Tonight’s game had the opportunity to see Bryzgalov against fellow Russian Sergei Bobrovsky but given the fine play of Devan Dubnyk of late, Dallas Eakins had little choice but to stay with his so called number one guy.
Nathan Horton, the prized free-agent that the Blue Jackets signed this summer has returned to the practice ice and is said to be close to making his Columbus debut. The former Bruin was a target for the Oilers last summer but after it was learnt that Horton wanted to play in a less scrutinized market, it’s best that he didn’t come to Edmonton. Imagine what fans and media would be saying about the ridiculous contract MacTavish would have given him only to have him out until December.
Mark Arcobello remains a scratch from the Oilers lineup and the fans are beyond puzzled by this. After last week’s quick demotion to OKC in what was deemed a paper move to recall Oscar Klefbom as an emergency defenseman (thanks to some nagging injuries on the blue line), Arcobello was recalled and told to find a permanent residence in Edmonton. In other words, if he’s here to stay, why isn’t he playing? Here’s a forward who plays bigger than his size every time he’s on the ice and despite being one of the smaller forwards on the team, he leads that group in hits. But to put him in the press box? Puzzling to say the least.
It’s no secret that Eakins wants to use his fourth line more and looking at tonight’s combination, that line has some size and grit. But can they keep up to the play in order to be effective? We’ll see.
Jesse Joensuu started the year as a promising forward who could bring some much needed size and grit to the Oilers but ever since his injury he’s been under utilized upon his return. Moving him up to the top six tonight, should the Oilers struggle early could provide a spark for the team. Not that this team ever needs a spark on home ice (just a tad of sarcasm).
Oil on Whyte prediction: Oilers win 5-3