And Then There Were 23: Oilers @ Lightning

I gave Hank the Family Day weekend off, and Garth quite literally obliterated me Saturday night, meaning there was no Morning After Blog for the Hawks game. So before we get started, the MOP from Saturday was obviously Talbot, and the Gator’s Grinder was Matty Vegas for laying four hits and firing his third of the year right off TVR.

Now then, nice to see the schedule makers give our boys a pregame warm up tonight before taking on my arch rivals tomorrow. That Chicago win gave the boys 72 points for just the second time since 2009 (74, 2011/2012). A win tonight could tie us with the best record we’ve had in eight seasons of hockey. What a goddamn time to be alive.

Lineup

Some notably huge changes tonight. First, Russell has returned from whatever it was that was ailing him. Baby-face Gryba comes out.

Next, and obviously the biggest story of the day, is that LB is getting the nod in tonight’s potentially historic game. On a personal level, I love this move—means Iceman cometh against the Enron Panthers. But with the deadline approaching, we need to have an understanding of the backup position heading into the most important stretch we’ve faced since 2006. Talbot’s played all but six games this year. We need to get LB some starts. Since being recalled on Black Monday, the kid’s only started one game. That’s one start in 42 days of hockey. Terrible way to develop a player. I get that Gustavsson slide faster than a trip down the Sky Screamer but if Cam’s going to play all but one game in a month and a half then el Monster might as well be the one that’s up here rotting on the pine.

Tonight’s Opponent

Tampa Bay Lightning

 

Why They Stink

Tampa Bay? America’s septic tank? A city so terrible their baseball team is actually willing to move to Canada instead. Unless it’s hockey, it has to be a cataclysmic event for an American sports franchise to move up north. It’s never happened in the history of every major North American sport. This is because Tampa Bay is not a viable city. It’s a city filled with tax evading seniors and WWE fans and the worst beach bros in America and reptiles and vacant strip malls and Hulk Hogan.

Meanwhile, on the ice, future Flame Ben Bishop has let in one thousand goals, Stamkos hasn’t played since November and he’s still two points back of 8th in team scoring, Brian Boyle is their big deadline seller piece, alleged rapist and definite crabcake theif Jameis Winston loves the team:

Slater Koekkoek felt entitled enough to be livid about a demotion, Jonathan Drouin has demanded 13 trades, they’re practically begging Vegas to take anybody, and they still have banners of all the goddamn NHL teams hanging from their rafters:

Could you imagine if Daryl did that in the Rog Mahal? I’d boycott home games.

Why Their Fans Stink

Well, in 2015 they had a fan arrested for sneaking a gun into their arena:

27-year-old Lucas Cassidy from St. Petersburg, is facing a second degree misdemeanor charge and was given a notice to appear in court. Police said he had a concealed weapons permit. If he had not had a permit he may have been facing a felony charge.

Oh, if he didn’t have his weapon permit on him, he would have faced some serious charges. Instead, it was only a misdemeanor. Thank god for that permit. ‘Merica!

Which Lightning Player Stinks

Can somebody please tell me what Alex Killorn did to deserve a seven years and $31-million? Somewhere, in between all those 40 point seasons, Yzerman decided it was appropriate to unload the Brink’s truck for a guy that’s never scored 20 goals or eclipsed 41 points. He’ll be 34 in the final year of that atrocious deal.

Why They Might Not Stink

Body. Bags:

The Roundup

ARIZONA!!!!!!!!

In their last eight games, the ‘Yotes have now beat San Jose, Calgary, LA, and now Anaheim. All the while, they sat back and straight up took it against us. I never thought I’d say this, but I’m so damn happy the Arizona Coyotes exist.

Arizona’s recent pummeling of the Pacific Division has given the Oilers so much hope. We now have a game in hand on Saint Joseph for the first time in basically all year, and sit a marginal five points back of them for the division lead. We also have two games in hand on Anaheim, and are tied with them at 72 points. Realistically, we’re about 12 or 13 wins away from clinching a playoff spot. That means only playing .500 hockey between now and the final game of the year. I know that Edmonton is the city of skepticism thanks to a decade of futility but my god we actually might not fuck this one up (knocks wood, knocks every piece of wood that’s ever existed). My theory behind the Rog behind so obnoxiously silent is centred around the entire fan base waiting for this team to implode at any point without notice. Well it hasn’t happened yet, and we’re only 23 games away from the first finish line. With the playoffs being a quarter of the season away, Oil games are about to get louder than Garth dropping “Friends in Low Places” on a Saturday night.

Oh, and Tampa Bay is actually so much suck. Naturally beat them.

Prediction

Three’s a fluke, four’s a streak. 6-4 Oil. Oilers record moves to something ridiculous like 8-0-1 without Pou in the lineup. Connor’s point streak hits five games. He’s also three away from 70 so that’s what he gets. I also think 11 Oilers are getting at least a point tonight. Puck drop’s at 5:30. We’re officially beyond the 7th inning stretch, Edmonton. It’s almost time for this again:

 


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