EDMONTON -- When a team that’s 7-2-1 in its last 10 games meets a team that’s 2-7-1 in its last 10 games, the results should be predictable.
But every underdog has his day and head coach Tom Renney is hoping that day is today for the woebegone Edmonton Oilers.
“Whatever we have in the lineup with a semblance of size and strength needs to be used,” said Renney in preparing his side for the powerful Dallas Stars, who roll into Edmonton with 25 more points in the standings (not easy when the season is only 47 games old). “Just be ready to battle, be pro-active.”
The Oilers gave Dallas a good scare when they met last week, tying it 2-2 in the third period before giving up the winner in a 3-2 loss. Another night like that, minus falling behind 2-0, and he thinks they might able to pen a different result.
“That’s part of the starts thing,” said Renney, whose club is notorious for falling behind early. “We’re a good team when we go after it. I don’t think we can allow them to establish their game early. We have to make sure we measure up right away, don’t allow them to get too comfortable too early.”
Renney is counting on his fourth line, not just the skill guys, to help establish the tone.
“There’s no question you have to give your opponent an opportunity to see you coming at them,” said Renney. “We have to make sure their heavy lifters don’t influence the game the way they possibly could, which means we have to be pro-active with our energy and our physical game.”
The last game ended with some fireworks and harsh words, but whether it spills into tonight’s tilt at Rexall remains to be seen.
“Truth be told, most of the time when the past game is really ugly like the one we just had, the next game usually isn’t near what everybody thinks it’s going to be,” said Theo Peckham, at the centre of the last storm. “I’m going to go and try and do the same thing every night. Both teams have a lot of guys who like to play that way so we’ll see how it goes.”