Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Episode XIV: A New Hope

Edmonton (7-6-0)
at Montreal (7-3-3)

5:30 p.m. MT
Sportsnet, CHED

Alright. After a few days of stomping my feet and shaking my fists at the heavens and wishing Mick McGeough would get hit with a tanker truck full of snakes that give you testicular cancer when they bite you, I'm ready to move on from Friday night's Magoobacle.

Yes, as MacT so eloquently noted, the guy is clearly an idiot of the variety that probably puts glue in his cereal instead of milk when his wife is out of town, and clearly, his phantom hand-pass call cost the Oilers a point in the standings. But to set the blame entirely upon the referee's shoulders is,ultimately, folly. After all, maybe if the Oilers had not been outshot 14-5 in the first period or, say, gone o-5 on the power play, we wouldn't have put ourselves in a situation where the only way to salvage a point at home was to pot a hail-mary goal with five seconds left on the clock. The spectacularicity (spectacularity?) of McGeough's blunder was astonishing and its impact great, to be sure — but make no mistake: this was an Oilers loss, through and through. We dug our own grave on this one; all McGeough did was shove us in before we were actually dead.

At any rate, a nice, simple, gritty win away from home tonight would be just the thing to put all the messiness of the past week behind us and set the table for the tough week ahead. This evening's tilt against the Canadiens is the first of a whirlwind eastern road trip that will see the Oilers play five games in seven nightsm and it'll be interesting to see how Edmonton responds to the workload, as our schedule has been pretty light so far this year, with lots of breaks in between games that have kept us well rested but prevented us from maintaining much momentum. While much has been made of our woeful 1-4 road record, I'm not too pessimistic about the upcoming week; with stops in Montreal, Detroit, Columbus, St. Louis and Colorado, this trip doesn't exactly have me hiding under a pile of coats and hoping everything works out. Even if you go with the smart money and write off tomorrow's Red Wings game as a loss right now, the Oilers stand a very good chance of going 3-2, which is as good a road trip as most teams can hope for.

Despite the Habs' worrisome-looking record, a victory in the Bell Province is not at all out of the question if the Oilers play things right. As Andy points out over at BoA, MacT has been getting a little crazy with his line variations lately, and one has to wonder how smart it is to keep trying to go with the hot hand rather than to just let the lines get comfortable with one another and find their own rhythm. With just one goal and five points on the year so far, Horcoff's struggles continue to be near-Brendan Morrisonian in their grandeur. Now would be a great time to start turning things around.

The Oilers have won six of their last eight meeting with the Canadiens, and the winning trend continues. 4-2 Edmonton, with a three-point night from our ostensible No. 1 centre.


allan said...

Are you going for a Graham Hicks vibe with all the bold type?


a tanker truck full of snakes that give you testicular cancer when they bite you

Great line. I'm using it already.

allan said...

On an actually hockey-related note, I think they'll pull off a win tonight.

The 94-71-83 line looks to be one that can put a few away, without giving up too much. I've had a lot of frustrating nights already this year watching xx-71-83 dump it into the corner, then not be able to retrieve the puck. 28 did alright, but not well enough.

Rantic said...

What's it going to take to realize that if you want to win you have to work? Enough coasting up to the blue line to get the puck stick-checked back to the neutral zone. Is 14 paid to hit or to return to the bench in frustration? Why are all our eggs on the 94-71-83 line? 94 busts his butt and everyone else thinks that that's a team effort? The last two losses were practically identical in the larger sense, we simply need to be the better team again. It's not a friggin' mystery.

Jordi said...

Oil will win. I said so. And that there's a crappy rookie on the first line without any points. He's more likely to just try checking every single thing he sees.