GDB 30.0: Three in four

Jonathan Willis
March 23 2013 12:46PM

Tonight’s game kicks off a stretch of three games in four days – the Oilers host St. Louis this evening, go to Nashville to play Monday night, and then play again on Tuesday in St. Louis. To keep up with the playoff pack, they probably need to win two of three, with tonight’s match and the Monday game representing their best chances to come away with two points.

The Standings & Action Today

Today's games:

  • San Jose @ Minnesota
  • Vancouver @ Los Angeles
  • Columbus @ Nashville
  • Colorado @ Dallas

From an Oilers’ playoff perspective, the most important game here is the one at the top of the list: a regulation loss for San Jose to the Wild would make a lot of teams happy. If cheering for the Wild to win even one game bothers the hardcore fan, feel free to spit after that sentence, so long as you aren’t in a library or something. Meanwhile, Nashville vs. Columbus is a two-edged sword; the Blue Jackets are on the precipice of the post-season but the Predators are still in the conversation. Given how few home games the Blue Jackets have left, I’d suggest a regulation win for them is probably the best case scenario here – sure they’re ahead of Nashville right now, but it’s hard to believe the other shoe isn’t about to drop.

From both a playoff perspective and a draft position perspective, a regulation win by Colorado over Dallas is the Oilers’ preferred outcome. Speaking of the latter view – both Tampa Bay and Buffalo play today; a win for both (combined with an Oilers’ loss) would move the Oilers into the eighth overall pick range, and tied in points with the team’s slated to make picks five through seven.

The magic number for the Oilers to make the playoffs entering action today (and assuming all teams maintain their current paces) is 54 points; they likely need either 12 wins and a regulation loss or 11 wins and three regulation losses in their final 19 games for a post-season berth.

The Lineup

The Oilers' official Twitter feed had the lines from the morning skate, which were as follow:

  • Hall - Horcoff - Hemsky
  • Paajarvi - Gagner - Eberle
  • Jones - Belanger - Yakupov
  • Brown - Smyth - Petrell

On defence, the same six - Smid, Petry, the Schultzes, Whitney and Fistric - will dress, while Nikolai Khabibulin gets the start in net.

Predictions

Game day prediction: St. Louis is a very good team and jump out to a two goal lead, but the Oilers fight back in the third, force overtime and ultimately win 3-2 in the shootout.

Obvious game day prediction: Nail Yakupov, who has just one goal in his last 21 games, scores both of the Oilers’ regulation goals. Asked about the goals after the game, Yakupov shrugs and says ‘We win. We scored more goals. We win.’

Not-so-obvious game day prediction: Ralph Krueger wears a bright orange blazer and borrows the green hat Don Cherry wore last week for his post-game press availability. Before anyone can ask a question, he yells ‘WHAT DID I TELL YA? DIDN’T I SAY WE COULD WIN IN THE PENALTY SHOTS? SMITTY, SHOW THEM WHAT I SAID.’ At this point a much more conservatively dressed Steve Smith, who nobody had noticed until just then, fires up a monitor and a clip from Friday’s availability of Krueger saying “We just have a lot of confidence in our penalty shooting ability” and “we believe in our ability to win in penalty shots.”

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Mikey
March 23 2013, 12:48PM
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A must win for the oil 3-2 Blues

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#2 Theoren Fleury
March 23 2013, 12:57PM
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Another huge game. 4-2 Blues

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#3 lostdog82
March 23 2013, 01:01PM
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Time to see Yak unload the russian cruise missile on the power play. Kids got a scary one timer, lets see it. Need to see this team play some desperate hockey if the playoffs are a reality. Stop with the too many pretty passes, bring on the dirty gritty goals.

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#4 Calamus
March 23 2013, 01:02PM
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Oil really need this one if they want to keep the playoff hope alive. 5-3 Blues.

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#5 DSF
March 23 2013, 01:07PM
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6-2

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#6 Håkan Loob
March 23 2013, 01:10PM
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4-3 Blues

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#7 The Soup Fascist
March 23 2013, 01:20PM
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DSF wrote:

6-2

I don't think the Oil win by four. Take off the rose coloured glasses, Dude . Oil win by 2 ..... 3 at the most. ;>)

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#8 Hayek
March 23 2013, 01:21PM
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Jonathan, do you feel Paajarvi is at risk for being relegated to bottom 6 if he has a poor game? It seems like he is on a very short leash historically with the Oilers, which I believe is undeservedly so.

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#9 dv.asteroid
March 23 2013, 01:23PM
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Need to see Yakupov in shoot out ....oil 5 st. louis 4.

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#10 vetinari
March 23 2013, 01:27PM
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Oilers sing the blues, lose 4-1...

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#11 Virtual_Xi
March 23 2013, 01:27PM
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I say the Oil get up on the Blues and probably cant keep the lead. NO! I must try to stay on the bandwagon, 4-3 Oil Regulation

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#12 DSF
March 23 2013, 01:28PM
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@The Soup Fascist

So far this season, the Blues give up a league low of 24.1 shots/game.

The Oilers give up a league high 33.6 shots/game.

This could get ugly.

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#13 The Soup Fascist
March 23 2013, 01:33PM
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DSF wrote:

So far this season, the Blues give up a league low of 24.1 shots/game.

The Oilers give up a league high 33.6 shots/game.

This could get ugly.

What, me worry?

Belanger = instant offence.

I agree though, our Corsi is going to take a beating tonight.

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#15 DSF
March 23 2013, 01:52PM
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Wild 1 Sharks 0

Parise (12) (Koivu, Suter) PP

Halfway through the second period.

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#16 Reg Dunlop
March 23 2013, 01:57PM
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What is the point of lining up Yak with Blancmanger? At best he will be a non-factor and he could easily be a liability. Still, Khabbi is due for one of his 3-times-a-year outstanding efforts. Oil shut out the Blues 2-0.

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#17 GM
March 23 2013, 02:02PM
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Lets trade the kids for draft picks, let Smid go and keep this rebuild going!

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#18 Alsker
March 23 2013, 02:09PM
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Huge game for both teams, and another chance for Oil to stand up and be recognized, that said Im still picking with my heart 3-2 for the goodguys( could be 4 points seperating 7 teams for 3 spots..awesome)

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#19 messy Eh!
March 23 2013, 02:11PM
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Oilers win 3-2 tonight. In regulation. Goals by Nuge hall and Gagner.

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#20 Butters
March 23 2013, 02:12PM
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DSF, I hope your post 5 is right(6-2 Oil we are sure you meant) and post 15. 1 goal for the Wild(spit)will be get it done.

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#21 Butters
March 23 2013, 02:14PM
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DSF, duh, just realized IT IS 1-0 for the Wild. *facepalm*

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#22 Alsker
March 23 2013, 02:16PM
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Reg Dunlop wrote:

What is the point of lining up Yak with Blancmanger? At best he will be a non-factor and he could easily be a liability. Still, Khabbi is due for one of his 3-times-a-year outstanding efforts. Oil shut out the Blues 2-0.

In all fairness to Khabbi hes had a couple of those types already and we played like the flames hoping for 0-0 after regulation, as for Mr.no-no(no goals-no desire) he has to show something in next few games if he hopes to be traded out of here,so Yak with a pair set up by "Blancmanger"

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#23 DSF
March 23 2013, 02:29PM
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Wild 2 Sharks 0

Spurgeon (4) Suter, Koivu PP

Suter keeps piling up the points.

Now 26 points in 30 games.

He's on pace for a pro-rated season of 71 points in an 82 game season.

He sure is missing Weber :)

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#24 Johe
March 23 2013, 02:46PM
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DSF wrote:

So far this season, the Blues give up a league low of 24.1 shots/game.

The Oilers give up a league high 33.6 shots/game.

This could get ugly.

This reminds me of the Saturday night game against Colorado when you predicted the Oilers to be heavily outshot and outplayed at evens. You know, the game where the Oilers had 56 shots? So your prediction gives me a good feeling about tonight.

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#26 Klima's Mullet
March 23 2013, 03:00PM
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Am I the only one excited about 91-89-14 as a line? I think they'll pop a couple tonight.

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#27 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
March 23 2013, 03:03PM
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1 solitary point over these next 4 games is my hope. Out with the deadwood, in with the new blood.

....how many sleeps till the entry draft?

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#28 DSF
March 23 2013, 03:04PM
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Wild 2 Sharks 0

Final

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#29 DSF
March 23 2013, 03:04PM
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Klima's Mullet wrote:

Am I the only one excited about 91-89-14 as a line? I think they'll pop a couple tonight.

They'll get killed defensively.

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#30 DSF
March 23 2013, 03:06PM
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Minnesota now has a 97.3% chance at making the playoffs.

Who could have seen that coming? :0

Sharks drop to 41.8%

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#31 DrDave
March 23 2013, 03:07PM
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GOILERS!! Cone on Habby!! 3-1 Oilers, Nail with a trick into the empty net!!

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#32 tom.MTL
March 23 2013, 03:14PM
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OGDP- Eberle misses an open net and immediately takes off his glove and frowns at his hand. Backes spends all game slashing and hacking Hall - no call. Jones floats around aimlessly but looks damn good doing it with his sexy hair and intense facial expressions.

4-1 Blues

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#33 Butters
March 23 2013, 03:34PM
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When the Oilers eliminate the Wild in the playoffs it is going to be SWEEEEET!

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#34 DigDeepNBleedBlue
March 23 2013, 03:36PM
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Khabibulin. What I like about this old timer is his ability to move the puck. It really helps the breakout and provides a flow for the team from the D-zone. At times he can be a bit erratic, but overall I think it helps the pace for the Oilers. JMO.

Keys to the game: Hall needs to drive the bus with the passengers willing to get on board and Khabi needs to turn water into wine. It can be done. People believe in more with less factual evidence.

Keep the faith. Oil win. What's the score? Don't care as long as it's one more for the Oil.

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#35 Sailge
March 23 2013, 03:37PM
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GDP: Oil need a win. I hope they get it. Don't have a crystal ball though.

OGDP: DSF predicts the Oil get killed just like every single game

NSOGDP: While cherry picking more stats due to his love of anything non oilers, it should be known that if we say for fun the oilers had Brodin, who had a terrible plus minus because be wouldn't have a D partner named Suter, DSF would gladly point out how he is "getting killed"

And if J Schultz was on ANY OTHER TEAM and had the same numbers he does now, we would constantly be hearing how great he is and how it's so sad we don't have him.

These are your GGFOTD. Good Grief Facts Of The Day

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#36 DSF
March 23 2013, 03:57PM
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Butters wrote:

When the Oilers eliminate the Wild in the playoffs it is going to be SWEEEEET!

What year do you expect that to be?

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#37 hmm?
March 23 2013, 03:58PM
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I always wondered what DSF stood for... DrinkSuckingFlagger?

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#38 @Oilanderp
March 23 2013, 04:05PM
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Remember that year not so long ago when the Oil won something like 18 or 19 of their last 20 games and finished 1 or 2 pts out of the playoffs?*

This is their chance to do that again, except get rewarded. It starts tonight.

*That did happen right? Did I imagine it?

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#39 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
March 23 2013, 04:10PM
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DSF wrote:

Minnesota now has a 97.3% chance at making the playoffs.

Who could have seen that coming? :0

Sharks drop to 41.8%

didnt you call conference championship contenders and 60 home playoff dates over the next 10 years?

dont start patting yourself on the back quite yet

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#40 DSF
March 23 2013, 04:14PM
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cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

didnt you call conference championship contenders and 60 home playoff dates over the next 10 years?

dont start patting yourself on the back quite yet

Certainly didn't see the dominance of the Hawks and Ducks coming...who did?

Did see the Wild rising rapidly up the standings and they have.

And the thing is they are going to get even better.

3 rookies in their lineup and another bunch getting ready on the farm.

Going to be an elite team for a very long time.

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#41 DSF
March 23 2013, 04:15PM
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@hmm?

Clever boy.

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#42 Walter Sobchak
March 23 2013, 04:17PM
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Once they lose these three games, they might as well, just trade/get rid of.

Whitney - Smid - Hemsky - Belanger - Smyth - Khabibulin - Jones - Petrel.

6 to 10 does the Oiler's no good in the draft.

If there going to miss the playoff by an inch it might as well be by a mile.

OGDP 5-2 Blues.

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#43 @Oilanderp
March 23 2013, 04:19PM
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Oh yeah, my prediction: 3-1 Oilers. Khabi plays like a sheet of freakin' plywood. Oiler bottom 6 comes through with goals from Jones and a weird one from Belanger. Eberle with the empty netter. Steen scores the lone Blues tally.

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#44 Sox and Oil
March 23 2013, 04:38PM
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Game Day Prediction - 4-3 Oil, 2 powerplay goals (Yak, Gagner) 1 Even Strength goal (Smid) and a Shorty from Magnus. Oil will be up 4-1 early in the 3rd but come away with the win only by the skin of their teeth.

Game Day Prayer - Trade Peckham and Potter or just waive them and call up VDV or claim a extra center, please stop plugging Smyth at center it looks like his legs will fall off.

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#45 NewAgeSys
March 23 2013, 04:44PM
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I would sure like to see Nuge have a breakout night, and this is as good a time as any, if Taylor or Ales can contribute with a multiple goal game then Nuge might be sparked to greatness and chip in one or two of his own goals, those two need to score to open up a wound for Nuge to pick apart.

Sam Gagner is due for a hattrick soon, his shot utilisation has been excellent, his decisions are all solid and natural so his release is fast and NHL caliber 100% of the time, he may not always have a heavy shot but he is getting it off very fast.

The real question we have to ask is how fast each of our lines can identify and exploit as a group individual weaknesses in their opposition counterparts system execution. How well will our line leaders communicate and tacticlly manage their lines system execution to be first to the punch and first to the block and recovery.

How fast can the coaches relate specificly to the line leaders adjustments they want to see out there,NOT to the entire bench but just to the leaders, and will they then trust to micro-manage on their own past that point. Our onice communication will decide each and every game from here on in, the rest of the components we need to win are in place, now the responsibility to carry the heavy weight is all on the players as a group, they only have each other to answer to now.

GDP Oilers 6-2 over the Blues

The Oilers PP goes four for six, with Hall, Gagner , Whitney and J Schultz potting goals. MPS pots one off the rush and Nuge finally gets pissed off and creates some real offense again scoring one 5 on5.

Magnus needs to sit down and watch the Abbdilcator or whatever his name is, the guy who scored a hattrick the other night, one of his goals was off of a rush where he used his size and speed to keep it to the middle and then he went wide and deep and curled back to the net from the redline and beat a premier d-man by simply useing his speed for a second longer and taking the puck to the net where it belongs ASAP, which meant just curling and goint straight there with no pass thoughts. I think Maggie has the elite speed to take it in and to the net the exact and i mean stride for stride exact same way BETTER than Abbdilcator or whatever his name is. hahaha, the d-man cant maintain speed and coverage as he is forced to turn around, the move forces the d-man to turn around and no matter how big or strong he is he will lose the battle from that spot to a man as big and strong as MPS who is now facing forward himself with superior body position.

I think this could turn out to be a prime weapon for MPS to mix it up on d-men. I like how Maggie is taking it to the net now with immediate pressure and sucessfully taking it crosscrease and dont want to see him change that, but think he is big fast and strong enough to pull off the Abbdilcator move in a sic way once or twice a game. Its a good way to beat the bigger d-men because it neutralises their size and reach and strength by forcing them to turn when they dont want to,ha ha ha. Hallsy could benefit from this, he has the speed but might not be enough of a physical presecnce to force the initial pressure down the middle which is needed first. Hemmer and Hall are similar and hemmer doesnt have the size to make the play work, he is in the exact area multiple times every game but never trys the move because he always enters the zone strong to the wing, and this play requires strong middle pressure early on the zone entry. Taylor does have the ability to create middle pressure early but its not his comfort zone. This is really more of a fastbreak finish not a set play system tactic. But it can turn games veery quickly. A superman play where you really isolate the d-man and create a true blue one-on-one. With any system this is the secondary goal right behind a numbers advantage, 1 on1s are very nice to see for a coach at the NHL level because even that is a hard ticket to buy with high level defenses. It is where a team with skill will pull ahead, the more 1 on 1s they can create the more the odds favor them to win the game. This is a good secondary tactic when systems checkmate each other and there seems to be no offense either way.

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#46 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
March 23 2013, 04:44PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Once they lose these three games, they might as well, just trade/get rid of.

Whitney - Smid - Hemsky - Belanger - Smyth - Khabibulin - Jones - Petrel.

6 to 10 does the Oiler's no good in the draft.

If there going to miss the playoff by an inch it might as well be by a mile.

OGDP 5-2 Blues.

Amen to that!

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#47 The Soup Fascist
March 23 2013, 05:12PM
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@NewAgeSys

DSF already has 6 to 2 Oilers. Sorry you will have to make a new prediction.

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#48 Coco crisp
March 23 2013, 05:23PM
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Cannot wait to watch that Belanger, Yakupov magic tonight. Literally gets me out of my seat each time their blades hit the ice. Defines chemistry.

Face. Palm.

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#49 quintana
March 23 2013, 05:28PM
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DSF wrote:

Minnesota now has a 97.3% chance at making the playoffs.

Who could have seen that coming? :0

Sharks drop to 41.8%

By next week, Oilers 53% to make the playoffs.....oh yeah Klefbom>>>>>Brodin. MPS >>>>>>Granlund.

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#50 Quintana
March 23 2013, 05:38PM
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DSF wrote:

Wild 2 Sharks 0

Spurgeon (4) Suter, Koivu PP

Suter keeps piling up the points.

Now 26 points in 30 games.

He's on pace for a pro-rated season of 71 points in an 82 game season.

He sure is missing Weber :)

yeah and hes on pace for the total of 3 goals..........

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