I have some really good vibes about this game! We just came off a huge comeback win where we outshot the other team 18000:1 and Dubnyk is looking for redemption. If we can come on strong and shoot lots, I believe we'll be able to triumph over the Kings!
My prediction: 3-2 Oilers (Eberle, Yakupov, Hemsky)
Really happy that 91 gets a chance on the second line. I hope he takes the opportunity and runs with it.
I'm a Paajarvi fan but where is he going to run with it? Hall, Eberle, Hemsky, and Nail are all better offensively than Magnus. At best he pans out and makes Hemsky a little easier to move, IMO if he stays with us most of his career will be as a bottom 6 forward.
__________________ Treat Others As You Would Like To Be Treated
That just about sums up what I think of the roster setup.
Belanger is a vacuum for everything that is offence. Yakupov is pure offence.
Belanger is the only player on the active roster with a respectable face off win percentage. He has a role to play, and it usually starts in the defensive zone. Players play their position, and on a well functioning team - or unit - they understand this role. Fickle fans on these boards yell for role players and then are critical if/when they get them. Belanger is very good at what he does, and on the Oilers Belanger's skill set is golden (that is, with top two centers like Gagner and Nugent-Hopkins - the latter of the two, I have to admit, is improving, as he should).
That being said, I don't really agree with Yakupov on the third line either, I would rather see a defensively sound player like Paajarvi on the third line doing what a third liner should be doing (I am a traditionalist, I still believe each line has a well defined role to play if the team is going to be successful). I also hate all this line juggling... I am no hockey coach, but I question how chemistry can be expected to form when 3/4 of the forwards are asked to play with a different line dynamic/combination, seemingly, each and every game. I will trust in Krueger on this however. He is the coach and I am just some person posting on HF boards, which I assure you he isn't reading looking for line suggestions.
Calvinguy predicts 'our' face off win percentage is going to be somewhere around 30%-40%, and I agree (if 'we' are lucky) and suggest that most of the struggles we are going to see on the dot will come in the King's zone. Belanger will do what he does, and even against a formidable row of centers he will finish the game with a respectable win %. 'Our' first and especially second line however will probably lose a lot more than they win, giving the King's possession of the puck in their own end and necessitating the Oil regaining entry into the King's zone. It will be a challenge, and hopefully one the Oil is up for. It has been a struggle in past games. Kudos to them if they can overcome a very real hurdle and win... it could be every bit the character/experience building sort of game that the come back of the last game was. And 'we' need a winning streak and the points that come with it. I want the Oil to be buyers (even minor buyers) at the deadline, meaning that I am wanting playoff hockey... even though 'we' are rebuilding. And for what it is worth, if the Oil are in the playoff hunt 'you' will not see Belanger traded - unless he has requested a trade.
Go Oil! I want to say 5-2 Oil, with an empty netter. And a certain player will get an assist on that empty netter, and people will be arguing for his value, saying: "Look he 'scored' in another game, how can you say he isn't a capable 2nd line center?" Okay, admittedly, now I am just being an @$$ (and a little facetious).
I want to say 5-2 Oil, what I am expecting is a low scoring affair that could go either way. The Oil's saving grace may be that Krueger should be getting the line matchups he wants.
Last edited by longtimeoilfan: 02-19-2013 at 08:49 AM.