GDB 13.0: Nothing could possiblie go wrong

Jonathan Willis
October 27 2013 09:08AM

Tonight’s game features a tired Oilers team that lost a one-goal game to Phoenix last night against a rested Los Angeles squad that when last seen trounced those same Coyotes by a 7-4 score on Thursday.

What could possibly go wrong?

The Lineup

There has been no official word on lineup changes yet, but up front there are two items of note. First, Tyler Pitlick left on crutches after getting caught awkwardly by a hip check; hopefully any injury is less serious than the knee injury that sidelined him back in January. Second, Anton Lander was scratched by Oklahoma City last night, so it seems probable that he will be in the lineup for tonight’s game (to which I would imagine Linus Omark’s reaction is a mixture of happiness for his good friend and ‘I just scored FOUR GOALS in ONE GAME’).

Update: The Lander news is official.

With at least one probable lineup shift, I’m just going to guess here and update later once we get official word. I don’t imagine we’ll see major changes to the forward unit, and I’d guess that Nick Schultz draws in as fresh legs on the blue line.

  • F1. Nail Yakupov – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Jordan Eberle
  • F2. David Perron – Mark Arcobello – Ales Hemsky
  • F3. Ben Eager – Boyd Gordon – Ryan Jones
  • F4. Luke Gazdic – Will Acton – Anton Lander
  • D1. Ladislav Smid – Jeff Petry
  • D2. Anton Belov – Justin Schultz
  • D3. Andrew Ference – Nich Schultz

Devan Dubnyk will almost certainly start.

Update: I still think Dubnyk starts, but this is interesting.

Coaching & Signs of the Apocalypse

I knew, what with all the talk of firing coaches and whatnot, that things were getting awfully grim. But I didn’t realize how low spirits were until I started noticing the reaction to DSF’s comments:

  • -8/+25 on a comment saying the Oilers had mostly played Eastern Conference “cream puffs”
  • -6/+18 on a comment saying Vancouver had all of Edmonton’s adversity but was playing great
  • -4/+12 on a comment agreeing that Dallas Eakins was in over his head
  • -4/+11 on a comment extolling the Canucks’ virtues

I won’t argue against the Canucks – they have handled some tough circumstances extremely well, and while like the Oilers they have mostly played ‘Eastern Conference cream puffs’ (8 of 13 games) they have also had a road-heavy schedule early. They just went 5-1-1 on a seven-game road-trip, which is insanely good.

What I will say is that it’s way too make Eakins the scapegoat, something that was being done in the comments here yesterday. Certainly, he’s done things I haven’t liked – he was awfully quick to haul last year’s leading goal-scorer out of the lineup, rotating a bunch of skilled first-time penalty killers into the PK all at the same time hasn’t worked well, and the Gazdic-Acton-Brown fourth line never appealed to me – but isn’t it abundantly clear at this point that firing the coach isn’t the solution?

Besides, we’ve seen this play out in reverse before. When Pat Quinn came in, the Oilers jumped out to a 6-2-1 start – one built on getting outshot badly but posting insane percentages. Quinn turned out to be probably the worst head coach in team history. This is the reverse situation: the Oilers have built a losing streak based on decent shot totals and terrible goaltending. I doubt it lasts either.

I can’t definitively say that Eakins is the solution to the problem, but the problem definitely predates his arrival.

Predictions

Game day prediction: 3-0 Los Angeles.

Obvious game day prediction: Mark Arcobello will take three shots that, while all scoring chances, somehow catch the edge of a pad or bounce off the outside of the post or something like that.

Not-so-obvious game day prediction: In the third period, with the score still 2-0, Nail Yakupov will get a glorious opportunity from the right faceoff circle. Jonathan Quick will flash the leather, then immediately skate to centre ice with his arms stretched out in the air before sliding to his knees at the middle of the ice. Don Cherry will chuckle as he’s playing the tape of it on Coach’s Corner next Saturday.

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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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#201 dw
October 27 2013, 07:51PM
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Next shift after the Nuge knee on knee hit Eakins puts out the Eager line. We all talk about retribution but had Eager done something stupid and taken a shot at Kopitar or one of their other skilled guys would everyone be jumping on Eakins like they did to Buffalo's coach Rolston after John Scott's head shot in Boston? We don't have the tough guys (and/or team toughness)to match with LA unfortunately. The only way to get back at LA for the shot on Nuge would be to win the game.

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#202 Alsker
October 27 2013, 07:55PM
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Wait a minute, just realized I wasnt cringing every time the Kings shot from the blueline. Im liking this feeling.

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#203 Oiler63
October 27 2013, 07:55PM
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@Alsker

A scrum is hardly a retribution. I want to see blood on Clifford's face; I want to see Drew Doughty laying on the ground. I don't care if we win this game. Messing with us, you pay the price. This is disgusting!

Kevin effing LOW, is this the team you build to win? If you have any sense of shame, you should take the full responsibility and get the F out.

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#204 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
October 27 2013, 08:00PM
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Yeah, Gazdic should've grabbed Clifford and beaten the living piss out of him. Screw the instigator, that's the third knee on knee in what, three games? Will someone show a little fire for once? That's your team mate out there, you morons.

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#205 madjam
October 27 2013, 08:04PM
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Should have been two match penalties against Kings - but they got nothing . Clifford for knee , and Green on Perron with forearm shiver to head . Maybe Shanahan will suspend them both after game . What we need is for Hemsky to run that lead footed Regher .

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#206 Alsker
October 27 2013, 08:13PM
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@Oiler63

I never said it was retribution, but from our gutless lot it was almost jawdropping. Why Gazdic wasn't on the ice immediately following the hit or at least a regular shift. Unless he's hurt someones got to explain WHY we won't respond to all the cheap shots we keep taking. Someone other than Perron/Nuge needs to get in Greens face as well.

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#207 Slyers
October 27 2013, 08:13PM
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Louie Debrusk..... Such a Moron first... Last night saying our goalie never had a chance on any of the goals. Then tonight saying the Clifford hit was clean. Half the time I don't know what game he's watching. He just talks to talk.... It's goofy his comments are nonsense.... Makes watching the oil even more difficult, if that is possible. PLEASE for the love of god Louie follow the PLAY!!!!!!

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#208 YFC Prez
October 27 2013, 08:14PM
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Ebbs? What kind of pass was that. Backmans playing surprisingly well. Bailed them out there

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#209 OilHub
October 27 2013, 08:14PM
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I know we are only a period in but Bachman looks great, let net a few and keep this kid around for a while..

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#210 YFC Prez
October 27 2013, 08:16PM
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Lol. Ever see someone you know on the Safeway score to win?

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#211 YFC Prez
October 27 2013, 08:17PM
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Jonesy! Yeah! That's why I still love ya man

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#212 Dennis
October 27 2013, 08:18PM
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We'er 5th in the league in 5 on 5 scoring. Huh who knew? Too bad we're terrible on GA because it completely negates everything. Nice to see someone finally dropping the mitts.

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#213 Alsker
October 27 2013, 08:20PM
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well, I guess better late than never. New PP formation..4 guys on the blueline???

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#214 Alsker
October 27 2013, 08:22PM
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The Yak,finally, great pick play by Arco @ the point to set up the play.

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#215 YFC Prez
October 27 2013, 08:23PM
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Yyyyyyyaaaaakkkkkkkuuuupppppoooovvvv!!!!! I've been waiting a while for that. Hopefully he wakes up now

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#216 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
October 27 2013, 08:24PM
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Two fights and a goal by Yak? Is this real life?

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#217 Quintana
October 27 2013, 08:24PM
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Finally YaK City!!!!!!

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#218 Alsker
October 27 2013, 08:31PM
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Is it because Bachmans making the saves he should or being his first game but we're actually having a decent game in our zone tonite. Ebbs and Belov having great games.

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#219 I tried it at home
October 27 2013, 08:36PM
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Good on the Yak for breaking his dry spell, but I dont want to say anything to jinx this. Umm.. Calgary sucks?

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#220 YFC Prez
October 27 2013, 08:36PM
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@Alsker

Special teams are getting better. That down low to the high slot one timer has burned them so many times. But that play by arco to take the one timer away was great to see. They're learning. Pp and pk look a little better. If they get it up to coach kruegers level with the improved 5 on 5 I think they will be looking pretty good.

Hopefully it's not to little too late

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#221 I tried it at home
October 27 2013, 08:45PM
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I just did a quick channel flick to Battle of the Blades and saw Strudwick clean up on the scoring with a truly cheesy mustache and a hot blonde. Gotta be a good omen of some sort, right? Go Oilers! *PS. Almost forgot how ugly Sutter was

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#222 BingBong
October 27 2013, 08:46PM
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Wow, it's been a while since I've seen an Oilers goalie with rebound control.

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#223 Thumby
October 27 2013, 08:48PM
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Funny how much lower my stress is when the goalie makes a save and doesn't give up many rebounds.

What a revelation - our goalie can actually glove the puck!

I swear our shots against per game would be at least 5 less if Dub was able to move his arms fast enough to grab pucks...

uhhhh...Dub who?

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#224 YFC Prez
October 27 2013, 08:49PM
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Clear the front of the net boys

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#225 Spydyr
October 27 2013, 08:51PM
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Stack Pad Save wrote:

That was a dirty hit. Why no retribution by the Oilers? Why, that was your best player just took as dirty a hit you can throw in the game and no reaction by the Oilers. So weak.... So frustrated with this team and with the referees

The referees should have nothing to do with it.You have to stand up for your teammates.That is what happens when you have all skill and no balls on the top two lines.

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#226 YFC Prez
October 27 2013, 08:53PM
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@Spydyr

There were 2 fights after. Jones on Clifford was retribution. They stood up for nuge just fine

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#227 BingBong
October 27 2013, 08:55PM
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Great game by Belov too, he's looked real good so far. Put him with Petry and we have a legit 1st pairing.

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#228 Hangingkayaker
October 27 2013, 09:04PM
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Another minor league goalie. Another lousy night by a lousy team. This is all on Loser Lowe. I will never have anything good to say about this team until Katz's lapdog Lowe is gone!!

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#229 Crackenbury
October 27 2013, 09:23PM
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Petry and Belov are both twice the defenceman J Schultz is at this point in their careers. The Oilers continue to try and force players into a role they are not ready for. It's time to ease up on the minutes J Schultz is logging.

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#230 Romanus
October 27 2013, 09:25PM
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Hangingkayaker wrote:

Another minor league goalie. Another lousy night by a lousy team. This is all on Loser Lowe. I will never have anything good to say about this team until Katz's lapdog Lowe is gone!!

You do have the choice not to support the team by not going to the games, not buying merchandise and not coming on sites like this.

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#231 BingBong
October 27 2013, 09:40PM
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Nice watching a reflex goalie again; it's been a while.

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#232 YFC Prez
October 27 2013, 09:40PM
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Regardless of what happens the rest of this game I wanna see Bachman in net next game. He's been very solid and dubnyk seems to play better when he has to fight for his spot.

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#233 Serious Gord
October 27 2013, 09:41PM
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Shultz pushed frattin. Oilers got a big break.

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#234 dougtheslug
October 27 2013, 09:42PM
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This is like being blindfolded, given a last cigarette, and waiting for the bullet. And they just pulled the trigger with an empty chamber. This isn't even humane.

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#235 Serious Gord
October 27 2013, 09:47PM
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Which team seems to be in the better physical condition with two min to go? I thought Eakins said he was going to fix that.

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#236 YFC Prez
October 27 2013, 09:48PM
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@Serious Gord

Neither team looks tired

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#237 YFC Prez
October 27 2013, 09:50PM
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Holy moly ........ Nananananana...........BACHMAN!!!!

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#238 Serious Gord
October 27 2013, 09:52PM
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45-18 sog in favor of la. Oh the corsi!!

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#239 cubsfan
October 27 2013, 09:53PM
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too early.....but maybe today marks the day we find ourselves a goalie....love the fight.....and effort to keep it out.....we got nothing to lose ....hes earned a start on Tuesday

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#240 BingBong
October 27 2013, 09:54PM
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Well, the Kings were pretty dominant throughout, but at least nobody can say the effort wasn't there. They were working.

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#241 YFC Prez
October 27 2013, 09:57PM
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That look on Eakins face says it all

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#242 Thumby
October 27 2013, 09:58PM
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Epic PK required!!!!

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#243 cubsfan
October 27 2013, 09:59PM
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YFC Prez wrote:

That look on Eakins face says it all

what is that 3 games in a row

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#244 Thumby
October 27 2013, 09:59PM
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Sweeeett!!!!!

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#245 MessyEH!
October 27 2013, 10:00PM
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Stephen King use to write under the name Richard Bachman. Maybe we should call this guy The King.

Doobie should be afraid.

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#246 Thumby
October 27 2013, 10:03PM
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Bachman look like Kiprusof from 2004 out there...now let's see how he does in the shootout.

If he stones them, I think we have our solution for goal (at least till next game)!

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#247 Oilersfan4
October 27 2013, 10:03PM
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WooHoo finally a goalie with a GAA under 3.00 and a good save %. Give this kid the ball and let's see what he has

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#248 jonny94
October 27 2013, 10:03PM
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Bachman has my vote to play another game.....Maybe another 65 haha

He looks so confident in the net despite being pummelled with shots.... Our new Dwayne Roloson? Here's hoping!

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#249 cubcfan
October 27 2013, 10:04PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Shultz pushed frattin. Oilers got a big break.

....sheesh....you should be negative gord....quit being a wet blanket we found a goalie......maybe, sorta....

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#250 BingBong
October 27 2013, 10:04PM
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Somebody better be buying Gordon a drink for those d-zone wins. Clutch.

3 best Oilers tonight imo were Bachmann, Belov and Gordon.

Is there any doubt Bachmann starts next game?

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