As a season ticket holder since the spring of 2006, I have allowed my un-bridled optimism to bite me in the ass too many times since that years cup run. In 07-08 I thought we were going to go deep in the play-offs. In 08-09 I thought we would make the play-offs. In 09-10, I figured we could probably stay healthy enough to compete for play-offs. And finally in 10-11 I was so exsasperted, I gave up hope.
Well… it’s now time to believe again! Last night’s win against the Washington Capitals, I think, soldified for Oilers faithful that this team can compete again. Not only did we take down an un-defeated team that came into Edmonton with a perfect 7-0 record, we did it in a fashion that was a grind-it-out style.
I won’t get into the whole Nikolai Khabbibuiln aspect as I have done that previously. Let’s just say, Khabby was off the charts again last night! Khabbibulin single-handedly saved the game last night when were out-shot 19-6 in the third period, and stood tall when it was 6 on 4 PP when we took a penalty late and Vokoun was pulled for the extra man.
Something that was suprising to hear on the radio this morning was Team1260 host Dustin Nielson catergorize tonight’s game in Colorado, as “the battle for first place in the north west.” When was the last time that you can remeber the Oilers being in the same sentence as “first in the north west?” This coming on the heels of discussing our awesome specialty teams play. Two PP goal last night, and The PK was perfect again last night. Our PK is now third best in the league behind only Pittsburgh and Buffalo with a 92.3% success rate. The PP is at 17.% which is good for 13th. Last year we wre 29th for the PK and 27th for PP. I get it’s early, but this is a huge difference so far in these two areas. Check out the beautiful goal by the kids on the PP last night
The concerning issue, is 5-on-5 scoring. we currently sit at 30th in the league for scoring at even strength according to stats on NHL.com We need to start getting some seconadry secondary scoring! If we hope to make the play-offs, (which I never thought possible until now) this has to change! Paajarvi has to start getting it done. Belanger needs to pot one or two, and Cam Barker who has had some nice shots, has not been able to bury one yet.
Hopefully we will start to see some changes to the line-up due to depth. Sam Gagner was awful last night in my opinion. Maybe that’s due to playing the wing which isn’t his natural position, or maybe because he’s still getting back to form after the recent injury he suffered. I’m curious to know how they handle that situation once ales Hemsky is healthy.
I heard (don’t know if it’s true) that Omark only has three games left before he has to clear waiver if sent down to the minors. Ff that’s true, then I hope they figure out to do with this guy soon, as I fear he’ll go back to Sweden rather then play in the AHL. If that happens, we will have lost this asset for nothing.
Devan Dubnyk gets the start tonight in Denver, let’s hope he can continue playing well after sitting.
GO Oilers GO!