At this point, anything is possible. I for one am glad the Oilers are on the road. Hopefully, the time away in a less pressurized environment will help those that need it most, focus and find their game. I can just imagine the treatment the team, and a few specific players, would have received from the Oiler faithful if they were playing at home tonight.
Saturday’s loss had to be deflating. For the most part, the team competed hard. Offensively, the team played well. Defensively, things are still a work in progress. In the past, after a loss such as Saturday’s, the team’s emotion and energy would have been filed away for a few games. Tonight, we will get a chance to see if Eakins has begun to change any of that previous culture. If this team is going to be successful they are going to have to leave the emotional baggage of previous games behind them. You hear the mantra over and over in professional sports that one shouldn’t get too high with the highs or too low with the lows. If you are looking solely at emotion and energy I have never understood why you wouldn’t want to run with the highs, understanding that you still play intelligently and within your team systems. If you experience a low, like Saturday’s game, review the mistakes; drop the emotional attachment and re-amp for the next challenge.
Tonight’s line-up appears to be the same as Saturday night’s expect for the tender position. Enough said there! Yakupov remains a healthy scratch. I would guess that Eakins has yet to find what makes Yakupov tick so he is trying something different. Yes, Yakupov is more skilled than others playing tonight but one could successfully argue that he appears to be playing his own game as opposed to the team game plan. Hopefully things work out soon.
As for tonight, Edmonton will benefit from a few timely bounces and win this one in OT.