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NEW YORK ISLANDERS (12-24-4) at
EDMONTON OILERS (18-16-3)
Start Time: 7:38 p.m. MST
Television: Rogers Sportsnet West (HD)
Radio: 630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com.Today's Game Notes | Oilers/Islanders Head-to-Head | Stats Comparison LINEUP UPDATE: Shawn Horcoff (back spasms) will be a game-time decision. Marc Pouliot (concussion) is also a game-time decision. Dwayne Roloson gets the start in goal tonight. by Nick Conrad | edmontonoilers.com
2009 has been all roses for the Edmonton Oilers so far even though the year is only five days in.
Their first game of the year was as complete a victory as one could wish for: 38 saves from Dwayne Roloson, three points from the back end including an NHL-tying 12th goal by defenceman Sheldon Souray, four points from the top line, production from both the second and third lines and two fights and numerous hits from the fourth line.
Not to mention that as Edmonton was starting their game, Oilers number one draft pick, Jordan Eberle, was cementing himself in Canadian hockey history with his last-second heroics in the World Junior semi-finals.
Tonight, the Oilers (18-16-3) will have a prime chance to extend 2009’s good graces when they face the Eastern Conference’s bottom-dwelling New York Islanders (12-24-4) in the second game of a five-game homestand.
The Islanders—who have two former Oiler fan favourites in Bill Guerin and Doug Weight, and one former Oiler who fans love to hate in Mike Comrie—have a league-low 28 points and are second only to the Tampa Bay Lighting for fewest wins with 12.
The Islanders come into Rexall Place on a two-game losing streak and have lost of their last 14 of their 16 games.
The Oilers and Islanders last faced off on Jan. 7, 2008 when Edmonton shut out New York 4-0. Tonight’s game is the first and only meeting between the Islanders and Oilers this season. The Oilers are 17-8-5-0 versus the Islanders at home and 24-23-14-1 all-time.
Edmonton is tied with three teams at 39 points, one point behind Columbus for eighth spot in the West and will next face Vancouver on Wednesday, Jan. 7.
Just The Facts...
Bob Stauffer & Louie DeBrusk preview tonight's game Pre-game comments from Steve Staios, Sheldon Souray, Marc Pouliot & Craig MacTavish Doug Weight, Bill Guerin and Mike Comrie reflect on their time with the Oilers Pre-Game Audio...
Team White wins Skills Competition - Although Team Orange's Sheldon Souray registered the hardest shot in Oilers Skills Competition history with a 106.7mph slapper, White goalie Dwayne Roloson dominated the shootout and 3-on-3 to help his team win 18-16. ...more
The Other Side - news from newyorkislanders.com
Next Stop: Edmonton - Islanders four-game road trip continues against the Oilers tonight at 9:30 pm; Radio: 94.3 WMJC; TV: MSG Plus ...more NYI Weekly Prospect Watch - Sweden moves into the Gold Medal Game; Russia loses in a shootout to Canada in the other semifinal; Finland avoids relegation as Niemi scores; US takes fifth place ...more Weight gets 1000th point! - Veteran is just eighth American-born player to reach milestone ...more
From the Fans
Click here to read today's gameday thread on the Oilers message board.
Odds and Ends
5 Questions with Ladislav Smid - Ever wonder which sport Ladislav Smid would play professionally if hockey wasn't an option? The young Oilers defenceman answers that question and four more. ...more Oilers' Eberle puts Canada in WJC final - Oilers first round pick Jordan Eberle scored a pair of goals for Canada during regulation time, including one with five seconds left to tie things up and again in the shootout to lift his country to the Gold Medal Game with a 6-5 win. ...more Gilbert's Blog: Happy New Year - Now that I’m back into the regular routine I guess I’d better start the New Year off right with an excellent blog. Thanks for all your Christmas wishes and I hope you all had a good holiday. ...more
From the Wire (AP)
With three wins in their last four home games, the Edmonton Oilers are feeling better about their play at Rexall Place.
It would be hard for the New York Islanders to feel any worse about their recent run on the road.
The woeful Islanders will look to avoid a 13th consecutive road loss when they continue their four-game trip on Monday in Edmonton, where the Oilers are trying to build on one of their best performances of the season.
Even for the team that is currently occupying the bottom spot in the NHL standings, New York's current road skid has been notable, with the club going 0-11-1 off of Long Island since a 4-3 shootout win in Montreal on Nov. 24.
The Islanders (12-24-4) have been outscored 55-27 during the slide, giving up five goals in each of their last three losses, including defeats in Phoenix and San Jose to open their current trip. If they lose Monday and at Calgary on Thursday, they would move within one loss of matching the franchise-worst 15-game road skid, set during the 1972-73 season.
New York fell behind quickly against the NHL-leading Sharks on Saturday, getting outshot 16-4 and outscored 2-0 in the first period of a 5-3 loss. Coach Scott Gordon's club battled back to within a goal late, but still fell to 2-12-2 overall since the beginning of December.
"There's no shame losing to that team. They controlled the puck and it's hard to get the puck from them," Gordon said. "On the plus side we were able to get more pucks to the net after the first period. The third period we played a lot better as compared to the first two, but again we came up short."
The Islanders were outshot 47-24 in the game, as goalie Joey MacDonald made 42 saves but lost for the 12th time in his last 13 starts. It's unclear if MacDonald or oft-injured veteran Rick DiPietro will be in net on Monday, after DiPietro returned from a groin injury in Friday's 5-4 loss to the Coyotes.
One of them will face an Edmonton (18-16-3) club coming off an impressive 4-1 win over Dallas on Saturday.
Dwayne Roloson made 38 saves, Sheldon Souray scored the game-winner and added an assist and Edmonton's penalty kill - ranked 28th at 74.4 percent - held Dallas without a goal in five power play chances.
"Everybody can feel good about that game," Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said. "We haven't had a lot of those this year where everybody walks away from the rink feeling good about themselves."
That's been especially true at home, where the Oilers started 4-5-3 and lost five straight at one point, but they've now won three of their last four at Rexall Place. Saturday's game was the first of five straight at home.
"This is a key stretch of games for us to start building something and put some wins together," forward Erik Cole said. "We need to come out every night and show the same kind of enthusiasm that we showed (Saturday)."
Cole, initially a disappointment after the Oilers acquired him in a trade this summer, appears to be heating up with three goals and three assists in his last four games.
Edmonton had lost six straight against the Islanders before the teams' most recent meeting, a 4-0 Oilers' home win on Jan. 7, 2008. Mathieu Garon made 35 saves, but Roloson could be in net Monday after going 7-2-1 with a 2.09 goals-against average in his last 10 starts.
|Jan 05 '09||NYI 2 at EDM 3||A. Cogliano|