Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Pre-Cap: Capitals vs. Oilers

Upon looking at the Western Conference standings, it's easy to write the Oilers off as "just another lottery team," but look closer. What you'll see is the disparity between the two conferences. The Eastern Conference realistically has 10 teams in the playoff hunt at midseason, while the Western Conference has 14 teams vying for a slot.

That's why the standings make this Oilers team look worse than it is. Sitting at 11th in the Western Conference, the Oilers come into this game 6-4 in their last 10. The Oilers don't sport a lineup of superstar talents you know on a first-name basis, but they do have a collection of players worth looking out for in Eric Cole, Sheldon Souray and Ales Hemsky.

After a serving of humble-pie from the Blue Jackets and then fumbling away a point in Montreal, the last thing the Capitals can do is look past the Oilers in anticipation of their bout with Pittsburgh.

Washington Capitals (27-13-3 57 pts, first in SE, second in EC, last game 5-4 loss to Montreal)
Edmonton Oilers (20-18-3 43 pts, fifth in NW, 11th in WC, last game 2-1 win over St. Louis)

The Achilles Heel
For the Oilers, it's been their penalty kill. Currently ranked 28th with a 74.9% average, the Capitals will need to exploit this mismatch if they want to win. This could be an issue for Edmonton, which averages 15.5 penalty minutes a game and will likely give the Capitals plenty of oppurtunities to ignite their power play.

Offensively challenged?
The Capitals have the luxury of being one of the best teams in terms of first period scoring. With 44 goals, they sit at fourth in the NHL, they dip down with 39 total goals in the second period, and 51 total goals in the third. Now look at the Edmonton Oilers' stats. Twenty-eight totals goals in the first period, 46 total goals in the second and 36 total goals in the third. For the Oilers, the challenge will be to not let the Capitals run away with the game early but, for the Capitals, that's the name of their game.

No play for Jose?
As of writing this, the starting goalies have not been announced. With Pittsburgh looming on Wednesday, it's safe to say whoever starts against the Oilers will likely not start against the Penguins. Jose Theodore may want to skip a date with the Oilers; his career marksagainst them is 5-9 with a 3.69 GAA.

Not so photogenic
The camera doesn't love the Oilers and Ales Hemsky apparently.

This is why you shouldn't teach your kids how to video-blog
This child's perspective on the Oilers is innocent, unique and, most of all, obnoxious. Children really are our future.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Technorati Profile