 (35%) they probably didn’t deserve to gain two points – but tough shit Chicago. It wasn’t all bad though, for all the negatives I just outlined, the Oil eventually asserted themselves and won the game through special teams and physicality. Gryba, Hendo, and the rest of the big guys bigged it up all night, out hitting the Blackhawks and creating some room, and with the penalty killing going 3/3 and a slightly fluky power play goal courtesy of Benning (who had an excellent game) that’s all the Oil needed for a W. All that and just a cool 38 saves from our Vezina caliber goalie.
Brent Oliver: I’ll echo Craig here and say the Oilers stole this one. Back in the old days, the Oilers were always the team to let a visitor into their rink and steal a game after a lackluster effort.. It’s finally time for our team to be lackluster and win! Seriously though – a playoff caliber team is one that has off nights and still wins.
Predicsh Score: Oilers 4 Lightning 1
Actual Score: Lightning 4 Oilers 1
CD: Can you get any more wrong than predicting the correct score but getting the teams incorrect? Nope, you sure can’t. Let’s do some more predicting since I’m so good at it, and also because I don’t wish to dissect this lousy game. I don’t want to write about this lackluster loss to the Lightning at all except to say that the offside challenge can really just go fudge itself.
Feb 24 vs WSH
Careful not to run into the gross president. I don’t know, maybe an OTL?
Final score: Washington 4 Oilers 3 (OT)
Feb 26 vs SMASHVILLE
They smash Smash in Smashville.
Final score: Oilers 4 Smashville 2
FEB 28 vs STL
Coming home on a high note. Get it? High note, because it’s the St. Louis Blues? Never mind.
Final score: Oilers 5 St. Louis 4
BO: As for my dumb predictions, I’ll go with a 1-1-1 week. All three of these teams are excellent, with the exception of St Louis and their dodgy goaltending. So, OT loss in Trump Town, Loss in Smashville and Win in Archville.
I would however like to focus on the ever impending doom of the trade deadline, and the clear need for a veteran backup goalie. As much as I want to like Brossoit, it’s just not working. You need a confident, veteran backup that not only makes the saves he’s supposed to make (Brossoit didn’t) but also instill confidence in the rest of the team. That, and the heaven-forbid scenario that shall not be named that rhymes with what happened to “Wayne Moloson”. I’m putting in the call for Michal Neuvirth out of the Flyers. They’re a garbage team and he’s been thrust into the “you have to start now” scenario in the past with some success. Heck, maybe the Oilers would even lend him an “e” for his first name as part of the deal!
Predicsh Score: Oilers 3 Panthers 2
Actual Score: Oilers 4 Panthers 3
CD: Close enough, phew! While it’s too bad that the Oil could not have given their backup goalie a similar effort during the previous game, at least they managed to take down one of the teams from the Garbage State. The first period wound down with the good guys having given an appreciable effort, but twenty seconds into the second and the uneasiness began. The duration of the game was an endless cycle of the Oilers getting a one goal lead, holding it briefly, and winding up tied. Throughout the scoring, a theme persisted, that Florida would quickly tie the game and then an Oiler defenseman would score and get the lead back. Kris Russell scored his first of the year to make it 4-3 with just eight minutes to play, and we all spent those eight minutes nervously waiting for the other shoe to fall. Instead they managed to squeak out of the Garbage State with two points. Both games were pretty far from their best effort and no one really stood out as being particularly good, but that’s what better teams are able to do. They got away with a win when it could have easily gone the other way. During a time when fans and media have been complaining (mostly justly) that the team only ever gets goals from one offensive line, it was nice to see them get goals from other sources exclusively.
BO: Continuing on the dog pile on the State of Florida (seriously, what the hell is wrong with you people?), the second of back to back games had the Oilers hustling a lot more than their last two games. Maybe it was Coach Todd’s calling the team out after the Tampa Bay debacle… maybe, they just wanted to get out of that backwards hillbilly state and their miles and miles of fans dressed as empty seats. Either way, the Oil pulled another one out of their ass with a decent effort and balanced scoring. Speaking of which, I think we’re at the point of the season that Kris Russell can be holy praised as the unsung MVP this year. A 5th or 6th defenceman putting up 3rd D minutes and steadying a young core and even adding a goal.
Thanks for the D-man Calgary! Idiots.
The Oil continue on the road because apparently Edmonton’s taste in music is as bad as Florida’s taste in politics. Brent celebrates his 42nd birthday in between stints in Washington and Nashville with the road trip wrapping next week in St. Louis. Can the Oilers maintain their spot while continuing to pull games out of their ass? What will happen at the trade deadline? Goalie? Forward? 2nd line defence? And finally, can Rogers Place get the smell of bad decisions and stale beer out of the place before the Oilers return next Saturday against Detroit?
See you next week, In The Box.