Saturday, October 22, 2011

Peepin' Foes: Edmonton Oilers

The Rangers walk through the west continues Saturday night in Edmonton as they take on Tom Renney's Oilers at 10 pm (MSG).

Where We Are: Shocking shape considering how the team is missing two of their top three defenders and the second line can't score. Wins over Vancouver and Calgary almost wipe away the disgrace that was the loss on the Island. Almost.

Where They Are: Edmonton is 2-2-2 but has just one win in their last five games. They ended up losing on Thursday in a shootout to Minnesota despite leading 1-0 with two seconds left in the third period. Dany Heatley tied it with two seconds left. That's good but that's not 0.5 good (or 0.1 like the Corey Perry on the Ducks).

Who To Watch For: Ole Twitchy Nikolai Khabibulin has a 0.95 GAA in three starts this season. When he gets hot, he gets hot and he was on fire a few years back when he was Tortorella's goalie in Tampa. Nowadays he backstops a young team that is paced by the last two first overall draft picks - Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (who might not play). Another youngster, Jordan Eberle, leads the team in shots with 19 in six games but is goalless, as is the overhyped Magnus Paajarvi. The kids are being tutored by the big crybaby Ryan Smyth, Capitals cast off Eric Belanger and the injury-prone pair of Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky (but, of course, Hemsky is out until November). Speaking of injuries, Ryan Whitney is still trying to get his timing back after last year's ankle surgery. Former Ranger Corey Potter is finally getting a real chance in the NHL at the expense of tough defenseman Theo Peckham, who is in Renney's doghouse.

What To Watch For: Who starts in net for the Rangers - perhaps Torts will finally come to his senses and put Marty Biron in - no use burning out Hank against Western Conference bottom feeders. Seeing as Sean Avery isn't around, the likelihood of the Oilers looking for revenge for the Ladislav Smid incident last season is slim. The Rangers' discipline level. How the Rangers fare with faceoffs - Edmonton is oddly even at 179-179 on the season.

What We'll (Hopefully) See: Ben Eager get beaten to a pulp for what happened last year when he was on the Sharks. How about someone getting the expert Andy Sutton for his pair of head-hunting hits (1, 2) on Ryan Callahan? Cally getting his own revenge with a goal or three. Dubi to break through for a few. Del Zaster not to do anything too stupid, like overhandle the puck around Hall or RNH. A game that won't go to a shootout because Linus Omark is just sick.

Also Check Out: Oilers Nation, Lowetide, SBN's Copper & Blue and Oil on Whyte.

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