GDB 7.0: IT DOESN'T GET EASIER

Jason Gregor
October 15 2013 11:59AM

Usually Oiler fans would be excited to watch the best player in the game, but the thought of Sidney Crosby shooting on Devan Dubnyk is frightening. The Pens are 3-0 at home and they've outscored the opposition 12-3. The Penguins skated into Florida last Friday and got waxed 6-3 by the Panthers, so don't expect the Penguins to take the struggling Oilers lightly.

Crosby is rolling with 5 goals and 9 points in 5 games. He is likely licking his chops in anticipation of facing the Oilers and their 4.83 GAA.

The great part about sports is that anything can happen. Most would predict an Oiler loss tonight, but once the puck drops anything can happen.

Maybe Devan Dubnyk suddenly finds his game. Stop chuckling, it is possible.

Maybe the Oilers stop turning the puck over at the offensive blueline, and chip it deep.

Maybe their PK gets some timely saves and some sticks in the lanes to break up passes.

Maybe Nail Yakupov shows Dallas Eakins he got the message and pots two goals.

Maybe the Oilers finally understand all the nuances of Eakins new system and play a sound defensive game.

They might need all of these maybes to happen in order to win, but if the Penguins can lose 6-3 to the Panthers the Oilers have a shot.

LINEUP

The Oilers didn't have a morning skate, but we will see some lineup changes.

Jesse Joensuu has been sent back to Edmonton to get an undisclosed injury looked at.

Ryan Jones was recalled from OKC, while Philip Larsen was sent down.

Yakupov will return to the lineup.

I'm guessing Jones will play on the 4th line in place of either Luke Gazdic or Mike Brown. Brown leads the team in hits, but isn't doing anything offensively. Gazdic is tougher, and he's been physical. Eakins believes you need to wear down the opposition physically, so maybe Brown stays while Gazdic sits. Pittsburgh doesn't have a bonafide heavyweight so Eakins could put Brown with Jones and hope they create something on the forecheck.

The top-nine could have numerous options. These are the top-nine forwards, but we likely won't know the lines until later today. This is what I would do:

LW                         C                       RW
Hall                    RNH                   Yakupov
Perron               Arcobello           Eberle
Smyth               Gordon               Hemsky
Jones                Acton                  Brown

It is a major risk to put Yakupov with RNH and Hall, because they've given up a lot of chances lately, but I'd still look at it.

Eberle and Perron had good chemistry in camp, and Arcobello seems to fit in well with Eberle.

You could go with a veteran line of Gordon, Smyth and Hemsky. Hemsky and Smyth know how to play with one another, and they should be reliable enough defensively.

Ultimately, I don't think it matters who plays with whom. Collectively the forwards need to be better away from the puck. Most of the guys are producing, and once Yakupov finds his offence this group will be fine. The key is which trio can find some defensive chemistry.

The blueline is struggling. J.Schultz looks lost, but he's only played 54 NHL games and he wasn't heralded as a defensive dynamo when they signed him. He will calm down and make smarter plays. Belov has been okay, but this team lacks a true top-pairing defender. Until they get one, they need their forwards to help them defensively. It is a must for this team to be competitive.

LOOKING AHEAD...

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Hard to believe the Oilers can pull out a victory. They lose 3-2, but don't give up four goals for the first time all season. That will be a moral victory.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Crosby scores a PP goal in the first period.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Gordon scored 4 goals in 48 games last year, but he already has 4 this year. Craig Adams scored 3 goals in 48 games last year, but he already has 3 goals in 5 games. Gordon leads the Oilers in goals, while Adams is 2nd on the Penguins. Both of them continue their surprising starts and pick up a goal each. Both of them will score career highs in goals this season.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

 

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 Quicksilver ballet
October 15 2013, 12:12PM
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It know being 5 games into the season may be a little soon to be concerned, but, there's little doubt that 4 or 5 pts could make a world of difference come April with this team. If that number gets to double digits, it could be lights out time in November.

5-2 Oilers on WTF night.

NSOGDP...Yakupov takes his hat trick puck and tosses it at Eakins, cutting him for 8 stitches.

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#2 Romulus' Apotheosis
October 15 2013, 12:12PM
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"Maybe the Oilers stop turning the puck over at the offensive blueline, and chip it deep."

Like the former, not so much the latter. So far this season, the Oil have been much better at skating and passing out of the zone with possession. Excepting a few massive blunders (see Smid last night on the 4x4), this is best medicine and the numbers reflect that it's been working (for the most part).

The guy has a hilarious name, it's fun to say and I've gotten confused about its spelling more than once... finally looked it up... it's spelled GAZDIC.

http://oilers.nhl.com/club/player.htm?id=8473989

I'll still probably get it wrong, though.

I think tonight we see a repeat of the Van game. You can't outplay all the other teams and our team (as vastly improved as it is) is still only average to slightly above average. We're going to take a pounding on occasion and tonight's the night.

I'd expect us to get massively outshot and the goaltending to continue to suffer. Suddenly everyone pretending corsi isn't real will be quoting it to prove how bad we are.

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#3 Alsker
October 15 2013, 12:12PM
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GAME DAY PREDICTION: Hard to believe the Oilers can pull out a victory. They lose 3-2, but don't give up four goals for the first time all season. That will be a moral victory. Not being embarrassed tonite will be a moral victory. Im cheering Oil all the way but worry how quickly this one could go very bad.

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#4 David S
October 15 2013, 12:12PM
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Not much to say here boys. Either we're going to get blown out or it'll be a goaltending DUEL!

Ahhhh...hahahahahahahaha!!!!

*sobs quietly*

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#5 Spydyr
October 15 2013, 12:17PM
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OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Sales of alcohol related products continue to skyrocket in the Capital region.

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#6 A-Mc
October 15 2013, 12:17PM
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This game terrifies me. It's a slippery slope when you lose games like this. You think you're in a bunch but before you know it you're 10-40-5 and realize you're contenting for the worst record EVER!

Somehow the Oilers manage to show up for good teams (see Detroit), so I'm actually going to predict a win tonight. 6-4 Oilers.

ps: Joensuu out again on injury? Brutal. We need this guy healthy, he's a solid addition.

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#7 They're $hittie
October 15 2013, 12:26PM
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Is this the first time that three first overall picks have played on a line together.

Marleau 2, Heatley 2, and Thornton 1, was the lowest I can think of before than.

Heck, even Gagner 6, Hall 1, and Yak 1, is still low.

Colorado?

Duchene 3, Mackinnon 1, Landeskog 2

EDIT: To start the game together.

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#8 mlcsellil
October 15 2013, 12:36PM
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Tonight is the night the Oil shock the league. DD will stop a puck.

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#9 vetinari
October 15 2013, 12:42PM
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Could someone look up to see if the NHL has a 'mercy' rule like they do in some kiddie leagues?

Oilers 1 Pens 5

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#10 loweblows
October 15 2013, 12:42PM
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Tuesday checklist-got up, got dressed, checked internet for goalie trade (none), eating at various intervals, awaiting Oilers annihilation by Pitts, awaiting to go to bed angry. Repeat 7 years and counting.

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#11 justthestatsman
October 15 2013, 12:43PM
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mlcsellil wrote:

Tonight is the night the Oil shock the league. DD will stop a puck.

Unfortunately, the Pens are likely to get more than one shot on net tonight...

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#12 They're $hittie
October 15 2013, 12:43PM
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vetinari wrote:

Could someone look up to see if the NHL has a 'mercy' rule like they do in some kiddie leagues?

Oilers 1 Pens 5

Ask the blackhawks

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#13 VK63
October 15 2013, 12:44PM
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Sam Reinhart looks good!!

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#14 Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate
October 15 2013, 12:50PM
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Great picture Gregor

Evangeline Lily, YUM

Top ten of all time

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#15 loweblows
October 15 2013, 12:50PM
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My gameday prediction. DD will stop every shot he faces. Unfortunately he wont be facing the 6 he lets in. Oilers lose 6-0. Diehard Oiler fan here but don't see much hope.

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#16 HOFFFF
October 15 2013, 12:57PM
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GDP: 5 - 2 Penguins. OGDP: 6 - 2 Penguins. NSOGDP: 4 - 2 Penguins.

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#17 He Who Knows
October 15 2013, 01:02PM
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This organization is looking real bad at the moment. Clearly the team is not built right. The rebuild has been completed faster in other organizations without a plethora of high draft picks. Alarming to say the least and patience is no longer acceptable.

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#18 Serious Gord
October 15 2013, 01:07PM
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Logically a GDP of 6-3 pens is the answer.

But my gut says the oil win 5-2. The pens are vulnerable - the panthers proved it.

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#19 Danger Pay
October 15 2013, 01:22PM
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There is literally nothing to suggest the Oilers win this one. The only good news I can think of is that it's an early start and the game will be over before bedtime.

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#20 Rob...
October 15 2013, 01:29PM
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Though I don't wish ill will on Horcoff, it's interesting to note that he has zero points in four games. Gordon >>> Horcoff. Arcobello >>> Belanger. Acton >> Belanger.

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#21 Hemmercules
October 15 2013, 01:32PM
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Just win. 2-1, 10-9, whatever. Just win. I really wanna talk about a win tomorrow and not how we beat them on the shot clock or won more faceoffs or soft goals that cost them.

My gut says Duby gets pulled tonight but I feel for the guy. I know I wasn't the same guy for a short bit when my kid was born, life changing stuff for sure. He will probably bounce back but how long do you wait for him to do it??

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#22 Smokey
October 15 2013, 01:46PM
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I'm predicting shootout at the O.K. Coral tonight, 6-5 Pens in a shootout. Crosby with four point game, a goal and three assist. Arco finally nets a pair, Eberle with 3 points. Yak with a slapper that goes top chedda that the goalie never sees. Jones runs Malkin and earns street cred for the effort. Line brawl ensues, however Pittsburgh goalie won't fight the giraffe. Oilers win the corsi, faceoff and shot battle. MacT is seen in the pressbox on the phone with Buffalo GM midway through the second, and the silver fox is seen dropping the f bomb after spilling coffee on his crotch after he is told what package is required for Miller. Nick Kypreos will spend the second intermission insulting Dubnyk, and saying answer is Dipetro. MacLean's only response will be, "how many concussions did you have?"

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#23 ScottV
October 15 2013, 01:47PM
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I would predict a close game but unfortunately the Oilers will probably come up on the short end. Close - because surely the Oilers will respect the Penquins enough to tighten it up with the forwards supporting the back end more and the d corps supporting the goaltender more. If the Oilers "run and gun" this one, it could get real ugly because Dubnyk is too fragile to be overly exposed. Forget about the scoring stats and give our goaltender some added support to build upon. Staple J Schultz's butt to the back end, until the bleeding stops. That guy is killing the team, a whole lot more than Yakupov ever was. New systems appear to be confusing the team particularly in their own end. Simplify - go back to what might be more familier and build in more complexity - change over time. With some luck, maybe a 3 - 2 overtime win is possible.

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#24 Oiler Al
October 15 2013, 01:48PM
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I think it was asked previously,not sure there was a response...any other NHL team using the SWARM system effectively .

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#25 Spydyr
October 15 2013, 01:52PM
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Oiler Al wrote:

I think it was asked previously,not sure there was a response...any other NHL team using the SWARM system effectively .

Not that I am aware of. Which does not mean much.

What I have heard is the Millwoods Timbit team is doing rather well with it.

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#26 Smokey
October 15 2013, 01:53PM
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Oiler Al wrote:

I think it was asked previously,not sure there was a response...any other NHL team using the SWARM system effectively .

Winnipeg supposed off and on. 90 percent of the time it seems to work well. Shot totals are down, but when the puck gets through the goalie has to be all world to stop a 5 alarm scoring chance. We shoulda signed Tim Thomas to bail us out.

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#27 Dan the Man
October 15 2013, 01:55PM
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There are so many reasons that the Oilers will get absolutely crushed tonight.....so they will probably win.

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#28 Walter Sobchak
October 15 2013, 01:56PM
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Logic tells me the Oilers are going to get spanked.

They will out shoot the flightless birds with over 27 perimeter shots but not one Oiler besides Gordon & Smyth will actually go to the net.

~The Oilers win Corsi game again leaving those stat nerds to wonder what the hell went wrong, why is Hartikianen in the KHL, Omark in the AHL and why oh why did Oilers traded Paarjavi??~

Yakupov returns and score the Oilers only two goals from the faceoff circle on the PP.

Oilers lose 5-2

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#29 Time Travelling Sean
October 15 2013, 01:56PM
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We will lose, Hall will fall face first into the boards and limp off and not return, Dubnyk will have a sub .750 SV% and LaBarbera, who replaces Dubnyk after his 6th goal allowed, will have a sub .675 SV% and let in 4 more.

Crosby will get 6 points, Marc-Andre Fleury will score on a Dubnyk miscue, and Malkin will make RNH look like a marionette and score.

We will not have 1 player better than -2, and when Gazdic challenges whoever he will lose at that too.

Dallas will then proceed to make his players power skate after the game for 30 minutes until Eberle passes out of exhaustion to which Eakins will say "He needs to work out more"

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#30 Smokey
October 15 2013, 01:59PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Not that I am aware of. Which does not mean much.

What I have heard is the Millwoods Timbit team is doing rather well with it.

Don't all Timbit teams use the swarm. Usually 5 kids on the puck carrier. The only one not is the goalie who is either waving at his mom, or making snow angels in the crease.

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#31 NsxZero
October 15 2013, 02:01PM
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@Smokey

At this point I wonder if a fight is what duby needs to wake up from his slump. Can't hurt to try right? ...unless he actually gets hurt..

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#32 bdiddy18
October 15 2013, 02:01PM
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OILERS WIN! OILERS WIN!! OILERS WIN!!!

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#33 geoilersgist
October 15 2013, 02:03PM
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@Oiler Al

The Jets supposedly use a modified SWARM.

I wish upon my Oilers blanket that Dubby wakes up today and pulls the W out of his.... and SUITBOHC

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#34 Ea Sports Statistics Guy
October 15 2013, 02:03PM
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This is a real anomaly. According to nhl 14 Devan Dubnyk is rated 83 overall. He should be playing better. For a compassion Varlamov is only an 81!

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#35 NsxZero
October 15 2013, 02:04PM
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Ea Sports Statistics Guy wrote:

This is a real anomaly. According to nhl 14 Devan Dubnyk is rated 83 overall. He should be playing better. For a compassion Varlamov is only an 81!

I'm sure someone from EA got fired..

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#36 mayorblaine
October 15 2013, 02:05PM
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but MAF....

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#37 MessyEH!
October 15 2013, 02:08PM
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Time Travelling Sean wrote:

We will lose, Hall will fall face first into the boards and limp off and not return, Dubnyk will have a sub .750 SV% and LaBarbera, who replaces Dubnyk after his 6th goal allowed, will have a sub .675 SV% and let in 4 more.

Crosby will get 6 points, Marc-Andre Fleury will score on a Dubnyk miscue, and Malkin will make RNH look like a marionette and score.

We will not have 1 player better than -2, and when Gazdic challenges whoever he will lose at that too.

Dallas will then proceed to make his players power skate after the game for 30 minutes until Eberle passes out of exhaustion to which Eakins will say "He needs to work out more"

You sir, are a witch.

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#38 MessyEH!
October 15 2013, 02:10PM
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NsxZero wrote:

At this point I wonder if a fight is what duby needs to wake up from his slump. Can't hurt to try right? ...unless he actually gets hurt..

I see no negatives. One it shakes Doobies game up. 2 he's not allowing 5 goals a game.

I say let the giant fight.

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#39 Spydyr
October 15 2013, 02:11PM
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Smokey wrote:

Don't all Timbit teams use the swarm. Usually 5 kids on the puck carrier. The only one not is the goalie who is either waving at his mom, or making snow angels in the crease.

That goalie does sound like Dubnyk....hmmmmmmm

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#40 Rama Lama
October 15 2013, 02:25PM
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GAME DAY PREDICTION:

Oilers out play the Penguins, score the first goal, Dubby actually makes a save, Oil score a record 8 goals posting a 8 to 3 win..........then I wake up and find out it's exactly the opposite.

Hey dreams do come true now and then.

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#41 Reinman
October 15 2013, 02:53PM
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I think the Oilers will pull off the win tonight. 5-4 in overtime. One thing about hockey, you never really know what is going to happen. Oilers will jump out to a 4-0 lead by the middle of the second and then let them come back to 4-4 in the third, they win in the shoot-out.

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#42 75ers
October 15 2013, 02:58PM
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We have Gazdic, he's got as many goals as Yak, Ebbs and J Schultz combined. I love that guy, at least he looks like he cares when he's back checking.

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#43 Cynic
October 15 2013, 03:01PM
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What's the O/U on Oiler fan suicides tonight? I like to get my money down early and enjoy the game.

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#44 pkam
October 15 2013, 03:05PM
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Could it be the night that Dubnyk rebound and steals us a game?

If I may dream, he stops 39 shots tonight and we win 3-1 with an EN.

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#45 pkam
October 15 2013, 03:06PM
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Rama Lama wrote:

GAME DAY PREDICTION:

Oilers out play the Penguins, score the first goal, Dubby actually makes a save, Oil score a record 8 goals posting a 8 to 3 win..........then I wake up and find out it's exactly the opposite.

Hey dreams do come true now and then.

Don't wake up.

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#46 oilerjed
October 15 2013, 03:12PM
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Ive been looking for a side business, turns out nooses are going to be big in Edmonton for Christmas this year. You wont be happy top hear how much Vancouver media is enjoying the meltdown of Oiler fans. That if nothing else should shame you all back into guzzling koolaid and smiling pretty. Nothing wrong here, everyone is swell.

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#47 The Last Big Bear
October 15 2013, 03:17PM
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Oilers get murdered.

Crosby scores 4 goals. Celebrates in a memorable fashion.

MacT forced into a panic trade for goaltending.

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#48 shonn
October 15 2013, 03:17PM
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that is the lineup i want to see all year, but Joensuu on the 3rd line instead of smyth (pressbox)

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#49 David S
October 15 2013, 03:20PM
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At least one Dubnyk Hat Trick tonight.

- Top shelf snipe

- Five hole fail

- Rebound rocket

*drops mic*

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#50 DSF
October 15 2013, 03:21PM
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"Malkin Night in Pennsylvania"

7-3 Penguins

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