PREVIEW: Barons vs. San Antonio #2
Barons look to make it two in a row tonight against the Rampage
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AT THE MORNING SKATEOKLAHOMA CITY - After putting an end to a four-game losing streak (and five-game winless skid) last night against San Antonio, the Barons have a chance to put a couple of wins together when they face the Rampage again tonight in front of what's expected to be one of the largest crowds of the season in OKC.
"That's the biggest thing, just trying to repeat what we did last night. I think we did a lot of good things last night. Every line was pretty responsible defensively, we got contributions from a lot of different people," said Barons head coach Todd Nelson.
"So we want to bottle that up and bring it into tonight. We know that San Antonio is going to be better tonight as a team so that means we're going to have to be even better. We felt good about last night but that game's gone. We focused on the positive things we did last night in the meeting and hopefully the guys come out and play the same way."
Following last night's game, Jordan Eberle talked about the line shuffling and how that helped spread scoring throughout the lineup and result in the team's five-goal outburst.
"I think we had firepower throughout the line with my goal and Hallsy and Tubes scored with Greener's line out there. Any good team has depth and we definitely have that in our lineup, it's just a matter of when we're showing up every night," Eberle remarked.
"That being said, i think the power play definitely needs to be worked on. We definitely struggled even though we got one in the end. If we can figure that out that's going to be a big key."
The Barons power play went 1-for-6 last night but looked off for most of the game. The lone goal came late in the third period by Magnus Paajarvi.
"We've got to shoot more on the power play," said Paajarvi. "We can't be too cute there, too. We've still got the best power play in the league so we do have confidence there even though we just scored one last night."
OKC's power play ranks tops in the league at home at 34.7% and is also the league's best overall at 22.9%.
"If you win the even strength game you have a good chance because we know we have a good power play and our penalty kill is getting better even though the stats don't show it."
The penalty kill is second last in the league at 79.1% but has been much better of late. Where the team needs to improve is in third-period output. They have 20 goals in the third period of games this season. Quite a bit less than the 30 they have in the first period.
"It's never fun to lose. We had a bad stretch where we didn't do things right and it felt like we lost every game in a one-goal game," Paajarvi continued. "Last year we always won those games so it's something that we need to do better. We need to be better in the third period because that's where we lost all our games. We usually had the lead in every game but we lost it."
The Swedish winger felt that the shake-up of lines really contributed to the balanced scoring attack the team saw Friday night.
"They changed the lines a little bit and changed our mindset. It was a good game last night and we've just got to keep it rolling here," he said, adding that the team did a better job adapting its game to San Antonio's defensive style.
"They don't really play too much offence. They wait for our mistakes. We were trying to be cute and fancy. We can't really do that, you're not going to win games like that. We changed our mindset a bit to shoot more and be more greasy. It paid off last night and we've really got to do the same thing tonight."
The Barons have shaken up the lineup, most likely due to the three-in-three situation and a game in Houston tomorrow. Ryan Martindale and Tanner House make their way back into the lineup after lengthy absences due to injury. Marincin also draws back in with Taylor Fedun a healthy scratch on defence. Olivier Roy is also getting the start in goal.
For San Antonio, Alex Petrovic had his second game misconduct last night rescinded so he'll be able to play. Casey Wellman will also likely draw back into the lineup for the Rampage.
- Marc Ciampa, edmontonoilers.com